Pete Warden is a self-described nerd with two decades in the computer industry to back up the claim. In an essay at Quartz, however, he no longer sounds very proud of it. Nerds, he points out, just aren't what they used to be. Twenty years ago, they were the outsiders railing against the mainstream culture that mocked them. Today, they are the mainstream culture—they've got "money, power, and status," and they run some of the fastest-growing companies around the globe. In short, the nerds have won, but the problem is they haven't changed their behavior. Or as Warden aptly puts it, "We're still behaving like the Rebel Alliance, but now we're the Empire."
Look around Silicon Valley to see the result, he writes. It's rife with sexism and hackers behaving like jerks. This was supposed to be a "liberating revolution," but the opposite has happened, and "our ingrained sense of victimization has become a perverse justification for bullying." Nerd culture has produced wonderful, "magical" things, but it's too flawed to save now. "Whatever the future becomes, the bottom line is we need to value being a decent human being a hell of a lot more than we do now," writes Warden. "Our toleration of asshole behavior must end, and it's such an integral part of nerd culture that nuking the entire thing from orbit is the only way to be sure." Click for his full column. (Read more nerd stories.)