The Rise & Fall of the Modern Nerd

In less than 70 years’ time, the nerds have risen from relative obscurity and irrelevancy and now sit on the high throne of the plebeian universe. Today, we examine the possibilities and outcomes of an era where nerd kings rule supreme.

The word ‘nerd’ used to be somewhat of a derogatory term.

Back in the day, nobody wanted to be called a nerd.

The nerds *raises hand* were socially awkward, physically unattractive, introverted, and generally “uncool” et al., and there was always a suboptimal context associated with that social grouping.

We live in a much different world today.

Today, we live in the age of the nerd kings.

And these days are not like the old days, where obsessively spending your free time studying math and science (or playing with Star Wars figurines in your parent’s basement) would lead to criticism, bullying from your peers, rejection from women, and ostracization from popular social groups.

Star Wars Battle Nerd Kings

Now, it’s quite the contrary.

This is a time where being a nerd (with even mid to moderate technical ability) can give one great power and wealth.

These days, the nerd is celebrated.



Anointed as a cultural icon.

Many such cases.

Today, the concept of a nerd has shifted and expanded.

The nerds have used their intellectualism and proclivity for technical curiosity to rebrand themselves, reclaiming the term and causing many to embrace it as a badge of honor, reflecting a deep, enthusiastic dedication to one’s technical aptitude and IQ, which is now directly correlated to status and wealth.

Against all odds, the nerd is now mainstream.

The rise of the tech industry and the mainstream popularity of many “nerdy” hobbies (e.g., building spaceships and computer technologies) have further helped in transforming the perception of a “nerd” into a more positive and socially accepted identity, allowing many to amass massive fortunes and achieve high social standing.

But the nerds have gotten arrogant.

How did we get here?

Let’s hit rewind on our VCR.

We will take a step back in time and try to find an origin point of where this nerd revolution may have all began.

A good place to start the analysis may be the beginning of human travel. We will use that period in spacetime as a launch point and construct a non-technical/low-budget timeline of technological advancement from there.

We know there is early evidence of animal pulled carts in Mesopotamia and Surrounding Regions dating back to around 3000 to 2500 BCE. These were initially ox-drawn carts.

Later, around 2000 BCE, various ancient civilizations (e.g., Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indo-European steppes) had a brilliant “innovation” and started using horses instead of oxen (a eureka moment am I right) which led to the widespread use of horse-drawn chariots.

Then, further down the line, with significant advancements in technology (e.g., the Roman era and later in the Middle Ages) the humans transitioned from chariots to more carriage-like vehicles, designed for transport (and racing) rather than for war.

Let’s hit fast forward on our VCRs again.

It has been roughly 250 years since supreme nerd Ben Franklin conducted his electricity experiments.

During this period of history, the nerds were still near the bottom of the social pecking order (despite the cool chariot ideas).

Sure, there were a few celebrated individuals, but for the most part, nerds were still not part of the popular club back then.

Let’s hit fast forward on our VCRs again.

Now, we are in the 1890s, which is where the humans began the transition from horse-drawn carriages to automobiles.

Then, later on in 1961, the United States sent its first human, Alan Shepard, into space as part of the Mercury-Redstone 3 mission.

If we calculate the years between the 1890s and 1960s:

tf² [(x²) + (y²) + y(z²)] + wheel
P = ——————————————
Σi (7x – nerd + nasa²)

We can conclude that it took roughly 70 years for the nerds to go from building horse-drawn carriages to sending humans into space.

It took roughly 4,000 years for humans to transition from ox pulled carts to automobiles (slow) and only 70 years from horse-drawn carriage to human space travel (fast).

A remarkable pace of technological advancement.

Note: it’s difficult to pinpoint exact dates when humans first started using horse-drawn carriages but it’s reasonable to assume that the conceptual and practical roots lie in the early advancements of ancient civilizations 4000+ years ago.

Push fast forward again on your VCR.

We are now in the year 1993, and the humans have just gotten their first taste of the internet.

But the nerds (although having just developed a technology that would change the world forever) would still not rise up the ranks to attain supreme dominance until many years later (although the NASA stuff was really boosting morale).

Fast forward again on your VCR (about 30 years) and you’ll see the nerds of today are capable of landing alien robots on faraway planets with relative ease.

We went from riding in horse drawn wagons (1890s) to sending humans to space (1960s) to landing autonomous robots on distant planets (1990s) for alien research in a relatively short time.

How did this happen?

I have discussed the rate of technological change before, but I’ll spare you the long, boring lecture.

If you’d like to go down that rabbit hole, I suggest you read Kurzweil.

But for the purposes of this sh*tty analysis let’s just say that technology is changing, and it’s changing fast – and at the time of this writing, it’s changing faster than any point in recorded history, and it’s accelerating at a rate that will change humankind forever in ways we never thought possible.

You could make the argument that this all started around seventy years ago (in the early to mid-1950s) and that this period is the official beginning of the “tech era”.

It was an era that involved a focused and dedicated effort to the manufacturing and improvement of computer software and hardware.

The nerds of this time (the dudes from Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook are prime examples) used to tinker with hardware and taught themselves programming while hiding from the world in their parent’s basements.

And they got really good at it.

And as hardware became faster and cheaper, the software nerds were able to write their code at higher levels of abstraction.

Also, during this time, our government started to get very good at playing fiat games, and as a result, our economy expanded at a rapid rate, which helped promote even more growth in software.

