Self-Proclaimed Entrepeneurs Too Important To Be Called "Techies"

San Francisco is famous for its long list of no-no words—“Frisco,” “Hipster,” “Republican.”  Now it seems we can add “techie” to the list.

While today's crop of adderall-addled entrepreneurs are busy disrupting old industries in their useless pursuit of wealth and Twitter followers, their chill vibes are being rudely harshed by industry know-nothings who insist on calling them techies.  The Chronicle's Nellie Bowles reports on the tech industry's latest sensitivity crisis:

Dan Gailey, a 30-year-old tech entrepreneur who was recently working at Four Barrel, said he didn't identify as a “techie” - and thinks it's actually a pretty rude term.

“If you use the word 'techie,' we know you're not in tech,” said the Mission District resident. “A lot of negative terms like that - yuppie, hipster - are outsider terms. We don't call each other techies - at all, ever.”

The preferred terms, he said, are “hackers,” “makers” or “coders.”

The hostility towards digital artisans is reaching such a fever pitch, makers are now fancying themselves to be the natural allies of oppressed minorities:

[Betabrand's Enrique Landa] felt the word “techie” fit into a long history of words used by natives to describe immigrant groups.

“Whenever you get a mass migration of a new wave of people, you get a negative connotation from the people who were there before - like Mexicans in the Mission. The new wave always gets a bad rap.”

Comparing tech immigrants to the Mexican immigrants may be hard - Twitter's IPO just made an estimated 1,600 new millionaires - but, for Landa, the term “techie” connotes “unwanted newcomer” in much the same way as racial slurs.

[SFGate | Photo by Arlen Abraham]

Comments (35)

i want to fucking barf every time i hear anyone say “maker”. gag me with a toilet brush


digital artisan ftw. curate that shit!

That’s retarded. “Techie” is not a slur.

Retarded is a slur nowadays.

I reject that suggestion.

“Techie” is most definitely a slur.

I also reject that suggestion.



I work with a lot of high school students with special needs, and the word ‘retarded’ is really offensive, insensitive and ableist. Please please use the word you actually meant and not terms that equate having special needs with being dumb or stupid or backward. I see that word being used all the time in front of those kids and it is incredibly hurtful. I’m not a big fan of calling people out (especially online) but I read this blog a lot and I really like your comments and opinions.

The term used to mean someone who’s a tech enthusiast, so it sounds odd to apply it to professionals. Then again, calling well established technology firms “startups” is just as strange.

What is this, 1950?!?

My mom is a home-maker; as opposed to dad’s secretary who is a home-wrecker.


Y’all are still “Wankers”


Hot man smells

No one calls himself an asshole either, “at all, ever.”

Doesn’t mean there’s no such thing as an asshole.

I call myself an asshole all the time.

Check your privilege before you whine about a benign label.

Every damned day these people do something to make me hate them more.

I hope this spirals into Peter Shih 2.0

What is the difference between a techie and a hipster?

The latter has no fashion sense and former has no manners. Both are urban but neither is cosmopolitan.

You can tell the truly cosmopolitan by their constant whining and sniping on blogs.

Bloggers bitching about techies. Lol!

Commenters on said blog bitching about techies. Lol!

Still this ‘mexican’ label that passes for all the commentators on the blog (but not kevin I know)…and for all the ‘techies’.
It was/is a mexican neighborhood. Right. What a bunch of shit.
1) How much of this shows chrons total ineptitude, to not even correct that? I know the SF Chron was a shit paper for 30 years.
2) how much of this word instead of Latino show what a lack of USA history all these brilliant overpaid little fuckers know?
3) How much of this wash of the use of ‘mexican’ shows a complete lack of any USA economics, whether Nafta, support of all fascist dictatorships in Latin America., proves these people for one do not care about the working class in the Mission district, and for two, don’t realize that when the bust comes they are going to be actually ‘working class’. That is, on their ass, and half of them unemployed.
4) Why the fuck are you white people not saying Latino? You just DONTFUCKING UNDERSTAND that not all brown people are Mexican? You don’t even KNOW what the fuck your govt has done? And how many war refugees moved here. My god. Also there are goddamn signs for you to read. fucking christ. I am white. In the 80’s we would laugh at people that said ‘mexican’. Or figure they were right wing.
It really is just entitlement. “WE are part of a change”. No you are part of an enforced brutal removal of latin americans, african americans and white americans. When we have to move, we either lose our jobs or have to commute an extra two hours a days. When we have to move we have to uproot our children from schools, and lose all friendship and community we may have built for twenty years. When we are FORCED TO MOVE…..we lose most of our savings. What little half the people in this country has. Which is zero now.
thanks, bubble enforcers. bubble slaves….bubble will be gone soon. Thanks for the temporary ‘disruptions’….

Brown people are techie indians… AMIRITE?

Unless you are writing code, you aren’t a coder, and no, Python or HTML doesn’t count. The number of actual developers in SF can’t be that high. If you work in sales or marketing or business development, you aren’t a “techie” or a “maker” , you are a salesperson or marketing person no matter how “disruptive” your company’s app is…

Whereas that may be “technically” correct, my impression is that the negative connotation of the word “Techie” is being applied to anyone who works in the tech field and that the general public cares very little about the subtle nuances you describe. Just reading that comment made me roll my eyes and mutter “Ugh. Techies” under my breath.

“Techies” is not a derogatory term, no matter how much you want to make it one.


The word “Techie” used to apply to someone who does theatrical stagecraft before it was co-opted by silicon valley. I don’t understand your insistence that it’s not becoming a negative usage. I hear people say it with disdain everyday.

um…why wouldn’t python count as writing code…?

We’ve just been calling them “fucking nerds.” It’s worked fine so far.

Yeah Fuck Nerds!