When someone mentions the word geek we immediately think they’re talking about someone who is crazy about technology, gadgets, science, math, games or engineering. As the world has evolved, the term geek is now used to describe people from every walk of life. We now have art geeks, film geeks, sports geeks, coffee geeks and cooking geeks. Anyone who is passionate in a subject, devoted to learning everything about it, and furthering their knowledge in that field, is a geek.
Having devotion to your field and wanting to “recruit” more people to your cause are two other attributes of being a true geek. This used to be hard. You had to wait for expos, events and join groups and forums where you had to persuade people to follow you. Things have now changed. Thanks to “experience platforms”, geeks have an array of ways to do this and make a money on the side.
“The most awesome stage”
Last year, Facebook's VP of Design thought the TNW Conference main stage was the best she'd ever been on.
The “experience economy” is a new economy that has grown rapidly over the past year and allows people to share their passion and make some money out of it. Since you’re already spending all your free time with your passion, why not share it with everyone? For the person attending one of these experiences, it’s like taking a peek into a geek’s life.
Being centralised and technology driven is what makes the experience economy work. If you’re a geek you have two choices, either spend your time doing what you love or promoting and talking about what you love. Although you might be ok doing the latter, in reality you want to spend as much time as possible geeking out. This is why these platforms rock, the audience is ready and waiting. All you have to do is create the experience and then let the good people of the service promote you. Life couldn’t be easier. Now all you have to do is work on what you love and from time to time let others take a peek.
I’ve looked at what platforms are available and here is a list of the most popular sites (in alphabetical order, just to be fair), along with my own geeky view on them.
Blink Collective started as an idea in August 2011 that was submitted for the Ignite100 Startup Accelerator program. In just a few months, it has gone from idea to product and is now available for geeks to share their passion. With a focus in the UK market, it’s targeting people passionate about food and drinks. Offered on the platform are the usual cooking classes (meh), in contrast to the stuff that really interest us like learning what bugs you can eat (yummm) and knife skills (I’m a bit of a food-geek and I really envy those crazy ninja-like chef cutting skills). If you are a geek chef then this is one of the places to be.
Excursionist is the most commercial offer from this bunch. Experiences hosted by real people are coupled with cool accommodation and travel services to give you the ultimate experience when travelling abroad. Unfortunately hosting events is not open to every geek with an idea. You need to connect with them and get chosen by their curators. I’m sure that any geek that sets their mind to it, can get their experience on the site.
Founded by a coffee geek, a design geek and a tech geek, Gidsy is spreading like wildfire. When I first came across the site it was only offering experiences in Berlin and it has now grown to cover Berlin, London, New York, Amsterdam, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The benefit of Gidsy compared to the above is that it allows you to host any kind of experience.
Wanna learn how to eat fire? There’s an experience for that (A small history lesson, the term geek back in 18th and 19th century was used in the circus. There, circus geeks performed geek shows and did interesting stuff like eating the heads of live chickens). Want to enjoy a really geeky experience? Join a fellow geek for an “Extrasensory Enlightenment” starting at the Science Museum of London.
Becoming a member and adding your own experience is a breeze. With so many categories to choose from I’m pretty sure most geeks will start coming up with ideas for awesome experiences. If only there was a technology and computing category…
I’ve always wanted to learn this trick…
As one of the founders (George) put it when we were having coffee: “Kicktable is about helping you explore the city you live in”. It makes complete sense, many geeks love the environment they have chosen to live in and are dedicated to their passion. Instead of always talking about where we want to go and what we want to do when we get there, we can focus on growing the environment around us.
Kicktable takes things a bit further by not focusing on just the economic part. What drives them is the power of connecting people and getting them inspired; helping them share their passions with people who are curious about the world. That translates to helping geeks inspire the curious minds!
The site is growing steadily and already offers geeky experiences like an intro to screen printing and a talk about giants in Georgian England.
We covered Sidetour’s launch last October, a startup that opens a window into someone’s world and provides inspiring and talented hosts with a new storefront-like marketplace, much like Etsy did for artists.
SideTour describes itself as a place to discover and book new experiences offered by interesting and talented people around the world. It’s a way of exploring and experiencing the world shared by people who refuse to accept the routine and prepackaged, who instead want a taste of the original, the authentic, the real. If this is not talking about geeks, I don’t know what is. Their mission and values are completely in line with what being a geek is.
As with the others, creating an experience is very easy and helps you share your passion with the world. Only drawback, it’s only for experiences in New York. If you happen to be in NY though, there are some very geeky experiences available like becoming a beekeeper for a day!
Bees and The City!
These platforms have created the opportunity for every geek to not just share their passion but also make some money from it. You remember how everyone couldn’t understand why you were so fixated with something (I’ve spent endless hours studying lighting for photography, not photography, but lighting for photography)? Well now is your chance to show them how cool it is and recover some of the money you’ve spent. If your city/country is not listed then push the people on every site to come to your city!
NinaMalyna via shutterstock