The suits vs. the geeks

I’m sitting with a bunch of suits right now. It’s the Savvis Web 2.0 conference. Almost all men. A large percentage of whom are older than me. This is NOT the YouTube generation. Although they sure talk about it and talk about MySpace (one speaker suggested that everyone should have a MySpace page for each of their products).

It’s interesting to see the difference between this audience and the folks who showed up at the Podcasting Expo last week. There was a lot more energy there. But a lot less money and power. This room reeks of power. That room reeked of creativity and fun.

I’m seeing this “geek vs. suits” separation more often lately.

Yesterday I went to lunch at a country club over on Sand Hill Road. They wouldn’t let me in because I was wearing jeans. “Excuse me?” I said in my head. After all, it was people in jeans (denim, they called it) who made the products and services that made all those VCs so rich that they could have a private club to hang out at and play golf at.

They made me sit outside for lunch. Which was just fine. My host (who helped fund the country club) and I had a good laugh about that.

It reminded me of the time when I worked the counter at LZ Premiums in San Jose. A guy came in with ratty jeans and a T-shirt. I treated him the same way I treated all the suits that came in. He noted that and bought a nice camera system. Later, after he kept coming back in and buying a lot of stuff, I learned he was worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Said that I was the first sales guy who treated him well, which is why he brought his business back to me.

Last night I saw it again. I wore my standard jeans and T-shirt to a press meeting hosted by Become.com (a cool shopping search engine, they released a research report that found that people liked their shopping search engine better than Google). Everyone else was dressed up.

I’m gonna put my jeans on and hang out with the geeks this weekend at Code-Camp in Silicon Valley. No Beck, but no suits either.

The real action in the valley is still with the folks who wear jeans and T-shirts. No matter how much all the suits try to avoid that.

When did Silicon Valley go all suity on me? It’s certainly a sign that we’re back in a bubble. In 2001 when everyone was unemployed I rarely saw suits. Now that the money is back I’m seeing a lot more suits.

Not a good sign.

Comments

  1. You hit the nail on the head, power and money are the straight and narrow, while creativity is the free and loose.
    You need the money to get going and money needs the talent to get the power.

    Guy

  2. You hit the nail on the head, power and money are the straight and narrow, while creativity is the free and loose.
    You need the money to get going and money needs the talent to get the power.

    Guy

  3. You hit the nail on the head, power and money are the straight and narrow, while creativity is the free and loose.
    You need the money to get going and money needs the talent to get the power.

    Guy

  4. Scobleizer, I like your viewpoint. I was a contract writer at a big enterprise software company and noticed that the suits were starting to outnumber the geeks and half the staff was made up of contract workers. It is a virtual company.

  5. Scobleizer, I like your viewpoint. I was a contract writer at a big enterprise software company and noticed that the suits were starting to outnumber the geeks and half the staff was made up of contract workers. It is a virtual company.

  6. Scobleizer, I like your viewpoint. I was a contract writer at a big enterprise software company and noticed that the suits were starting to outnumber the geeks and half the staff was made up of contract workers. It is a virtual company.

  7. Bright Minds in Dark Suits

    I’m sitting in the lobby of the Charles Hotel, waiting for my flight back to CA after a really interesting conference by Longworth Venture Partners, where I had the chance of participating on a panel moderated by Harvard Professor  Andrew McAfee,…

  8. The guy worth millions just happened to be “real people”.
    Real people come from all walks of life. Robert, always take time for real people.
    Don’t loose the jeans.
    Stealth is a good thing. It helps you find real people.

  9. The guy worth millions just happened to be “real people”.
    Real people come from all walks of life. Robert, always take time for real people.
    Don’t loose the jeans.
    Stealth is a good thing. It helps you find real people.

  10. The guy worth millions just happened to be “real people”.
    Real people come from all walks of life. Robert, always take time for real people.
    Don’t loose the jeans.
    Stealth is a good thing. It helps you find real people.

  11. When in Rome, dress as a Roman.

    Eh? It’s a country club…every club in the planet has a dress code, from Bath & Tennis at Palm Beach to the all-accepting Malibu clubs, faux ‘suits vs. geeks’ wars notwithstanding. That’s a “war” you will never win…best to blend in and fly below radar.

    Jeans wearing geeks, are just WiFi coffee-addict dreamers, you need the MBA suits just as much, if not more. Jeans don’t make you “real”, nor does a $1000 power-suit. It’s not the treads, it’s the person. Casual clothes don’t automatically give you ‘authentic’ super-powers. Your logic is flawed, if “suits” are bad, merely being “suits”, then somehow “jeans” are good, merely being “jeans”? That’s a one-sided simplistic cartoon-rendering view of the world.

    they released a research report that found that people liked their

    GEEE IMAGINE THAT. You think if they found that people like Google BETTER, that you’d ever see such a report? Easy to move data around and ask differing questions, those “research reports” are nothing more than marketing drivel really. The wire services are FILLED with them…

  12. When in Rome, dress as a Roman.

    Eh? It’s a country club…every club in the planet has a dress code, from Bath & Tennis at Palm Beach to the all-accepting Malibu clubs, faux ‘suits vs. geeks’ wars notwithstanding. That’s a “war” you will never win…best to blend in and fly below radar.

    Jeans wearing geeks, are just WiFi coffee-addict dreamers, you need the MBA suits just as much, if not more. Jeans don’t make you “real”, nor does a $1000 power-suit. It’s not the treads, it’s the person. Casual clothes don’t automatically give you ‘authentic’ super-powers. Your logic is flawed, if “suits” are bad, merely being “suits”, then somehow “jeans” are good, merely being “jeans”? That’s a one-sided simplistic cartoon-rendering view of the world.

    they released a research report that found that people liked their

    GEEE IMAGINE THAT. You think if they found that people like Google BETTER, that you’d ever see such a report? Easy to move data around and ask differing questions, those “research reports” are nothing more than marketing drivel really. The wire services are FILLED with them…

  13. When in Rome, dress as a Roman.

    Eh? It’s a country club…every club in the planet has a dress code, from Bath & Tennis at Palm Beach to the all-accepting Malibu clubs, faux ‘suits vs. geeks’ wars notwithstanding. That’s a “war” you will never win…best to blend in and fly below radar.

