Define “tech industry”

For those who know me “in real life,” I had a previous career in R&D. Most of my co-workers (in Massachusetts, no less) were centre-right, a few hard-core conservatives, and a few old-fashioned liberals.  So imagine my surprise when I saw a poll claiming that most people in the “tech industry” are liberals. (Hat tip.)

First, the Pando poll admits that it is “completely unscientific,” in that it is derived from readers of the blog.  A better description of the poll would be “readers of the Pando blog.”  Very likely, the poll shows us nothing more than those who are demographically left (young, single, with time on their hands) are more likely to read that blog than are those who are demographically right (older, usually married, often spending more time changing diapers or driving kids to soccer games than reading blogs).

But the whole thing brought to mind the issue of what is the “tech industry.”

By many definitions, the following jobs are not in the tech industry: designing new ways of enabling nuclear reactors to use a higher proportion of fuel; designing novel electronically-conductive coatings using carbon nanotubes; or creating a new drug delivery system.  The following jobs would be considered part of the “tech industry:” social media manager; writing about online games; or marketing a new iPhone app.

The NAICS definition, however, flips this around: those who create new technology, as opposed to those who use or deliver new technology, are considered part of the “tech sector.”  I prefer this definition because of its permanence: it focuses on those who are creating novel inventions that will serve as the basis for other inventions in the future, a part of the chain of technological advancement.

This little blog is the end of the line: nothing I do on it will push blogging, writing, or media content delivery forward. It is a high-tech way to deliver news and opinions to you, dear readers, but isn’t itself “tech.”

Readers, which definition do you prefer?



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