Techie oppression must end now

Are hipster coders overly entitled geeks? Cringely says yes.

The techie oppression must end now

Coders, developers, programmers, app designers, geeks: Whatever you call them, it's clear they're building the future before our very eyes -- as they would be the first to tell you. So please get out of their way, because you're holding up the line at the $6-a-cup café. And be very careful what you call them -- you don't want to upset them and throw off their production schedule.

As the San Francisco Chronicle's Nellie Bowles reports, the word "techie" has become an insult, comparable to being called a yuppie in the late 1980s, only with less developed personal grooming habits.

Let the geeks speak

The reporter recently visited several hipster hangouts in San Francisco, approaching people who were drinking triple mocha soy lattes with their heads down at their laptops debugging their PHP scripts and asking if they minded being called "techies." It turns out they do. Why? I'll let Bowles take it from here:

Dan Gailey, a 30-year-old tech entrepreneur who was recently working at Four Barrel [a cafe], said he didn't identify as a "techie" -- and thinks it's actually a pretty rude term.

"If you use the word 'techie,' we know you're not in tech," said the Mission District resident. "A lot of negative terms like that -- yuppie, hipster - are outsider terms. We don't call each other techies -- at all, ever."

The preferred terms, he said, are "hackers," "makers," or "coders."

Notably, Bowles was careful not to call Gailey a former barista. The accepted term is, of course, caffeine-procurement-and-foam-enhancement specialist.

In a similar vein, you know who really hates being called hipsters? Those guys wearing porkpie hats, thrift-store sport coats with the sleeves pushed up above the elbows, ripped jeans, and $1,500 custom eyewear.

They're actually Digital Bohemians and Aspiring Glassholes -- or D-BAGs for short.

Mission District impossible

For reasons that seem to escape the latest generation of technoids, people who lived in San Francisco before Tech Bubble 2.0 resent having their city taken over by D-BAGS, driving the cost of housing and food up to the levels found in old mining boomtowns, where prices rose hourly.

Take San Francisco's Mission District, where cheap burrito joints, secondhand clothing and appliance stores, and mom-and-pop tiendas still abound. The average rental for a one-bedroom apartment there is now nearly $2,700. In South of Market, the former warehouse district where many of these bubble companies are based (full disclosure: as is InfoWorld), rents are approaching $3,500 a month.

You mean you don't have founders' shares? Tough luck, dude. You may have to trade in your Bentley to come up with the security deposit.

Somehow, I can conjure up worse terms than "techie" to describe these overly entitled geeks. But while "techie" is an insult, "tech worker" is OK. Apparently the thousands of newly spawned Google, Facebook, and Twitter millionaires filling up hipster -- er, D-BAG coffeeshops identify deeply with their brethren in the working class. Again, per Bowles:

Former Mayor Willie Brown wrote in his "Willie's World" column in this paper on Nov. 24: "Every day in every way, from rising rents to rising prices at restaurants to its private buses, the tech world is becoming an object of scorn. It's only a matter of time before the techies' youthful lustre fades, and they're seen as just another extension of Wall Street."

When Mayor Ed Lee defended the population to the New York Times last month, he said: "At the end of the day, tech workers are not robots: They feel, they think, they have values."

Brown's take is slightly more skeptical than Lee's, who makes a point of visiting a different tech company every week, and their language -- techie vs. tech worker -- reflects this difference in opinion.

So remember: Not techie. Tech worker -- you know, like sex worker. Much nicer than "prostitute," don't ya think? However, all other similarities betweewn hookers and hackers is purely coincidental.

What do you like to be called? Post your noms-de-profession below or email me:

This article, "The techie oppression must end now," was originally published at Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, follow Cringely on Twitter, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

This story, "Techie oppression must end now" was originally published by InfoWorld.