How geeks and non-geeks can collaborate at work

Transcending stereotypes with ‘Geeks and Non-Geeks: From Contraxioms to Collaboration in Higher Education

“In a world where geeks and non-geeks have to work together, it’s not language that creates the misunderstanding between two very different types of workers: It is their fundamentally different perspective and worldview. There’s often a big disconnect between techies who want to solve problems, and non-techies who want to achieve a vision. It’s the eternal war between left geek brain vs. right non-geek brain.”

. . .

“Authors Paul Glen and Maria McManus recently published an article about the on-going communication problems faced by geeks and non-geeks. Read it here: “Geeks and Non-Geeks: From Contraxioms to Collaboration in Higher Education.”

The article focuses on six ways geeks and non-geeks differ: work, future, knowing, language, lying, and wanting. These six points form the basis of two very different world views. Therefore, if you are a non-geek supervisor in charge of IT projects, you need to understand what geeks love to do.

In addition, Glen and McManus say there are three things that motivate geek culture. They are:

  • Difficulty: Geeks love to tackle hard (but not impossible) problems.
  • Learning: Geeks love to learn new things.
  • Competition: Yes, geeks love to compete with worthy opponents for pride and bragging rights.

If you, as a non-geek, understand these three things, you will be less-annoyed by missed deadlines or industry jargon that is sometimes intimidating and indecipherable.”