Melanie Baker and Geek Handling

On October 18th Melanie Baker (@Melle) joined Girl Geeks KW for our latest event. She shared with us how she has learned, as a non-geek, to exist among the geeks, developers and engineers she has worked with in her career with PostRank and now Google. In the role of Community Manager, she was the sole social media geek  in a highly technical environment where  she quickly discovered the challenges and the joys of working with tech focused colleagues!

A couple key takeaways from the evening:

Respect the workplace.

  • Adapt to the environment you work in, if you are the odd man out you can’t change the culture – just deal and learn to work in the space.
  • Have a respect for the work of others. Your projects and deadlines are important to you. This doesn’t change….geek or non-geek.

Communication is key.

  • Provide detailed information and specs on what you need or what the problem is. Don’t just say the “website is broken”.
  • Speak geek. Learn to speak to everyone. Becoming the “translator” makes you privy to more information
  • Don’t just talk – listen. Sometimes it means you get to hear about Pivot tables for hours. That’s ok, because it is all about building relationships.
  • Figure out the modes of communication that work best. It is very common, even with people who are two desks away to use IM. Use the right channel for the job.

Geek Handling – When they are in The Zone

  • When geeks are in “the zone” – it is important not to interrupt. Give them chunks of time for them to work.
  • Use digital communication so that they can respond at their leisure
  • However, if the building is burning -  get them out!

It’s a meritocracy – credibility first

  • Geeks listen to people who deserve it, and tear down those that don’t prove themselves first. You can’t be a pretender
  • It’s a flat system.

Favour economy

  • You can arrange for things to happen with favours. Coffee or old scotch.
  • Bribe, and be consistent! Latte now, and latte later.

Word of the evening – Poppycocker. I have no clue what this was referring to, but it really is a fun word.

I hope that everyone had a great evening! Watch for the next event (very very soon!) It may just be the best yet…

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