Is it Nerd Values or Ex-Hippy Values?

Steve King has an interesting post today about Nerd Values on Small Business Labs:

One of the interesting points discussed was “nerd values”.  Key quote from group member Tara Hunt:

“Nerd values means…”Doing well by doing good.” We don’t think of ourselves
as do-gooders or altruists. It’s just that somehow we’re trying our best to
be run with some sense of moral compass even in a business environment that
is growing.”

Tara also points to an article where Craigslist founder Craig Newmark discusses nerd values.

A theme that runs through our
research is that values and life balance issues are extremely important
to many entrepreneurs and small business owners – and a key reason
they’ve chosen small business careers and entrepreneurship. I think
Hunt’s quote is a good one, and describes a much broader group of
people than just nerds.

Hey, people, you can call that nerd values if you want — the more the merrier — but that’s classic baby boomer ex-hippy values. I happen to be proud of preserving values I had as a young would-be rebel back in the day. I like to think I’ve brought that into the business.

We did have nerds back then, but we didn’t have that word for them. I think we called them smart people; but hey, I’m 59 now, maybe I don’t remember right.


  • Tim Berry says:

    Thanks Pete, you're taking this to a more interesting level. Yes. the 60s failed, we thought we could change the world and of course that was mostly almost-teenage hubris. We grew up and sold out (speaking for myself at least (well, sort of)) and ended up with MBA degrees and careers in our 30s. And maybe we fell in love with technology, and maybe, even though we thought we had sold out, we accidentally preserved some of those original values. And maybe we started companies and built things. It would be absurd to pretend this was some sort of continuing idealism, long-term adherence to original goals, but it makes for an interesting mix. Could Montgomery Burns have been there in Golden Gate Park in August of 1966?

    You have a really interesting angle with the failure of the 60s ideals and the nerds' relationship with technology. I couldn't argue against either point. You make sense.



  • Pete Warden says:

    Interesting thought Tim! The quote is broad enough that it covers pretty much anyone who doesn't aspire to be Montgomery Burns though I think.

    I'd distinguish ex-hippy from nerd values by their faith in technological solutions rather than people. You won't catch nerds trying to levitate the Pentagon, they're busier designing cryptographic currencies they believe will undermine the military-industrial complex. The goals are similar, but there's a definite belief that hippies were ineffective at actually changing anything.

    Of course, Robert McNamara and crew were true believers in technology as the solution to the worlds problems too, and we all know how well that worked out…

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