Top ten sexy geeks 2010

Photo of h4wt Sexy Geek runner-up Dr. Kiki Sanford by Mike O’Donnell.

Better late than unsexy; this year’s nerd lust list is being posted a few days after the traditional date, yet more carefully considered than usual and hotter than your MacBook Pro’s thigh-burning battery. Why more carefully considered? For one, there are more sexy geeks than ever and the research and nominations were of more volume than any previous year. Secondly, with the mainstreaming of many social media services beyond the realms of actual card-carrying technophiles, there are more celebrity posers than ever, boasting numbers and fans but with zero geek cred other than notoriety and access. Undeserved fame and Photoshop does not a sexy geek make. But wow — shout it high and Tweet it far; this year’s sexy geeks are the finest combination of delicious nerdiness, fire, mischevousness and yumminess on offer. Thank you, everyone, on all channels (like Twitter), for all of your nominations. You won’t see these sexy smarties in tired old mainstream media magazine/website hot lists *because they’re actually hot* and that’s worth the price of admission alone. And again: this list contains people we know, and some snacky people who might have partners — it is all in fun, respect, admiration, and the love of sexy geeks.

Runners-up — those who made it agonizing to keep the list at ten:

Tammer Saleh is a Ruby developer that makes me weak. They shouldn’t be allowed to be this sexy. It’s like, against the Geneva Convention or something.
Lisa Bettany ( is the world’s sexiest photography geek.
MG Siegler ( exudes an irresistible combination of young James Spader and Don Draper.
Dr. Kiki Sanford ( blinds us with science and unstoppable beauty.
Joshua Topolsky ( runs Engadget and makes us swoon.
Laura Gluhanich ( comes across as understated but up close becomes intoxicatingly sexy.
Marissa Louie ( is just firey, effervescent and gorgeous.
Anselm Hook ( is one nerdy sexy mountain man.
Amanda Wixted ( has to be the world’s tastiest game developer.
Joe Bolenbaugh ( plays the super-sexed up help desk boy in the Love Your Help Desk videos, forcing the hot fantasy pizza delivery man to find a new job.
Glenda Bautista ( lives in NYC now, so I can officially come out about how totally insanely hot this geek girl is without making it awkward (until SXSW, anyway). Look her up; delicious, brainy, and pure hotness.

* * * * * * *

Top Ten Sexy Geeks 2010

10. Giannii Calvert

Photo of Giannii Calvert by thekenyeung (

Recklessly handsome, smart, funny and a hardcore music geek, Giannii Calvert has the kind of brown eyes you can get lost in and the kind of brains that make getting lost pretty fun. After co-founding a music label, he took the risk of founding his own label with success and working as a freelance secret agent for digital think tank Undercurrent. He’s been a social network researcher, worked as coComment’s Community Manager and then got snatched up by lucky Disqus. Now he cultivates the Disqus community, leaves a trail of broken hearts all over San Francisco and sidelines in creating music and animation for short films, TV, commercials and web shows.


9. Amber Case

Photo of Amber Case by kk+ (Kris Krug).

If the fact that Amber Case is a ‘cyborg digital anthropologist’ doesn’t get your blood running hot, pair that with how drop-dead stunning she is and you’ve got the stuff that nerdy dreams are made of. Currently making all the boys, girls, various genders and most mammals too flustered to think straight in Portland (Oregon), Case founded CyborgCamp, a conference on the future of humans and computers. She’s made audiences drool from the podium at MIT’s Futures of Entertainment, Inverge: The Interactive Convergence Conference, Ignite Portland, Ignite Boulder and more. She previously wrote for Discovery Channel’s and is at work writing a book on “applying anthropological techniques to better understand industry ecosystems.” Girl crush? Yes, indeed.


8. Whit Scott

Photo of Whit Scott by stevegarfield (Steve Garfield).

Let’s just get out of the way the fact the Whit Scott is married to a very lucky girl and allow ourselves to ogle the man’s model-like features and heart-racing smile. While Scott looks like he’d be at home in front of the camera for Abercrombie and Fitch, he’s actually a devil in disguise *behind* the camera and is one of the most talented web video shooters and editors in the business. He once traveled around the world in 187 days, blogging every minute of it. An understated one, he is actually all over the ‘net and behind most of the tech-video scenes (behind his camera), and when he’s not pulling off capers like winning a Ford Fiesta with his mad video skillz, he’s observing and making subtle commentary on the uneasy marriage of social media and entertainment. Sexy, yes — but also the wickedly talented guy you want on your team if you can get him.