    Jeans wearing geeks, are just WiFi coffee-addict dreamers, you need the MBA suits just as much, if not more. Jeans don’t make you “real”, nor does a $1000 power-suit. It’s not the treads, it’s the person. Casual clothes don’t automatically give you ‘authentic’ super-powers. Your logic is flawed, if “suits” are bad, merely being “suits”, then somehow “jeans” are good, merely being “jeans”? That’s a one-sided simplistic cartoon-rendering view of the world.

    they released a research report that found that people liked their

    GEEE IMAGINE THAT. You think if they found that people like Google BETTER, that you’d ever see such a report? Easy to move data around and ask differing questions, those “research reports” are nothing more than marketing drivel really. The wire services are FILLED with them…

  14. For myself, the opportunity to dress up for a conference opening reception is a nice change, not a facade put on to make the jeanswear proponents in the audience feel condescended to :) Why do you wear your jeans? Perhaps because they express who you are. Can you not accord the same freedom to others?

    If all you can see is ‘suits’ vs. ‘geeks’ in the world, you’ve probably already misjudged me, or will upon first sight.

    Your loss, m’dear.

  15. For myself, the opportunity to dress up for a conference opening reception is a nice change, not a facade put on to make the jeanswear proponents in the audience feel condescended to :) Why do you wear your jeans? Perhaps because they express who you are. Can you not accord the same freedom to others?

    If all you can see is ‘suits’ vs. ‘geeks’ in the world, you’ve probably already misjudged me, or will upon first sight.

    Your loss, m’dear.

  16. For the people criticizing Robert for making the “suits vs geeks” comparison, wearing suits is one thing, but he’s right – people in high tech industries wearing suits are generally clueless about the most up to date technology. It’s just a fact. I’ve been in this industry for 15 years and 95% of the suits I’ve met have been behind the times from a “what should we do with technology” creative standpoint. It’s just not in their souls.

    Sorry if you don’t like it, but you don’t belong in the tech industry if you can’t accept that simple fact.

    Also, Russ, it’s “lose” not “loose.” Loosing the jeans is a different topic than losing the jeans!

  17. For the people criticizing Robert for making the “suits vs geeks” comparison, wearing suits is one thing, but he’s right – people in high tech industries wearing suits are generally clueless about the most up to date technology. It’s just a fact. I’ve been in this industry for 15 years and 95% of the suits I’ve met have been behind the times from a “what should we do with technology” creative standpoint. It’s just not in their souls.

    Sorry if you don’t like it, but you don’t belong in the tech industry if you can’t accept that simple fact.

    Also, Russ, it’s “lose” not “loose.” Loosing the jeans is a different topic than losing the jeans!

  18. What a narrow mindset. I wear a suit everyday to work not only because I have to, but because I like to. I could get away with being suitless most of the time, but I dont want to. I have more than 500 ties, and like to wear them.

    And… I´m in a creative role.

    So? Do you judge people by what they wear?

  19. What a narrow mindset. I wear a suit everyday to work not only because I have to, but because I like to. I could get away with being suitless most of the time, but I dont want to. I have more than 500 ties, and like to wear them.

    And… I´m in a creative role.

    So? Do you judge people by what they wear?

  20. What a narrow mindset. I wear a suit everyday to work not only because I have to, but because I like to. I could get away with being suitless most of the time, but I dont want to. I have more than 500 ties, and like to wear them.

    And… I´m in a creative role.

    So? Do you judge people by what they wear?

  21. My uncle & aunt have been members of that club for over 40 years (everyone knows my uncle there). My cousin went in for lunch one day with a jean skirt and they made her sit outside. As another person mentioned on this site, all clubs have dress codes. Doesn’t matter who you are – gotta abide by the rules. I was having lunch there one day with my relatives and I got in trouble for using my cell phone! Mind you – everyone there speaks really loud because they’re older and can’t hear, but I got in trouble for using my soft voice on my cell phone. But – thank goodness I wasn’t wearing jeans!

  22. My uncle & aunt have been members of that club for over 40 years (everyone knows my uncle there). My cousin went in for lunch one day with a jean skirt and they made her sit outside. As another person mentioned on this site, all clubs have dress codes. Doesn’t matter who you are – gotta abide by the rules. I was having lunch there one day with my relatives and I got in trouble for using my cell phone! Mind you – everyone there speaks really loud because they’re older and can’t hear, but I got in trouble for using my soft voice on my cell phone. But – thank goodness I wasn’t wearing jeans!

  23. My uncle & aunt have been members of that club for over 40 years (everyone knows my uncle there). My cousin went in for lunch one day with a jean skirt and they made her sit outside. As another person mentioned on this site, all clubs have dress codes. Doesn’t matter who you are – gotta abide by the rules. I was having lunch there one day with my relatives and I got in trouble for using my cell phone! Mind you – everyone there speaks really loud because they’re older and can’t hear, but I got in trouble for using my soft voice on my cell phone. But – thank goodness I wasn’t wearing jeans!

  24. totally agree, clothes DO NOT make the man. (nor do jeans either, but we’re talking more about the default being suit expectations, not jeans expectations).

    Silicon Valley was made mostly by people in plain, everyday clothing who did amazing things; not people in amazing clothing who did plain, everyday things.

    - dave mcclure
    http://500hats.typepad.com/

  25. totally agree, clothes DO NOT make the man. (nor do jeans either, but we’re talking more about the default being suit expectations, not jeans expectations).

    Silicon Valley was made mostly by people in plain, everyday clothing who did amazing things; not people in amazing clothing who did plain, everyday things.

    - dave mcclure
    http://500hats.typepad.com/

  26. totally agree, clothes DO NOT make the man. (nor do jeans either, but we’re talking more about the default being suit expectations, not jeans expectations).

