As you might imagine, we here at GeekWire gave a lot of thought to the meaning of the word “geek” when we were coming up with a name for this site. We ended up settling on something along the lines of the definition put forth by this Venn diagram.

As an equation, it would be expressed, Geek = (Intelligence + Obsession) – Social Ineptitude.

And it turns out that a growing number of people would agree.

Today, May 25, is Geek Pride Day. And to commemorate the occasion, IT staffing services firm Modis commissioned an exhaustive study on practically every aspect of geekdom, aiming to highlight the value geeks bring to the workplace. Among the findings: 57 percent of Americans consider it a compliment to be called a geek, and 17 percent identify themselves as a geek. Younger generations are embracing the word at an even higher rate. And almost twice as many people would rather be called a geek than a jock.

Those are just a few of the findings. Continue reading for selected charts and data.

More stats and findings from the Modis study in this news release.

(Thanks to GeekWire reader Bob Wise for originally pointing us to that Venn diagram.)

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Anonymous

    Not bad for a word that originally referred to a sideshow performer who bit the heads off live chickens. Geek pride! You’ve come a long way…

  • Joshua ‘Red’ Russak

    #GeekPride – Today I’m proud to be called a “Geek”. Well done. Love the infographs!

  • jwAustinCrowe

    Could we get this post in EBCDIC?

    • loquacious

      Ha… Ha….

      OMG!  ROFLOL! 

    • Sumit

      Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code (EBCDIC)
      Now, that is just plain nerdy :p

    • Sumit

      Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code (EBCDIC)
      Now, that is just plain nerdy :p

  • Anonymous

    Can we organize a geek festival? 

  • DB Conner

    Uh, the geek formula is wrong.  You should not be adding a negative amount of social ineptitude. Rather, simply add Social Ineptitude. Or maybe express as a power.

    Are you SURE you geeks here, or just geek-wanna-be’s ?

  • Obx

    Why is Geek pride day on the birthday of Visual Basic?  Visual Basic sucks!

    • Lunarlamp

      Unfortunately for you, their statement is in line with their Venn diagram.  That is, they define a geek as a person of intelligence and obsession (traits shared with a nerd), but without social ineptitude, which their Venn diagram suggests is the differentiating factor between a geek and a nerd.  Or, to put it another way, a geek is a socially adept nerd.

  • Freerangemom

    Your geek pride story inspired me to write a post regarding the whole Shankman/Vaynerchuk/Randfish debate on the value of social media experts.  Thanks for helping me frame my point of view on the issue:  href=””>Proud
    to be a social media geek!

  • NerdApparently

    I wonder if a life of wasted potential is a result of being a geek, or is that just a lack of self esteem?

    I believe the brain is structured in a way where the neural passageways associated with technical analysis areas of influence and social charisma areas of influence are diametrically opposed, and as a result, most geeks end up as socially inept not as a result of focusing on the technical but rather a neglect of the social.

    I can only speak for myself as I am amidst a process of developing the social side of my brain.  Too bad i am so late in life to “discover” this.  I blame my oblivious approach to life, and I believe that it is never too late to start over or heal the neglected part.

    I spent a great portion of my life hiding from social situations, and only recently made the decision to change this.  I am a single dad and apparently my daughter loves me so much she is modeling her life on my example.  She too is somewhat socially inept.  I love her so much that I must change in order to save her from a life like mine.

    I reached a point in life where I realized that rather than seek happiness, I was justifying that I was happy living a miserable life.  I believed my hermit like existence was that way because I like it that way.  I believed I have no friends because I am too picky.

    My perspective changed when I saw my daughter suffering in social situations – the anxiety, the fidgeting, the awkwardness.

    I need to become someone I’m not in order to save this poor child.

    Or maybe in becoming someone else, I will discover who I really am?

    Wish me luck.

  • Richard

    When I was younger I was happy with science/technology as it always arrived at the same result i.e. it was predictable.  But people would change from day to day.  So I shied away from people and kept them as a mystery best avoided.

    I now have a daughter who makes even bigger blunders than I did, and I am trying to save her from herself.

    She makes a good study for me, and I can look back into my past and (only now) realize I did the same things as she does with the same outcomes, but at the time I didn’t even know that I had screwed up. Observing my daughter has been a real eye opener.

    I now observe people around me and realize that they all have *some* problems – friends, family and all.

    Most of all I have learned about myself  –  and I don’t feel so bad that I messed up so many times – it is the way I am made. I still make silly social blunders, but at least I now I know I am making them, and I try to avoid them in future.

    Take a Myers-Briggs test, find out who you are, and learn to live with yourself.

  • You suck

    Geek pride…
    A vern diagram to illustrate the inferior breeds, compared to geeks…
    You people are pathetic.
    You make me feel ashamed to call myself a geek.

Job Listings on GeekWork