K-VRC: It's a lot like a regular millionaire but with a hoodie and crippling social anxiety.
Tech Bros are intelligent and technologically-minded, but they fit into a different social slot than the one in which nerd characters have traditionally been placed — instead of usually being awkward and socially isolated, they've turned into fratbros (if they aren't just fratbros who fell into funding tech startups), corporate executives, or suave influencers. Some are even literal Mad Scientists graduated from the fields of tech.
Tech Bros tend to be confident men in their twenties and thirties, and some of them are even charismatic — the social awkwardness of a classic nerd is usually gone. Some of them are keen on partying and getting up to wacky hijinx, and may use the phrase "work hard, play hard" as well as Technobabbles. They're less likely to be shy around people they're attracted to than a classic nerd and may be depicted leaning hard into stereotypically masculine traits. Rather than being social rejects, tech bros are often in a position of prestige and may see themselves as leaders, or even as visionaries, and they want you to know it. Like the Mad Scientist, the Tech Bro is also often a far darker figure than the traditional nerd: a glib malignant narcissist whose people skills lie in manipulation rather than genuine empathy.
They can differ from classic nerds in appearance and style, too. A classic nerd is generally considered uncool and unfashionable, but if a Tech Bro has any trace of a classic nerd's unkemptness, it's only a carefully cultivated fashion statement. They pay a lot of attention to their clothing and personal grooming, though they usually shirk the sharp suits of their Yuppie precursors for a more youthful, business-casual look. They're more likely to live in stylish, airy, bright houses rather than in dark basements full of old fast food containers, and their office is either the same stark, monochrome minimalist style of interior design or a Wacky Startup Workplace (bonus points for being located in real-life tech hubs like Silicon Valley). Also, while classic nerds are usually either overweight or scrawny weaklings, a Tech Bro is often in good physical shape, perhaps aided by fancy health-tracking gadgets, personal trainers, and faddish diet regimes. If there is a Mad Science Fair, expect Tech Bros to show up often.
Many Tech Bros aren't just interested in tech — they're interested in monetizing it. They want to found the next big tech company and are at home in the corporate world. They'll talk about stock options and capturing market share as much as they do about research and coding. They might be a Rich Gadgeteer Genius — or they might just be a manager of geniuses. Their marketing department will tell you how they're improving the world by disrupting everything, and they tend to think that "outdated" rules shouldn't be allowed to constrain their new business model. Politically, there is a duality here; some are progressive idealists who believe that their technology will save the world, while others just want to be unaccountable potentates dictating the course of the world from ivory towers.
The Tech Bro archetype mainly came to public prominence with the rise of tech-focused businesses like Google, Facebook, and suchlike — the founders of such companies are often models for tech bro characters in media, to the point where you can sometimes tell which specific person (or indeed, persons) a character is inspired by.
A specific sub-variant of this character primarily emerging from The New '20s is the "Crypto Bro", who (at least allegedly) made his fortune from speculating on Bitcoin, its fellow cryptocurrencies, and/or NFTs. Very similar to a Tech Bro, with a tendency to enjoy flashy spending and be even more egotistical than usual. Has a better-than-average chance of turning out to be a Con Man whose "digital assets" business is a massive pyramid scheme.
Compare with Yuppie (an older portrayal of young and ambitious white-collar workers), Playful Hacker and The Cracker (for another portrayal of glamorized computer geeks) as well as Misfit Lab Rat (another scientific-oriented subculture with similar clothing styles, albeit more unkempt and more rebellious). A tech bro who works in social media may be used for a Social Media Is Bad aesop.
- Tadano of Aggretsuko is a young and wealthy tech entrepreneur who made his money with self-driving car AI. He's casually dressed and has a lax personality. He's not a bad person and is in fact quite caring to Retsuko, but his visionary worldview is incompatible with hers.
- Van Vogt from Cyborg 009 ticks all the stereotypical boxes despite hailing from a series that originated in 1964; he's a hipster-looking rich businessman and an actual Mad Scientist who performs cybernetic surgeries on victims his employer organization Black Ghost kidnapped. He's also a Manipulative Bastard posing himself with his businessman image and has zero empathy for his victims, merely seeing them as test subjects to pursue his malevolent research for endless war profits. For an added extra, he's also a cyborg capable of fighting physically on his own.
- Ryugo Sakuma from Megalo Box: Nomad, who has designed a revolutionary brain chip that allows paraplegics the use of their limbs by re-wiring their nervous systems. Over the course of the season, he's revealed to be a lot darker morally than his philanthropist persona and engages in suppressing research and data on his own product, gaslighting and emotionally extorting the family of the man who is testing the prototype, and attempting to obtain investors through blackmail, all while keeping an extremely cheerful, Manchild exterior.
- Iron Man: The character of Tony Stark, who first appeared in 1963, pre-dates the rise of the modern tech bro, but many depictions of him have the right ingredients anyway — a technological genius who is a Millionaire Playboy rather than a more traditional scientist, who built his fortune on weapons manufacturing, and Really Gets Around. Sure enough, more recent adaptations, particularly the Marvel Cinematic Universe, portray him as one of these, specifically a parody of billionaire tech founders like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. He differs from a lot of later tech bros in that he's usually presented as a hero, though not always the most likable.
- One arc of Heroes for Hire re-imagines Teen Genius Alex Wilder as a tech bro, moving into the neighborhood and making a fortune by selling software that can erase someone's criminal history. The success quickly goes to his head, causing him to engage in riskier ventures, like gang wars and black magic, forcing Luke Cage and Iron Fist to intervene.
- In X-Statix, the titular team is sponsored by Spike Freeman, a software billionaire with an uncanny resemblance to Rob Liefeld, both in terms of appearance and personality.
- The Mitchells vs. the Machines has Mark Bowman, tech entrepreneur and the CEO of the omnipresent PAL Labs. He's very casual and gung-ho about the technology he's created, never once considering what could go wrong if he had both an AI he just betrayed and years of uninhibited data collection. He looks the part as well, being a young-ish, casually dressed guy whose HQ is in Silicon Valley.
- The protagonist Milo and villain Gary Winston in Antitrust are both prototypical examples from the first "dot-com" boom of the late '90s/early '00s, much like in the below-mentioned Hackers, and two different takes on the trope. The styling department clearly tried to make Milo (played by Ryan Phillippe at the height of his Teen Idol days) into a nerd, but today, he comes off more as this trope. Gary, meanwhile, is a parody of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, with more emphasis on his corporate stuffiness.
- The version of Lex Luthor who appears in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice leans in this direction, with the film even casting Jesse Eisenberg, known for playing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, to play him. Instead of being the well-dressed, poised Lex Luthor usually seen in adaptations, this Lex is a casually dressed, outgoing, almost campy younger man. He's still in charge of a very rich tech company, though, which gives him vast resources to put force behind his narcissistic rage.
- Ex Machina: Nathan is a 30s-ish billionaire CEO whose success comes from having invented a search engine. As we discover, he's also a genius AI researcher and roboticist. He's also socially confident (as seen in his casual interaction with Caleb) and physically active (he seems to be something of a fitness freak). Some of his villainous traits, however, echo parts of the older nerd stereotype — behind the facade, after all, he's basically a loner making Sex Bots.
- Antwan of Free Guy, CEO of Soonami and a "rockstar game developer" who has little regard for the quality of his games or the wellbeing of his employees as long as his games sell. He turns up at Soonami in the middle of the film in an outrageous outfit, having just returned from Burning Man.
- Glass Onion: Miles Bron, a send-up of Elon Musk, is an "eccentric genius" CEO who made his billions from his tech company Alpha, beloved by the media but hiding more insidious truths beneath his success. Namely, that he's really an idiotic manchild whose only real talent lies in shmoozing and manipulating others until they're in his debt while shamelessly stealing their ideas for himself.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: The MCU version of the High Evolutionary is a particularly nasty version of this — a wealthy biotech tycoon who thinks he's a scientific genius who also knows what's best for society, when he actually has little scientific talent of his own, depends for his advances on employees who he treats like disposable minions, and rather than actually making technical progress or improving society begins and drops ill-thought-out projects on his own unpredictable and irrational whims. Even worse since said "projects" tend to be sapient beings.
- Hackers: The protagonists, despite being computer geeks who gush over a friend's state-of-the-art laptop, are rowdy, hip, and good-looking teenagers who hang out in the Coolest Club Ever. The Big Bad, meanwhile, is a corporate security consultant with a similarly irreverent attitude, first introduced by riding into his employers' data center on a skateboard.
- The Invisible Man (2020): The titular invisible man this time is Adrian Griffin, a young, handsome, and wealthy optics magnate who lived in a large, stark-looking house with his girlfriend Cecilia prior to his "death". However, he was also abusive and controlling, and uses his technology to torment Cecilia.
- The villain of Johnny English Strikes Again is a youngnote Silicon Valley billionaire named Jason Volta, whose scheme involves cyberattacks, large-scale data acquisition, and a vast array of computer servers hidden on a yacht called the Dot Calm.
- The villain of Kimi is this. As founder and owner of the company that invented the eponymous AI (basically a Bland-Name Product of Amazon's Alexa or Apple's Siri), he's well into Corrupt Corporate Executive territory, and audio evidence of his crimes are picked up by the protagonist via a Kimi data stream.
- In RoboCop (2014), Raymond Sellars is the owner of the robotics manufacturer OmniCorp, but rather than being the traditional Corrupt Corporate Executive who dresses in a power suit and acts in a more refined manner, Sellar's image is updated to emulate the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, sporting a business casual attire or simply dresses casually, and is very much an extrovert.
- The Social Network: While Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is portrayed as too much of a Stereotypical Nerd to fall into this category, Napster founder Sean Parker is a different story altogether. While he's a nerd in that he's a self-taught programmer and tech entrepreneur, he's also portrayed by Justin Timberlake, and is suitably suave, charming, well-dressed, and The Casanova. His real-life counterpart was asked to comment on the portrayal, and observed: "I wish I was that cool."
- In Sorry to Bother You, Steve Lift is CEO of a company called WorryFree, which claims to be able to solve most of the world's social ills (poverty, unemployment, hunger, etc.) He's a handsome young man who's charismatic and quirky, but also keen on control — and, of course, has a dark secret in that he's involuntarily transforming his employees to make them more exploitable.
- TRON: Kevin Flynn is an Unbuilt Trope version, pre-dating the Internet. A flashy, charismatic programming genius who behaves like an overgrown teenager, his initial reason motivation isn't anything more heroic than exposing the film's villain for stealing his best-selling video games. Once he has become executive Vice President, and later CEO of Encom, he's more or less a benevolent version of this. He's genuinely trying to better the world. not just make money, but he still has an ego the size of a planet with hubris to match, and it ends up biting him in the ass hard come TRON: Legacy
- Venom (2018): The villain, Carlton Drake, is a fairly young,note clean-cut billionaire whose company is focused on scientific and technological research. He's got a good reputation as a philanthropist and positions himself as a big believer in the ability of technology to solve the world's problems.
- Todd and Dusty in Microserfs are vain bodybuilders who work as computer programmers.
- In American Gods (2017), the Technical Boy (new god of computers, smartphones, and the internet) is depicted as a fashionable, technologically-attuned millennial. In the original book, he was much more a classic-style overweight geek, but the television show deliberately updated him to reflect the emergence of rich, powerful tech bosses.
- In American Horror Story: Apocalypse, Mutt Nutter and Jeff Pfister are a pair of manchildren who just happen to be brilliant programmers. The fact that they also sold their souls to Satan for wealth and power helps.
- Black Mirror, "Smithereens": Billy Bauer, founder and CEO of the popular social media network Smithereen, is a liberal, hippy-type young man who is clueless in the face of the hostage crisis indirectly brought about by the app. When the managers finally reach him, he's in the middle of a retreat and contemplating quitting the company.
- Castle: In "Last Call", the team tracks the auction of a nearly 100-year-old bottle of vintage bourbon to the home of a young Nouveau Riche app developer, who is in the middle of a gaming party with his buddies and quickly infuriates Castle when he reveals he mixed the super-rare bourbon with cola.
