Note: this post is from 2011. 🤷♂️ If you’re curious what kinds of products I'm excited about in 2019, read about that here.
So I made a list of everything I really liked in 2011. Then I paired it down. Then I paired it down again. And now I have a list of 11 products, in three basic categories, that I’ve really enjoyed this last year.
Coming in at not only a product I’ve loved in 2011, but also as the ugliest website I’ve used this year, Shoelaces Express offers cool colored shoelaces at reasonable prices. I’ve got a pair of Neon Blue round laces with silver tips on a pair of my favorite brown standard dress shoes. Before getting Shoelace Express’d the shoes were pretty bland—not bad, but nothing special. Now they are essentially their own pick up line.
I’ve only ordered from Hairpin Legs once, but it was one of those times you order the product, can not wait for them to show up, install them on your couch, and not only have no buyers regret, but want to tell everyone you know about them. It’s also a product that’s incredibly specified. They sell beautiful metal chair/table/whatever legs. That’s it. And they do it really well.
Ikea SLOM (Now KORKEN) Bottle
I use this bottle for cold water. I fill it up and stick it in the fridge. When I’m thirsty, I just take it out and have a stylish, non-ugly, non-tupperware water container to drink from. It’s a simple joy, and may be more form than function, but I enjoyed having a few around the house this year.
This was a product I heard about a few times, that had intrigued me, but remained “an internet thing” in my mind. It’s fashionably marketed, incredibly simple to use and set up, and powerful. It fills a need I didn’t know I had, but now would find it sad to live without. It helps that it’s the most attractive portable/wireless speaker on the market right now. Yes, it’s a bit expensive, but if you’ve got $200 extra to spend, or are looking to fill out your birthday wishlist, definitely look to the Jambox.
Ah, what to say about Trunk Club. My stylist Katherine is dear to my heart. I look forward to going in, trying on clothes, and throwing money at her once a month. They really know how to treat a man when it comes to comfort. I mean, she hands me a beer when I walk in, directs me to a comfy chair in a private nook in their warehouse, and brings over a stack of clothes I’ll probably like, in my sizes, to try on. It’s one of the best things in my life, period. Now, granted Trunk Club is based in Chicago, so I have quite a different experience than most Trunk Club members. Since they’re in town, I go in for consultations, rather than doing their normal trunk service. But honestly, the trunk service is what I thought was so cool about them in the first place. Fair warning, this ain’t Old Navy. Every piece you buy from Trunk Club is an investment in good, quality, inevitably expensive fashion.
Fab is really like a bunch of products rolled into one great service. Their design is ok, their products aren’t always great, but I buy something I feel like “I’ve always wanted” from them about once a week. Honestly, sometimes I feel like I’m single-handedly supporting them (Not really, they have over a million users). Fab also has incredible customer service. I’ve had to emergency cancel orders (not a problem), they ran out of something I ordered once and they gave me a consolation $20 credit. Plus, the more people you invite, the more free credits you get (I know, pyramid scheme, but it’s been nice for me … at the top). If you want an invite, let me know.
GrubHub is the ultimate we-live-in-the-future app. I mean, I sit lazily on my couch at home, launch an app on my tiny hand computer, pick out what I want to eat from a million different restaurants in Chicago that deliver, pay for the food including tip, and then food appears at my door in about an hour. It really must be experienced to be believed.
The release of this app was a turning point for me in communication with people. As a few people know, I’ve boycotted the cellphone in recent months. I’ve gone full iPad for mobile communications. So naturally I’ve been looking for every opportunity to easily communicate over a 3G connection. Facebook messenger, while not a full solution for this, is a great, beautiful app that keeps a conversation archived and seamless across multiple platforms (unheard of, as it turns out). It’s how messaging should work. No confusing local copy, all messages are served from the same place, making the conversation simple as pie to move from mobile to desktop. Most recently, I’ve been using it for an ongoing, superchat with a couple of my close designer friends. It’s been a fun addition to my life.
This is a simple addition to this list, really. TripIt is a nice little service that allows me to forward my flight and hotel confirmation emails to firstname.lastname@example.org where the app proceeds to add every detail of my trip (using what can only be described as magic) to a nicely designed itinerary in the TripIt app on my iPhone and iPad. Simple, lovely, convenient, free.
Instapaper, the app some know as the black hole that collects things they’ll never read, recently went through a complete visual and UX overhaul. Not to worry though, this bloat-free update still allows you to chug through your day, knowing you’ve got that article everyone is raving about saved to be read later in the comfort of your favorite chair. It still brings me a whole lot of joy to be able to stay up to date, on my own time, on all the incredible things that are being written every day.
Chrome, Flights, Gmail, Docs, Images, Maps, Shopping, Not Android, Bookmarks, YouTube, Offers, Calendar, Voice, Analytics. I mean, hats off to this incredible company. They are revolutionizing so many industries, and with their recent redesign across almost every one of their products, I have nothing but respect for these guys. Here’s to another year of innovation from Google.