Thanks for your reply. It's an interesting discussion, and indeed, I get a little fed up when even in academia, translational medicine morphs from meaning "translating theory into practice" to meaning "getting patents and making profitable startups." It's needed, but it can sometimes distort the field and culture when it becomes an ends and not a means.
I'm a little curious as to your definition of techie, because a lot of the discussion really boils down to how you define a techie.
I find my techie friends are more informed and intellectually curious than any other group. I'd put them at about equal to my academic friends in this area.
When you say this, this makes me think your Venn diagram for "technies" and "academics" has no intersection. But ask most any grad student, postdoc, or faculty in an engineering, CS, or applied math department (and increasingly many biology departments), and they'll likely regard themselves as techies.
It seems to me a reasonable definition that a techie is a technophile, particularly one who loves, uses, and improves technology in their daily work and hobbies. But if you restrict your label to Silicon Valley and tech startup types, you're lose most of the amateur techies, the open source people, and the citizen scientists.
Again, it's an interesting discussion, so thanks. (And great to meet you here on Slashdot!)