Meet 9 of S.F.’s Hottest Tech Guys – And Peep Their Style!

[UPDATE: This story was originally published on October 30.]
The entire world is eyeing S.F. as we continue to crush it with standout technology. The financial bets are big, the innovation is intoxicating, and the city is buzzing with possibilities. But, as you can tell just by looking around, dapper dressing is still pretty low on the priority list for many digital-minded dudes.
However, in a scene filled with ill-fitting hoodies, we've had our eye on a few gentlemen who are bucking this trend. The nine coolest guys in tech are keeping style top of mind while making waves in the industry. We've asked them to get real with us about fashion disasters, their perspectives on S.F. style, and how they're changing the world's idea of what it looks like to work in tech. With not a flip-flop in sight, we promise — this is geek chic at its finest.
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Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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Name: J Sider
Gig: CEO and founder of BandPage

Tell us exactly what you do.
"We help musicians set up and manage their online presence. So, if you are a musician and need to set up a Facebook page, a website, or a blog — we can help. We have over 500,000 musicians around the world that use BandPage, from musicians that are just starting out to the largest artists in the world."

How did you get started in tech?
"I slept on a couch in San Francisco for four months, going to tech meet-ups every day, talking to over 1,000 people. Then I found an amazing engineer, Chris Tholen. We would build products every day until 2 a.m. and then sleep for a few hours and wake up and start again. It's true, ask his patient and awesome wife, Kate."

What is the coolest part about your job?
"I get to build stuff I love for the people I care most about: musicians. We get to change an industry with an office full of amazing people. There is music playing all day at the office, great conversations, and tons of innovation."

How would you describe your style?
"Virginia mountain man meets urban San Francisco."

J Sider kicking it in Levi's jeans, a thrifted shirt, and that infamous red beanie!

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
2 of 17
What are your go-to wardrobe staples?
"Levi's, flannel, and a red cap."

Tell us about this infamous red beanie.
"Ha, I don't really know, I just put it on a few years ago and it was warm. So, now that I've had it on for so long it just feels weird if I don't put it on after I wake up!"

We have to ask — are you currently single?
"Nope, I'm dating this real cool girl who works a few blocks down."

Where would we find you when you aren't working?
"That's not a real question to ask someone running a start-up."

What neighborhood do you live in and what is your favorite part about living there?
"The Mission, it's got great people, great food, and the sun!"
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Name: Danny Trinh
Gig: Product designer at Path

Tell us exactly what you do.
"As a designer, I work with a really talented team to build a mobile app for your iPhone or Android called Path."

You're only 21 and have been working in tech for four years. Why did you choose to go into the tech field right after high school?
"It is one of the most accessible places to leave a mark on the world. That said, I owe a great deal to Daniel Burka and the family at Digg, who took me in at 17. Their friendship and guidance are mostly responsible for how I survived out here."

How would you describe your style?
"Amateur Daniel Burka."

What are your go-to wardrobe staples?
"Bombers, jackets, and boots."

What's the biggest fashion offense you've witnessed in the tech industry?
"People who wear something branded by the company they work for 24/7. So sad to see."

Danny rocking very blue hues! He sports a Bespoken jacket, Shipley & Halmos shirt, Vanishing Elephant sweater, J Brand jeans, and J.D. Fisk boots.
4 of 17
We have to ask — are you currently single?
"I am not in a relationship."

What are you looking for in a potential partner? Do they have to love tech?
"She doesn't have to love tech, but hopefully she does something she loves. Ideally, she's Refinery29 material."

Where would we find you when you aren't working?
"Local Edition, Patxi's, Samovar, or the Orbit Room."

What neighborhood do you live in and what is your favorite part about living there?
"Hayes Valley. Most things I need or want are within a few blocks of me. The central location makes getting home from anywhere in the city pretty convenient."
5 of 17
Name: Nick Bilton
Gig: Technology columnist, The New York Times

Tell us exactly what you do.
"I explain, in layman’s terms, for non-tech folks, how technology is impacting society and what these massive changes will mean in the future."

What is the coolest part about your job?
"My job allows me to help protect people from companies that are trying to take advantage of them — or, government when it enforces nonsensical arcane rules, like the F.A.A., which I have taken on for not allowing people to use Kindles and iPads on planes during take-off and landing."

What are your go-to wardrobe staples?
"Jeans, a white or light blue slim-fit shirt, slim dark blazer or cardigan, and brown pointed shoes. Oh, and some very colorful socks."

