The 8 Guys You'll Meet in Tech

Reddit Neckbeard

Think Ignatius J. Reilly, living today in his mom’s basement in Queens, baking in his own body odor while playing War of the Worlds and posting diatribes on Reddit about being friendzoned. His breath smells like Red Bull and Fun-Yuns but for each step you take back, he takes one step forward again to you. Despite his earnest affect and anachronistic sense of chivalry (calls you “M’lady,” wants to kiss your hand) you sense you’re one unrequited move away from being called a bitch.


His co-working space is his frat house. Texted you to come hang Friday night, mentioning that he slept there three nights that week already, as though that would be a selling point. You can’t figure out if he actually does anything beyond volleying his ideas for apps at the ping-pong table (he says he lets his aspiring startup CEO pals win sometimes) and consuming an inordinate amount of flavored popcorn, although if you ask him he’ll tell you that he “crushes code all day.” He likes to alternate pints from the cold brew keg with Sixpoint, which you’ve christened the Brogrammer’s Speedball. Maybe if you put in a few hours playing Wii and ooh and ahhing at all the amenities, he’ll build your website for free?

Google Glasshole

Whatchu know about wearable tech? More like unbearable tech. This new breed of cyber douchebag thinks paying $1500 to wear a computer screen over his eyes entitles him to record you, babble to himself, and engage in general anti-social yet obtrusive behavior. When he approaches you at the bar, you half imagine he’s gonna proposition you for virtual sex like in Demolition Man. But he’s neither Snipes nor Stallone, he’s just an everyman who dons a face computer and thinks it transforms him into the uber-mensch. You ask if you’re on camera, he says you’re always on camera. You back away slowly and find a wall to get behind, because he doesn’t have x-ray vision — at least not yet.

Diet Hacker

Vibram five-finger shoes, shining eyes. He’s beaming and buzzing with endorphins from the functional workout he just completed—faster than last time!—flashing his pearly whites at you. Careful not to engage: he’ll just bore you with fast talking sound bites from all the self-help (though he prefers “life hacking”) books he’s been devouring lately. He can’t wait to share the gospel of his transformation, and offer a hand to help you along, like Tech Jesus. Nice pecs, bro, but his earnest, affected humility makes you want to replace his Fitbit with a pink Barbie Swatch. Still, you can’t help but wonder — what else can he hack?

Apple Genius

He’s here to help! He wants to know how he can “reduce” your computer “issue,” as the employee manual requires him to say. Sincerely believes he has one of the best jobs around, or maybe he’s brainwashed from being called a genius all the time. He fell in love with Macs recording his friends’ bands in college using Logic Pro. He still entertains the idea of pursuing music recording for real, but for now, he likes the team at Apple, and being the reason somebody’s day goes from a zero to a ten feels super good. He’s so patient and smiley, it’s like Apple put a chip in his head.

Tin Man

A robotic genius who believes the right app can truly change the world. He doesn’t just drink the Kool-Aid, he is the Kool-Aid. Except, the Kool-Aid might be more human than he is. Yes, he did develop something pretty neat that you can’t wait to waste time on every day, but hearing him stutter about how the daily experience of the app will improve billions of lives, followed by absently staring off into space (has he ever successfully made eye contact in his life?) makes you shudder. Whoever programmed him needs to revisit the code.

In the meantime, can someone please run interference before he small-backs you into the corner?

Aging CEO

Don’t get him started about college — tech is the great meritocracy. He’s a self-declared self-made man, a libertarian billionaire who truly believes there’s a war being waged against the 1%. Nowadays he mostly spends time on his yacht, angel investing, serving on boards, and writing the occasional radical op-ed. He was an early pioneer on the Silicon Valley frontier, but at this point most folks view him as a kinda kooky old uncle, to be humored in case they might need some of his funding down the line.

Boy King

He was nine when Facebook launched! In his version of the world, sex and age and background don’t matter so long as you have a good idea and a strong work ethic. You suspect his rehearsed humble demeanor belies an inner Bieber; the youthful indiscretions and disgruntled ex-coding buddies are sure to crop up soon enough. He dropped out of an ivy and he’s worth a million bucks before age 20? You know that little shit thinks he’s the shit, and you want him to drop the act. Until then, there’s not much to keep him and his useless app from boring you to death.

Illustrations by Emily Niland

Tech guys. They’re everywhere.

Stealth recording you via Google glass from the corner of the bar; on the subway, talking up some worthless sounding app that who knows, in a week you may read has raised $1 million in seed funding.

Maybe he’s your knight-in-shining-Apple-store, rescuing those files you thought you lost forever.

Or he’s the guy whose advances you rejected — not because he’s a nerd, but because he’s an asshole — and as we speak he’s ranting about you on Reddit?

We’ve assembled a guide to his eight different incarnations to help prepare you the next time you encounter one out in the real — as opposed to virtual — world.

Molly Mulshine and Jordyn Taylor acted as tech guy consultants for this slideshow.

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