Do you have a MacBook running virtualized Windows? Is the Star Trek vs. Star Wars debate not even a debate to you? If so, you might be a “techie” (more on that word later). In Silicon Valley, they’re everywhere and easy enough to spot. At CIO.com, we’ve covered the most techie of tech people for decades and have come up with 10 signs that you’re among their ranks.
You’re Probably a Guy
There’s been lots of hand-wringing over the fact that woman are vastly underrepresented in tech. If you think it’s a simple case of media messing up again, just check out the line to the men’s bathroom at the next technical workshop or event. The gender issue took an ugly turn this year when two male software developers at a PyCon conference joked about “big dongles” and “forking,” which was overheard by SendGrid tech developer Adria Richards. Offended, she took a picture of them and tweeted it. One of the men was fired. Hackers exposed Richards’ private information before she was fired for “publicly shaming the offenders,” SendGrid CEO Jim Franklin wrote in a blog post.
You Don’t Want to Be Called a ‘Techie’
There’s been a sudden backlash against the term “techie.” As affluent technical workers gentrify San Francisco, displaced locals have latched on to the term to deride them. This, in turn, has led technical workers to abandon the label; many now consider it a rude term. They prefer the terms “hackers,” “makers” or “coders,” according to a SFGate story. Bonus stat: Tech companies have been accused of causing a spike in rental costs and restaurant-store prices, so if you’re paying $3,075 per month for a one-bedroom apartment, you’re probably a techie.
Star Trek vs. Star Wars Debate Is a Joke to You
If you’re a techie (sorry, a maker), you know the truth: Star Trek kicks butt over Star Wars. Captain Jean-Luc Picard would never let the Federation fall into the hands of a Sith Lord masquerading as the leader. Like all good Star Fleet officers, the captain uses intellect and is not so easily duped. The Jedi, on the other hand, rely on the mystical Force to help them solve problems. Bonus point: Star Trek’s most brilliant technical worker, the chief engineer, who toils in obscurity in the engine room, regularly rises to the challenge and saves everyone’s lives.
Stupid User-Zombie Invasion Annoys You
If you think you’re one of the smartest people in the entire company, you’re probably a techie. Even a panicked CEO will call you after falling for a phishing scheme and infecting his computer. Most users still don’t know enough to restart their computer before calling the help desk. Now they think they’re in charge and are starting to bring their toy consumer gadgets to work. What you need is to leave all these stupid users and create a tech utopia.
Bonus slideshow: Silicon Valley’s Tech Culture: “We Just Want to Be Alone”
You Own (or Built) a Tricked-Out Computer
Stupid users love touch tablets with their bright and simple app icons because, well, they’re stupid. They’ll never understand the awesome computing power available to them. That’s because they’ve never built a computer from scratch like you have. Even today, you don’t work on an out-of-the-box, company-issued machine. You’ve got a MacBook Pro boasting the best hardware in the business running virtualized Windows for optimum performance and complete with connected multiple screens, because a single screen just ain’t good enough.
You Ogle Google Glass
In the movie “The Matrix” — greatest movie of all time, by the way — Morpheus explains to Neo why he looks the way he does while in the Matrix: “Your appearance now is what we call residual self image. It is the mental projection of your digital self.” So what would be a techie’s signature residual self image, or RSI in the parlance of the acronym-loving tech set? That’s easy. He would be wearing Google Glass.
You Know That PCs Got Game
Leave the game consoles to the sports jocks and teenagers, you’re more civilized and play sophisticated PC games. Speaking of civilized, Sid Meier’s Civilization is the ultimate game for techies — and it’s on the PC. For starters, you get to use your vast problem-solving skills on a grand scale and shape the world the way you want it. You’re in control.
Bonus story: Why Techies Love Games — And Why It’s Good They Do.
You DVR ‘The Big Bang Theory’
You can tell a lot about people by the television shows they watch. Most techies we know won’t miss an episode of The Big Bang Theory. They can relate to the nerdy characters (most of all, the brainiac Sheldon Cooper) and love the muted sniping at stupid users. Simply put, this show glorifies techies and makes them cool. Heck, one of them even gets the hot blond. Then again, many techies are also watchers of the Sons of Anarchy. We’re guessing being social outcasts is part of the culture, too.
You Know Samsung Galaxyo vs. Apple iPhone Is No Contest
Many customer studies attempt to stereotype smartphone buyers at companies. What’s wrong with stereotypes? (A lot, but we digress.) Top executives, sales people and marketing folks love iPhones. Millennials are all about cheaper Androids. Techies love Android phones, too, but for a very different reason: Technology is supposed to be open and free like Android, not walled off and controlled like Apple, which is ironic given that Apple portrayed itself as a rebellious freedom fighter against Microsoft-as-Big Brother in 1984.
You Live a Secret Life (Sort of)
Many tech workers have testosterone-fueled hobbies that counter their nerdy images. In fact, geeky television shows and cult techie movies, such as The Big Bang Theory and Office Space, allude to this phenomenon. The guys on The Big Bang Theory, for instance, play paint ball. Michael Bolton in Office Space listens to rap music and has posters of Navy SEALs in his cubicle and at his apartment. Lots of techies love comic books, and the comic book world is full of meek men and women who have secret super powers. Bottom line: Don’t mess with the IT guy.