You're a recent NYC transplant, what are your observations of NYC versus S.F. for fashion?
"New York City is the epitome of style. Everyone looks like they’re walking on a runway, not the grimy concrete streets of the city. In San Francisco, people think a hoodie is stylistic. But, I know a number of people that are trying to change that by dressing well, myself included."

Pawdorable! Nick hanging with Pixel in a Taylor Stitch shirt, Ben Sherman cardigan, and Club Monaco pants.
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Do you think it is fact or fiction that people assume folks who work in tech have bad fashion sense?
"I think it is manufactured non-fiction. For some reason engineers and entrepreneurs believe that if they dress well it will detract from their start-up — as if caring about how they look shows they are not working 23 hours a day. But I believe it’s an incorrect assumption. I believe that as tech continues to become more mainstream, the way entrepreneurs dress will matter more in public and will also become a representation of their start-up."

Do you think this myth is being crushed?
"I hope it is being crushed. It’s sad to see so many people wander around in hoodies and flip-flops just because Mark Zuckerberg wandered around in a hoodie and flip-flops."

Seriously, what's the deal with the Happy Socks?
"For me, it’s today’s tie. You still see this in the Presidential debates, where the candidates’ ties speak volumes about their political affiliation. Socks have replaced the tie for people in the Valley."

Is there such a thing as tech groupies? Any experiences you're willing to share?
"Yup. Definitely. I was once approached in a urinal by someone who recognized me and wanted to show off their iPhone app. On my book tour last year a girl asked me to sign my name on her chest — we compromised by me signing the back of her iPad."

We have to ask — are you currently single?
"Yes. It’s just me and my dog, Pixel."
7 of 17
Name: Matt Galligan
Gig: CEO and co-founder of Circa, formerly co-founder of SimpleGeo and co-founder of Socialthing

What is your start-up all about?
"Circa is the first news publication created from the ground-up, specifically for consumption on smart phones."

How would you describe your style?
"I like classic, semi-preppy styles with a bit of edginess. I try to find one thing that might stand out with everything I put on — sometimes it's dress shoes with neon soles, sometimes it's a specific tie clip, sometimes it's a more fashion-forward jacket."

What are your go-to wardrobe staples?
"Selvedge denim, no question — I wear a pair at least fives days a week on average. They're super versatile and go with most everything. I'm also a huge fan of ties, something that's not very big in the San Francisco men's fashion scene."

Do you think it is fact or fiction that people assume folks who work in tech have bad fashion sense?
"That's a 100% spot-on fact. The average person in tech tends to dress for pure comfort. Hoodies, flip-flops, baggy jeans, and start-up schwag t-shirts. On one hand, I really wish more people would try a little harder, but on the other hand I've heard that the human brain only has the capacity for so many decisions in the course of a day. So, if you don't need to make a decision on what you're wearing — you just throw on whatever — you've got more decisions allocated for later in the day."

Matt looks sharp in a J.Crew shirt, Levi's pants, and Cole Haan shoes.
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What is your opinion on S.F. fashion as a whole?
"I think my friend Narry put it best: S.F. fashion is about comfort before it's about fashion. There are plenty of functional reasons — the weather changes a lot here, there are some crazy hills, and people don't tend to judge what's on the ‘outside’ as much as L.A. or New York. Having said that, it's definitely improving quite a bit. The trends take a little bit longer to pick up here, but at least people are graduating from wearing fleece 365 days a year."

We have to ask — are you currently single?
"Yes."

What are you looking for in a potential partner? Do they have to love tech?
"I'm all about smarts. I want to date a woman that challenges me — someone who is smarter than me. The icing on the cake is a love of adventures, good taste in craft beer, and a great laugh. Being in the tech industry isn't a pre-requisite at all for me, just a working understanding of what the Internet is."

What neighborhood do you live in and what is your favorite part of living there?
"SoMa. I'm right smack-dab in the middle of my favorite places in the city and a quick commute to pretty much anywhere around. My only regret is the overall dirtiness of it compared to some of the other neighborhoods."

Where would we find you when you aren't working?
"Any great coffee shop in the city — Sightglass, Four Barrel, Blue Bottle. Also, a joint with great beer like City Beer Store, Magnolia, or a great burger spot like Mission Bowling Club or Southern Pacific Brewing Company. I'm also a massive fan of music and love going to live shows — anything from a show at The Independent to some crazy, electronic-music dancing."
9 of 17
Name: Cesar Torres
Gig: Product designer at Asana, formerly a designer at Milk

Tell us exactly what you do.
"I'm a designer, not of clothes, but of web and mobile applications. I figure out how a user will use software products and work out the process of the interaction, from signing up to actually using the product. The design process starts very conceptual and gets very detailed in the later stages, down to the pixel level. I then work with software engineers to make sure that when it's turned into code, it works just right. It's definitely a dream job since I get to solve problems creatively and visually."

