The Geek Gap: Why Business and Technology Professionals Don't Understand Each Other and Why They Need Each Other to Survive

The Geek Gap: Why Business and Technology Professionals Don't Understand Each Other and Why They Need Each Other to Survive

by Bill Pfleging
     
 

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Business managers (suits) and technology professionals (geeks) have become warring camps in too many companies. While both groups have no trouble following the lingo of their own specialties, when they have to communicate with each other, neither side fully understands — or wants to understand — the other. And that’s a big problem in an

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Overview

Business managers (suits) and technology professionals (geeks) have become warring camps in too many companies. While both groups have no trouble following the lingo of their own specialties, when they have to communicate with each other, neither side fully understands — or wants to understand — the other. And that’s a big problem in an increasingly technology-dependent business environment where success depends on the smooth integration of both business savvy and technological expertise.
Bill Pfleging — a respected computer and Web consultant — and Minda Zetlin — a veteran business writer — explore, in this insightful, witty, and very instructive book, the culture clash that pervades nearly every business-technology interaction. The Geek Gap provides members of both camps a practical guide to working together effectively. Using many real-world examples, the authors vividly illustrate the consequences in time, money, careers, and even lives when these separate cultures fail to communicate.
The authors provide practical solutions for building trust between business and computer professionals. The book is filled with tips aimed at geeks and suits to help each group understand the other, communicate in what amounts to a foreign language, and get what they need to do their jobs effectively. The authors profile companies and individual executives who have successfully bridged the gap by conducting events that bring the two groups together, switching jobs from one area to the other, creating whole new careers as "go-betweens," and much, much more.
This is the first book to directly address issues of communication and understanding between business and technology people. The Geek Gap — in identifying this problem and providing numerous practical and workable solutions — is an indispensable guide for all.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Geek Gap is thoroughly original, virtually unique, of paramount importance and, on top of ALL that, a 'great read.' Bill Pfleging and Minda Zetlin deserve a giant 'Hats off' for this wonderful piece of work."
TOM PETERS

"Though the husband-and-wife authors offer tips for both techies and management on how to bridge the gap and thus avoid business failures, they spend most of this thoughtful if not wholly practical book affectionately parsing geek culture....Pfleging and Zetlin provide sensible advice...but the book's real virtue is its anthropological insight into the people writing code."
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"The Geek Gap isn't just for those who have to manage technology and technologists in their offices. It's should be mandatory reading for everyone in corporate America. There's practical, useful material here that will help you bridge the gap, raise morale, and improve your bottom line."
SREE SREENIVASAN, WABC-TV's Tech Guru and Columbia University New Media Professor

Publishers Weekly
Lack of respect and trust, poor communication and a culture clash make for an often-disastrous divide between "geeks" and "suits," according to Pfleging, a computer consultant and "dyed-in-the-wool geek," and Zetlin, a business writer (Telecommuting for Dummies) representing the suits. Though the husband-and-wife authors offer tips for both techies and management on how to bridge the gap and thus avoid business failures, they spend most of this thoughtful if not wholly practical book affectionately parsing geek culture. A geek's primary strength, the authors explain, is problem solving-or creating and maintaining technology-while a suit's talent is influencing people. Technology for suits is a "means to an end"-namely, profitability-while for geeks (who see themselves as outsiders and artists) it's a "living, breathing thing." These differences have exacerbated the geek gap the authors see behind debacles and trends from the Y2K "fizzle" to the dot-com boom and bust and now today's offshore outsourcing of IT work. Pfleging and Zetlin provide sensible advice (e.g., techies should expand their skills to avoid obsolescence in the face of "offshoring"), but the book's real virtue is its anthropological insight into the people writing code. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This book offers paths that will smooth communications between an organization's "geeks" (tech professionals) and its "suits" (business executives). Drawing on their relevant experience and background, Pfleging (technology columnist, the Woodstock Times) and Zetlin (Telecommuting for Dummies) present an intriguing look at the "Geek Gap," including a description of its origins; the reasons why the gap developed and intensified; and how to promote mutual understanding between suits and geeks. Their advice for closing the gap includes creating multiple points of contact, getting geeks involved in projects from the start, and encouraging geeks and suits to trade jobs, if only temporarily. The authors also offer bibliographic references for further reading, and they have a web site (www.geekgap.com) to promote further discussion. Because their book fills a need, successfully addressing a very real problem in many businesses and organizations, it should be on the shelves of practitioners and business school students alike. Highly recommended to public and academic libraries.-Lucy Heckman, St. John's Univ. Lib., Jamaica, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781591024156
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Publication date:
06/28/2006
Pages:
250
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.86(d)

What People are saying about this

Dorothy Leonard
"If you're a geek, a suit or if you've ever tried to manage either, you'll love this book."
Harvard Business School, Co-author of Deep Smarts: How to Cultivate and Transfer Enduring Business Wisdom
Larry Weber
"[A] "how to" survival guide to the forever united worlds of business and technology....Read this book!"
Chairman/CEO, W2Group, Inc., Boston, MA
Michael Belfiore
"Superbly written, full of illuminating, often hilarious real-world examples, The Geek Gap is required reading for...just about all of us."
Author of The Entreprenauts: Visionaries and Daredevils of the New Space Age
Tom Peters
"The Geek Gap is thoroughly original, virtually unique, of paramount importance and, on top of ALL that, a 'great read.' Bill Pfleging and Minda Zetlin deserve a giant 'Hats off' for this wonderful piece of work."
Co-author (with Doug Hall) of Jump Start Your Business Brain: Ideas, Advice, and Insights for Immediate Marketing and Innovation Success

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Meet the Author

Bill Pfeging (Woodstock, NY) is a computer and Web consultant who writes a regular technology column for the Woodstock Times. With computer experience going back to the early 1970s at IBM, he has also worked for Tripod.com and Lycos Network.
Minda Zetlin (Woodstock, NY) is a longtime business writer whose work has appeared in Crain’s New York Business, Success!, Management Review, and other publications. She is also the author of Telecommuting for Dummies and co-author of The ASJA Guide to Freelance Writing.

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