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« Earthquake Preparedness | Main | All-Day Meetings »
Monday
Nov102008

How to Avoid Technical Discussions When You Work in Technology

I hate technical discussions.

Sure, I'm in charge of technology for the cash cow of our division, but do I really need to know the details?

My job is to make sure everything that needs to get done, gets done; I just happen to make sure it gets done by someone else. Whether I manage up, down, over, or all around--I insure someone does what I'm supposed to get done so that I don't have to do it, even though I still get the credit for it.

So even though I'm in charge of technology, I don't have to discuss technology to get my job done.

Technical details bore me. It's not that I don't understand the details, it's that I can't talk acronyms for more than a few minutes without getting a severe and sudden attack of narcolepsy.

Today, I had a meeting with the Architecture team. As Far on Twitter put it:

"Most guys in tech make me want to stab my eyes out with a dull #2 pencil"

Apparently, she's not very attracted to tech geeks. Well, Architecture geeks are about as dorky as they come. I felt like I had taken an overdose of Ambiatol talking to them today.

So when I find myself in a position like this, talking technical details with a couple of poindexters and frantically searching my desk for a dull #2 pencil to put myself out of my own misery, I quickly diffuse the situation by calling one of my own poindexters into the meeting. 

By doing so, I simply provide another bird of the same feather to bond or "mate" with the geeks by engaging in what they consider a stimulating technical mumbo jumbo dialogue, which in turn allows me to ignore them completely.

First, I called Maharajapuram into my office. He started speaking their language immediately. I was able to shoot off two emails, one to Blair and another to Maricruz. But these guys kept turning to me to get my reaction, as if I had been listening to their conversation. 

Okay, more distractions.

I called in Aho and Mai Ding, who completely drew the attention away from me initially, not so much because the conversation was so technically enthralling, but because nobody could understand what they were saying because of their thick accents. 

So this move on my part backfired because suddenly I was being asked to interpret. (Like I know what the hell those two are ever saying...).

Next I brought in Wiener from Fucking Austria. He has an accent too, but at least you can understand him. Now that I had four of my poindexters against two on the Architecture team, there was finally solace from the conversation.

I jumped on Twitter for a while, then Facebook, then shot off some more emails to Users, like Athena the Lesbian and Lucia. I actually got a lot done in the meeting. And I apparently resolved a pretty big architecture issue too. 

Reader Comments (8)

Lol - sounds like the meeting might have gone faster if you just did the meeting yourself and had done with it.... ;P

November 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThe Duchess

I like playing this little game with all the acronyms I'm familiar or unfamiliar with in these types of discussions by coming up with my own interpretations for them. (i.e. ASP = A Shit Pot)

Or I make up my own acronyms to confuse the hell out of everyone but act as if it's commonly used (i.e. T-SWAG = Totally Stupid Wild Ass Guess).

But most of the time I'll do what you do and frequently insert my "sure thing" and looks of concern and send out Tweets.

November 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTech Babe

Duchess: I agree. Meetings with myself are the best. I get along so well with myself. And we have the same sense of humor. I need to schedule more meetings with myself.

Tech Babe: How about "ARSE". I forget what it stood for, but these clowns actually published this acronym. I asked if anyone saw a problem with it and nobody did. I thought it was funny, but I just couldn't believe I was the only one who noticed... Did I mention I work with idiots?

November 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJason X

ARSE = Asshole Rating Self-Exam

Take the exam and let me know how you scored:
http://electricpulp.com/guykawasaki/arse/

November 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTech Babe

Hrmm, as an engineer and self proclaimed tech geek, I get pretty frustrated if my managers don't know anything about the technology they're dealing with.

I hate micromanagement too and want to insulate my bosses as much as possible from the details they aren't interested in, but sometimes it is crucial for them to understand why a certain deadline is unreasonable or why what they ask simply is not possible. Most of the time though, you're absolutely right, they don't need to know how the shit gets done and those discussions are contained within my team of enginerds. :D

November 12, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkeenahn

Tech Babe: I still need to take the test. But I can probably predict the outcome....

Keenahn: I agree and definitely see your point. But actually, it's not such a big deal with my own staff. They understand my ADD issues and summarize for me. I'm pretty good at managing issues with only the CliffsNotes. I agree, as a manager, you have to have some level of understanding to be able to manage effectively. However, with outside consultants and other internal I.T. departments--they don't understand my need for brevity. Most of the time they're trying to explain things that matter to them, not me. And those are the conversations I mentally bail out of...

November 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJason X

Awww... memories of my first mention by Jason X. It brings a tear to my eye...

Keep 'em cumming...

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June 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterjousionsE

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