How would you describe your style?
"My jacket collection has grown exponentially since moving from Austin to S.F. — so much so, that I'm on a self-imposed hoodie embargo. As much as I'm into technology and the future, I have a weakness for the traditional and vintage, especially clothes. My style sways toward preppy, but still laid-back Texan and minimal."

Where do you shop in the city?
"Hayes Valley kills it with shops like Welcome Stranger, Azalea, and Steven Alan, and its bevy of shoe stores. I finally got fitted for a custom shirt from Taylor Stitch and I have a feeling it's going to be a big problem that the shop has my measurements on file. I went to the opening of Standard & Strange in Temescal Alley a few weeks back and while physically small, it's got a great menswear selection if you're down for a BART adventure. Also, J.Crew has been putting out really solid collections for guys lately."

What's the biggest fashion offense you've witnessed in the tech industry?
"Zynga pajama pants."

Sipping some brew and looking good doing it! Cesar flawlessly wears a Fifth & Brannan shirt, H&M jacket, Gap pants, Richer Poorer socks, and Penguin oxfords.
10 of 17
Is there such a thing as tech groupies? Any experiences you're willing to share?
"There probably are, but they probably hang out mostly on Twitter and have more followers than you and I."

We have to ask — are you currently single?
"I am single."

What are you looking for in a potential partner? Do they have to love tech?
"No, she doesn't have to love tech. So long as she loves what she does, I think that's more interesting. Certainly, an affinity for what I'm into is nice, but not a requirement. Can she just be a good karaoke partner? And hopefully, she out dresses me."

What neighborhood do you live in and what is your favorite part about living there?
"I live in the Mission. In many ways, it reminds me of Austin and carries some of the same personality. Being from Texas and Mexican, it was difficult to really 'get' the concept of burritos, but I've come around. Also, you can't beat the weather in the Mission. And the food."

What do you think is the most exciting aspect of San Francisco right now?
"All eyes are on San Francisco right now, as it regards to tech, and that's very exciting and overwhelming all at once. I'm excited about the companies that are doing amazing things and really redefining the way we operate."
11 of 17
Name: Baldwin Cunningham
Gig: Co-founder and CMO of Sponsorfied

What is your start-up all about?
"Sponsorfied is a marketplace that connects brands to sponsorships opportunities."

How did you get started in tech?
"I moved to Austin and all my friends were doing something tech-related. Then with SXSW coming to the city once a year, I had the opportunity to experience the effects of successful tech companies first-hand."

How would you describe your style?
"I guess I would call myself a prepster. Preppy plus hipster, with a heavy focus on the preppy side."

What is your opinion on S.F. fashion as a whole?
"It depends what you are comparing it to. Cities like L.A. and NY have a stronger focus on self-representation, so they tend to dress better. Again, there are really fashionable people in S.F., but it's not a main concern for the majority of people."

We have to ask — are you currently single?
"Yes, I am a free agent."

What are you looking for in a potential partner? Do they have to love tech?
"Someone that's open-minded and passionate about something. It can be anything in the world but she has to have a goal to accomplish something great. She does not have to love tech, just life."

Baldwin owning his signature prepster look in Warby Parker glasses, J.Crew shirt and sweater, and Levi's pants.
12 of 17
Name: Cullen Wilson
Gig: Co-founder and CEO of Sponsorfied, previously co-founded WordPress Engine

What is the coolest part about your job?
"I get to work with insanely talented and intelligent people, all of who are just as passionate about disrupting a massive industry that is traditionally resistant to change. We're all crazy, and it's awesome."

How would you describe your style?
"'Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.' That's a quote from Gore Vidal."

Where do you shop in the city?
"H&M, Urban Outfitters, Welcome Stranger, Revolver, and Taylor Stitch are where I find myself of late."

Do you think it is fact or fiction that people assume folks who work in tech have bad fashion sense?
"It used to be fact, but no longer. The San Francisco tech scene has become much more stylish, and with emerging hubs in L.A. and NYC it's only getting better."

Do you think this myth is being crushed?
"Most definitely. Tech entrepreneurs are increasingly design focused, and good design is based on having amazing taste. This translates to the real world."

Cullen wears a Burkman Bros. shirt, John Varvatos jacket, Levi's jeans, and an irresistible smirk!
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What's the biggest fashion offense you've witnessed in the tech industry?
Cullen: "Vibram Five Fingers shoes."

