How Geeklist have mistaken me for a fool
We live a great era for IT workers. Never in history Geeks, Coders and IT Groups (more specifically User Groups) experienced so much respect, recognition and admiration. I’m very happy to live in such an era, being deeply involved in the three categories – I’m a geek, a coder and I work deeply involved with OSS and specially PHP communities in Brazil.
Along with this change in how IT workers are perceived by the general public came websites, tools, and applications meant to support and enhance our day to day. Tools that allow us to unite, to share, to teach and to learn.
Geeklist is not one of those tools. It claims to be all about giving geeks respect, credit, recognition. Ah, so in tune with our great IT era, right? Wrong.
Tonight Geeklist, in the person of it’s co-founder and CTO disrespected me with such a low level of professional ethics that I’ve couldn’t, at first, believe.
I’ve received a chat notification (the full screen capture can be seen here) from him, entitled “sr software engineer”. Here’s the first message:
I was, of course, very excited, since I’ve had a deep (and not deserved as you’ll see later1) respect for them, so I’ve happily replied:
After waiting for quite some time and knowing he was online (their chat tool tells you that) I’ve just closed the Geeklist tab and went back to work. After almost an hour and a half, he realized that I was waiting for him and so he comes and like if it was the most natural thing in the business – maybe for him and his company it is, who knows, really? – drops it:
I’ve had to read that three, maybe four times, to believe I was seeing right. Me, who believed in them for so long2.
It seems that for him and Geeklist playiing with others careers and expectations is a natural thing (hey, c’mon, he said he was “so sorry”!). More than that, he displays an atittude that clearly reflects the twisted mentality of self proclaimed “Chiefs-of-Something”, that think way too much of themselves and their brilliant little companies: we WILL have a future, where he MAY be so kind to consider me for a role in his so important business, and that all will happen because he knows it will.
In reality, what he and Geeklist showed me tonight is that they should be forbidden to use words like “geek”, “community” and “professionalism” in their BP.
True professionals don’t demo an application in a production environment, with a real user who doesn’t know he’s being part of a demonstration. And even if we could excuse these two prerrogatives, true professionals wouldn’t “act”. They would tell the user they were presenting a demonstration and ask, very politely, for his assistance.
We, geeks, professionals, community-driven people call it “Common Sense”, Geeklist. We call it “professionalism”, “ethics” and we first heard it from our parents as “education”, “respect”.
A company that proclaims itself to be all about “giving credit”, “empowering communities” forgot a much, much basic principle: none of these concepts mean anything if you don’t give people “respect”.
Goodbye, Geeklist. I once believed that your values were true, now I know that below all those bells, whistles and empty words rely just another sad, depressive and self-important business.
 I should have known, really. When I applied for Geeklist’s “Ambassador Program” to support them and work for them in Brazil, I had to wait two and a half months – during which I was repeatedly stalled by the person responsible for the program – to receive a message, directly from their CEO in the lines of “We don’t have interest in South America at the moment, thank you for your patience”.
[Edit]: As requested by Geeklist’s CEO, his exact words were: “I can sense the frustration, but opening up Brazil and providing support was, as I mentioned, something we were not completely prepared to do”.
 Even after the Ambassador Program fiasco, I’ve been a supporter. Always sharing their application features, inviting friends and colleagues to join and so on.
So guess what, Geeklist wasn’t mistaken, I was a fool. Now you should ask yourself: are you?
P.P.S. (for the Brazilian readers):
Peço deculpas aos Brasileiros que lêem o blog, mas pela primeira vez não vou postar uma versão do texto em Português. Cansaço, excesso de trabalho e de responsabilidades têm me mantido afastado do blog, e só escrever a parte em Inglês já foi um esforço e tanto – mas que eu não podia deixar passar. Conto com a compreensão de vocês.