A stereotype persists amongst non-modellers in organisations, that modellers are geeks. This paper sets out to prove or disprove this hypothesis.
Modellers are Geeks.
Google gives the following definition of Geek:
noun: geek; plural noun: geeks
- 1. an unfashionable or socially inept person.
- 2. a knowledgeable and obsessive enthusiast.
Host an evening inviting a randomly selected sample of 50 financial modellers and observe.
Ahead of the most recent (and first) ‘Financial Modelling in Excel’ London meet-up back in March, I was fearing the worst. I was expecting 50 modellers to turn up to a trendy bar in the city. The prospect of hosting an evening with 50 unfashionable, socially inept people was bringing me out in a cold sweat.
Or maybe this was just a consequence of my own social ineptness. Here are my findings.
On the basis that it was difficult to tell when someone came into the bar whether they were a member of our party or not, it is implied that financial modellers possess at least an average level of fashion sense when compared with other ‘post work’ city types. (This may however be somewhat below the national average).
Rather than a desert of awkward silences and stilted conversation, the group were animated, sociable and inclusive – a great bunch of people to spend time with. The atmosphere was relaxed (increasingly as the evening went on) and fun. The subjects actually appeared to be having a good time. Based upon this evidence it would seem that (at least among fellow modellers) financial modellers are not in any way socially inept.
This finding is actually not all that surprising, as modellers need to be great communicators to get their job done. They need to interact with a wide range of people and communicate complex concepts in a simple and engaging way that non-modellers will understand.
No question, the shared knowledge of those in attendance was formidable. Financial modelling is hard, and to do it well, you need to know stuff. There were many experts in their respective field in attendance. As these guys would not usually meet, the opportunity to share ideas was impressive.
Somewhat difficult to quantify, however the fact that a few attendees missed their last tube home due to an impossibly long and possibly world record breaking discussion on the merits or otherwise of model standardisation and the FAST standard in particular implies a high degree of passion, commitment and dare I say obsession.
Based upon the analysis above, it would appear that on the criteria of fashion sense and social ineptitude, financial modellers are absolutely not geeks.
However, on the criteria of knowledge and obsession, they undoubtedly are. This is something of which to be very proud.
On the basis that I am a modeller (of sorts). I am wholly biased and therefore none of the above analysis can be relied upon.
As a possible geek myself, I am wholly unqualified to assess the geekiness or otherwise of anyone else. I am clearly not qualified to assess anyone’s fashion sense.
I had consumed a few beers and probably would have found a baked potato interesting and engaging. (The food was good too by the way).
If you would like to declare yourself a geek or otherwise, please comment. Also if you would like to point out any further flaws in my experiment also please do the same.
If you would like to attend the next meet-up to check it out for yourself, it is on 15th July at the Alchemist in London. Here’s the link to register.