Photo by Sebastiaan ter Burg
San Francisco is home to a booming tech community that seems like an easy scapegoat for some of the city's biggest problems. Tech workers tend to get a bad rap for being transplants or for driving rental prices sky high. Still, I'm not convinced that the animosity between some San Franciscans and their tech neighbors is all due to housing competition – I think it's also because tech people can make us feel dumb.
I don't think tech people mean to make the rest of us feel stupid. There might be a few douchebags doing that, but most of the time we make ourselves feel stupid. In the hopes of helping you feel less inferior, here's a list of the reasons why you might not feel smart around tech people:
1. You don't really understand what they do
But you have a feeling their office is nicer than yours. You have a vague understanding of something called "coding," but you refuse to learn more about it in order to keep your creationist theories about the internet from being threatened with facts.
2. They're new at being cool
Maybe not all people who work in tech were uncool for most of their life, but a lot of them were. This explains why they might not have gotten the hang of it yet and are modeling their behavior after typical '80s bullies. You might also want to be careful not to mistake awkwardness for an attitude.
3. You are stupid
Don't rule this out as a possibility.
4. You think there's a tech mafia
I know it seems like everyone knows each other and you're not completely wrong. But even if there were tech mafia meetings, it doesn't mean that a bunch of founders are sitting around and making fun of you for being an investment banker... probably. Besides, no one's stopping you from forming your own Illuminati style club. Intern mafia anyone?
5. They wear glasses
Sure, this is a generalization, but if TV has taught us anything, it's that people who wear glasses are smarter than you and you should always react to them defensively.
6. Tech people adopt early
And you use Hotmail. So of course they're going to have a leg up on what's new. Instead of getting butt hurt about how extremely tech unsavvy you are, why not pick a tech person's brain about how to use the next up-and-coming gadget? I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.