Aside

Tools, Gadgets and the Like

A major business magazine which has a gear section asked me to contribute ideas. I am so pleased as I love, love, love this section. And it got me thinking, “if I only had to choose 1 or 2 things, what would they be?”
I came up with more than 1 or 2 items across a spectrum of cool tools and gadgets. And I can’t resist sharing them here. [Will let you know when the publication prints but it's probably 2-3 months out and they'll likely only take a few of these ideas.]
Finding People.
As my business has grown to 7 people and some huge varied accounts, I find myself going to a lot of Ceo and CMO offices around the Valley. Which is great except for the fact that I am incredibly directionally challenged. Really challenged. I’ve been known to call my husband from San Francisco to figure out which direction San Jose is. I’ve gotten lost in San Jose trying to get to Los Gatos. It’s bad and the fact that I’m admitting is perhaps like admitting defeat. Santa (aka my husband, Curt) helped me several years ago by getting me a Garmin unit that mounts to my car dash and helps me get everywhere with point by point directions. I have an older, bulkier unit that requires un-hidden wires, and I keep waiting for it to fail so I can get a cooler, battery driven slicker version of the same brand, Garmin, unit. This is the one I would choose today (until the next cool one comes out!).
Connecting, my way.
I don’t know when I got to the point where I don’t like to answer the phone, or retrieve left messages on my different (3) voicemails. But it’s been true for a long, long time. I only want one port in-bound: email. So it’s not a surprise that when my assistant saw Simulscribe in the WSJ, she got it for me. For about 6 bucks a month, it converts voicemails to emails and sends them to you along with a digital recording. So when you’re in a meeting, you can quickly look down at your device and see what someone wanted without having to step out of the room or even answer the phone. Plus, you can then call back easier because the # is on the screen. This now means my assistant no longer has to go through my voicemails after I’ve let many, many accumulate on the phone. She loves this thing even more than I do.
Finding People:
For anyone who has tried to use a mobile browser to get quick information or worse yet 411 to wait and get connected to the wrong 3, there’s an alternative. Google’s free service: 800-GOOG-411. Or you can send a text to 46645 with the name of a business and city-state OR zip code and get a text back in seconds. It really works.
For Blog Ideas
Moleskine Cahier As much as I love the classic Moleskine hardbound black journals, the newer, cheaper, cahier version is even more better. The raw brown cover begs to be customized via silkscreened, stamped, and stickered, and the last 16 sheets of each book are detachable. They come in sets of three, and are much more affordable than the hard cover versions. $9.50 on Amazon but sporadically missing online. I want to create custom Rubicon ones for every client, every colleague. The paper is perfect in how it captures ink. I know some people are still diehards for the hardbound black ones. In fact, when I talked with Jeff Bezos at E*tech for 20 minutes, he pulled out his 3×5 version and started taking notes. It was all indexed and had clearly lived in his back pocket for a while. This is the lighter version for those of us doing most things electronically now a days.
To Capture Strategy or Major Ideas
Always loved the feel of fountain pens but after one-too-many-leaks, I’d almost given up having one. And then there’s this thing I get into. I need a particular pen to have ideas. If I don’t have it, I really notice it. This pen is my favorite for several years. Pilot has considered canceling this pen a few times but user demand has kept it alive. Buy the medium or bold tip as the fine tip is for miniscule writing.
Best Presenting Tool:
New Blue Laser Pointer – Just coming on the market. Really incredible tool when giving talks, delivering strategy content. I am going to work on a rationalization process to get this. I have a red one but really the blue one is ultra cool.
Lightweight Fun
I’m always looking for good tools to take backpacking and I’m a fan of ultralight technology so I can go farther with my limited time off. This is universally the best tool…..for everything. A knife, a beer opener, a screw driver, etc all in 5 ounces.
Power!
Green power has become oh-so-hip now a days. I have the following product as a back up for my cell phone. After getting caught at a trade show and my battery died, I picked up one of these so that I could always use a AA battery to do urgent phone calls or use my computer.
Fuel:
There is one thing that no [ambitious, high-tech, silicon valley, executive, whatever] person can live without: good morning coffee. The only reason I don’t like early in-person meetings is that I have to hurry past my homemade Peet’s Sumatra coffee made in a french press to get some drip or other poor quality coffee at some coffee shop.
Soul Food:
A persian poet who speaks to the fundamental nature of humanity. Rumi is one of the few that can transcend the artificial boundary of religions, and speaks authentically to those seeking goodness, faithfulness and wisdom. One line stays with me, especially on tough days, “ hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you”. You might wonder why poetry should matter to business types like me. But the point is that I really think we need to be highly conscious, grounded people to be effective leaders. This is one of my favorites to restore my soul. I keep a couple things in my office from him as well as the book at home.
Custom Casing:
Speck See Thru creates these great hard-case protections that lets me add color to my MacBook. It’s made of translucent, hard polycarbonate to beautify and protect my latest 13-inch MacBook purchase. And it offers a perfect fit, so the streamlined look remains pristine. Interestingly, Apple’s notebooks are not on my hot list right now. Even though I own several units, I think they’ve left their base behind with their iphone and ipod craziness. I’m left with old-school technology where the innovators go work on the web and the convergence technology. I would pay an extra grand to get exactly the right configuration of technology. They need the next generation of the computing platform (not Foleo but what will follow as several vendors are working on a new category) to put attention back to computing mini-laptops.
To Carry It All:
No one and I do mean no one should be surprised that I had to have a handbag on my list. It’s an issue, I know. But here’s the thing. I want a great bag to carry all this stuff. I know the dimensions of all my technology, and my biggest one being my notebook from Apple. That drives the totes I buy. I own several great bags including name brands like Bottega, Ferragamo, Upla (French brand) and and others. But, the thing they all have in common is that they hold my Mac Notebook, journal, client files, my crackberry, moleskin notebooks, etc. I never stop shopping for them, even though I have several. The common dimension is minimum 9” but ideally 10-11” high, 15 wide, and about 3-4” wide. Short handles a necessity as this avoids pulling out your back at a conference. This Prada one for Fall looks like a winner. Or this one, perhaps…
Mysterious Presentation Tool
Bruce on my team mentioned there’s a product that will let a user manage what is projected and when so you can darken an entire screen while you talk to the audience for a bit and then return to the slides. I can’t wait to find out about that! If you know what it is he is referencing, let me know. I think Rubicon needs one of those.
Okay. That was fun. Let me know what else I need to know about.

0 Responses:

  1. Bruce. July 9, 2007 at 1:47 pm  |  

    Interlink’s Remote Point Navigator

    Reply
  2. Castle. July 13, 2007 at 5:06 pm  |  

    “Bruce on my team mentioned there�s a product that will let a user manage what is projected and when so you can darken an entire screen while you talk to the audience for a bit and then return to the slides.”
    The “B” button? Also try the “W” button for hand-puppets.
    -C

    Reply

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