The Geek Way: How To Run A Company In the 21st Century
An acclaimed expert in change management, best-selling author and MIT researcher Andrew McAfee explains why corporate leaders need to get ready for their next big challenge: competing with geeks – people who “go deep into problems, and they don’t care about the status quo”.
The term geek, McAfee explains, originally stems from the circus world and became “a synonym for a true outsider”. In the tech-driven world of today, “geeks are people who are willing to go against the grain” to be successful – people like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who told shareholders early on that he expected “to be misunderstood for long periods of time”.
For corporate leaders, this means, “when you’re competing in a technology industry, you are competing against these geeks”, McAfee points out.
Many organizations struggle with employees who question their ways. McAfee highlights the story of former NASA scientist Will Marshall who ended up founding his own satellite company, Planet, after testing the limits of the U.S. space agency.
While researching his upcoming book, The Geek Way: The Radical Mindset Transforming the Future of Business, McAfee came across “no shortage of examples of this kind of confrontation between the geek worldview and the worldview that dominated the industrial era”, he says.
“I’ve been teaching from the industrial era playbook about how you build and run a great company. I think we should throw that playbook away, because the geeks keeps showing us that they can do it better.”
MIT Sloan School of Management
Andrew McAfee is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy and a Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He studies how digital technologies are changing business, the economy, and society. He is the author of More from Less and The Second Machine Age (with Erik Brynjolfsson).