    Silicon Valley was made mostly by people in plain, everyday clothing who did amazing things; not people in amazing clothing who did plain, everyday things.

    - dave mcclure
    http://500hats.typepad.com/

  27. “Get the facts first. You can then distort them any way you like.” Mark Twain

    Don’t loose the Jeans. Is a two step joke. lol Pour attempt at humor. Sorry Raydar.

  28. “Get the facts first. You can then distort them any way you like.” Mark Twain

    Don’t loose the Jeans. Is a two step joke. lol Pour attempt at humor. Sorry Raydar.

  29. “Get the facts first. You can then distort them any way you like.” Mark Twain

    Don’t loose the Jeans. Is a two step joke. lol Pour attempt at humor. Sorry Raydar.

  30. Dude, country club. Doesn’t matter it’s in the Valley.

    At least you are the right color and religion to get in. I’m sure that there are others in the Valley that couldn’t even get the “no jeans” line. Like me. ;)

  31. Dude, country club. Doesn’t matter it’s in the Valley.

    At least you are the right color and religion to get in. I’m sure that there are others in the Valley that couldn’t even get the “no jeans” line. Like me. ;)

  32. Dude, country club. Doesn’t matter it’s in the Valley.

    At least you are the right color and religion to get in. I’m sure that there are others in the Valley that couldn’t even get the “no jeans” line. Like me. ;)

  33. Jeremy: I’m sure I could get you in, as long as you weren’t wearing denim. And if we couldn’t? Well, then, we’d have one of the biggest scandal stories the blogosphere has ever known.

  34. Jeremy: I’m sure I could get you in, as long as you weren’t wearing denim. And if we couldn’t? Well, then, we’d have one of the biggest scandal stories the blogosphere has ever known.

  35. Jeremy: I’m sure I could get you in, as long as you weren’t wearing denim. And if we couldn’t? Well, then, we’d have one of the biggest scandal stories the blogosphere has ever known.

  36. to anne: why the hell do you even agree to go there then? I’m sorry – but I would never spend good money just to be treated like a child for the sake of some kind of idiotic social status.

  37. to anne: why the hell do you even agree to go there then? I’m sorry – but I would never spend good money just to be treated like a child for the sake of some kind of idiotic social status.

  38. to anne: why the hell do you even agree to go there then? I’m sorry – but I would never spend good money just to be treated like a child for the sake of some kind of idiotic social status.

  39. I had the same problem once at that country club, they would not let me in jeans and jacket, etc. It is however the only place this had happened to me around here…

  40. I had the same problem once at that country club, they would not let me in jeans and jacket, etc. It is however the only place this had happened to me around here…

  41. I had the same problem once at that country club, they would not let me in jeans and jacket, etc. It is however the only place this had happened to me around here…

  42. The way you describe it Robert, jeans and T’s are just another uniform the same as the suit. Hey – what would they have made of Doug Bergum and his trademark trainers?

    The country club thing sucks. It’s another form of discrimination.

    I’m off to a conference next week where I expect there will be a lot of suits and a few geeks. I haven’t had a suit for more than 6 years. I left my last one in a hotel by accident and never replaced it. No loss – I only wore it occasionally as it was.

    Gawd knows what’ll happen if there’s a dress code at this conference as I’m usually in shorts/jogging pants and Hawaiin shirts.

    I wore a suit for 20 years before I was pretty much ‘cured.’

  43. The way you describe it Robert, jeans and T’s are just another uniform the same as the suit. Hey – what would they have made of Doug Bergum and his trademark trainers?

    The country club thing sucks. It’s another form of discrimination.

    I’m off to a conference next week where I expect there will be a lot of suits and a few geeks. I haven’t had a suit for more than 6 years. I left my last one in a hotel by accident and never replaced it. No loss – I only wore it occasionally as it was.

    Gawd knows what’ll happen if there’s a dress code at this conference as I’m usually in shorts/jogging pants and Hawaiin shirts.

    I wore a suit for 20 years before I was pretty much ‘cured.’

  44. The way you describe it Robert, jeans and T’s are just another uniform the same as the suit. Hey – what would they have made of Doug Bergum and his trademark trainers?

    The country club thing sucks. It’s another form of discrimination.

    I’m off to a conference next week where I expect there will be a lot of suits and a few geeks. I haven’t had a suit for more than 6 years. I left my last one in a hotel by accident and never replaced it. No loss – I only wore it occasionally as it was.

    Gawd knows what’ll happen if there’s a dress code at this conference as I’m usually in shorts/jogging pants and Hawaiin shirts.

    I wore a suit for 20 years before I was pretty much ‘cured.’

  45. When I was selling Macs, the people who came in with the suits usually often were the ones who bought the cheapest things in the store.

    The people who came in dressed like they were going to the beach (sometimes like they lived on it) were the people that spent the most, and if you treated them right they came back for more.

    More than a few of them told me they went to other stores but were ignored by the salespeople because the way they dressed, even though they had a lot of money to spend and were ready to buy on the spot.

    Since I didn’t dismiss them for the way they dressed, they were happy to find someone willing to take their money.

    Often wearing a suit is just a sign that you work at a job where you don’t have the power to decide to wear whatever you want. It’s kind of a lack of status symbol here on the west coast.

  46. When I was selling Macs, the people who came in with the suits usually often were the ones who bought the cheapest things in the store.

    The people who came in dressed like they were going to the beach (sometimes like they lived on it) were the people that spent the most, and if you treated them right they came back for more.

    More than a few of them told me they went to other stores but were ignored by the salespeople because the way they dressed, even though they had a lot of money to spend and were ready to buy on the spot.

    Since I didn’t dismiss them for the way they dressed, they were happy to find someone willing to take their money.

    Often wearing a suit is just a sign that you work at a job where you don’t have the power to decide to wear whatever you want. It’s kind of a lack of status symbol here on the west coast.

  47. When I was selling Macs, the people who came in with the suits usually often were the ones who bought the cheapest things in the store.

    The people who came in dressed like they were going to the beach (sometimes like they lived on it) were the people that spent the most, and if you treated them right they came back for more.

