TED Talk: Hire the hackers!

As a freshman in college, I made… some poor choices involving computers. (As all such stories go there was a girl involved, but I was not interested in her. My friends were. There were plenty of other girls I was interested in tangentially involved though.)

As a result of the poor choices, we were brought before the Assistant to the President for Information Technology. He tells us we violated federal law. But also… When cases like ours come before him, he wished that he could hire the culprits. A few years later he really would hire me for my first professional job. Not having done that really stupid thing might have me in a completely different career. Having this story about coming close to getting expelled over using a computer was the most exciting thing that had happened to me. Okay…. It still is.

Over the years, catching university students breaking the academic code or law with computers brings to mind that conversation. Some of my best work stories are tracking down and interrogating them. I do wish we hired them. I am friends with a few of them via social networks still.

I have previously heard the computer geeks / hackers are more likely to have Asperger syndrome. BBC on Gary McKinnon’s diagnosis.

P.S. Parallel Play: Growing Up with Undiagnosed Asperger’s was an interesting book to read. It solidified my belief I do not have it despite being one of the most relatable books I’ve ever read.

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