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Geeks Do It Smarter

Robert Stephens is an Officer Joe Friday for the 1990s — a courteous, delightfully geeky authority in his field who dresses a little funny, drives a 1960 Ford Falcon painted black and white, and nearly always saves the day. Like his law-abiding predecessor, Stephens is also looking to expand his beat from the small screen to the Hollywood hills.

Now 29 years old, the computer guru from Minneapolis is courting offers from studio executives who want to mold a motion picture around his humble, well-dressed computer-support company, the Geek Squad. Endorsed by celebrities such as Mick Jagger and the artist formerly known as Prince, the Geek Squad is now lapping up the attention and window-shopping for office space in southern California, where high-tech film shoots and computer animation would keep them rolling in microprocessors for years to come.

Meanwhile, Stephens will begin preaching his gospel to a new congregation of weary computer users this fall via his first dead-tree venture, The Geek Squad Guide to Solving Any Computer Glitch (Fireside). A fully tech-supported book, The Geek Squad Guide makes public more than five years of wisdom, experience, and humorous stories collected by special agents on duty with the Geek Squad.

Aside from his troubleshooting advice, Stephens also offers in the following Q&A session some strong ideas about customer service, employee retention, and fast growth that apply to even the most low-tech companies.

Read on to learn more from the geek sergeant about human resources, fame, and fatal errors …

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