    More than a few of them told me they went to other stores but were ignored by the salespeople because the way they dressed, even though they had a lot of money to spend and were ready to buy on the spot.

    Since I didn’t dismiss them for the way they dressed, they were happy to find someone willing to take their money.

    Often wearing a suit is just a sign that you work at a job where you don’t have the power to decide to wear whatever you want. It’s kind of a lack of status symbol here on the west coast.

  48. Actually, suits are post-bubble. During the bubble, everyone wore polo shirts and khaki pants. Post-bubble, people started wearing suits, french blue shirts and power ties, to prove that they hadn’t lost it when the bubble burst. :-D

    I switched from ties to bolos when I moved from the East Coast to Denver in the early 80′s and lost the ties for good when I was consulting to Berkeley SSL in the mid-80′s.

    Robert, you’ve seen me and know I like henley shirts, Scott eVests and taboose pants. ;-)

  49. Actually, suits are post-bubble. During the bubble, everyone wore polo shirts and khaki pants. Post-bubble, people started wearing suits, french blue shirts and power ties, to prove that they hadn’t lost it when the bubble burst. :-D

    I switched from ties to bolos when I moved from the East Coast to Denver in the early 80′s and lost the ties for good when I was consulting to Berkeley SSL in the mid-80′s.

    Robert, you’ve seen me and know I like henley shirts, Scott eVests and taboose pants. ;-)

  50. Actually, suits are post-bubble. During the bubble, everyone wore polo shirts and khaki pants. Post-bubble, people started wearing suits, french blue shirts and power ties, to prove that they hadn’t lost it when the bubble burst. :-D

    I switched from ties to bolos when I moved from the East Coast to Denver in the early 80′s and lost the ties for good when I was consulting to Berkeley SSL in the mid-80′s.

    Robert, you’ve seen me and know I like henley shirts, Scott eVests and taboose pants. ;-)

  51. Yah know this reminds me of the Hippies vs. Suits yapping of historical yesteryear, that before the Hippie’s became Yuppie Beamer-Driving Scum. Peace, Love and Understaning, yeah yeah, stop with that one-note song, Haight is a now mini-Mall orgy of commerence. And all we are left with is the ‘LSD in-the-DNA bubble-blowing Libertarian fraud-kiddies’ feeding offa the DARPA Empire.

    Biggest scandal stories? Hah. Country Clubs are private ventures, they can pick and choose, exclude or not, might not always be wise, but that’s the price and right of freedom.

    PS – Anyone who banks on “status symbols” as a mark of character is doomed from the get-go.

  52. Yah know this reminds me of the Hippies vs. Suits yapping of historical yesteryear, that before the Hippie’s became Yuppie Beamer-Driving Scum. Peace, Love and Understaning, yeah yeah, stop with that one-note song, Haight is a now mini-Mall orgy of commerence. And all we are left with is the ‘LSD in-the-DNA bubble-blowing Libertarian fraud-kiddies’ feeding offa the DARPA Empire.

    Biggest scandal stories? Hah. Country Clubs are private ventures, they can pick and choose, exclude or not, might not always be wise, but that’s the price and right of freedom.

    PS – Anyone who banks on “status symbols” as a mark of character is doomed from the get-go.

  53. Yah know this reminds me of the Hippies vs. Suits yapping of historical yesteryear, that before the Hippie’s became Yuppie Beamer-Driving Scum. Peace, Love and Understaning, yeah yeah, stop with that one-note song, Haight is a now mini-Mall orgy of commerence. And all we are left with is the ‘LSD in-the-DNA bubble-blowing Libertarian fraud-kiddies’ feeding offa the DARPA Empire.

    Biggest scandal stories? Hah. Country Clubs are private ventures, they can pick and choose, exclude or not, might not always be wise, but that’s the price and right of freedom.

    PS – Anyone who banks on “status symbols” as a mark of character is doomed from the get-go.

  54. Vista’s SPP: bastard child of WPA and WGA?

    How YOU doin’? It’s IT Blogwatch, in which Microsoft promises never to kill your PC, oh no, no way, not at all, next question? Not to mention geek wallets…

  55. “The real action in the valley is still with the folks who wear jeans and T-shirts.”

    Next time skip the Sharon Heights country club and walk down SHR to SLAC’s dining room and lunch at the place where some real action indeed takes place ;)

  56. “The real action in the valley is still with the folks who wear jeans and T-shirts.”

    Next time skip the Sharon Heights country club and walk down SHR to SLAC’s dining room and lunch at the place where some real action indeed takes place ;)

  57. “The real action in the valley is still with the folks who wear jeans and T-shirts.”

    Next time skip the Sharon Heights country club and walk down SHR to SLAC’s dining room and lunch at the place where some real action indeed takes place ;)

  58. in 27, Pete Quily wrote:
    “Often wearing a suit is just a sign that you work at a job where you don’t have the power to decide to wear whatever you want. It’s kind of a lack of status symbol here on the west coast”

    And that is the heart of the matter. “Suits” usually aren’t in control of their own work environments, with all that entails. Who is more powerless now? The cube jockey who has to wear a tie, or the cube jockey who can wear the jeans if he wants to?

    Ironically, the most likely exceptions to that are the people in the country club – after a certain point, you can use really bloody expensive suits to signal your financial power.

    Back in the days when tailored, custom made clothing was the norm, not the exception this worked in the opposite direction: jeans were a sign that you were one of those powerless joes who had to sling steel in the mills, or slaughter cows in the stockyards. The old country club rules are all about keeping the riff-raff out, which Scoble correctly percieved.

    -r.

  59. in 27, Pete Quily wrote:
    “Often wearing a suit is just a sign that you work at a job where you don’t have the power to decide to wear whatever you want. It’s kind of a lack of status symbol here on the west coast”

    And that is the heart of the matter. “Suits” usually aren’t in control of their own work environments, with all that entails. Who is more powerless now? The cube jockey who has to wear a tie, or the cube jockey who can wear the jeans if he wants to?

