A few years ago I was lucky enough to attend a speech given by a senior manager working in data and information. To her I owe my thanks for clarifying what my role is and should be, and also my apologies for blatantly stealing the phrase ‘geek/wonk interface’.
People who stand on that interface, and can appreciate the issues from both sides, are apparently unusual. We are all familiar with the stereotypical geek, the purist for whom there is one right way and an infinite number of wrong ways. We also all encounter the idea of the fuzzy-thinking strategy wonk who doesn’t understand what the numbers say and invents policy to fit the politics.
But nothing is that clear cut. Whatever someone’s style is, we all want to do a good job. We all use whatever tools, skills and resources we have at our disposal. When we see we have a gap in our knowledge, we rely on the people who understand the ‘other’ side to tell us how to use what we have. If we know someone who can demystify the alien world we’re peering into, explain it to us so it becomes relevant to us, then we put them on speed dial (and buy them beer).
The above description may or may not fit me precisely. I like to think it does – and not just because it means I get bought more beer.
Welcome to the world of ‘The Jargonaut’.