[OT] Promoting a Geek-Friendly Work Culture

Ryan Simpkins plug at ryansimpkins.com
Tue Apr 15 14:25:25 MDT 2008

On Mon, April 14, 2008 11:17, Lars Rasmussen wrote:
> Does anyone have suggestions for promoting a geek culture at their workplace?
> Please assume a high-level of productivity/good work ethic already exists.
> I know geek culture can mean lots of things, but here are some
> examples(could be 'team building' activities):
> -going to the movies to see sci-fi/comic book/fantasy movies during
> the workday/extended lunch
> -playing board games in a conference room(Killer Bunnies, Munchkin,
> Power Grid, etc..)
> -cube wars to bleed off stress(we throw foam balls at each other)
> -media server(I'm curious as to how this is implemented at various
> organizations)

Some Ideas:

- Quality gear. Let the geek build his/her own system, or let the geek spec it
out. Ideally this means giving the geek a decent budget, and turning them
loose. They are geeks! They'll find a way, and spend probably too much time
investigating every possible option to ensure the most optimal system for a
given budget. Also provide an annual upgrade budget.

- Let the geek run whatever OS they want. Would you like to create an
anti-geek culture? Take software choice away from the geek. Maybe you need to
add some requirements like: "you must be able to write documents for the
technical sales team in a format they can open in X proprietary word
processing program."

- Mobile connectivity. Give your geek the power to be a geek anywhere, and
they will work everywhere.

- Lighting. Turn them off, dim them, add some mood lighting. Give them desk
lamps to use on the rare occasion they need to read something on paper, or
finally crack that tech book collecting dust on the shelf.

- Time to be creative. Give your geek time to pursue more radical ideas that
could have big pay off a few years from now.

- Internal IRC server. Everyone should have one, seriously. Give them a bot to
write scripts for, and be amazed. :)

- Bragging rights. Occasionally, for those that are top in your team, get them
the best of the best tech gadget just as it comes out. A $500 'gift' to say
'you rock' and boost that all important geek ego.

- Budget for "self expression". This is kinda like flare. You know. You need
to have 12 pieces of flare at a minimum, mmmkay? This could be re-decorating
your cube to look like a TRON vehicle, or blowing it all on geeky weapons for
cube farm domination wars.

That's my $0.02.


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