7. Jiz Lee

Photo of Jiz Lee by Joseph W. Carey (

Power babe Jiz Lee stops us in our tracks whether in a seriously butch suit or attending an art opening in little but eyeliner, a leather corset and rope. The self-described genderqueer geek and “web slave” quietly hacks on everything within reach while consistently pushing for more LGBTQ visibility at tech conferences such as SXSWi, and Lee develops and maintains various websites, online marketing campaigns and affiliate programs for small businesses, non-profit organizations and independent artists both in Lee’s full-time job, and “an odd assortment of side projects that never ever seem to end.” Arrestingly magnetic Lee is also a certifiable phone fetishist.


6. Paul Carr

Photo of Paul Carr by Paul Clarke.

Unerringly attractive Paul Carr is a Brit who comes off as dryly handsome, yet quickly ups the temperature in any room with one of his trademark cynical smiles — though luckily he comes with dozens of warning labels, not the least of which is warning innocent bystandresses not to date *or* employ him at any cost. We’re sure many ignore the ‘don’t touch the hot thing’ safety signs and proceed with no caution whatsoever with this TechCrunch columnist, who is a serious geek in his own right and a refreshingly self-proclaimed “New Media Whore.” He’s an author, tech writer, all-around problem child, and a force to look out for in the tech landscape.


5. Angela Natividad

Photo of Angela Natividad by Steve Hall.

Her Hotness Angela Natividad calls herself a ‘compulsive communicator’ yet while we arrive to her communication channels for the scrumptious lady herself, we’re compelled to stay for the whip-smart wit and her outstanding, provocative observations about the terrain she traverses: advertising, branding and technology (and gender). She is absolutely gorgeous and has been seen being hit on by celebs and pretty much anyone lucky enough to enjoy her down-to-Earth character and glamorous countenance; but what we love about Paris-based Natividad (besides her strategic wisdom) is that she’s the kind of girl you want to be seen with *and* hang out with. Currently she’s the lovely hostess of AdVerve, edited Marketing Vox and Adrants, and is a branding and content counselor extraordinaire.


4. Sirus

Photo of Sirus by Adam Cecchetti.

Sirius (Mikhail “sirus” Davidov) is the kind of boy who makes nerd girls weak in the knees: insanely hot, hackery, fun and funny, a code junkie — a ‘code whisperer’ — and a tried-and-true melty hacker boy… We’re all glad he ‘caved’ and started blogging (as few hot hacker boys actually do) so we can drool and affectionately stalk him a bit more, and we can easily forgive that he was a Software Development Engineer / Test Intern at Microsoft. Now he’s the Security Consultant at Leviathan Security Group which is probably enough of a business card (combined with those eyes) to make the boys and girls ready all available ports for routine checks and making our security protocols just enough of a challenge to make it interesting. Wow.


3. Amanda Coolong

Photo of Amanda Coolong by Vissago.

Amanda Coolong is not just another pretty face, though saying she’s ‘easy on the eyes’ as a tech correspondent for is both a truism and an understatement. She’s classically beautiful but don’t let that distract you from the tech industry savvy supercomputer of a brain cooking behind those eyes. She’s one of the few PR people I’ll actually admit to liking; in addition to being CCO, EP and the face of SoCal tech company focused TechZulu, Coolong lives in LA and does public relations for VC-funded tech startups, knows her way around telcos, the wireless industry, IT security, and more.


2. Brady Forrest

Photo of Brady Forrest by Randy Stewart.

The story goes like this: I walked into a San Francisco bar and noticed a really cute guy was staring at me. It made me nervous and I turned away from him. After a few minutes of being stared at by the hot guy, he tapped me on the shoulder and said — “Hey Violet, it’s me! Brady!” After knowing Seattle-based Brady Forrest as a colleague for several years, this recent experience coupled with the overwhelming number of nominations Forrest had in my inbox (and the astounding awareness Forrest has for geeks of all stripes), adding up to making him the #1 male sexy geek for 2010. He’s known for organizing (the dearly departed) ETech, and the main man behind the extremely popular Ignite sessions, which pop up all over the US, where Forrest curates lineups of nerds with all sorts of obsessions for the shortest, liveliest presentations you’ll ever see onstage about seriously nerdy subjects. This means that of all the people in the world, Forrest knows his geeks, and knows who’s the geekiest of them all on an overwhelming spectrum of topics; there’s no one in the world like him. He’s like The Geek Whisperer. And he’s drop-dead sexy. He’s taken, but that doesn’t mean we can’t stop enjoying (or in my case, being momentarily flustered) by the superb view.


