Why

From OGPC - One Geek Per Classroom
Jump to: navigation, search

Imagine you drive off in your car, only to get a little voice asking "how does the car work"?

Easy enough, you turn the key to start the engine, and then the gears make the wheel turn and you move

Now imagine that the car does not drive off. Suddenly the simplistic explanation is not enough. You need to know about starter batteries, solenoids, starter motors, fuel pumps, spark plugs etc.

But what if you want to improve something about your car?

Suddenly you need to know about chemistry, mechanical engineering, aerodynamics, ...

The expertise required to explain a system is less that that required to fix it, which is less that what you need to improve it. Most people use technology at the "I turn the key and the engine starts" level of expertise, denying themselves any chance of improving or even fixing things.

And that's a shame.

The automatic phone exchange was invented by an ordinary user who understood not just the system he was using, but its limitations. The improvement he invented solved one of the biggest problems for users, cost. Note that the phone companies of the time didn't see this as much of a problem, because they just passed the cost on to users.

The problems end users face are not the same ones the suppliers face. The problems that suppliers solve aren't the ones end-users want solved.

If end-users don't start understanding and directing the technology they use, then someone else will. And the end-users may not like what they end up with.

We need more Geeks in this world. We need more people who want to understand how the world works.

But Geeks don't grow on trees. Geeks need to be inspired, nurtured, challenged, mentored. We need the current generation of Geeks to grow the next one.

Hopefully I can encourage others to do the same.