by Thomas Wailgum

Influence This: 10 Loathsome Technology Industry Types

Aug 30, 2010
Enterprise Applications

Do you know the difference between a guru and an influencer? Then you might be one of the 10 most loathsome technology types.

It’s despicable to stereotype people. I know.

But the technology industry offers (or suffers from, depending on your view point) so many fascinating caricatures of people trying to act like everyone else, who are trying to act like everyone else, that it’s difficult for me to not highlight the insanity. Plus, I just got back from my vacation, and I’m a tad grumpy.

So without further delay, here are my “most favorite / most despised” list of tech types today. (Be sure to check out the last one, to show that I play no favorites.)

Social Media Expert You used to be a CRM expert. But all that Interweb and MySpace stuff came along. Your solution? Just put “Social” before everything you say, do or write on Twitter. “Social CRM Expert” has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Vendor Marketing EVP You’ve got great hair—and you know it. Every conversation inevitably returns to “synergistic opportunities for the brand” or “CSR initiatives.” You’ve got an iPhone 4 and you’re hip to Facebook and Foursquare. Your most recent and greatest idea (if you do say so yourself): “I know how we’ll get potential customers’ contact information: Free iPad Giveaway! No one else is doing it!”

Venture Capitalist Wait, wait, don’t tell me: You’re based in the San Francisco / Palo Alto area, right? Uh-huh. And you once worked for HP or IBM? Yes. You enjoy yachting and golf? You betcha. And, of course, don’t forget about your passion for “fine wine.” How unique.

The Influencer A relatively new moniker for the same old type of self-aggrandizing, undeserving attention whore of years past: You’ve probably referred to yourself as a “guru” or “visionary” before. But your “highly soughtafter” methodology for measuring your Twitter influence is a secret worth keeping close to the vest. Definitely.

PR Maven Almost always female and either based in Boston or Bay Area. Goes by Caitlin or Ashley and “loves running + yoga.” You’re cute, for sure, and spunky, what with your “industry-leading” this and “agree to the embargo” that. Journalists envy your shoe collection. But as far as knowing the differences between SaaS, PaaS and IaaS, you’re about as lost as an Eskimo in Miami Beach.

Industry Analyst You have a detached, dispassionate way about you that alternates between coolness and melancholy—except when someone utters “pay for play.” And then does your blood boil! You are, however, the captain of the slide deck (or other Vendor-Themed Graphic) and can create a set of best practices faster than most people can say “leverage.”

Blogger To you, rumor equals fact. And there’s never been a tech topic you wouldn’t opine on—or a vendor-sponsored blogger boondoggle with free food and drink that you would miss. You have a penchant for borrowing other’s content and burying vendor disclosures as to how you have been remunerated for your expertise—which is, of course, always available for hire.

Tech CEO You care about one thing and one thing only: Customers. Product quality. Employees. OK! OK! You love yourself, your cufflinks and some shareholders. Everything else? Not so much. Just ask your ex-wife.

Programmer / Coder You love coding and there’s nothing wrong with that. But like a frustrated musician who loves to complain about why other musicians are famous even though “they totally suck,” you love to bitch about other idiot programmers’ buggy code. Then there’s “stupid Barry who got that promotion, cuz he’s such an idiot.” And then there’s your idiot CIO who knows nothing about anything. Your usual habitat: Playing PS3 or Xbox, eating burritos and leaving vile comments on Slashdot.

Tech Journalist You take umbrage to people who refer to you as being with the “Trade Press.” You’re still on that secret mission to figure out if Ubuntu is a country in Africa or it has something to do with desktop software. And much like the frustrated coder, you keep wondering why The Wall Street Journal doesn’t call, because your articles are so darn wonderful.

[ For more of this type of unabashed vitriol, see 12 Types of Tech Zealots: How to Spot Them in the Wild ]

Thomas Wailgum covers Enterprise Software, Data Management and Personal Productivity Apps for Follow Thomas on Twitter @twailgum. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline. Email Thomas at