10 Gifts to Delight a Product Manager this Holiday Season

BY MARTIN ERIKSSON ON DECEMBER 1, 2016

With the holiday season fast approaching, and 2016 having been a somewhat… challenging… year, it’s high time we started showing our love with some gifts. So whether you’re looking for gift ideas for that special product person in your life, to reward your team, or just to spoil yourself – here are our top 10 gift ideas for product managers.

muralsurfacehub1. Virtual Whiteboard

We all love scribbling on a whiteboard, and using these giant blank spaces as structure for our ideas and how we communicate them. But what do you do if some of your team is remote? Or you don’t want to pull the whiteboard off the meeting room wall and lug it over to your desk? Get a virtual whiteboard like Mural, plug in a 84″ touchscreen like the Microsoft Surface Hub – or wait till Google releases their Jamboard. Of course you can also just cover every wall in the office (or at home) with Ideapaint.

bose-headphones2. Noise Cancelling Headphones

As much as we love talking to our team and our customers sometimes we just need some peace and quiet to focus on a particularly thorny customer problem or a weird data point, and yet it can be hard to do in today’s open office environments. Enter the noise cancelling headphones – whether you want in-ear or over-the-ear options!

coffee3. Great Coffee

Most of us product people are fuelled by coffee, and the office Keurig or (shudder) instant coffee just don’t cut it. So find your hippest local coffee shop and get a gift card! And no, Starbucks doesn’t count. Failing that, upgrade the office coffee with an Aeropress and some quality beans from that hipster coffee shop.

djimavic4. A Drone

Drones have come on in leaps and bounds over the last few years, and who doesn’t want a personal drone following them and filming every cool move on their snowboard / skateboard / surfboard / kanban board? Even if you’re not a boarding enthusiast it’ll let you get some amazing photos or footage wherever you are (except anywhere near an airport, don’t be that guy). Our office favourite is the new compact but powerful DJI Mavic.

hololens5. VR or AR Headset

Virtual and Augmented Reality might just be poised to disrupt how we do everything – the only way to know for sure or to stay ahead of the game is to try it for yourself! Get the Oculus Rift for the state of the art VR experience, or the Microsoft Hololens for a trip through augmented reality.

google-home6. Virtual Assistant

We’re all busy people who need to manage our time well, and the bots are here to save us! To better plan your meetings sign up for virtual assistant Amy over at x.ai, or get Google Home or Amazon Echo for a gadget at your constant beck and call, ready for everyone of your spoken whims.

moleskin7. Smart Notes

We all head to a lot of meetings and take copious notes. Often it’s nicer to use pen and paper to avoid being distracted by the latest animated gif in Slack, but then it can be a pain to transcribe your notes afterwards. Check out smart pens and notebooks like Livescribe and Moleskine Smart Writing for instantly digitised notes.

studio8. Touchscreen

For the designers out there nothing beats sketching and designing on a large canvas, and Microsoft’s Surface Studio provides a 28″ canvas that can be set up as a drafting table for that ultimate I’m-an-architect feeling. Or for something smaller (and actually available to buy already) pick up an iPad Pro + Pencil or Microsoft Surface Tablet + Pen.

cinema-light-box9. Communication Tools

We all know communicating product priorities, progress, and stats is one of the most important – and most boring – parts of our jobs, so inject a little movie magic with a light-up cinema sign box the next time you need to communicate your latest OKRs.

terrascout10. Nerf Gun

When all else fails – whether you need to win an argument (most likely with engineering) or do some team bonding, nothing beats a good old fashioned nerf war. Our office favourite is the twin shot Rough Cut – or why not get a remote controlled tank?

Peter Merholz at Mind the Product SF11. #mtpcon Tickets

As always at Mind the Product, we believe in turning it up to 11! Of course no celebration is complete without also gifting that special product person in your life with tickets to the world’s biggest and best product conferences in London and San Francisco – tickets for San Francisco go on sale today!

Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Martin Eriksson

About MARTIN ERIKSSON

Martin Eriksson has 20 years experience building world-class online products in both corporate and start-up environments for global brands such as Monster, Financial Times, Huddle, and Covestor. He is the Founder of ProductTank, the Co-Founder and Curator of Mind the Product and currently a Product Manager at large, advising and mentoring startups while writing Product Leadership, How Top Product Leaders Launch Great Products and Build Successful Teams (O'Reilly, 2017).

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