Chris Gulker

The geek gene conveys Guy, along with stooped shoulders, pocket protector, acne and Glasses

In Silicon Valley, you got to have a Vision. In Valley parlance, Vision is a sure thing, uncontestable gospel truth, the fat lady's sung and you can take it smiling to the bank.

Vision is worth more than Microsoft stock options, more than all the fancy wheels sitting in a venture capitalist's parking lot, more than today's Internet IPO.

You've got to be a Visionary - and that's if you want a job parking cars here.

A Silicon Valley leader had better ooze Vision, gush Vision and spout Vision. If a tour bus company can't run a crowd past you every 15 minutes for a never-failing Vision geyser, you better look for other work.

You have to wear Glasses, to prove you have Vision. Almost every Visionary I know wears Glasses - look across the page at Bill Gates. Maybe Glasses make for better Vision.

Have I said that Vision is vital in the Valley? Just for one heretical moment, let's make believe that someone could become a high-profile CEO without Vision. The corollary is that the easiest way to clobber a Silicon CEO is to suggest that they have no Vision.

Recently, Silicon Valley CEO Kim Polese was on the cover of Time magazine, featured as one of the 25 most influential people in all of America.

Kim was a member of some of Sun Microsystem's edgiest, out-there technology teams, including the one that developed a little concept called Java. Striking out on her own, she founded Marimba, a company that is at the leading edge of "push" technology.

Marimba will push more than news and football scores to your computer's screen saver: it will actually push the software your computer needs to perform tasks. Marimba presages a world where no one has to spend hours fiddling with software updates, conflicts and all the other stuff that drives most computer-users to utter, blinking distraction.

In short, her firm is focused on making computing easy, like a telephone or light switch. Some observers think that if computers every truly get easy, the real information revolution will begin, dwarfing today's phenomena.

The idea is so good, and Kim is so capable of selling the concept, that Marimba has shot to the top of most people's lists of hi-tech firms to watch.

There's a problem, though. For one, Kim Polese doesn't wear Glasses. She doesn't wear Glasses, and, she's, uh, pretty obviously not a Guy.

Being a Guy wouldn't mean much, except that most every Silicon Valley Visionary is male. Nerds are supposed to be Guys - you know, dudes. One popular novel refers to the high priests of hi-tech as ironmen - apparently no ironwomen need apply.

The geek gene, by popular account, conveys Guy, along with stooped shoulders, pocket protectors, acne and Glasses.

While the Silicon Valley press is not particularly well known for its abilities outside topics like the finer points of low-level network protocols, there has been some editorial sniffing on the subject of Polese's Vision.

One Ziff-Davis pundit, Charles Cooper, titling his effort "Kim Polese and the Castanets" (Castanet is the name of one of Marimba's technologies), has a problem "with the cult of personality that's grown up around her".

Mind you, there's absolutely no cult of personality lurking around Guys like Marc Andreeson, Steve Wozniak, or Bill Gates.

Cooper asks: "But is she as influential as Time claims? Why shouldn't Eric Schmidt, Sun's former CTO [chief technology officer], or Bill Joy, Sun's co-founder, get more [of] the credit for the Java revolution?"

Joy and Schmidt had nothing directly to do with creating Java, while Polese was on the Java team and its forerunner, code-named Oak. But, what the hey, they probably had to sign some checks, or requisitions or something.

Cooper gets to the point. Quote: "She just escalated with Java," said one executive. "Kim did a lot of work. But whether she had the Vision is completely in dispute." Unquote.

Now, in journalism, when you want to take a shot at someone, you can take the high road, and tell the reader whose opinion it is that you're offering, or the low road, and leave the anonymous words attributed to an unnamed soul.

The difference is this: if the writer names the source, the reader can judge whether the source is credible. If the writer doesn't name the source, then the reader is left to wonder, "Who said that?" Was it Bill Gates? Or some clueless schmuck?

Now it's a good thing for writers to challenge popular wisdom. It's also true that some writers only challenge those things which themselves challenge popular wisdom.

And that, in turn, poses the question: "Who wrote that?" Was it a Guy with Vision? Or just some clueless hack?n cg@gulker.com

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
tv

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

News
John Moore inspired this Coca Cola Christmas advert
people

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Jamie Oliver’s version of Jollof rice led thousands of people to post angry comments on his website
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film

Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study

Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment
Shelley Duvall stars in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
film
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £100,000: SThree: If you would like to work fo...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission £100k +: SThree: Trainee Recru...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel you sales role is li...

Sales Executive - Exhibitions/Sponsorship

£27-32k + commission: Savvy Media Ltd: Sponsorship selling and moving into an ...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes