Maybe It

Before the annual budget meeting with the CEO, even the most levelheaded IT executive may be tempted to glance at the horoscopes in the morning paper. But if advice like “give yourself a break today” isn’t quite the revelation you were hoping for, you should check out Silicon Valley Tarot, a fortune-telling card game designed for those who work in the perpetually changing world of technology.

The vividly drawn, 70-card set (created by Thomas Scoville for Steve Jackson Games) includes the “major arcana”, archetypes such as The Guru, The Hacker and The Mogul, as well as momentous events like Flame War, IPO and The Layoff.

There are the “minor arcana”, too, 12 cards in each of four suits (Cubicles, Disks, Hosts and Networks), with face cards including Nerd, Marketeer, Salesman and CIO. The set comes with a booklet to help you interpret the cards you draw. Just like a fortune teller’s tarot deck, the cards mean different things depending on where they fall in the “spread” and whether they are turned with the picture upright or upside down.

For example, The Hacker indicates “innovation, stealth and the ability to do much with little.” But if the card is reversed, it augurs “destruction, perversity, immaturity, bad personal hygiene and profound personality deficits.” Typically a spread represents past, present and future, so if you turn the reversed Hacker first, you’ll be relieved to know that that’s all behind you. If you pull it in the middle to represent the present, you’ll be glad you had this information before going into the CEO’s office. And if the card represents your future…well, we won’t tell.