Challenging Tekkies

In downtime lately I’ve been reading a couple of books that have an entertaining subtext; scientists can be wrong, you sometimes need to stand up to them. Sample quote: “…the arrogant side of science; a belief that it should have monopoly over the debate.”1

The precise context of this feeling involved genetically modified food, and how it is not only quite possibly bad for our health but also that of the planet.

It got me thinking about the quasi-scientists that solution sellers come up against with annoying regularity. They are the tekkies.

Technical people in my humble experience are usually roadblocks. It is a source of constant bewilderment to me that their entire reason for being is at paradoxical odds with their outlook on buying something. They are typically paid to be change drivers within their firms, yet baulk at anything that might disrupt their ever-so-comfortable status quo.

I have come across several types of tekkie out there. People in roles like IT Manager and Design Engineer are the obvious examples. But if you think about it, those such as CFOs can be the worst kind of tekkie you can encounter.

So how do you challenge them? Well, reading the book referenced below, it would seem there are two main ways.

  1. Rigorously check their facts
  2. Identify the opposite polar position

What this will also hopefully conjure, is someone that can be an ally. There’s usually an individual or body that doesn’t share the tekkies view slowing you down. People that prefer the other pole of opinion can be dynamite. Understand and align with them, and politics can then trump science.

1 p58 The Constant Economy, Zac Goldsmith (Atlantic Books, London, 2009)

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