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He sees the world as a system which, given enough time and effort, is completely knowable.
This is a fragile illusion that your nerd has adopted, but it’s a pleasant one that gets your nerd through the day. Whereas everyone else is traipsing around picking dazzling fonts to describe their world, your nerd has carefully selected a monospace typeface, which he avidly uses to manipulate the world deftly via a command line interface while the rest fumble around with a mouse. Grab that seemingly discarded Mac Mini which has been sitting on the floor for two months and hide it.
We’ll explore the consequences of this seemingly short attention span in a bit, but for now this project is the other big thing your nerd is building and I’ve no idea what is, but you should.
If you want to understand your nerd, stare long and hard at his Cave. A correctly designed Cave removes your nerd from the physical world and plants him firmly in a virtual one complete with all the toys he needs. As each part of the project is completed, your nerd receives an adrenaline rush that we’re going to call The High.
Every profession has this — the moment when you’ve moved significantly closer to done.
A nerd needs a project because a nerd builds stuff. It’s unlikely that this project is a nerd’s day job because his opinion regarding his job is, “Been there, done that”.
That’s the nerd working on his project in his head.
When the illusion is broken, you are going to discover that… The reason for this typeface selection is, of course, practicality. Ten letters on one line are same width as ten other letters, which puts the world into a pleasant grid construction where X and Y mean something. These types of system-redefining events force your nerd to recognize that the world is not always or entirely a knowable place, and until he reconstructs this illusion, he’s going to be frustrated and he’s going to act erratically. I’ve written about The Cave elsewhere, but here are the basics. Each object in the Cave has a particular place and purpose. You’ll have 10 minutes before he’ll come stomping out of the Cave — “Where’s the Mac?