A couple of weeks ago, I was appointed Director of Academy, a project highly related to mentorship and innovation (what a modest way to start an article but maybe it hides a reason). As I was going to be introduced to a group of students, the HR manager said: Why didn’t you take a jacket (she meant a suit)? In her mind, I think, I was just behaving as a nerdy schoolboy and I didn’t give the occasion the importance it needed. As for my part, I didn’t want to show any arrogance or barriers to a bunch of students to whom , I most value the communication. In the end, we did the introduction ( I was wearing a T-shirt and a jeans jacket by the way 😛 ), but it was a moment that stuck with me. That was the first.
Fast forward, a couple of days ago, I was explaining to my class the Hook Framework, a concept in which the companies, build habits to keep the users engaged for a long time in their apps. As we were about to end the discussion, I took one last example: Pokemon Go. One of my students was quick to comment: Oh, that’s the game that was played by nerds. That was the second!
Knowing that I don’t usually let something fall, and for sure, I don’t intend to wait for the third time, I decided to make an article about this. Now ladies (strangely they were both ladies), and whoever reads this article, calling someone a nerd, its a compliment nowadays. I can talk on this subject for days. There are tons of arguments but I will try to make it short, cause you know, it’s not in our nature to discuss these things. 😉
Most of the movies or television programs describe nerds as socially awkward, lack of communication, misfits, members of AV clubs and tremendously good in computer games (they are!). They usually “hide” in dark places, like the library, bookstore, science labs and … in their bedrooms. They wear glasses, and lousy T-shirts to hide the lack of muscles. They don’t do sports, in fact, their probability to die in a 200 meters run is too damn high… not including getting hit in the face with a ball – instant death 😛 . They don’t party, they don’t dance (or dance in their awkward way) and have problems getting their first kiss… let’s don’t talk about getting a boyfriend or girlfriend. So movies, give me a break!
School on the other hand, ironically, is a difficult place to be a nerdy or sometimes a very dark place, for a problem that we all should accept: bullying. In school and especially high school, all that matters is appearance and physical aspect. Truth to be said nerds often lack in such areas. These are the things exploited by the bullies: boys and girls – no exception in that. And if you are a boy you don’t usually do well in a Girl – Bully Venn diagram, let alone in the section they intersect. 😛 . That’s the truth but it counts as experience.
I am not going to do a moral statement here. In fact, I am going to tell the simple truth: For a school bully the high school years are the highlight of their career, the highest point in life, for the nerds its just the workout. So parents, keep that in mind.
But things have changed, drastically, mostly because of technology. In fact, if it weren’t for internet (developed by nerds) they will still be playing Dungeons and Dragons in their basement. (How do I know that? from Stranger Things 😛 ). And because of technology, it’s now more simple for the society to notice this. Those “losers” do very well later in life. They have inherited the Earth and like it or not, you have to accept: they run the world. I will list a number of arguments. For fun sake, lets call it: “Revenge of the Nerds” (like that movie in 1984).
- Nerds are behind the wealthiest companies and on average they are the richest people in the world. Let’s name a few: Google (Sergei Brin and Larry Page), Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg), Amazon (Jeff Bezos), Apple (The late Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak), Microsoft (Bill Gates and Paul Allen), Space X (Elon Musk) etc. Let me guess your counterargument: Do you know how much elite sports are paid? You probably would think of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Tom Brady, LeBron James, Rafael Nadal. Sports elite are worth millions, they are worth billions… and they don’t stop at 35. Just for your consideration: Cristiano Ronaldo would have to be born centuries ago, still live, and play every day to reach the value of Jeff Bezos.
- They are essentials for normal functioning of billions of lives today. Just imagine a world without internet, computer systems, failed GPS, no communication. Entire business would freeze, the transactions of money would take days, you would have to go to the mall (maybe that’s a good thing), travelers delayed. The unemployment rate would jump to the roof and people would start to commit suicide – dystopian future. You know why… because desks of companies that provide our modern way of living are not stuffed by the teenagers that could punch a guy at school or make some baskets in the court. Nope, they are staffed by kids who don’t mind wearing a Star Wars T-shirt or go to the cinema at 11 PM to watch a Marvel Movie.
- They are the most powerful and influential people. Our political leaders are known to have been a little bit square in their early days (thank god). Do you remember that Singapore PM knows programming? On the other hand, if you look at Forbes list of more influential people they are highly populated by nerds. And that brings us to the next argument.
- The nerds are responsible for the most 21-century innovations. Nerds dream the future, drive innovation. From entertainment to medicine. Pixar has revolutionized CGI. You don’t have to drive a car. Travel is much faster and secure now. Communication has boosted. In the medicine, they are doing miracles. They are already creating enhanced body parts for people in needs. Now they are dreaming space. All that science fiction movies about warp speed and space shuttles will become real at any point in the future (the sequel of Martian movie will be shot on Mars 😉 )
Let’s turn a page and be ready for “Karma is a b****” list:
- They are building robots to replace humans … guess who… those bullies that ended up with no proper education at all.
- Remember how they didn’t do sports. Well, they do know, and they push others to do the same. Try to remember Mark Zuckerberg resolution for running 365 miles.
- And the final hit: do you remember their romance problems. They don’t have it anymore. They have girlfriends and wives who are way out of bullies league. I probably would ruin somebody’s day, if I mention one… and that’s why I will: Elon Musk, Evan Spiegel 😛 .
So in the end, nerdy kids, all over the world, if someone makes fun of you by calling you a nerd, don’t give a f***ing shit. Let them experience the pleasure for some years because from the graduation point your intelligence will guarantee you money, power, and success. You may end up behind the wealthiest companies in the world, be a futurist who is shaping the future or the leader of the political party who will become prime minister someday, and those bullies in school will vote for you (ironically to take care of them).
On the other hands, boys and girls, nothing bad have come from nerds in this world, on the contrary. The chances are, that having one of them in your life, it will be improved. Like Sheryl Sandberg said: Marry the nerds and the good guys!
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