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Tech entrepreneurs can be tough to shop for. They are notorious workaholics with separation anxiety when it comes to their business. As a result, it can take serious planning to attract their attention — if you’re not a check-bearing VC or a member of their target market.
So, how do you shop for such a person?
One of the keys to getting an entrepreneur a gift they love is working with their startup obsession, not against it.
Let’s be honest — a nice new shirt is likely to get thrown in the closet in favor of startup swag and hoodies. A relaxing weekend getaway is time wasted not working. A state-of-the-art Vitamix blender for “body-hacking” will just gather dust, since it’s easier to buy a smoothie than expend valuable energy gathering and mixing ingredients.
Rather than manually prying their blue-light glazed eyeballs and keyboard-toned fingers away from their computers, why not get the entrepreneur in your life one of the gifts from this list? They are sure to surprise, delight, and provide momentary distraction from MAUs (monthly active users).
If these suggestions don’t interest you, check out our entrepreneur gift guide from 2012.
Nimbus personal dashboard
Entrepreneurs generally have a lot on their mind. Keeping tabs on all the moving parts of a startup and prioritizing is a daily struggle.
The Nimbus personal dashboard offers a simple way to stay on top of everything — with retro gauges. This customizable four-dial dashboard connects to streams of information that are important to you. It can monitor your commute traffic, weather, email, stocks, calendar, social media, and fitness trackers, and it provides a quick way to see what needs immediate attention.
Inbox getting to “out of control” proportions? Nimbus can show you how many unread messages you have. Traffic terrible? You don’t need to check traffic reports to find out.
Developed on Quirky, the device is $130. It is also at BestBuy and the Home Depot.
Getting entrepreneurs to clean the house can be tough. I know, I’ve tried. Amid all the coding, product strategizing, sales meetings, marketing discussions, and general operational and administrative tasks, cleaning can fall by the wayside.
iRobot’s Braava is a floor-mopping robot that automatically picks up dirt and dust to keep hard-surface floors clean.
It is hard to be creative or productive among filth. A cluttered space leads to a cluttered mind, and research has shown that people work better in a clean environment.
iRobot also makes a vacuum cleaner bot, the Roomba, that is a better gift option for those who live and work in carpeted abodes. Either way, these robots make it possible to maintain a baseline level of cleanliness without carving out time to actually clean.
Now, if only there was a robot for picking up clothes and doing dishes. Braava costs $300.
Smartwatches were one of the hottest trends of 2013. If your entrepreneur doesn’t already have a smartwatch, the holidays are an ideal time to buy one.
Pebble is the clear choice among all the smartwatch options out there.
Not only is it the best-designed smartwatch, but it also has the most compelling software platform, as VentureBeat’s Ricardo Bilton recently argued.
The $150 device now supports all notifications coming through iOS 7 — calls, texts, email, snapchats, Uber arrivals, Google Maps directions, flight details, games scores, news updates, and so on. You can also control music and connected home devices easily from your wrist.
Oh, and tell time.
Entrepreneurs can customize their Pebble with various colors, watchfaces, and accessories as well.