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Human Resources

Rant: A guide to identifying and avoiding the Technopath

A techbro is defined by Urban Dictionary as “guy who works in the tech field, often but not always lacking in social skills, sometimes focused on career to the exclusion of female companions”.   

I’ve met the type many, many times. But most techbros are pretty harmless. The tribe that is scarier, however, is the rarer type that runs new companies and dreams of vast wealth to the exclusion of pretty much anything: the sort of person that has effectively opted out of a broader society where it is recognised that we are all flesh-and-blood humanity and have shared interests.

He, and it is usually a he, is intelligent in a binary sort of way but has little emotional IQ and is ruthless, a sort of hybrid creature made up from a lifetime of reading Wired and the Wall Street Journal and studying technology, venture capital and the financial markets.

The type I have in mind has become very common in recent years. Call him the ‘Technopath’ because all he is interested in springs from the application of technology as cash machine.

How do you recognise the Technopath?

  • His habitation is all over the world, wherever “technology hubs”, “startups” and, ugh, “netrepreneurs” gather.
  • His eyes are shifty and even in conversation with you he will often be looking over your shoulder for somebody with more power, money or influence.
  • He can be identified by his polo shirt with logo of startup company and a lanyard but on weekends he might wear a button-down shirt, loafers and chinos.
  • His teeth are bright white and sharp. He has small eyes that seem to be dead when the conversational topic is anything not to do with the technology industry.
  • His distinctive sound will be a mixture of jargon, cliché and investment terms.
  • He never laughs except to cackle insanely at his own jokes.
  • He may have once shown signs of empathy but now he regards it as a weakness. This might not stop him humblebragging, however.
  • His hero is the founder of a startup that makes an app for making lots of money.
  • His father was a lawyer and his friends all work in technology or banking.
  • His few political thoughts are to the right of Genghis Khan and he is only supportive of governments that leave libertarian capitalist entrepreneurs free to work untrammelled by intrusive laws or rules.
  • He uses ‘analogue’ as a curse word.
  • He doesn’t ‘do’ sport or the arts but relaxes by playing computer games where people shoot each other.
  • The only book he has read is The Art of War.

 

If you encounter this person, be very careful... or just proceed cautiously in the opposite direction.

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Torquemada

Torquemada, not his real name, has been casting a jaundiced eye on the technology world since the Sinclair C5 was causing as much excitement as the driverless car today, a 64K RAM pack could turbocharge performance, and Alan Sugar was the equivalent of Elon Musk.

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