    Ironically, the most likely exceptions to that are the people in the country club – after a certain point, you can use really bloody expensive suits to signal your financial power.

    Back in the days when tailored, custom made clothing was the norm, not the exception this worked in the opposite direction: jeans were a sign that you were one of those powerless joes who had to sling steel in the mills, or slaughter cows in the stockyards. The old country club rules are all about keeping the riff-raff out, which Scoble correctly percieved.

    -r.

  60. in 27, Pete Quily wrote:
    “Often wearing a suit is just a sign that you work at a job where you don’t have the power to decide to wear whatever you want. It’s kind of a lack of status symbol here on the west coast”

    And that is the heart of the matter. “Suits” usually aren’t in control of their own work environments, with all that entails. Who is more powerless now? The cube jockey who has to wear a tie, or the cube jockey who can wear the jeans if he wants to?

    Ironically, the most likely exceptions to that are the people in the country club – after a certain point, you can use really bloody expensive suits to signal your financial power.

    Back in the days when tailored, custom made clothing was the norm, not the exception this worked in the opposite direction: jeans were a sign that you were one of those powerless joes who had to sling steel in the mills, or slaughter cows in the stockyards. The old country club rules are all about keeping the riff-raff out, which Scoble correctly percieved.

    -r.

  61. I distinctly remember you wearing an all black outfit on Saturday of the PME. Not a suit, since there was no jacket, but definitely dressy.

    This also reminds me of a story Sam Simon, one of the creators of the Simpsons tells. He was dressed really ratty and walked into his Mercedes Benz dealer to buy some new floor mats. He saw a new model of SUV and asked a salesman about it. The salesman was very dismissive, so Sam went to his manager and bought the $80,000 SUV on the spot — out of spite!

  62. I distinctly remember you wearing an all black outfit on Saturday of the PME. Not a suit, since there was no jacket, but definitely dressy.

    This also reminds me of a story Sam Simon, one of the creators of the Simpsons tells. He was dressed really ratty and walked into his Mercedes Benz dealer to buy some new floor mats. He saw a new model of SUV and asked a salesman about it. The salesman was very dismissive, so Sam went to his manager and bought the $80,000 SUV on the spot — out of spite!

  63. I distinctly remember you wearing an all black outfit on Saturday of the PME. Not a suit, since there was no jacket, but definitely dressy.

    This also reminds me of a story Sam Simon, one of the creators of the Simpsons tells. He was dressed really ratty and walked into his Mercedes Benz dealer to buy some new floor mats. He saw a new model of SUV and asked a salesman about it. The salesman was very dismissive, so Sam went to his manager and bought the $80,000 SUV on the spot — out of spite!

  64. Wow, I had the exact opposite reaction of Sam Simon.

    A few years back at the peak of my corporate, well-paid, pre-bootstrapping start-up days I wanted to get a new car. I went to all the dealers: BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, Audi, etc. etc. etc.

    BMW, without question, treated me the worst, and I gave them three chances. Each time they were condescending, dismissive, rude.

    My mother asked me, “Well, how were you dressed?” The answer is: in sweats and a pony tail, but the bigger answer was: I don’t feel I should have to dress up to “let” someone sell me a 40K car.

    I will never ever buy a BMW.

    The thought that in Silicon Valley they couldn’t realize that I might just be able to pull out my checkbook and drive off the lot with that car fully paid astounded me.

    The two most respectful dealers? Respectful about talking to me, not my boyfriend. Respectful about my desire for no leather interiors because I’m a vegan. Respectful enough to talk horsepower and engine size, not vanity mirrors. For me it was Audi and Volvo. I got the Audi.

  65. Wow, I had the exact opposite reaction of Sam Simon.

    A few years back at the peak of my corporate, well-paid, pre-bootstrapping start-up days I wanted to get a new car. I went to all the dealers: BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, Audi, etc. etc. etc.

    BMW, without question, treated me the worst, and I gave them three chances. Each time they were condescending, dismissive, rude.

    My mother asked me, “Well, how were you dressed?” The answer is: in sweats and a pony tail, but the bigger answer was: I don’t feel I should have to dress up to “let” someone sell me a 40K car.

    I will never ever buy a BMW.

    The thought that in Silicon Valley they couldn’t realize that I might just be able to pull out my checkbook and drive off the lot with that car fully paid astounded me.

    The two most respectful dealers? Respectful about talking to me, not my boyfriend. Respectful about my desire for no leather interiors because I’m a vegan. Respectful enough to talk horsepower and engine size, not vanity mirrors. For me it was Audi and Volvo. I got the Audi.

  66. Wow, I had the exact opposite reaction of Sam Simon.

    A few years back at the peak of my corporate, well-paid, pre-bootstrapping start-up days I wanted to get a new car. I went to all the dealers: BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, Audi, etc. etc. etc.

    BMW, without question, treated me the worst, and I gave them three chances. Each time they were condescending, dismissive, rude.

    My mother asked me, “Well, how were you dressed?” The answer is: in sweats and a pony tail, but the bigger answer was: I don’t feel I should have to dress up to “let” someone sell me a 40K car.

    I will never ever buy a BMW.

    The thought that in Silicon Valley they couldn’t realize that I might just be able to pull out my checkbook and drive off the lot with that car fully paid astounded me.

    The two most respectful dealers? Respectful about talking to me, not my boyfriend. Respectful about my desire for no leather interiors because I’m a vegan. Respectful enough to talk horsepower and engine size, not vanity mirrors. For me it was Audi and Volvo. I got the Audi.

  67. [...] Scoble has a good post on denim as a barometer for tech-bubble status. I remember when Adriana and I went to San Francisco together back in June, we were getting dressed to go to Techdirt Greenhouse and she wondered if what she was wearing would be okay. “It’s Silicon Valley,” I said. “You could roll up in a stained t-shirt and cut-offs and no one would bat an eyelid.” This is one of my favourite things about the Valley. [...]

  68. Many thanks, Aram. Interesting results once people selected their own products; I’ll have to dig into it more. I wish the research report had the raw ratings.

