precocity is rewarded in tech. We all swoon over the guy who started programming robots when he was 6. Growing up in tech, I took this as a constant in life—if you’re doing cool things, the younger the better. But it’s become obvious that this is more unique. One of my friends working in finance put it this way: “If I told people I started shorting stocks when I was nine—not that I was, by the way—people wouldn’t be impressed. They’d only say, ‘Who was stupid enough to give you their money?’”
Additionally, there is a certain machismo and bravado associated with success in tech. I watch my classmates one-up each other day in and day out. (Occasionally, rarely, I do a little one upping myself.) Why is this the case? Well, that’s a whole separate question. But it certainly contributes to the way that technical entitlement turns “outsiders” off."
The last bit is especially true. The technological penis-size-comparison that appears to be mandatory when nerds meet each other is really quite off-putting.
I wonder if a marketer could seize on this machismo, the insecurities that drive it, the cognitive blind spot that hides it from self-awareness and the conformist competitive culture it thrives in for fun and profit. I wonder.