In John Markoff’s profile of Andy Rubin, the Google engineer designing their smartphone, there’s this quote:
“Today Silicon Valley is full of ‘network-effect entrepreneurs,’ but Andy represents a generation that is equally comfortable with a soldering gun, writing software programs or designing a business,” said Steve Perlman, another former Apple engineer who was a co-founder of WebTV and a handful of other technology-oriented companies.
People who can bridge the divide between brilliant technologists and savvy businesspeople are extremely valuable.
My old mentor and teacher Anthony More once told me that if I could "speak the language" of the smartest geek and the smartest businessperson in the room, I’d be a rare and cherished asset.
Although I can’t do that yet, I have a related ability that’s helped me in social situations in college. Having once been a jock who played competitive AAU basketball in gyms and towns where I was the only white guy, I feel like I can have a conversation or build a relationship with the athletes here easily. Similarly, I can have a conversation or build a relationship with the ultra-nerd who wants to talk about a pet intellectual interest.
Regardless of context, range is a useful skill that all "connectors" have in order to bring diverse people together.
(thanks to Nitin Julka for the pointer)