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The Computer Buzz August 24, 2006


Nome and Paul Van Middlesworth - owners - The Computer Fact
ory
 

 

Who You Callin’ a Geek?

"Geeks on Call," "Geek Squad," “Geeks R Us,” "Geeks n Freeks." Many of the recent entrees into the mobile PC service business identify with the "Geek" sobriquet. Why? Are their employees really "Geeks?" Do they actually believe we users want "Geeks" drooling on the keyboard in our own homes?

The term "Geek" originated with the traveling circuses or carnivals in 16th century Europe. Troupe members who could no longer perform due to age or injury often became "Circus Geeks." A "Circus Geek" made his living in the sideshows or "Geek Pit." The "Geek's" performance required no particular talent. They drew crowds of morbidly curious townsfolk by biting the heads off live chickens, eating live animals and bugs, self mutilation or by performing bizarre, disgusting or outrageous acts (like the popular reality show "Fear Factor").

According to "Wikipedia," today's "Geek" is "a person who is fascinated, perhaps obsessively, by obscure or very specific areas of knowledge, usually electronic in nature." This obsessive preoccupation precludes the development of normal social skills.

The classic "Geek" resembles the WWII stereotype of the "Jap" fighter pilot with protruding, gapped teeth and horn rimmed glasses. Add a white shirt with a bulging pocket protector, wrinkled wash pants, white socks and sandals and you have a "geek."

We sought to find the difference between a "Geek," a "Nerd," and a "Dork." A "Nerd" is similar to a "Geek" in outward appearance and lack of social skills but has no obvious obsession. The "Dork" is a lower order example of the same phenomenon. Our Internet search kept taking us to algore08.com.

"Computer Geeks" and "Band Geeks" are the ones with which we are most familiar. Certainly there are people who are obsessed with music and fit the "Band Geek" profile, but the overwhelming majority of folks who play music are pretty normal and possessed of excellent social skills.

"Computer Geeks" created the PC industry. Bill Gates is definitely one. With $70 billion in the bank, who but a "Geek" would still go to work every day.

While "Geeks" still predominate in the industry's R & D labs, they don't come to your house to hook up your broadband and they don't sell PCs in retail stores. Dealing with the public requires social skills and a broad understanding of user needs that exceed the understanding, interests and attention span of the "Geek."

Perhaps in the early days of indoor plumbing there were "Toilet Geeks." Maybe early automobiles were cared for by "Horseless Carriage Geeks.” Nowadays we have plumbers and auto mechanics.

The PC industry is a quarter century old. Its time to recognize the fact that the technicians who keep us up and running are mainstream men and women that lead perfectly normal lives, not “Geeks." If Best Buy really hires "Geeks" for its mobile PC repair "Geek Squad" you might want to keep a live chicken around in case your "Geek" stays for lunch.

 

 

 

 

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