Free Software Hippy Sells out--but in a good way. Recently, I changed my mode of dress to be a bit more traditional, and I cut my long hair. I did this in part because my fiancee wanted me to, but also in part because I realize that non-hackers are sometimes threatened by the "typical hacker style." This actually wasn't my idea; I got it from Jello Biafra, a social commentator and spoken-word artist (who is most famous for leading the now-defunct punk band "Dead Kennedys"). Jello pointed out that the "Halloween costume" approach (i.e., wearing clothes that seem like a costume to you, but are "normal" to most people) can really work when trying to reach people who don't agree with you. Some people are uncomfortable enough with our ideas, and if our dress, clothing, piercings, or mannerisms turn them off, they won't even take the time to listen to our ideas. Since I was never that attached to long hair and my "t-shirt and jeans," I decided to make the changes, in case it might help to reach such people who would otherwise be turned off. I kept the beard, though, because I really don't want to shave every morning!
That's an example of a superficial change that I've personally done to make myself more accessible to non-hackers. I also think a lot about how our work can improve everyone's life, and I always try to address my points to a person's individual concerns.
I felt this way when I cut my hair. But at some point you become the costume, don't you?