What neighborhood do you live in and what is your favorite part about living there?
Baldwin: "Cole Valley. My favorite part about it is that it's equal distance to the MIssion and the Marina, plus we have the best brunch in the city at Zazie."
Cullen: "The Mission. It's the perfect mix of amazing nightlife, has some of the best restaurants in the city, but still has a community feel."

Where would we find you when you aren't working?
Cullen: "On weekend adventures outside the city, lounging in Dolores Park, or brunching. Actually, who are we kidding, mostly brunching."

What do you think is the most exciting aspect of San Francisco right now?
Baldwin: "The energy. Everyone is building or creating something."
14 of 17
Name: Rob LaFave
Gig: Director of business operations at Joyus and co-founder and CEO of Foodzie

What inspired you to start Foodzie?
"We recognized how challenging it was for food producers and growers to sell through traditional retailers and wanted to empower them to cut out the middleman and sell more directly to their end consumer. We knew we could leverage the web to amplify the reach of the farmers' market."

How would you describe your style?
"My style is all about classic, quality articles that will last. I focus on fit, and always like to have one statement piece, whether it is a pair of washed leather boots, a chambray tie, or a pair of sunglasses."

What are your go-to wardrobe staples?
"Selvedge denim, a classic oxford layered with a sweater, and a pair of low-cut leather boots."

What's the biggest fashion offense you've witnessed in the tech industry?
"I’m pretty open to most fashion statements — however, I don’t think socks with sandals should ever happen."

Where do you shop in the city?
"A few of my favorite spots include Unionmade, Bulo Shoes, J. Crew, and San Francisco-based Fifth & Brannan.

Rob chilling out at Salumeria in a J.Crew shirt, American Apparel t-shirt, and Oliver Spencer pants.
15 of 17
We have to ask — are you currently single?
"Not this guy. I’ve been admiring the incredible Emily Olson for 10 years now.

What neighborhood do you live in and what is your favorite part about living there?
"I’ve spent the past couple of years living near Duboce Park. I love how central it is to everything in the city ... just a short walk to the Mission, Hayes Valley, Haight, or SoMa."

What do you think is the most exciting aspect of San Francisco right now?
"It’s exciting to see how the booming tech scene is creating a ton of opportunity and attracting so many talented people to live here. The city is also leading the way in green initiatives — like eliminating plastic bags — and has a thriving local food scene."
16 of 17
Name: Daniel Burka
Gig: Product designer in San Francisco. Formerly the creative director at Digg, a co-founder of Pownce, and most recently a co-founder of Milk, which was acquired by Google.

Tell us exactly what you do.
"In the past couple of years, I've been primarily designing mobile apps, hopefully making them more delightful for you to use."

What is the coolest part about your job?
"The coolest part of my job is actually touching real peoples' lives in a meaningful way. Designing a better web browser or news reader or social network can genuinely bring people together, help people achieve their goals, and can make their lives better. When you get to do something like that on a very large scale, it's awfully fun."

How would you describe your style?
"I'm into classic styles and I have a weakness for what my wife affectionately calls 'old man' sweaters. I generally prefer wool, tweed, and denim. Luckily, a guy can wear wool sweaters and scarves all year 'round in San Francisco."

Your wedding was so stylish it was featured in Brides magazine. Can you tell us a little more about the theme?
"Our wedding was a collaborative effort between my wife and I — she's an illustrator and art director. To be honest, it was at least 70% her effort! The overall feeling we were going for was an upscale picnic or, as my wife would put it, an all-out hootenanny. So, much of the wedding was outdoors, we had picnic baskets on the tables, catering was by Straw in Hayes Valley, and there was an enormous bounty of pies and desserts by my sister!"

Daniel lounging in Warby Parker glasses, Surface to Air shirt, J. Lindeberg cardigan, Levi's jeans, and Cywog boots.
17 of 17
Do you think it is fact or fiction that people assume folks who work in tech have bad fashion sense?
"The idea that geeks have poor fashion sense is an over-generalization. One of the greatest parts of being a geek is that there is no uniform, no suit you're meant to wear in order to fit in, and certainly no boss dictating appropriate attire. So, this freedom gets taken in all directions. It's a liberating culture."

What's the biggest fashion offense you've witnessed in the tech industry?
"Easily the worst fashion offense in the tech industry is going to a venture capitalist party and half the well-heeled crowd is wearing the VC uniform of pleated khakis, white shirts, and sometimes even sweater vests."

What neighborhood do you live in and what is your favorite part about living there?
"We recently moved to Bernal Heights. I love that our neighbors all treat Bernal like an enclave within the city — several strangers have told us 'welcome to the village.' It also doesn't hurt that there's a lot of great dining within easy walking distance."

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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