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Happy Techie Day From a Definitive Non-Techie

October 3, 2017

In honor of National Techies Day, let’s actually think about what we mean when call someone a techie. 

There’s knowing how to function in the 21st Century and there’s actually being a techie. People joke all the time about being “tech savvy” or being the “techie” in the family. What we non-STEM majors mean when we call someone a “techie” is that our wife is the only one who can work the TV or our sister-in-law is the only one who gets along with Alexa or Siri. What it really means to be a techie is well outside of our realm of understanding.

Case in point—Language I/O is a translation software development company. Its marketing manager—moi—should know something about technology. Heck, there are members of my family who have called me a techie. Not because of the TV—it never turns on for me—but other very basic tech touch points such as Twitter, Facebook, Hootsuite and Slack. But I am not, in fact, a techie. I am so far from being a techie that my use of tech is downright archaic.

On August 25, I sent an email titled “Fun photo for October” to the Language I/O tech team asking if they could:

a. snap some fun photos of the techies at work

b. think about what it means to be a techie so we could develop a blog post for National Techies Day

The conversation started out just fine. Our Director of Software Development Craig Boal, emailed me a few photos of his 3D printer and his Nest thermostat, two of his favorite techie items. Cool. 3D printing I get, the Nest was a quick Google job. All good. But then Craig sent this:

“Here is one potential project we that might make a fun blog entry. We could setup a raspberry pi attached to a 4tb external hard drive and use it as NAS to backup our laptops to. We would also need to 3D print the case for the raspberry pi.

“However we could just buy a prebuilt NAS device for about the same price but it wouldn’t be nearly as powerful or customizable but would require less time to setup and get running however would be less fun.”

When I think raspberry, I think flipping over handlebars and skipping along concrete. Pain. I do not relate it to pi like 3.1415 pi. 4tb has to be a spellcheck mistake and NAS sounds like ghetto NASA. After accepting the painful fact that I’m too dumb for my job, I thought about sending the confused emoticon face, but didn’t. I knew the techies, no doubt, would have responded by sending some clever animated thing over the cloud to my computer, so I said nothing.

The thread continued. Someone had a raspberry pi 3 with memory card and a spare external hard drive so the project would be free. That’s when one of the Language I/O co-founders intervened.

She wrote, “Hey guys - as the one in charge of our development budget, I very much appreciate the creativity you’ve put into Ivy’s question but to me it sounds difficult to write custom computer backup software that would actually be usable, i.e. we would be able to restore a nuked system from the backup we create. It also sounds like it would take a decent amount of development time that would be better spent writing LinguistNow code. 

“For Techie week, can we just showcase funny aspects of being software developers? Like slack giphy wars, or Lenny? Or talk about some of the trickier parts of brokering translation requests between CRMs and a multitude of translation services so our actual technology that we sell is the highlight of the article?”

Thankfully, she put an end to the raspberries and pi although I only understood a fraction of her ending: Lenny (who?) and giphy wars are news to me.

Technically, National Techies Day was established to encourage people to develop careers in tech. Personally, I think it’s a fine reminder that while most of us use technology, it takes a special, intelligent mind to covet the title techie. We non-techies watch you in gap-mouthed awe.