the geek / business relationship

Go figure. Just this morning read an internal IT newsletter about this same subject. All of this information is second-hand, but I may just check out this book soon. The book “The Geek Gap: Why Business and Technology Professionals Don’t Understand Each Other and Why They Need Each Other to Survive,” by Pfleging and Minda Zetlin, claims that the “geek-suit” divide is inevitable. Here are some bullets points as to why:
• The tech worker, “the geek”, is a problem solver; the business person, “the suit”, is a people influencer. The geek likes to fix things, the suit relies more on people skills. Geeks and suits also interact with technology differently; the former are more interested in process while the latter are more consumed with use.
• To geeks, a piece of technology is a thing of beauty in its own right, a wonderfully fascinating puzzle. To suits, it’s a tool that is only worthwhile if it helps them accomplish their objectives.
• The moment geeks are likeliest to lose interest in a project is when it’s running perfectly (‘Hooray! Now I can stop working on it!’). That’s the moment suits are likeliest to start taking interest in the same project (‘Hooray! Now I can start working with it!’).
• Technology and business people differ in terms of career aspirations and lifelong goals, and relate differently to their workplaces. Tech people typically do not identify themselves by where they work but by what they do. It’s more important to them that they are in the ‘community’ of, say, .Net programmers or database administrators rather than at the company where they work. Business people are much more about climbing their company’s ladder.
The authors do go on to give points about how IT and business can help bridge that nearly inevitable gap, including cross-functional teams, intermingling, job exchanges, and business people doing what IT people now are doing: learning about how the other side works.
Since I spend most of my lunch periods nursing a latte at a nearby Barnes & Noble and recouping the cost by reading magazines and books, I may skim this to see if it is worthwhile to fully read and have on my shelf.