On Uncle Steve’s Christmas list

I’ve encountered some fairly cool products in the last few weeks... just in time for Christmas. Here are some ideas for your gift list.

You can never go wrong with books by Bill Bryson. Everybody loves his writing. I bought a dozen copies of The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid ($11) for friends and family. This book is just completely great. If you or someone you love grew up in the 60s (or grew up in the Midwest), buy this book. Also check out A Walk in the Woods ($8) about the Appalachian Trail and In a Sunburned Country ($10) about Australia.

And if you haven't read it, you should add The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott to your business book list.

Everyone who has attended one of my seminars knows that I’m a gadget guy. Want to know if a new gadget idea will sell? Take pre-orders! This vendor is taking pre-orders of his reproduction of the Flux Capacitor for delivery next year. Who doesn't want this? Even if you don't need a time machine, you definitely want to check out the Garmin Nuvi 350 ($350) GPS to get you from here to there. Garmin offers different models with different features but no matter which you choose, the Garmin software is certainly better than what came with your car and is infinitely better than the Hertz AlwaysLost.

Regular readers of my blog know that I recently won the Software Idol contest at Business of Software 2007. It was great to speak at the conference; winning a Nintendo Wii was icing on the cake--and dang it, that thing is just fun. My wife and I are now "pro wii bowlers" even though I have a wicked slice (or whatever you call it when the ball curves to the left at the end of the lane). If you have a friend or family member who already has a Wii, you probably know about Guitar Hero III but it is almost impossible to find. Some other great (and easy-to-find) products you might consider are:

  • Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga. I can’t believe this is as fun as it is but basically you relive the six Star Wars movie in the world of Legos. It should be stupid but somehow it’s a blast. Using a “force push” to trash a droid is just so… satisfying!
  • Rayman Raving Rabbids 2. Talk on your cell phone during the movie until the manager catches you. Slap the kids on a car trip to keep ‘em quiet. Play the guitar part for "Papa’s got a brand new bag." Shoot invading rabbids with a plunger. Silly simple games for all ages including an easy mode for little kids.

If you have a digital camera, you definitely need to buy a Shutterfly calendar or photo book. I love the 12x12 photo book for vacations and family events but your mom might prefer an 8x11 book or a 4x4 brag book.

It’s probably time for everyone on your list to get a new iPod. I recently bought the 160 GB Apple iPod Classic. The 80-gig version will hold 20,000 songs—and only a complete musical nut (like me) has that many—but if you’re storing video, you’ll need the bigger one ($250 and $350). The Apple iPod Touch is totally cool if you don’t have much music; an 8-gig will hold about 2000 songs, or roughly 200 CDs. ($300).

And of course you will want to load your iPod with music from The Alternate Routes. Ignore the review on iTunes; these guys are great, especially the bass player. You probably should get a tee-shirt too. Buy the album from Amazon or iTunes.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.


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