If you live and breathe technology startup culture, you know that there are definitely some distinctive personality types that permeate the industry.
You have the heady and sometimes arrogant but passionate founder. The uber-connected and overly caffeinated social media manger. The hipster designer who may or may not have tried to become a stand-up comedian. The dorky and almost-but-not-quite socially awkward but brilliant developer.
You know these people. In fact, there is a fairly good chance you are one of these people.
The Bold Italic, a San Francisco-based online magazine and events guide, picks out the most common techie stereotypes you will find in any city’s startup ecosystem. Author Nicole Grant Kriege breaks down the typical people working in that open-floor-plan semi-industrial loft, while artist Juan Leguizamon brings the characters to life in delightful cartoon irony.
(See The Bold Italic’s Techie Stereotypes)
Like all stereotypes, these characters are not set in stone. The Founder, for instance, does not always have to be the one giving PowerPoint presentations and reading The 4-Hour Workweek. For instance, Ben Carcio, the CEO and co-founder of a startup called Promoboxx in Boston, fits more into The Sales Manager group than the Founder group (per Kriege’s loose definitions). Yet, Sravish Sridhar, CEO of Kinvey, fits The Founder model perfectly. Ryan Light, in marketing at Zagster, is the epitome of a hipster Designer.
These are fun caricatures and are meant to be treated that way. Real startup employees tend to wear many hats. The founder is often the primary sales person, the developer and the community manager all at once. Or, the designer is also the marketer. The community manager is also the sales rep. Personalities are usually not so black and white in real life.
Check out the common stereotypes from The Bold Italic below. Then look around the startups in your city. Do you know somebody who exemplifies The Marketing Guy or The Customer Service Rep? Let us know in the comments. And don’t forget to vote in the poll to tell us what kind of techie stereotype you think you are.
- Reading Material: The 4-Hour Workweek
- Specialties: Wooing venture capitalists, apparently wearing black turtlenecks in some type of Steve Jobs imitation.
The Sales Manager
- Also Known As: The Coach
- Weaknesses: Tired baseball metaphors, “win one for the Gipper” speeches, Red Bull.
- Would Rather Be: Nowhere else in the world.
- Specialties: An overabundance of enthusiasm.
The Community Manager
- Also Known As: The Cheerleader
- Hobbies: Staying up with trends (Bold Italics says “bacon” trends but bacon is such a narrow niche these days).
- Would Rather Be: Live action roleplaying.
- Specialties: Aloof but alert. Turning the art of meeting women into a numbers game.
The Marketing Guy
- Also Known As: The Megaphone
- Reading Material: Bold Italics says anything by Malcolm Gladwell. We would like to add Google Employee No. 59 by Douglas Edwards.
- Weaknesses: Font types. Why do designers always obsess over font types?
- Would Rather Be: Watching random YouTube videos about shrimp.
The Customer Service Rep
- Also Known As: The Email Slogger
- Specialties: Email. Yeah, you know who you are.
- Specialties: Why do I always associate the human resources person with cupcakes?
- Reading Material: Twilight series. Probably O, The Oprah Magazine.
The Tech Blogger
- Also Known As: The Self-Important Hack
- Specialties: Complaining about PR people and embargoes. Putting the word [Exclusive] around stories that are not really exclusive.
Special thanks to The Bold Italic for letting ReadWrite use its stereotypes, art and (some of) its descriptions.