Scott Hanselman

Scott Hanselman, I'm 29, but I'm reading at a 43 year-old level

April 19, 2003 Comment on this post [4] Posted in Web Services
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In snooping around some blogs, I noticed a few with a banner like this, indicating membership in a Mensa-like society (of which there are at least a baker's dozen).  If you take their "Ultimate IQ Test" and score over a certain point (the population mean is 100) then you are "gifted" and you can join the club.  Apparently Mensa will take high SAT scores as an alternative.  So, I took the test, which is fun and took like 45 minutes.  I hadn't taken an IQ test since High School Psychology class, and I've apparently grown more stupid with age.  Anyway, I passed, joined their mailing list, and checked out their searchable membership list and even noticed a few INETA members! :)

IQ tests, especially Culture-Non-Specific ones are interesting as they don't ask for answers to trivia, but rather they challenge one to recognize patterns and manipulate 2- and 3-D objects in mind space.

So, this all got me thinking about IQ tests in terms of technical certifications.  Why are people willing to include Fred Fredrickson, MCDBA but not Fred Fredrickson, IQ163?  Wouldn't this tell prospective clients that this particular chap had a penchant for critical thinking?  Sometimes IQ tests will come up during casual conversation and folks will say, "aah, that's B.S., you can't take them seriously."  A lot of thought and attention goes into IQ test development; do we think that technical certifications also partake in such detailed analysis?  I don't know about you, but some of the tests I've taken had the certain "thrown together at 3am" feel...much like this post!

Why don't we tell people our IQs?  Because it's rude, that's why.  Why are we willing to proclaim acumen in specific 'vertical' skillsets like Computers or Neurosurgery, but we're reticent to say, "I'm just generally smart.  Gotta lots of background threads going, you know.  Lots of neurons firing."  People are quick to say, "I kicked ass on that MCSD test," but you don't hear a lot of College GPAs or SATs bandied about.   Got that Cisco Cert do ya?  But when it comes to the GMATs, "I'm not a good test taker."

Somehow broad, 'horizontal' declarations of brainpower come off as snooty, but knowing what bit to flip can be overlooked by the less-skilled as, "well he's clearly read some technical book I didn't."  Folks don't mind not knowing what they feel are trivial details of some particular subculture, but they do mind broad labels like stupid or smart.

So, from now on, in the interest of intellectual and vocational honesty, I'm signing everything like this:

Scott Hanselman, I'm 29, but I'm reading at a 43 year-old level.


About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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April 21, 2003 17:33
I work for an education software company. Last week we had a discussion on the grade equivilant(GE) controversy. Many schools do not want GE reported for the following reasons.

April 21, 2003 20:31
The real IQ test comes at the end, when someone decide if you're going to plunk down $60 - $500 because they need proof that they're smart.

April 21, 2003 20:36
(No one would confuse me with having a high IQ after reading the way I butchered that first sentence... Scott Swigart - Writes at a 3rd grade writing level...)
April 24, 2003 22:20
> No one gets to choose their IQ.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.