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Updated on May 13, 2013
Catch Me If You Can movie about faking a high lifestyle.
Catch Me If You Can movie about faking a high lifestyle. | Source

Diving into the Tech Scene

This is a work of quasi-fiction. The lines may be blurred between "research", imagination, and reality and you should not take this hub as legal advice. It is mainly for entertainment purposes (mine, maybe yours). I figure that the USA is the land of liberty(s), which I will take for writing fun. And yes, Matt Groening lived next to NE Flanders (northeast flanders st.)...

You are a young guy from a small town in the USA...

You are bored of your small town life and crave excitement!
After watching movies such as "Catch me if you can" with Leo DiCaprio faking his way into money counterfeiting, being a doctor, lawyer, airline pilot, high society, "The Social Network" about the beginnings of Facebook, "Pirates of Sillicon Valley" about the beginnings of Microsoft, and the new Google movie starring Vince Vaughn, you say to yourself, "I could do that. Move to a big city, fake everyone out that I'm a tech rockstar/airline pilot/big man of the town..." Think of the parties, the grand openings, the posh surroundings, the launch parties, the respect!

There is a problem. Mark Zuckerberg is "smart", and you are "not as". Steve Jobs has "magnetism" more than you. Larry had Sergey, all these things happened at just the right time and you are just you.
Who says you can't "Fake it till you make it"?

This will be a simple guide of marketing your way to the topic practically, with little tech skills.

The first step is to move to either New York City, Chicago, or San Francisco/Bay Area today or tomorrow. It's quite obvious that everyone wants you to slug it out for years or decades in C++ no-risk university so that you can get your corporate 9-5 job and impress your parents. That is the opposite of this particular hub. I will be covering this article from the point of view of Chicago to keep it simple. It doesn't matter whether you have a job or know people for this adventure. It also doesn't matter whether you "make it" practically -- this hub will focus on how to life "the lifestyle".

Look the Look...

You need "the look" to fake people out and get your foot in the door. Is the next big thing gonna give you six figures for looking like some average joe? No!

No designer hipster or programmer goes anywhere without their hipster-approved glasses on. These must be thick and black, like the local coffee roast you must form opinions about.

If you can pull it off, a slightly scruffy face or stubble and neatly groomed ponytail will complete the look. People will say, "Wow, you looks like that one dude who is lead R&D at Mozilla Firefox! And that other ninja rockstar developer at Groupon! Those guys are so good, they don't have to conform to society's rules!"
"Enterprise" types use the well-groomed suit and tie look, but you are too busy as a "rockstar developer startup ninja" to use your time for that. You've been "hard at work programming all night", which gives you the just-rolled-out-of-bed-look.

Try to borrow an old-school or obscure tech T-shirt and a hoodie from some niche college (not THE Ohio State University, try something smaller no one has been to) plus some old jeans to wear around and fit the role.

Use a MacBook, cover it with GitHub and HTML5 stickers, and you'll surely fit in. Carry it around in a messenger bag, and you will "tote"ally look the part and be invited everywhere!

The places you will see!

You may be on the free guest list through any building you choose in the tech industry with an open ear.
You may be on the free guest list through any building you choose in the tech industry with an open ear. | Source

Talk the Talk...

Someone might figure out that, "Hey, this guy is just a small town nobody and shouldn't be at our meeting/launch party", so here are some phrases for you to use so that you can blend in.

How did Alicia Silverstone's character get A's on her report card in the movie Clueless? You'll be at some networking event, enjoying free food and drink, meeting "cool" people, and they might talk to you. What do you do?

Tell everyone that you are a Ruby-on-Rails developer, and your comeback is "There's a gem for that I've been using." RoR people are notoriously scarce and "in demand" -- no one will talk in depth because they will think, "Wow, this guy probably costs a fortune to hire, he knows all the gems." and you be in high respect.

Tell everyone you are getting into NFC for payments. No one can prove that you are not (it's only available on the Nexus?) and everyone will be like, "Wow, you and NFC are the future!"

Tell everyone that you are trying to solve the mobile payments problem. No one knows what the problem is, or why the currect solutions aren't good enough. It sounds really good though!

Tell everyone that you are a developer for a new smartphone company. "They're gonna revolutionize the way you think about mobile from the ground up." Whatever the other person asks, tell them yes - that's why it's so awesome. No consumer in the USA has one yet, so it can't be proven wrong. They are testing it in...let's say New Zealand.

Tell everyone that you are disrupting some broad industry like "logistics" or "big data". Yea, you disrupt a 5 billion dollar industry! Everyone will be so bedazzled and you can help yourself to more whatever. It doesn't matter about using mobile social peer-to-peer payments software that is a totally new paradigm, built on Web 4.0 for the 21st Century.

You can be added to the guest list of many "ooh ahh" events at cool headquarters, and meet minor celebs with just a few phrases. You might even land a big investor and become rich!

Plus, you don't have to worry about producing and monetizing quality content, answering to and working for customers, figuring out and meeting consumer needs or helping others, legality issues, people/team issues, the boring parts of making the product and all the rest that real companies do.

Tech Cocktail Event

Photography by Scott Wag
Photography by Scott Wag | Source

But Practically...

What are you gonna do with your time between when you are talking to the founder of Wordpress about how to improve Wordpress over sushi, playing raquetball with some hotshot like you were Charlie Sheen in Wall Street and enjoying a beer at some TechCrunch event talking to some would-be investor about your idea for "Samcoins" (let's say your name was Sam); "they're like real coins, but virtual!"

Here are some ideas:

1) "sunbathe" (sleep) on the beach during the day, hit up the 24 hr coffee shops at night

2) hang around certain tech playgrounds or areas, volunteer to usability test websites/apps for money and food, be an extra in film scenes, etc...and get a roommate

3) crash on some musician's couch in exchange for cleaning the place

4) get an office or hostel to sleep at and a part time regular job during the mornings, get out to those product launchings and startup & networking parties at night

If you are caught

Let's say some recruiting firm or get-rich-quick startup is desperate, they meet you at an event, and because you know your lines, they give a bunch of money to do it then and there. What if you are just interested in the lifestyle and do not know your stuff?


Just like Leo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can, you just have to stay one step ahead of it. With the way the internet is growing too fast to comprehend, this is actually pretty easy because it is true. HTML5 just got here, but it won't actually get here for another two years; however, HTML6 has been in print from Adobe's Appliness magazine, although there's no standards body for it. Just like writing in English, you just learn how to copy and paste instead of original writing!

Someday, later on, you have many stories of how someone gave you a Druplicon outfit and you got to sneak into the Field Museum of Natural History private party for DrupalCon wearing it, then you and some dude from Tumblr did some wacky antics, then you rode the flying saucer and had delicious catering at Groupon while discussing flat design. Until then, the adventure awaits!

- Pale and giving the impression of exhaustion. (Merriam-Webster)

- (Wide Area Network) A long-distance communications network that covers a wide geographic area (

- I, the author, am an introverted tech worker and this is sort of "The Mask" coming out.


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