Whether or not non-geeks can manage tech companies is a great subject for debate. I’d argue that Lou Gerstner, a non-geek, did a pretty good job managing IBM.
Fake Steve Jobs comments on this as it relates to Terry Semel’s departure from Yahoo.
Another issue is that it’s tough to run a tech shop when you’re not a techie yourself, or at least, as in my case, you’ve been around techies long enough to know when they’re bullshitting you. From what I’m told the engineers at Yahoo had a running contest to see who could tell Semel the most outrageous lie and get away with it.
Personally, I think it is possible for a non-geek to run a tech shop, but he needs a really strong technical adviser that he can lean on. If not, you’d run risk that your engineers would run all over you.