1. Crystal Williams

Photo of Crystal Williams by Joi Ito.

She is a clever clever girl indeed — and makes all the hacker boys (and us girls) swoon and purr with every smile and bit of trouble she stirs up. Crystal Williams is the penultimate Hot Hacker Girl; she once wrote this thing called a thesis titled “When Piracy is Good for Software Companies” which we’re sure went over swimmingly at Adobe, and is the Vice President (Professional Services) for WorkHabit, Inc. (a Drupal-focused company) which is fitting as she’s pretty much the gorgeous face of Drupal — having founded DrupalCampLA and is currently working on DrupalConSF (registration now open!), BarCamp LA, BarCamp China and more. Williams is a privacy and security fetishist, can be spotted in the wilds at hacker conferences around the globe, and likely has an interesting keyring. She’s the hot geek for 2010, and a girl to look out for.

Thank you to everyone who helped compile this list, from Twitter to my inbox, and an occasional whisper in my ear.

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  1. I’m guessing ‘penultimate’ is not quite what you meant for Crystal given she got top honors on your list (penultimate meaning next to last, second to final, in other words preceding the ‘ultimate’, not some sort of uber-ultimo what you were going for).

    Great article, certainly worth of rephrasing properly.

  2. I dunno, it seemed a little hacker-heavy. That, and only a few of them struck me as all that hot. What about all the real geeks? Physicists and biochemists and geomophologists? Half of these folks are communicators, which negates their geek-age in my mind. Nice call on Kiki Sanford, though.

  3. Hi Violet,

    You made me *squee* with #4. Thanks for putting my man as one of the sexiest geeks of the year. I can’t say I disagree, although in my eyes he ranks as #1. ;) This entire list goes to show that you can be a geek AND be sexy at the same time! Nerds FTW!

  4. Thank you so much for including me in your annual list of hot geekiness. I was super-stunned to see my picture at the top of the page. It must have been the homemade parabolic listening device that really got your attention…

    Once again, you have chosen amazing, intelligent, HOT (for all the right reasons) people for your page of delight. You celebrate the beauty inherent in braininess. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Also, thanks to everyone who sent in nominations… very, very cool. :)

  5. Your paragraph gave me the fuzzy warms. Thanks, Violet.

    Le Web presented the perfect opportunity to meet; I wish we had taken it. In the event that your minions do make you the ambassador of Paris, we’ll have many excuses to hang out and make naughty all across the land. >=)

    In the meantime, you might crazy-dig this article about the French and porn. (Google Translate makes it an easy read, but it didn’t give me a link. =\ )

  6. Hi Violet,

    Been following you since LeWeb 09 (I was Chris Pirillo’s sherpa in Paris). Thank you so much for the picture you allowed me to take of you and I — I gave it to my friend, who was thrilled. I really enjoyed your presence and conversation at LeWeb, and I hope all is going well for you.

    Those are some HOT geeks you got there for your 2010 line up. Yowzer!

    If you ever want some more geek girl belly dance pics, check out my website and gallery at my site, as I’ll be putting up new ones from Sarah Lyons (she does my “fantasy” photo work for “brains and beauty”. Thought you’d get a kick out of it, but they are my private collection and are not posted to the Internet yet. The more “tame” ones are on my Facebook under Bernice Imei Hsu, and the gallery “Photos by Sarah Lyons”.


  7. I only happen to agree with two of the people who made the list: my buddies Amber and Brady. The rest of them, I don’t even find attractive!! Where are people like Pete Cashmore, who is the uber hot Geek of all time?!

  8. The list is cool and all, and I really like your choices and runners up.

    That said, I’m more intrigued (read: geekily distracted) by the fact that when I click a twitter link here, I end up with a weird pop-up thingy of the person’s feed! Is that something you did, or is that some Firefox (I’ll play with Chrome when xmarks starts working for it on my Mac) plug-in function of which I was not previously aware, or is Twitter just that cool now?

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