20 Gifts for the Productivity Nerd in Your Life (2011 Edition)

They say “it’s the thought that counts,” but everyone knows you get major bonus points for giving gifts that your special someone will actually use. So without further ado, welcome to the 99U’s highly curated and pragmatic guide to holiday shopping. Whether it’s getting organized, stimulating your brain, rocking out at your desk, or just transporting your gear, we’ve got something for that special (nerdy) someone in your life.


99U Messenger Bag ($80)
We partnered with SF’s sustainability-minded Rickshaw bags to make a supercool custom messenger bag just for 99U fans (with our old-school 99% logo). It’s got a quick-adjust shoulder strap, lots of pockets, and sweet little details like a “make ideas happen” tag and an interior zip pouch with our Edison inspiration: “Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration.”

Slice Box Cutter ($19.99)
Winner of the Red Dot Design award, this is the Bentley of box cutters. The perfect gift for the serial online shopper with a constant flow of boxes to break down!


PlugBug ($35)
Made for all Macbook power adapters, PlugBug streamlines the charging process by allowing you to charge your laptop and your iPad or iPhone from one outlet with one cord. As Thoreau said, “Simplify, simplify.”

UP bracelet ($99.99)
For those fond of data tracking, Jawbone’s new UP bracelet is pretty much the ultimate gift. The lightweight band wraps around your wrist and tracks your eating, sleep, and activity habits to promote healthier living.Editor’s UPdate: Apparently, the Jawbone UP is experiencing serious hardware issues, so you might want to wait until they get them resolved to investigate this product!


Cats Let Nothing Darken Their Roar 2012 Calendar ($45)
This charming calendar from Helsinki-based designer Noa Bembibre presents funny little phrases built around the letters of each month. Printed in a limited-edition run of 700, these will sell out fast, so order asap.

003 Track Headphones ($84)
For great quality sound and a nice look, these slim profile AIAIAI headphones are just the ticket. Ear cups detach for packing, and they have a 3-button, in-line microphone for call, music, and volume control. Nice.


Malcolm Gladwell: Collected ($50.40)
Tis the season to get your Gladwell on with this gorgeous box set of Mr. Malcolm’s greatest hits, including The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. But what we really love are the awesome illustrations from Brian Rea.

Bakelite Pencil Sharpener ($17)
If you know one of those crazy creatives who still uses pencils, this Bakelite sharpener may be the perfect stocking stuffer. It fits two sizes of pencils, and is made of duroplast – a recycled material that is reportedly “as strong as steel.”


Action Circa Notebook ($34)
The Circa notebook – a collaboration with Levenger – is the latest addition to Behance’s Action Method paper product line. The patented circa system allows you to mix and match Action Method and/or Dot Grid sheets to create your own little productivity ecosystem.

Takumi Jet Lag Clock ($40)
If you don’t want to be tethered to your mobile phone for all your clocking needs, the Jet Lag Travel Clock offers a clean and simple alternative. It’s good looking, low-profile, and has all the functionality you need and not a button more.


BEAMS Pack from InCase ($179.95)
Normally, we wouldn’t have included such an expensive backpack, but this new collab between InCase and premium Japanese brand Beams cannot be ignored. With padded pockets for your Macbook pro AND your iPad, this super-stylish backpack is a tech nerd’s wet dream.

Kaweko Classic Sport Rollerball ($22)
When screwed shut, this classic Kaweko sport pen is just about the length of an iPhone. It delivers a nice, bold line, comes in a range of classy colors, and fits neatly in even tiny pockets. Can’t go wrong here.


Holstee Manifesto Poster ($25)
Need a daily kick in the ass? Or perhaps a reminder that life is short? Just place this Holstee manifesto poster over your desk and you’re good to go.

Bamboo Bottle ($25)
With a bamboo wrapper around a glass container, this high-design water bottle is sustainable, portable, and accommodates hot and cold beverages without fear of those icky BPAs.


Pivot Power ($29.99)
Solve the issue of plugging lots of large adapters into one power strip with Pivot Power from the inventor-driven product design company Quirky.

Folding Pocket Scissors ($8)
Like to run around with your scissors but still play it safe? These foldable steel pocket scissors are great for snipping on the go, and they look pretty damn slick, too.


Dot Grid Cahiers, 2-pack ($7)
Behance’s Dot Grid Cahiers – in black or natural – tuck right into your back pocket so you’re always ready to capture good ideas. The pad’s light geometric dot matrix serves as a subtle guide for notations and sketches.

Bookman Bike Lights ($29.99 for two)
Bike lights should always come in twos, shouldn’t they? This pair includes one white light and one red light that strap onto your cycle with a dead simple bungee cord attachment system. A great stocking stuffer for the fixee crowd.


Felt iPad Sleeve ($52)
Like to stash your Apple electronics in style? Rib and Hull makes a lovely line of felt and leather cases for stashing your iPad, Macbook Pro, and Macbook Air.

Lynda.com Gift Subscription ($25)
Got a friend who needs to learn Photoshop, Illustrator, Final Cut Pro or some other creative software? You can give the gift of knowledge with a 1-month membership to Lynda.com’s awesome software tutorials.

What’s On Your List?

What are the must-haves on your productivity nerd shopping list?

Jocelyn K. Glei

more posts →
As Editor-in-Chief and Director of 99U, Jocelyn K. Glei leads the 99U in its mission to provide the “missing curriculum” on making ideas happen. She oversees the Webby Award-winning 99u.com website, curates the popular 99U Conference, and is the editor of the 99U books, Manage Your Day-to-Day and Maximize Your Potential.
load comments (21)