  69. Many thanks, Aram. Interesting results once people selected their own products; I’ll have to dig into it more. I wish the research report had the raw ratings.

  70. Many thanks, Aram. Interesting results once people selected their own products; I’ll have to dig into it more. I wish the research report had the raw ratings.

  71. Don’t feel bad Robert. I was the only person in jeans and a t-shirt at the fancy GigaOm / Xing party on Monday night.

    Of course the t-shirt was black.

    And it did say diggnation on it.

    so I kind of felt like I was dressing up for the party.

    T-Shirt and jeans are great. You still can’t wear them to a country club though.

  72. Don’t feel bad Robert. I was the only person in jeans and a t-shirt at the fancy GigaOm / Xing party on Monday night.

    Of course the t-shirt was black.

    And it did say diggnation on it.

    so I kind of felt like I was dressing up for the party.

    T-Shirt and jeans are great. You still can’t wear them to a country club though.

  73. Don’t feel bad Robert. I was the only person in jeans and a t-shirt at the fancy GigaOm / Xing party on Monday night.

    Of course the t-shirt was black.

    And it did say diggnation on it.

    so I kind of felt like I was dressing up for the party.

    T-Shirt and jeans are great. You still can’t wear them to a country club though.

  74. I see arguments on all sides here :).

    I greatly appreciate being both allowed to and not disrespected for wearing *comfortable* (for me) and not-fancy clothing at work.

    With that said, though, I lament what I perceive to be the lack of class of people who wear ripped jeans and grimy t-shirts to the symphony. I miss the days (boy I’m sounding old!) when people *dressed up* to go to a nice restaurant or to the theatre. Doesn’t have to be a nice suit… but I’m talking about cleanliness, some pride in one’s appearance, etc.

  75. I see arguments on all sides here :).

    I greatly appreciate being both allowed to and not disrespected for wearing *comfortable* (for me) and not-fancy clothing at work.

    With that said, though, I lament what I perceive to be the lack of class of people who wear ripped jeans and grimy t-shirts to the symphony. I miss the days (boy I’m sounding old!) when people *dressed up* to go to a nice restaurant or to the theatre. Doesn’t have to be a nice suit… but I’m talking about cleanliness, some pride in one’s appearance, etc.

  76. I see arguments on all sides here :).

    I greatly appreciate being both allowed to and not disrespected for wearing *comfortable* (for me) and not-fancy clothing at work.

    With that said, though, I lament what I perceive to be the lack of class of people who wear ripped jeans and grimy t-shirts to the symphony. I miss the days (boy I’m sounding old!) when people *dressed up* to go to a nice restaurant or to the theatre. Doesn’t have to be a nice suit… but I’m talking about cleanliness, some pride in one’s appearance, etc.

  77. I was once sitting in a bar most of the afternoon with friends, just chilling, few drinks, plenty of laughs. Then at 7pm the bar manager came over and asked me to leave as I was wearing jeans – they were happy to take my jeans wearing business before 7pm.

    You can image – monkey wasn’t best pleased !

    Nige

    PS: oh the bar, Henrys in Cambridge, UK !

  78. I was once sitting in a bar most of the afternoon with friends, just chilling, few drinks, plenty of laughs. Then at 7pm the bar manager came over and asked me to leave as I was wearing jeans – they were happy to take my jeans wearing business before 7pm.

    You can image – monkey wasn’t best pleased !

    Nige

    PS: oh the bar, Henrys in Cambridge, UK !

  79. I was once sitting in a bar most of the afternoon with friends, just chilling, few drinks, plenty of laughs. Then at 7pm the bar manager came over and asked me to leave as I was wearing jeans – they were happy to take my jeans wearing business before 7pm.

    You can image – monkey wasn’t best pleased !

    Nige

    PS: oh the bar, Henrys in Cambridge, UK !

  80. Queue that one hit wonder song from the 70′s

    “Signs” by the 5 Man Electrical Band. Did you write that song, Scoble:

    “Now, hey you, mister, can’t you read?
    You’ve got to have a shirt and tie to get a seat
    You can’t even watch, no you can’t eat
    You ain’t supposed to be here
    The sign said you got to have a membership card to get inside
    Ugh!”

    Right on, Man! Power to the People! Stick it to the Man!
    (for the clueless, that was sarcasm)

    Scoble I’m guessing you wouldn’t have the first clue about how to get a good suit, shirt or shoes made? Sad, really.

  81. Queue that one hit wonder song from the 70′s

    “Signs” by the 5 Man Electrical Band. Did you write that song, Scoble:

    “Now, hey you, mister, can’t you read?
    You’ve got to have a shirt and tie to get a seat
    You can’t even watch, no you can’t eat
    You ain’t supposed to be here
    The sign said you got to have a membership card to get inside
    Ugh!”

    Right on, Man! Power to the People! Stick it to the Man!
    (for the clueless, that was sarcasm)

    Scoble I’m guessing you wouldn’t have the first clue about how to get a good suit, shirt or shoes made? Sad, really.

  82. Queue that one hit wonder song from the 70′s

    “Signs” by the 5 Man Electrical Band. Did you write that song, Scoble:

    “Now, hey you, mister, can’t you read?
    You’ve got to have a shirt and tie to get a seat
    You can’t even watch, no you can’t eat
    You ain’t supposed to be here
    The sign said you got to have a membership card to get inside
    Ugh!”

    Right on, Man! Power to the People! Stick it to the Man!
    (for the clueless, that was sarcasm)

    Scoble I’m guessing you wouldn’t have the first clue about how to get a good suit, shirt or shoes made? Sad, really.

  83. “For the people criticizing Robert for making the “suits vs geeks” comparison, wearing suits is one thing, but he’s right – people in high tech industries wearing suits are generally clueless about the most up to date technology. It’s just a fact. I’ve been in this industry for 15 years and 95% of the suits I’ve met have been behind the times from a “what should we do with technology” creative standpoint. It’s just not in their souls.”

