management by matrices

a fresh perspective on management.

Calling for leaders who are geeks

Why business needs more geeks. Great post on why we need geeks in business too, and not just technology. I am reminded of the Apple ad that went "..because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.."

In that sense, the greatest leaders in the world - Gandhi, Mandela etc - have all had a geekish streak to them. They were not scared to try out new things and think unconventionally. Gandhi's non-violent struggle represents just the kind of stubborn idea that a geek can hold on to till he proves that it works. Gandhi's Dandi March was also a disruptive innovation. It was almost cinematic in its conceptualzation, the idea of thousands of Indians marching to Dandi to protest against the British salt tax.

On April 6th, Gandhi raised a lump of mud and salt (some say just a pinch, some say just a grain) and declared, "With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire." He then boiled it in seawater to make the commodity which no Indian could legally produce—salt. [Wikipedia]

The world progresses through such unconventional people, who take tough stands.Similar to technology geeks, leader geeks also bring in disruptive innovations to the world. However, their innovations lie more in the space of politics and people management. When
Mangal Pandey sparked off the Revolt of 1857, he did not do it because he had some grand notions of freedom for mankind. He started on a rather minor issue (that of the cartridges in their guns having pig fat on them), and took a strong and unconventional position on it.

I think geeks in every sphere must be actively encouraged, instead of being treated like outcasts. A touch of the eccentric is what leads to innovations that are later termed great.


  1. gravatar

    Excellent blog!

    Sure, there are examples of Apple and Gandhi, but how many geeks are complete lunatics and would wreck a company in days. Most 'geeks' do not end up being great leaders and many leaders are very conventional people.

    8:10 PM