"Most of the successful startups I know have at least one technology geek and one business geek. "
Hey that's a good formula!
We have one business geek (ex technology geek), and that's yours truly, and one technology geek (who is also on his way of becoming a business geek, but I hope to a much lesser extent.. He should stay away from me.. it could be contagious)
You mean not a *contradiction*. It *is* an oxymoron. It seems but -- you contend -- is not.
I am a business geek! Wow...
Although can the business geek be broken down into three different individuals (the networker, salesman, and maven) ala "The Tipping Point"
Or...is the business geek the maven?
What you're describing as a "geek" used to be called a maven: somebody who is very serious about his expertise and cultivates it assiduosly, and is well respected for his/her knowledge of the area.
If you've ever met most Microsoft staff (at least the ones they let out to talk with the public) ... it's obvious their hiring strategy on this front is to look for one of the two people you're talking about here, and then work to enhance the side their missing to build them up to be as close to 50% tech geek/50% business geek as possible. Like you said, this is difficult and normally never happens.
The reason it never happens is that tech geek's are normally young people (under 30?). To be a truly good technology geek, not only do you have to be smart, you've also got to still be naïve enough to be able to listen to others and be willing and able to completely alter your techniques. As you get better and better at what you do, you become set in your ways and in a lot of cases rather cocky and arrogant. Getting better means you’re getting older, and the older you get, the less naïve you are, but the more and more business savvy you become.
Trying to get a customer to really believe (and consequently buy from) a 20-something is nearly impossible unless they’ve really got that innate charisma to win over people twice or three times their age. Sheer energy can sometimes do that – witness Bill Gates & Michael Dell!
… so what I’m trying to say … is that you gotta keep hiring young people to keep the company fresh! I think that’s what I originally thought when I started my reply! I gotta stop with the coffee …
Professional Networker...aka Professional Brain Picker. I find that entrepreneurs are always learning from whoever they are talking to, picking their brains, and pulling whatever information they can from that resource.
As someone who's often described as both a business and technology geek - it's great that people recognise we exist, often though employers have no idea what to do with us and find us very scary.
Guess I need to get off my backside and do my own thing really...
I'm in the biz geek class and really appreciate the first point about the desire to always learn...I'm beginning the search for the technology partner for my startup and the willingness of the tech geek to inform and teach me about the specific technologies is so exciting.
I think software developers can do awesome things and I'm very excited about my project being architeched into operational software.
And the networking dimension of the biz geek is key... with a great product to talk about very easy to do...
Dharmesh: The other article is great too...Tech Geek + Biz Geek...Match made in heaven...thanks for the great writing.
Hey! I finally have a cool name. I have most of the attributes except for #4. While I enjoy networking I get lazy now and then or don't maintain my contacts.
I am also in the exact position as Cate Long. I am in search of a software technology counterpart. It would be interesting if you added yet another column on what attributes one should look for in finding a good tech geek.