    Geez, dude. Generalize much? What’s next? All Asians are good a math? All blacks are good at sports? All people from India are computer geeks? All white people from the south are redneck racists?

    Your 95% surely hasn’t been that broad of a spectrum. I’m guessing you spent no significant amount of timetime in Japan (you, either Scoble) in London at Docklands, or a lot of other places where wearing suits to your job is almost a cultural requirement. But you and Scoble go on living in your shortsighted world.

    Put a suit on once or twice. You’d be surprised at how well it works.

  84. “For the people criticizing Robert for making the “suits vs geeks” comparison, wearing suits is one thing, but he’s right – people in high tech industries wearing suits are generally clueless about the most up to date technology. It’s just a fact. I’ve been in this industry for 15 years and 95% of the suits I’ve met have been behind the times from a “what should we do with technology” creative standpoint. It’s just not in their souls.”

    Geez, dude. Generalize much? What’s next? All Asians are good a math? All blacks are good at sports? All people from India are computer geeks? All white people from the south are redneck racists?

    Your 95% surely hasn’t been that broad of a spectrum. I’m guessing you spent no significant amount of timetime in Japan (you, either Scoble) in London at Docklands, or a lot of other places where wearing suits to your job is almost a cultural requirement. But you and Scoble go on living in your shortsighted world.

    Put a suit on once or twice. You’d be surprised at how well it works.

  85. “For the people criticizing Robert for making the “suits vs geeks” comparison, wearing suits is one thing, but he’s right – people in high tech industries wearing suits are generally clueless about the most up to date technology. It’s just a fact. I’ve been in this industry for 15 years and 95% of the suits I’ve met have been behind the times from a “what should we do with technology” creative standpoint. It’s just not in their souls.”

    Geez, dude. Generalize much? What’s next? All Asians are good a math? All blacks are good at sports? All people from India are computer geeks? All white people from the south are redneck racists?

    Your 95% surely hasn’t been that broad of a spectrum. I’m guessing you spent no significant amount of timetime in Japan (you, either Scoble) in London at Docklands, or a lot of other places where wearing suits to your job is almost a cultural requirement. But you and Scoble go on living in your shortsighted world.

    Put a suit on once or twice. You’d be surprised at how well it works.

  86. Elisa, I’m guessing that unfortunately your experience was not because of how you were dressed, but because of something you have no control over.. your gender. I once did an experiment.. my wife showed up at a Mercedes dealership dressed in a smart business suit. She came in alone. I came in after her dressed in shorts and a T-shirt. I got helped before she did.

  87. Elisa, I’m guessing that unfortunately your experience was not because of how you were dressed, but because of something you have no control over.. your gender. I once did an experiment.. my wife showed up at a Mercedes dealership dressed in a smart business suit. She came in alone. I came in after her dressed in shorts and a T-shirt. I got helped before she did.

  88. Elisa, I’m guessing that unfortunately your experience was not because of how you were dressed, but because of something you have no control over.. your gender. I once did an experiment.. my wife showed up at a Mercedes dealership dressed in a smart business suit. She came in alone. I came in after her dressed in shorts and a T-shirt. I got helped before she did.

  89. LayZ: Sigh. You’re probably right. Although I will say the Mercedes guy was much more receptive to me than the BMW guy.

    Adam: I do almost agree on people now not dressing up ever. BTW: Remember when air travel was something one dressed *up* for? OK, some of you may not be old enough to remember that, but it’s true!

  90. LayZ: Sigh. You’re probably right. Although I will say the Mercedes guy was much more receptive to me than the BMW guy.

    Adam: I do almost agree on people now not dressing up ever. BTW: Remember when air travel was something one dressed *up* for? OK, some of you may not be old enough to remember that, but it’s true!

  91. LayZ: Sigh. You’re probably right. Although I will say the Mercedes guy was much more receptive to me than the BMW guy.

    Adam: I do almost agree on people now not dressing up ever. BTW: Remember when air travel was something one dressed *up* for? OK, some of you may not be old enough to remember that, but it’s true!

  92. LOOK OVER THERE! A guy in a SUIT. Gasp. The horrrror, the scourage, the sheeeeer inhumanity. Go beat him up! Put the fear of God in him, and jeans on him.

    Maybe the geeks can start a Suit Liberational Front movement, dumping paint on suits over just fur coats. And stage protests and firebombings at Macy’s and Men’s Wearhouse’s.

  93. LOOK OVER THERE! A guy in a SUIT. Gasp. The horrrror, the scourage, the sheeeeer inhumanity. Go beat him up! Put the fear of God in him, and jeans on him.

    Maybe the geeks can start a Suit Liberational Front movement, dumping paint on suits over just fur coats. And stage protests and firebombings at Macy’s and Men’s Wearhouse’s.

  94. LOOK OVER THERE! A guy in a SUIT. Gasp. The horrrror, the scourage, the sheeeeer inhumanity. Go beat him up! Put the fear of God in him, and jeans on him.

    Maybe the geeks can start a Suit Liberational Front movement, dumping paint on suits over just fur coats. And stage protests and firebombings at Macy’s and Men’s Wearhouse’s.

  95. And this chasm between the suits and the geeks is precisely why we wrote the book “The Geek Gap.” I don’t generally do this sort of shameless promo, but this post was just begging me to comment. ;-)

  96. And this chasm between the suits and the geeks is precisely why we wrote the book “The Geek Gap.” I don’t generally do this sort of shameless promo, but this post was just begging me to comment. ;-)

  97. And this chasm between the suits and the geeks is precisely why we wrote the book “The Geek Gap.” I don’t generally do this sort of shameless promo, but this post was just begging me to comment. ;-)

  98. I’m glad u mentioned The Geek Gap. I’ll check it out. And it’s why I started a blog called GeekWhisperer.wordpress.com. There is a communications breakdown between the suits and the geeks.

  99. I’m glad u mentioned The Geek Gap. I’ll check it out. And it’s why I started a blog called GeekWhisperer.wordpress.com. There is a communications breakdown between the suits and the geeks.

