It is not because you know nothing about technology, and for some reason sound proud of it, that you should let your business be run by geeks. As much as they can be nice and helpful, geeks only know how to communicate with two entities: computers and other geeks.

You are just an annoying, albeit very friendly, interference in their daily occupation. Yes, they can fix your computer when it crashes but you can too. Here are a few tips:

_ Do not panic. Take your time. Everything will be fine.

_Check the cables : if you lost your internet connection or cannot connect to the server, it’s probably because that Ethernet cable is not properly plugged in (usually a blue cable).

_ Reboot : 90 % of windows problems are fixed with a simple full reboot. Yes, really.

_ Buy a Mac : no viruses, spyware, crashes, lock downs. Mac Os X is probably the best operating system ever invented and todays MAC can run Mac and Windows.
In our business, technology for the sake of technology, is useless. Gimmicks, tricks, shortcuts, multiple options are only usefully if they work and if they add something relevant. For example, I downloaded Getty Images Live desktop the other day on my old windows 2000 PC. Didn’t work. I cannot even begin to explain how many computers, right now, continue to work on Windows 2000. In the corporate world and all over the world. I didn’t need it, it created aggravation. If I was an image buyer, I would be very upset with Getty right now.

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If you listen to your in house geek, he will tell you that everyone runs on Vista (or Mac OS X) or are about to be. He is, because he’s a geek. Corporations and business, however, will not update their operating system before they have to. And that is only when they purchase new computers that come pre loaded with a new operating system. Not before. Why would they ? its expensive and very, very disruptive to change operating systems. And really not very useful. Productivity certainly doesn’t jump if you switch from XP to Vista.

Don’t ever, ever take advice from your geek. Tell him what you need and stick to it, whatever he says.

But geeks have other flaws. If they don’t personally like it, it’s no good. They will make you miss on something quite compelling just because they know the guy who designed it and don’t like him. It’s not a technology thing, its personal. They shut your business out. Investigate new technology by yourself. A geek is never, ever subjective.

Always look behind a geek to find out what he is hiding from you.

Geeks are very proud too . If someone has a similar product that does something ten times better then what they have spend the last 2 years trying to set up themselves, it’s a no go. He will make you work on his clunky system rather than use the new top of the line software your competition is using. The same way parents always believe their baby is the prettiest one in the world. Or a man will never ask for directions.

Geeks are very, very emotional. Do not get mislead by their sensibilities.
Geeks are also text people. Not visuals. They spend their days, if not their lives, typing, writing text, code, etc. So, their world is textual. They will try to reduce everything, including man-machine interaction and user experience, to a text base interface. And use pages of text to explain it, if for some reason, you don’t find it self explanatory. Which you should.

Our profession is visual, graphic oriented. I need icons and symbols to work my way around, not a box that says “click here”.

Finally geeks, as much as they like their jobs, would much prefer be working at Google right now. The photo industry is nice but really not challenging enough for them. So their days are more filled with hopes of making it to Mountain View than making your business work.

You are just really providing them with time, equipment and books so they can :

1) really impress their friends, the other geeks.

2) get enough knowledge to get into Google, or Apple or Adobe. Anywhere but your company.

So, a piece of advice: Keep running your business the way you think it should be done and never, ever rely on your in house geek for advice. And never promote them to CTO. Because computer understanding is miles away from being business savvy.

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