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ignite seattle #14 – og lifestyle

how many of you identify as geeks?  hands up….  I’m going to talk about us.
Hi, my name is sarah and I’m a geek and an entrepreneur.

Being obsessed a bit by language, I want to make sure we have common definition for geek.  in this diagram from mashable years ago, they identify geeks as the people in the intersection of the intelligent and the obsessed minus the socially inept.

if we use this as the working definition of geeks, then much of geekiness is about some sort of control.  how to make order or habit out of the world around us – how to live the geek lifestyle. i’m going to add one more characteristic to obsessed and intelligent. i’m going to add creative.

the proliferation of hacker spaces and competitions are examples of that. as are the innumerable startups here in seattle.  even without the glory of the valley or the alley, geeks are intelligently and obsessively creating here every day.

this modern geek renaissance is certainly not the first and won’t be the last. geeks and the geek lifestyle have been around as long as people have had extra time after providing food and shelter.  one of my favorite geek forefathers is ben franklin

ben was an entrepreneur, inventor, thinker, publisher and one of the earliest documented quantified self-ers – he was a prolific diarist who tracked many different aspects to his day. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

what is quantified self?  this is a relatively new name for an old idea. treating the self as a system to be monitored and improved through collection and analysis of data.  totally geek lifestyle.

we have several startups in town that are working in the quantified self space. Startups that  are lead by modern ben’s considering and solving problems. But, the geek lifestyle isn’t just about tracking and tuning.

buckminster fuller had some quirky obsessive habits that contributed to his personal style.  he was well know for wearing 3 watches. he wore one for the timezone he just left, one for the current timezone and a 3rd for the one he was going to next.

i don’t think we can have a conversation about geek life and style without talking about brady forrest.  ignite is a bully pulpit for geek lifestyle!  as i’ve heard the ignite story, brady wanted to catch up on all the cool stuff people he knew were working on, and this event was born.

understanding your own obsessions and allowing creativity to seep in is the simplest way to start a project. for fun, i have collected photos of things on the ground with my converse collection highlighted.  It’s not zappos, but it’s shoe obsession.

when faced with a challenge, geeks bring a unique perspective and those intertwined and fantastic characteristics of obsession and creativity.  obsessive side projects can become global phenomena like ignite.

i challenge you then-  how do we encourage the geek lifestyle here in seattle and make it flourish? how do we use our intelligence, obsession and creativity to buff and polish seattle’s tech image and attract and grow more innovation?

Well, we need to do some analysis see where we are and then take some risks.

i want us to balance our obsessions, anchor adventures with intelligence and let creativity help seattle take it’s place among the startup epicenters.  we’re dangerously close to being there already.

barbie is now a computer scientist, so seattle can certainly be an entrepreneurial mecca. Having defined that goal, it’s much easier to focus our collective intelligence, obsession and creativity to make it happen.

if the entrepreneurs in the audience lined up we’d circle the block.  So I ask you to promote the geek lifestyle in seattle, share with the world what great geekiness is happening here.  there is the commuinity, there is the intellectual power.  And there are the raw resources of people excited about ideas

intrepreneurs, entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs.  revel in our variety, share the obsessions you have, the tools we’re creating, the ideas we’re generating.  seattle’s voice in the tech world once boomed with MSFT and amazon, it’s time to do it again.

it’s time to drive into the future (with robots).   let’s  use our skills, creative problem solving, obsession and intelligence to incubate, promote and support new ideas —  the ultimate product of the geek life. We stand out when we produce, participate in and present these ideas and projects.

Let’s make this proto-geek right.  “go ahead, make fun of me now. i’ll forgive you and hire you when we’re grownups.”  it’s time to embrace seattle’s entrepreneurial and innovative penchant and remind the VCs errr ….   The rest of the world we’re here. geek seattle, loud and proud.

update 7/23/2011 – video


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