Years ago I remember reading a well known guru’s words that went something like this:

“If a geek ever picked up some marketing skills we’ll all be in trouble…”

If you know who wrote that, or something similar please post a note below. I’d like to give credit for this insight where it is due.

Now you’re probably wondering why this rings so true to my ears and why I’m calling 2007 the Year of the Geek.

Let’s Talk About Geeks and Marketers

Long before Web 2.0, far back into the early days of the internet, you had to be a bit of a geek if you wanted to do anything more than send email. Web pages were generated from raw html code, people were ‘telneting’ into other’s computers and server networks, bulletin boards were clunky, and getting on (or off) someone’s mailing list required some weird majordomo commands. (Even I didn’t touch that one!)

Enter the marketers who had a vision of what people would want to see, read about and buy. Software programs to create pages easily, scripts to make email management easier, automated tools to shrink image sizes, and so on.

Marketers Innovate, Geeks Create

Marketers find out what people want. Geeks make the tools to make it a reality. Website designers are locked someplace in the middle – geeky enough to tweak existing applications to suit the ‘boss’, marketer enough to understand color and placement to appeal to various markets, but not skilled enough in either area to create applications or envision innovations.

For the first years of the web the geeks held the keys to the kingdom. But they worked themselves out of employment by creating the tools that allowed entrepreneurs to flourish without employing an in-house geek. Now, at least for the last 5-7 years, marketers and entrepreneurs have been in control thanks to the hard working, programming geeks.

But Web 2.0 brings the shift…

Whether geeks have been learning to think more like marketers through all the home study and ebooks we have sold them, or they’ve been playing in their spare time creating fun widgets and onling gadgets that broadband users want more of, these programming wizards are swinging back into demand.

Think about it. A marketer has an idea to build a 2.0 web site that allows user registration, automated billing, targeted advertising, user specific formating, send to a friend ability, plus a host of other bells and whistles. Can he or she do this with software that has already been built?

Absolutely not. I know this for a fact as I’ve been investigating.

If a tool exists that almost fits the bill of an idea, the hand of a geek must still be in the mix to tweak the code, the design, and the features that will match the marketer’s vision.

Good Web 2.0 Programmers are Hard to Find

Just try to find a skilled programmer to do all that for you at elance.com or any of the other freelance hangouts. Many of the truly gifted ones are charging top dollar, if they even have the time to consider your offer.

The tables are turning.

Marketers are starting to see that they need more of the right bells and whistles on their site to hold their position in the marketplace, and the only ones who can create those ‘extras’ are the geeky programmers.

It’s 2007, it’s Web 2.0, and it is most certainly the Year of the Geek.

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