- Good Luck Charlie: In the Christmas Special, we're introduced to Chuck Jablowsky, a young game developer who's also shown to be incredibly rich and cool. He operates "Live Death", a paintball game that emulates his game and often lasts for several days, is shown appearing out of a helicopter, and rewards Gabe only because Gabe won the game for his team.
- In Dollhouse, Topher Brink created most of the technology that fuels Rossum's shadow empire, but is so immature and amoral that he programmed one of the Actives to regularly scold him so that he doesn't get too arrogant.
- It's Like, You Know...: Robbie is an early media example, having invented a technology that can help Jews—which he isn’t himself—observe the High Holy Days remotely.
- Aaron Peele from Killing Eve is the Corrupt Corporate Executive version. A serial killer who masterminded a device that could track every single person in the world, he hired the Ghost to kill his father and took over his multi-billion company. He also however totally echoes the nerd archetype, too, even wearing Nerd Glasses, having No Social Skills, and appearing to have Hollywood Autism, which crosses over uncomfortably with him being revealed as a serial killer.
- Made For Love: Hazel's ex-husband Bryan, a handsome tech millionaire who was a terrible husband. He's so unconcerned with tech privacy that he put a tracking chip in his wife.
- Modern Love: "When Cupid Is A Prying Journalist" has a subdued, romantic version in Joshua, the young, good-looking, charismatic founder of a booming dating appnote .
- Person of Interest:
- "One Percent": The POI, tech CEO Logan Pierce, made his money with a social media app called Friendczar (presented as a platonic version of a dating app) and is a hard partier who thinks nothing of flying all the way to Russia to go clubbing on a whim (dragging John Reese along). His mercurial nature extends to his business: he jumps ship from his company on the eve of its initial public offering on the grounds that a competing startup has better tech. It gets to the point where Reese actually abandons him to his fate out of frustration with his behavior. He changes his mind.
- "Nothing to Hide": The POI, Wayne Kruger, is another tech CEO, of a Facebook knockoff this time. He argues that anybody who has nothing to hide has nothing to fear from having all their personal data online and accessible. Then somebody hacks his presentation to expose him cheating on his wife, and he goes into a Villainous Breakdown as Reese tries to protect him. In the end, he's murdered by Vigilance in their first appearance.
- Queen Sugar: When Micah starts selling his photography as NFTs, he befriends several suave, confident young men who are deeply involved in the tech industry. When he sees how greedy and self-centered they really are, he backs off from NFTs.
- Ramy: The titular character used to work at some sort of tech startup with this type of boss. He was a casually dressed "bro" type whose ineptitude promptly led to the whole enterprise being shut down in the second episode. He (being abled and white) made insensitive comments about tokenizing Ramy (who is Egyptian-American) and Steve (who is disabled).
- A couple shows up early in Silicon Valley. The more conventionally nerdy protagonist refers to them as "brogrammers."
- Star Trek: Discovery: Ruon Tarka, an antagonistic character in the fourth season, strongly matches this stereotype when he first appears — an arrogant, deliberately obnoxious, narcissistic tech genius with a casual dress sense and pretentious facial hair. It's subsequently revealed that he has a much less privileged and more traumatic past than this would suggest.
- Kendall, who is vying to lead media conglomerate Waystar Royco, tries and fails to cultivate this image: he dresses much more business casually than the clean-cut old guard like his father, stays in shape, and tries to be "hip" (see his awkward attempt at rapping). However, despite his position and money, he doesn't really have ideas; he (and the Roys) manage other people's for them.
- Lawrence Yee is a nerd and a hipster — he runs a huge digital media company that Kendall acquires, but possesses a heft of quiet confidence as well as regarding the Roys as shallow dinosaurs.
- Season 3's Lukas Matsson, who created an impressive streaming platform, and seems interested in parties, girls, and frat boy antics like literally pissing on an app he doesn't like.
- Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist: The tech company Zoey works at, SPRQ Point, is in San Francisco and employs a lot of "brogrammers": douchey, well-dressed West Coast millennials who code. The two who get the most focus are Tobin and Leif, best friends who enjoy partying and antagonizing Zoey. It is noted that the company is male-dominated, and their supervisor Joan tries to mentor Zoey as a fellow woman in tech.
