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Revealed: The Greatest Moment In Geek History

It came down to Star Wars vs. the Internet. Guess who won?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

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Well, actually, last Monday, Fast Company presented you with a list of 32 geek moments and asked you to choose the very greatest one of them all. More than 10,000 of you responded.

The “moment” was abstract, of course. The bracket included Wikipedia and Nintendo, open source software and the Wright brothers. If it could be summed up in a sentence or less, and argued over, then it counted.

There were some very unexpected early exits: The mouse bested Apple. Einstein’s theory of relativity beat the moon landing. Both in the first round.

Then there was the epic Star Wars versus Star Trek smackdown in round three. After being down early in the day–and thanks to a timely plea on social media by the author of How Star Wars Conquered the Universe–the Force won the day.

The final four came down to Star Wars, the Internet, DNA, and Ada Lovelace (the world’s first programmer). Any of them would have been worthy of the crown. There were passionate arguments to be made for each of the four.

As Limor Fried, founder of the do-it-yourself hardware purveyor Adafruit Industries put it, Lovelace’s emergence as the first to program what would come to be known as computers “set so much in motion. The very idea of humans being able to command machines in addition to just mathematics started with this very early and profound ‘geek moment’ in the 1800s.”

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Star Wars, too, had cred. The launch of the first Star Wars, in 1977 “did more to launch geek culture as we know it today than any other single event in the history of geekdom,” said Steve Sansweet, the founder of Rancho Obi-Wan, a Star Wars museum in Petaluma, Calif. “It had–and continues to have–a unique pull on three generations and millions of people worldwide. It helped change ‘geek’ from a pejorative to, in the eyes of Hollywood and the licensing business, someone to court.”

The Internet? It is “the most significant system we’ve ever built,” insists culture blogger Rusty Blazenhoff. “The human race has created this amazing system of tremendous magnitude that connects the world–in fact, the universe as we know it–and it’s significant to all living beings in ways we can’t even fully comprehend yet.”

Then it came down to Star Wars against the Internet.

Voting for a winner began Friday morning, and it was a seesaw battle. The Internet took an early lead, and looked primed to win. But another social media push by Star Wars proponents lured more would-be voters, and George Lucas’s world-changing franchise took the lead–only to give it up shortly after.

Regardless of which moment you were pulling for, you had to enjoy the idea of settling once and for all (we’d like to think) the kinds of arguments you and your friends (and us and our friends) have all the time.

But this is George Lucas’s universe, and we only live in it. Well, unless you’re Disney or J.J. Abrams.

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And so, we here at Fast Company are proud to announce that, in the end, there can be only one champion. And it is, emphatically, Star Wars.

Although a team of tech-industry leaders and cultural icons chose the Internet over Star Wars, it wasn’t enough to overcome Star Wars’ 58% to 41% domination over the Internet in the public voting.

So, congratulations, Star Wars, for being the Greatest Geek Moment in History. At least until next year.

About the author

Daniel Terdiman is a San Francisco-based technology journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. A veteran of CNET and VentureBeat, Daniel has also written for Wired, The New York Times, Time, and many other publications.

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