  100. I’m glad u mentioned The Geek Gap. I’ll check it out. And it’s why I started a blog called GeekWhisperer.wordpress.com. There is a communications breakdown between the suits and the geeks.

  101. But jeans are not particularly comfortable. I live in a fairly hot part of the US, and though I have jeans and sometimes wear them for yardwork etc., lightweight slacks are much more comfortable for general wear and indoors.

    T-shirts don’t look good on most people either. They don’t stay ironed, and quickly lose their shape.

    It seems to me much more that wearing jeans for indoor work is a cultural and fashion statement that shows that the person concerned is actually very concerned about how they are perceived by others.

    The problem with wearing suits, on the other hand, is that they cost a lot to buy initially, and require expensive dry cleaning. Additionally, the accessories like shoes, shirts, and ties may also be expensive.

    Either way, jeans and T-shirt or business suit are both uniforms, and the important thing is to know what you need to wear or not wear to be acceptable in whatever work environment you operate. If you dress in such a way that you alienate others, then clearly you are dysfunctional in that setting.

  102. But jeans are not particularly comfortable. I live in a fairly hot part of the US, and though I have jeans and sometimes wear them for yardwork etc., lightweight slacks are much more comfortable for general wear and indoors.

    T-shirts don’t look good on most people either. They don’t stay ironed, and quickly lose their shape.

    It seems to me much more that wearing jeans for indoor work is a cultural and fashion statement that shows that the person concerned is actually very concerned about how they are perceived by others.

    The problem with wearing suits, on the other hand, is that they cost a lot to buy initially, and require expensive dry cleaning. Additionally, the accessories like shoes, shirts, and ties may also be expensive.

    Either way, jeans and T-shirt or business suit are both uniforms, and the important thing is to know what you need to wear or not wear to be acceptable in whatever work environment you operate. If you dress in such a way that you alienate others, then clearly you are dysfunctional in that setting.

  103. But jeans are not particularly comfortable. I live in a fairly hot part of the US, and though I have jeans and sometimes wear them for yardwork etc., lightweight slacks are much more comfortable for general wear and indoors.

    T-shirts don’t look good on most people either. They don’t stay ironed, and quickly lose their shape.

    It seems to me much more that wearing jeans for indoor work is a cultural and fashion statement that shows that the person concerned is actually very concerned about how they are perceived by others.

    The problem with wearing suits, on the other hand, is that they cost a lot to buy initially, and require expensive dry cleaning. Additionally, the accessories like shoes, shirts, and ties may also be expensive.

    Either way, jeans and T-shirt or business suit are both uniforms, and the important thing is to know what you need to wear or not wear to be acceptable in whatever work environment you operate. If you dress in such a way that you alienate others, then clearly you are dysfunctional in that setting.

  104. The suits in upper management and the “account executives” are making the big bucks off the brains and 24/7 work ethic of the geeks.

    It’s not unlike the royals in their silk clothing wigs and slippers living off the spoils of their craftsmen and peasants.

  105. The suits in upper management and the “account executives” are making the big bucks off the brains and 24/7 work ethic of the geeks.

    It’s not unlike the royals in their silk clothing wigs and slippers living off the spoils of their craftsmen and peasants.

  106. The suits in upper management and the “account executives” are making the big bucks off the brains and 24/7 work ethic of the geeks.

    It’s not unlike the royals in their silk clothing wigs and slippers living off the spoils of their craftsmen and peasants.

  107. The suits in upper management and the “account executives” are making the big bucks off the brains and 24/7 work ethic of the geeks.

    It’s not unlike the royals in their silk clothing wigs and slippers living off the spoils of their craftsmen and peasants.

  108. …it’s been there for a thousand years.

    If you go to battle, put your armour on – just that we don’t use swords any more, but keyboards. Suit of armour changed from iron to wool/silk. What does an amour do to you self-esteem?

    This only relates to courtlings. REAL leaders always made their own rules.
    Also does not relate to startups/rebels. See Robin Hood and his startup in the woods.

    So if you are a courtling at the court of, let’s say, MS, you will have to fight against the other courtlings, as wells as against the other courtlings of the other majesties.

    If you were a productive peasant then, or are a productive geek now: love it, change it or leave it. (Possible now, not then – that is were the “progress” hides)

  109. …it’s been there for a thousand years.

    If you go to battle, put your armour on – just that we don’t use swords any more, but keyboards. Suit of armour changed from iron to wool/silk. What does an amour do to you self-esteem?

    This only relates to courtlings. REAL leaders always made their own rules.
    Also does not relate to startups/rebels. See Robin Hood and his startup in the woods.

    So if you are a courtling at the court of, let’s say, MS, you will have to fight against the other courtlings, as wells as against the other courtlings of the other majesties.

    If you were a productive peasant then, or are a productive geek now: love it, change it or leave it. (Possible now, not then – that is were the “progress” hides)

  110. …it’s been there for a thousand years.

    If you go to battle, put your armour on – just that we don’t use swords any more, but keyboards. Suit of armour changed from iron to wool/silk. What does an amour do to you self-esteem?

    This only relates to courtlings. REAL leaders always made their own rules.
    Also does not relate to startups/rebels. See Robin Hood and his startup in the woods.

    So if you are a courtling at the court of, let’s say, MS, you will have to fight against the other courtlings, as wells as against the other courtlings of the other majesties.

    If you were a productive peasant then, or are a productive geek now: love it, change it or leave it. (Possible now, not then – that is were the “progress” hides)

  111. …it’s been there for a thousand years.

    If you go to battle, put your armour on – just that we don’t use swords any more, but keyboards. Suit of armour changed from iron to wool/silk. What does an amour do to you self-esteem?

    This only relates to courtlings. REAL leaders always made their own rules.
    Also does not relate to startups/rebels. See Robin Hood and his startup in the woods.

    So if you are a courtling at the court of, let’s say, MS, you will have to fight against the other courtlings, as wells as against the other courtlings of the other majesties.

    If you were a productive peasant then, or are a productive geek now: love it, change it or leave it. (Possible now, not then – that is were the “progress” hides)