- Todd from Less is Morgue is a Laughably Evil tech bro, with a hideously tacky sense of style, obsession with social networking, and a complete Lack of Empathy. He's constantly trying to push his latest tech venture, none of which are particularly good or useful, and all of which involve some level of exploitation of his customers and employees. In each appearance, he's trying to drag Riley and Evelyn into shilling one of his products, be it a demon-summoning app or his own afterlife. When they invite him to join their D&D game for an episode, he agrees only because actual play podcasts are popular, and thus, likely to make money. Even then, his character is a blatant self-insert who also lives only to shill his products; as Riley puts it, he's incapable of having a thought that can't be monetized.
- In Detroit: Become Human, Elijah Kamski, founder of Cyberlife and inventor of the original androids, has since become a wealthy recluse, living in a hypermodern bunker-like mansion with a host of identical Fembots, the company's first model, waiting on his every whim. Aloof and smug, Kamski sets android detective Connor the Sadistic Choice of whether to spare one of his fellow androids — or shoot it on the spot in return for everything Kamski knows. This is a far cry from Kamski's humble beginnings: in an unlockable interview, the long-haired, bearded Kamski of over a decade earlier nervously but enthusiastically speculates on all the possibilities of what artificial life could become.
- Hitman 2: Steven Bradley, the resident tech guy and cracker of Haven Island, spends most of his route working out at the gym and running laps of one of the islets, all the while wearing a "Hello, World" vest.
- In Watch_Dogs 2, Dusan Nemec is Chief Technology Officer for a company called Blume, and in addition to the usual mass data-collection and suchlike, is also connected to things like insider trading, electoral fraud, and triggering economic collapses by market manipulation. He's portrayed as something of a hipster, wearing a topknot and doing yoga.
- Grand Theft Auto:
- In Grand Theft Auto V, one mission relates to LifeInvader, a social media company headquartered in a Wacky Startup Workplace filled with obnoxious tech bros (one of which can later be recruited for heist missions).
- One of the heist missions in Grand Theft Auto Online has players doing missions for Avon Hertz, an Elon Musk/Peter Thiel Expy who's created a speaking AI. Later on, it turns out he's used the players to hijack a nuclear warhead, and the players have to stop him in the subsequent missions.
- Going Under has Ray, the president of the company that protagonist Jackie works for. While his company is a soft drink company, he's still largely a parody of Silicon Valley corporate types, being openly outgoing and quick to toss out buzzwords while also being frivolous with money. He is however somewhat more sympathetic than most examples in that rather than simply being a greedy corpo he's closer to being a Clueless Boss and by the end of the game decides to take steps to be more accommodating towards his employees, including supporting their bid for unionization.
- Horizon Zero Dawn has Ted Faro, an Elon Musk-inspired tech mogul with superficial charm from the Old World whose true talent was his ability to profit from others. He was also directly responsible for dooming humanity due to him instigating global conflict for the sake of war profiteering and was also responsible for humanity's current primitivist state, having deleted the database that would have been used to teach humanity in order to prevent them from learning that he was the ultimate cause of everything bad in the world.
- IXION has Vanir Dolos. Impeccably dressed in business casual, full of himself and lofty ideals for humanity's future, rides on his personal brand, has Scrooge McDuck levels of money, and throws it at big impressive projects that are The Future™. Then his groundbreaking FTL drive shatters the Moon leading to the destruction of all life on Earth.
- Persona 5 Strikers has Akira Konoe, the charismatic CEO of the Osaka-based IT company Madicce, publishers of the popular EMMA digital assistant app. Konoe has a handsome, business-casual appearance heavily based on Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark (with the oration skills and huge ego to match), is well-liked by both the public and his employees and holds an earnest vision of improving society through his app by using it to modify people's behavior for the better, but gradually becomes over-reliant on EMMA for his own decision making as well. And then it comes out that he was merely an Unwitting Pawn and didn't even design EMMA himself; he just purchased the base code from a third party who was only using Konoe and his Knight Templar ideals to popularize and proliferate the app on their behalf.
