Snapchat, Facebook, Brogrammers & The Art Of Tech Hubris
This is the "Brogrammer" stereotype. Like moths to a flame, these innovators are the brilliant subset of programmers who've struck it rich -- knee-deep in Silicon Valley start-ups and overnight success -- while thumbing their collective noses at the old school 'corporate ladder' business model of their Boomer parents.
The Era of Dumb F*cks
We saw it early on with Uber-Brogrammer, Mark Zuckerberg. The term "Dumb F*cks" has hung heavily over the founder of Facebook like a dark cloud over the course of the last ten years. Not because his nickname "Zuck" rhymes with the expletive, but because the CEO of today's largest social network derided his early FB users as such.
In 2004, when first percolating the idea of FB in a Harvard dorm room and asked how he attracted so many followers so quickly, he off-handily responded they were following him blindly, like "dumb f*cks."
In the graphic novel satire, "Facebucks & Dumb F*cks," Zuckerberg is lampooned as an omnipotent modern-day Pied Piper leading the blind toward a precarious social networking precipice which is still yet to be determined as to it's ability to go the long-haul.
Bros, thick as thieves?
While the derogatory fraternal term "bros before hoes," underscores the fact there are very few women in this elite programming club, brogrammers don't seem to be all that supportive of their fellow brogrammers, particularly when they see an opportunity to get a leg up on their competition. Such is the case with the new batch of brogrammers coming up the ranks. After all, programmming is a young man's sport -- and someone who's perceived as a wee bit long in the tooth (like Zuckerberg) might not be someone you'd necessarily want to hang with, socially or otherwise.
So when the Snapchat's founders Evan Spiegel (23 yrs old) and Bobby Murphy, 25 dissed Mark Zuckerberg's stratospheric buy-out offer of $3 billion, speculation began to cyberventilate the blogosphere that there was a new Uber-Brogrammer in town.
For those unfamiliar, Snapchat is the app that self-destructs text messages a few seconds after their received. In this current Weiner-esque era we live in, when x-rated selfies are being caught literally red-handed in viral text messaging, is it any wonder that someone would eventually create an app that would address the undressed? When texting morphed into sexting, many sacrificed public exhibitionism for momentary titillation. And it was Spiegel and Murphy who seized the opportunity to capitalize on man's predilection in this regard.
What Goes Around, Comes Around
While Spiegel made a valiant attempt at distinguishing himself from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and positioned himself as the new Silicon king-of-the-hill, we've come to learn recently that the two men are not all that different - and in fact appear to be cut from the same cloth.
This past week, Spiegel might be wishing his own app existed when he attended Stanford University. In emails, acquired by Gawker's Valleywag blog, Spiegel stooped to the level of Zuckerberg when he labeled sorority sisters, "sororisluts" and encouraged his fellow Kappa Sigma frat bros to get sorority women drunk enough to have sex.
As sexism is a primary component of the brogrammer's personality make-up, it appears Spiegel took a page right out of Zuckerberg's playbook. For those that remember Facebook's predecessor network, Facemash was a platform designed in 2003 to rate and classify hot women on the Harvard campus. The website allowed visitors to compare two student pictures side-by-side and let them choose who was “hot” and who was “not”.
For all his faults, Zuckerberg can be credited for having what appears to be a legitimate and passionate desire to connect people with people throughout the world. Some critics would say with over 1 billion users, he's achieved that goal. Others would say, it's still too soon to tell.
Spiegel, on the other hand, it seems, wants to let people erase the present because it can bite your future in the butt, once it becomes the past. A bit ironic, wouldn't you say? And while both men have apologized profusely for their past transgressions, one can only wonder if the future brogrammers yet to come will learn from these past mistakes and tread a new path, or just continue to migrate toward that flame, no matter what the consequences?