Friday, March 2, 2012

"The Tech Industry’s Asperger Problem..."

From Gawker:
Somewhere north of 15,000 American children are conservatively believed to be afflicted with Asperger Syndrome, a disorder characterized by obsessive and rigid behavior, poor communication skills, clumsiness, and a lack of empathy and reciprocity.
[sounds like hedge fund managers -ed]

Cases of Asperger's and a related disorder, autism, exploded in Silicon Valley over the past 20 years, according to state-funded outreach workers — an assertion that will come as no shock to users familiar with pedantic, apathetic, tight-lipped and self-serving tech companies. How, exactly, does Asperger's work, and has it had a material impact on how the technology sector relates to its customers? Below, find a quick guide to those questions, and a look at why one of the Valley's most famously infuriating pedants, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is rumored to have it.

Silicon Valley's Abundance of Asperger's
Back in 2001, Valley seat Santa Clara County had a worrisomely higher incidence of Asperger's and autism, the local authority on such cases told Wired at the time. "This is a burst that has staggered us in our steps," the director of the regional center for people with developmental disabilities was quoted as saying. A Cupertino public school teacher was also quoted calling the trend toward more and more cases "an iceberg approaching."

The disorders seemed to cluster in other tech hubs, too. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft was the first major U.S. corporation to offer insurance that covered autism-and-Asperger's-related behavioral training. In Rochester, New York, the local school district advised the mother of a child with Asperger Syndrome to move to the northwestern part of the city, because there were a large number of affected kids there. The northwest quadrant is "where the IBMers congregate," the mom told Wired.

The condition only seems to have become more common in the intervening decade. In a 2011 New Yorker profile, venture capitalist Peter Thiel spoke about the prevalence of Asperger's-like behavior among startup founders. Thiel was Facebook's first outside investor.

"You have all these Internet companies over the past decade," he said, "and the people who run them are sort of autistic. These mild cases of Asperger's seem to be quite rampant. There's no need for sales—the companies themselves are weirdly nonsocial in nature."...MORE