- Three Panel Soul has many comics about the Techbros that populate San Francisco and their companies and apps. They are completely interchangeable, and all have the same face, sunglasses, and black and white striped polo shirt.
- DuckTales (2017) has Mark Beaks, the CEO of a tech company called Waddle. Although he's sometimes shown to have some actual talent, most of his success is just a matter of claiming credit for the work of his employees, and he's happy to collect investment money for an amazing product that, in reality, does not exist. He's also quite shallow — he's obsessed with his reputation and status on social media and sometimes turns into a Psychopathic Manchild when he doesn't get his way. The character was definitely intended to reference real-life tech company bosses — the writers wanted to call him "Mark Zuckerbird" before the network vetoed it.
- Love, Death & Robots: While exploring extinct human settlements in "Exit Strategies", the three robots find an oil rig that a group of tech millionaires had tried to turn into a sovereign nation in the wake of the apocalypse. One of them explains that the millionaires left behind everybody who had actual practical skills and left their caretaking to virtual assistants, who then Turned Against Their Masters. Played for dark humor, as the robots recognize it as the cradle of machine civilization rather than for the tragedy it is.
XBOT 4000: So if [they] had just been more socially inclusive, they might have stood a chance?
[the robots break into laughter]
- Austin Van Der Sleet from M.O.D.O.K. (2021), the young and well-dressed CEO of GRUMBL, the company that acquires M.O.D.O.K.'s AIM. He's also working directly with Hexus, a sentient corporation planning to wipe out Earth and acquire its resources.
- My Adventures with Superman: Dr. Anthony Ivo comes off this way, acting like the laid-back CEO of his own tech company. However, this may be a persona he has concocted, as he drops the act when nobody is around.
- Barry from We Bare Bears is good with technology, and even makes a comment about how people call him and his ilk "brogrammers". He occupies a position of apparent leadership and can be persuasive when he wants to be, but quickly reveals himself to be a complete Jerkass and Bad Boss whose arrogance vanishes when dealing with his hard-to-please father.
- Steve Jobs is the Trope Codifier, the man who many other tech bros have since tried to emulate. Jobs' lifelong goal was to take computers out of the realm of geekdom and make them stylish and popular. He famously had little to no technical knowledge or training, preferring to leave those details up to other people while he focused on aesthetics and the business side of things. In the early days, when other members of the computer hacking scene such as Steve Wozniak (his future business partner) were content to build and tinker with their homemade machines in private, it was Jobs who suggested that they start businesses to produce and sell them to the public. His Iconic Outfit of a black turtleneck and jeans set the standard of casual dress in Silicon Valley. He also pursued many fad diets and alternative lifestyles throughout his life, which may have contributed to his premature death.note Unlike many of the younger examples of this trope, the Baby Boomer Jobs cultivated an image more akin to a New-Age Retro Hippie or Bourgeois Bohemian than a fratbro, though the core concept of being a "hip" nerd working in a technology field still applies.
- John Romero, of Doom and Quake fame, was notorious for cultivating a theatrical, rock-star-esque public image, and his drive for increasingly ambitious game design caused him to butt heads with his more business-minded coworkers and superiors at id Software. As chronicled in "Knee Deep In A Dream", when Romero left id to found Ion Storm, one of the first things he did was rent out an expensive penthouse suite equipped with a movie theatre and gaming amenities, purely because he had always wanted to work in a fancier environment than id's utilitarian offices.
- Elon Musk, chairman of Tesla Motors and founder of SpaceX, among others, is an Eccentric Multi-Billionare notorious for his highly visible social media presence (to the point of gaining ownership of Twitter), publicity stunts (such as launching a Tesla Roadster into orbit, and naming his son with Grimes "X Æ A-Xii") while getting into Twitter fights over his attempts to help out with rescue efforts, claiming he was a Quake MLG, and shitposting about video games. One of his biggest stunts was to try and get a whistleblower smeared as a mass shooter.
- Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg often works to cultivate this image for himself, such as in his (in)famous "Metaverse" presentation where he casually addresses the audience.