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Since kicking off the official voting yesterday, we’ve already collected hundreds of votes for the upcoming Seattle 2.0 Startup Awards. And we’re expecting even more ballots to flow in as we highlight the top minds and businesses in the Seattle startup community in the coming days, leading up to the big awards bash May 3rd at the Experience Music Project.

Today, we’re showcasing a fun category: “Geek of the Year.” Here’s how we described this one during the nomination process: “If engineering is the ‘kitchen’ of startups and tech giants, geeks are the top chefs. Nominate the best developers, designers, makers and doers in local tech.”

We’ve got a diverse group of finalists in this category, which is sponsored by Filter. And the competition is pretty tight based on the initial ballots. Vote here if you haven’t already, and if you need help deciding, see more background on each finalist below the poll.

Buster Benson: The entrepreneur, author and mobile app developer previously worked at before creating Robot Co-op, Locavore, and most recently, Habit Labs, a new service designed to improve one’s health and fitness. A constant chronicler of his daily routine and whereabouts, Benson’s online exhibitionism has led him to post more than 25,500 items to the Internet since October 1999.

Jim Demonakos: The longtime Emerald City Comicon director (and past GeekWire Geek of the Week) is one-half of the Kirby Krackle nerd rock band, owner of the ComicStop comic-book store chain, and author of a best-selling graphic novel.

Oren Etzioni: This serial entrepreneur and University of Washington computer scientist — another former Geek of the Week — has made a habit of building businesses based on complex algorithms that help people make decisions, the latest being, a startup that forecasts the price of consumer electronics and appliances.

Yoky Matsuoka: She’s leaving the University of Washington, but this longtime Seattleite and specialist in robotics and human-machine interfaces is expanding into the consumer world as the vice president of technology for Nest, the Silicon Valley-based startup that develops and markets an intelligent learning thermostat.

Nathan Myhrvold: The former Microsoft technology chief, a lighting rod in the world of technology patents, also made his mark in the culinary world this past year with a six-volume scientific cookbook called Modernist Cuisine, cementing his geek cred. As if the dinosaur-hunting wasn’t enough.

You can vote  in all of the Seattle 2.0 Startup Awards categories here. Also, don’t forget that early-bird pricing concludes this Friday, so make sure to pick up your tickets today for this exciting night in local tech.

Thanks to our event sponsors FilterProtingentSalad LabsSilicon Valley Bank,  SplunkWashington Partners, Heinz MarketingBader MartinSEOmozChristensen O’Connor Johnson KindnessKnoll, and Creativello for their support. Email for available sponsorship opportunities, and learn more here

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