I recently had the chance to work with a diverse group of technologists. Most people were innovating within the social media space, but the diversity came from the age range of participants, spanning from early 20’s through the mid 60s.
Although I have no data to back this up, I truly believe that the personalities of technologists have taken a complete 180-degree turn in last 20 years.
Back in the early days of the web, technology innovators were geeks, the introverted guys who found software and the web to be an intellectual and engineering challenge. Technology was more an escape from the offline than a catalyst for it…think Weird Science or early Microsoft. The aura of the technology professional tended to be academic, since software was largely being sold at the enterprise level and customer sales required detail and education.
The change is dramatic. Today the social media crowd tends to be much more outgoing and surprise, surprise social. The marquee names of the tech elite: Kevin Rose, Sean Parker and iJustine are all attractive, party-going young persons. Personally, some of the most outgoing people I know are now involved in social media and interactive and I think this ‘change of guard’ has resulted in a tremendous boon for the rest of us. Rather than selling first to an enterprise, web2 is about consumer-facing apps. Being able to channel or translate the strategies of the socially successful into “user-experience” architecture is an amazing step forward. After all, everyone secretly wants to be friends with the cools kids, right?