If you're shopping for someone who loves business, the Internet, new media and more, you know how vexing and difficult the process can be.
For these people, "what do you get for the person who has everything?" morphs into, "what do you get for the person who has everything before anybody even knows it's going to be something?" Those at the bleeding edge are fairly bored with the cutting edge, and while the pat answer of "get them something - anything - with buttons and flashing lights on it," might seem logical, odds are that they probably already have it (if they don't, it's usually because they're not interested).
It's time to get creative or think differently.
So, in the spirit of the holiday season, here are a bunch of gift ideas for the new business professional in your life.
Upgrade their mobility.
As we continue to untether from cubicles and wired connections to the Internet, there's no doubt that the new business person in your life lives with their mobile device as if it were a personal remote control for everything they do. If they're an iPhone user, you can upgrade them to the iPhone 3GS which is not only faster, but has a higher memory storage capacity along with video functionality. The video is a big deal because some of the most fascinating applications for the iPhone (available through the iPhone app store) are now based on something called, augmented reality, where the video of what you're seeing is layered with amazing information and graphics. Example: take the Yelp! the augmented reality application which when turned on will show you the restaurants and hotels that are in front of you along with all of the reviews, ratings and pricing.
For the BlackBerry user in your life, the new BlackBerry Bold has an optical trackball (much like the touchscreen of the iPhone) and offers a much slimmer form factor and faster processing of applications. Google has also introduced its mobile devices, Android, on many of the major carriers. With quick synchronization to all of your favourite Google applications, some of its devices even have free turn-by-turn GPS capabilities layered over Google Maps. These have many people raving.
If upgrading their device is too costly, consider a gift card good at the iPhone app store or the BlackBerry app store (note: for some strange reason you can't use a gift card towards iPhone apps in Canada). This way, your loved one can load up on the applications and tools (and maybe even games) they like, and they'll always think of you whenever they fire one up.
It's hard to read and follow everything. Many new business people are reading multiple books, magazine, blogs and new websites all at the same time. Many of them have stacks of business books they swear they'll get to, but never do because they travel and don't want to schlep around the extra weight. These same people have probably been eyeing the Amazon Kindle e-book reader or the new Sony Reader Touch. These devices are game changers. Personally, I have been using the Sony Touch Reader and the size alone makes the device priceless. The screen resolution has come a long way, and the digital ink technology really makes reading on both devices a pleasure. They're both light and thin, and carry hundreds of books in memory. The Sony device has a touchscreen and excellent note annotation capabilities (courtesy of a stylus pen). The Amazon Kindle is fully wireless, so you can download books from wherever you are. They both have pluses and minuses (the Sony has a more open file format, so PDF and Word documents do not get transferred over into a proprietary file format like the Kindle does, but you do have to plug in your Sony Reader and buy books as you would buy music via iTunes and then sync the device). If your loved one already has an e-Book reader, you can buy them gift cards through Amazon or the Sony Reader book store, so that they can stock up on more titles (including their favourite newspapers and magazines).
Less Digital Reading.
If you don't want to go down the e-book Reader path, there are more traditional media gifts that will still keep them at that bleeding edge. Consider a monthly subscription to Wired Magazine or Fast Company (or both). Both publications offer countless in-depth gems and tidbits into the world of business, new media and technology. While having the digital version downloaded to your Kindle the moment it's available is effortless, seeing it in print and in full-color is something that these e-readers have yet to master (Apple's pending tablet device may come close, but it has yet-to-be announced). Both Fast Company and Wired Magazine's features are rich and offer the business person more insights into how businesses are changing and succeeding. If they're into more long-form content, consider picking up for them one of the following books:
- Connected by Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler.
- Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.
- Viral Loop by Adam L. Penenberg.
All three are fairly new non-fiction business book titles that will keep their attention and fill them to the brim with new business ideas.
The idea here is to be creative.
Get them a gizmo or gadget that they've been eyeing, but would never buy for themselves. If all else fails a new mouse (I recommend the new Logitech MX Anywhere) or even some memory cards with lots of new/increased storage capacity is sure to be something they would appreciate. For the more unique tech gifts, check out both Think Geek and Tokyo Flash - both of those websites will definitely have something that will get people talking. I wish you a happy (and safe) holiday shopping season.
Any other great gift ideas that you can add?
The above posting is my twice-monthly column for the Montreal Gazette and Vancouver Sun newspapers called, New Business - Six Pixels of Separation. I cross-post the article here with all the links and tags for your reading pleasure, but you can check out the original versions online here:
- Montreal Gazette - Gift ideas for the business professional.
- Vancouver Sun - Gifts for the media-savvy techie on your list.