This created a perfect storm.

The demand for software continued to build and became greater than ever before, allowing the former basement dwelling nerds to cash in by making better software tools to support the whole scheme.

A virtuous cycle.

Today, code, software, and related technology is functioning at optimal levels and can be delivered worldwide at scale.

And as an added bonus, software has also demonstrated a remarkable ability to rapidly transform industries and reshape economies.

These days, internet-based services and software programming tools (e.g., GPT-4, CRM, AWS, Stripe, GitHub, WordPress, Zoom, etc) make it very easy to launch a disruptive global startup – without the additional costs and risks of having to train new employees or invest in new infrastructure.

This has led to incredibly low start-up costs and a huge global market for online tech type services.

Additionally, the meteoric rise of the nerd was also fueled by the rapid improvement of computer hardware, which famously improved a lot faster than mostly every other type of hardware (or just about anything useful in general).

Today, computer hardware is several million times cheaper than it was forty years ago.

Now, humankind is officially wired.

The nerds gave us internet.


Cell phones.

Video games.

And we can’t put them down.

Tech billionaires now exist.

But soon we will surpass this level of technology and create tech trillionaires.

In the not-so-distant future, the nerds will out do themselves yet again and give us self-driving cars, air taxis, and machines with human-level thinking abilities.

You can also make the case that the nerds will (eventually) develop more advanced processing capabilities where our processing power per chip will meet and exceed the total capacity of all human life on Earth.

And eventually, they will figure out how to insert human colonies on distant planets and develop artificial superintelligences far beyond human intelligence.

A technological transcendence of the human race.

@JaminThompson Star Wars Battle Nerd Kings

As a result of their technical achievement, the nerds who used to get rejected by babes and sat home studying and reading (plotting their revenge) are now cruising with babes, stacking bread, and making visits to the White House to help implement critical policy in society.

But drunk off their power they’ve gotten sloppy.

Somewhere in the middle of all the chaos, the nerd has somehow transformed into the villain he despised the most.

And in doing so, he has ignored the duality between mind and body, brains and brawn, intellect and instinct.

Too much studying may have created the quantitative illusion that the pen is mightier than the sword.

Or worse, the delusion that (somehow) technology is like energy and can never be destroyed.

But you see, the pen is mightier than the sword, but only if the conditions are optimal.

The pen is useless in direct kinetic conflict.

So, one must develop physical strength.

Because in the absolutes of the world – this is what it boils down to.

Strength and physicality.

It always comes down to strength and physicality in the end.

A function of the core evolutionary programming inherent in planet Earth, no doubt.

It may sound crazy, but many theorists have long argued that we are on a trajectory for a world population peak in the next twenty to forty years, with the world economy reaching apogee not long after.

If this happens, every one or two generations the world population and economy will shrink by a factor of two.

This, in turn, will shrink the world’s innovation rate (most notably tech and software innovation) reducing the demand and production of software and related technologies for several generations or more.

In this new shrinking economy/world, computer hardware innovation would also grind to a halt (possibly directly correlated to a reduction in software innovation) which could lead to the end of the computer hardware industry as we know it.

It would be an era of low demand/high supply, marked by super-sized industry fixed costs and an economy that isn’t big enough to support it.

The resulting declining scale economy (from software decay/loss/obsoletion, etc.) for example, would likely result in lower per-capita income and associated poverty over longer timescales.

In such environments, (e.g., dark decline scenarios) chaos and conflict will rule the day.

So, young kings, I urge you to grow stronger.

Beware the trap of nerdom arrogance.

This is a path of destruction – and it will be your downfall.

Kingdoms are fragile.

They never last.

Reigns are destined to be fleeting, unlikely to last beyond a season’s turn in spacetime.

The nerd kingdom is held together merely by an electrical grid and invisible floating packets of data.

Should the pillars of technology crumble, knowledge alone will not be enough to save you from the barbarism and abyss that awaits on the other side.

For when it fails, and fail it shall, the world will be thrust back into darkness where physicality and barbarism reign supreme.

The best code will not save you from this suboptimality.

“Correct” doesn’t matter if you’re dead.

Physicality is a matter of opinion.

Might is right.

The strong survive.

The most adaptable will thrive.

Heed these words, my son.

That said, as we witness the era of software devouring the world in real time, transforming industry and economy, shaping culture and history (with probabilities and outcomes uncertain), it’s clear that our physical and mental readiness must evolve in tandem with these technological advancements and related rates of change.

It’s evident that we’re not just spectators but active participants in this world swallowing transformation event.

Embracing this shift, we need to pivot to a domain that is equally dynamic and essential for our survival: physical fitness and combat readiness.

In preparing for a world increasingly ruled by technology (but where every new advancement could eventually lead to Fallout 4 style suboptimalities) – I’ve designed a 4-week training regimen tailored to equip you with the strength, agility, and endurance needed to thrive in this type of environment, aptly named “Combat Conditioning.”

This program is not just about getting jacked; it’s a blueprint for staying ahead in a world where only an elite few will have the physicality required to navigate the unforeseen challenges of tomorrow; and it’s designed to help you develop the raw strength, resilience, and adaptability needed to thrive in a rapidly changing environment loaded with stochasticity and uncertainty.

Download the full Combat Conditioning program HERE.

Thanks for reading.

If you have questions or comments, please let me know on X/Twitter @JaminThompson.