Tuesday, June 6, 2006

The Eccentrics Versus the Uncouths

The Eccentrics Versus the Uncouths.

This article is inspired by this one.

I argue that the difference between a Geek versus Nerd is the same difference that separates the eccentrics from the uncouths. Also, most often the nerds are the ones that are geeks, the geeks are often nerds, some nerds are not geeks, and some geeks are not nerds. A nerd is an uncouth person a geek is an eccentric. I think geeks are odd, and are not really the talented few who run the show in corporate America. The genius may be a nerd, a geek, neither, or both. The leader in corporate America may not be nerdy nor geeky, unless the leader is a perceived genius.


Webster defines someone who is eccentric as:
a: deviating from an established or usual pattern or style
b : deviating from conventional or accepted usage or conduct especially in odd or whimsical ways

Take notice that an eccentric is not uncouth, just bizarre. Oddities in behavior are often traits of the genius. The reverse does not work. So if you acquire odd behavior, that does not make you a genius. Such people are pretentious and once discovered they attract disdain.

Scientists, mathematicians, engineers, software gurus are often seen as eccentrics. In corporate America, most IT staff thrive on geekdom. Most border on nerdiness, however I can say that most of the people I know are not nerdy. They (the geeks) enjoy being perceived as problem solvers. Geeks often carry the latest gadget on them. Cellphones, PDAs, & blackberrys are always within bluetooth range. They are always ready to receive a call, send an e-mail, plan the next meeting. Geeks derive power from skill. Ccommunication is usually not their forte. Geeks are simply eccentrics. They are well mannered, well meaning corporate citizens. They don't burn bridges and they don't knowingly step on other poeple's toes. They are the unsung heroes of corporate America. These are the analysts, production support personnel, engineers & programmers.


Webster defines someone who is uncouth as:
a : strange or clumsy in shape or appearance : OUTLANDISH
b : lacking in polish and grace : RUGGED <uncouth verse>
: awkward and uncultivated in appearance, manner, or behavior

Nerds are not oriented towards solving problems, rather they are inclined towards "technology for the sake of technology" they are not usually self-aware and are neither aware of their surroundings (people, reactions etc). They talk a lot. Loud. Such behavior results in faux pas, ill manners and eventual social boycott. Nerdiness directly translates into bad manners. Nerds=Uncouths. Sometimes they are pompous uncouths.

Geeks are Eccentrics, Nerds ands Uncouths. Uncouths can be eccentrics, and eccentrics can be uncouth, people can be neither or both. Corporate IT citizens, please try harder to be neither.