Your Progeek Edge: Smell That Snake Oil!

To say the world is changing faster and faster is both A) an unabashed understatement, and B) a tiresome tirade that we see in too many lazy news commentaries (unlike this hard-working one, of course).   We progeeks and profanes, being wired and technical, know the world is changing fast – some of us are responsible for it for that matter.

The world is changing frighteningly fast because of, let me state the obvious, technology.  I imagine many a science fiction writer has watched the rate of change in the world and just thrown up their hands in frustration.  Technology is one of the major drivers of change in the modern world.

Another major driver of change in the world is disasters.  From weather to economic meltdown, from disease to war, disaster means change.  We humans are adaptable creatures, and we have a gift for overcoming adversity – or at least managing to survive creatively.

Unfortunately in an age of both technology and disasters, you end up with another common phenomena – take a deep breath of today's top tech, and you'll get the Satanic Smell of Snake Oil in your nostrils.

Rapidly changing technology and disasters mean that some people figure it's time to start selling non-working or even making-it-worse solutions.  In short, the snake oil salesmen come out in droves.

Think of how many "solutions" you see out there to disasters and crises that leverage high technology to solve absolutely nothing.  Wbesites running B.S. scams to help people out with economic issues, high tech security solutions that provide neither security nor solutions, software that solves nothing but does manage to be bloated . . . you get the idea.

You need your Snake Oil Sniffer on full alert these days.

That's part of being a progeek because we nerds, fans, and otaku are up to our elbows in tech no matter what we do.  We're technically educated and proficient, and we need to make sure we detect the bombastic BS pushed by the unscrupulous operators out there.  We're probably some of the best people to do it.

This is important in your private life so you don't get taken.  It's also important in your career, wether you work at a big company or have your own company, because the various high-tech scammers out there can ruin a business big or small.  In fact, we probably have a unique advantage over many people as we live this stuff.

So be on the lookout for the Snake Oil Salesmen of modern times.  Use those progeeky skills – it may save you, it may save your job, it may save your company.

Steven Savage