If you’re looking for a tech gadget or a particular online service or cause to give as a gift this holiday season, perhaps ideas from some Pacific Northwest tech Santas might help.
For the latest installment of our GeekWire Gift Guide, we reached out to a number of leaders in the Seattle-area tech community to ask if there was anything they had their eye on this year and why. The responses provide a nice assortment of inspiration, whether you need a high-tech coffee mug (and the coffee to go in it) or you want to support an organization providing increased access to technology or helping elsewhere in the community.
Leslie Feinzaig, founder and managing director, Graham & Walker Venture Fund
“This year I’m gifting DanceChurch Go subscriptions. Super fun, super easy, supply-chain proof, and guaranteed to make you smile. Plus who doesn’t need to shake it off after 20 straight months of all-day Zoom calls?!” Price: $19/month or $199/year.
Stephen Hall, venture partner at Vulcan Capital
“I’d have a hard time choosing just one. Here are three:
- Ember bluetooth-enabled coffee mug. Keeps your drink warm all morning. Beautiful design, precise control. People love it! Price: $99.95.
- Give the gift of crypto! The Coinbase mobile app now allows you to send cryptocurrency as a gift. I recommend sending that special someone some Ethereum! Price: Ether is currently trading at $4,047/share.
- The Oura Ring sleep and activity tracker Gen 3.0. I’ve used this for several years. For me, it’s the most accurate and convenient sleep tracker and includes heart rate, heart rate variability and respiratory monitoring. And it looks great.” Price: $299.
Sandi Lin, co-founder and CEO at Skilljar
“I just purchased a Remarkable Tablet after seeing many CEO peers and investors using it successfully. It has great handwriting to text conversion, and syncs with Google Drive and Dropbox!” Price: $299.
Julie Sandler, managing director at Pioneer Square Labs and PSL Ventures
“There are so many cool Holiday 2021 consumer tech innovations out there, but this year — perhaps more than any other year — the best tech gifts I’ve seen are gifts of both tech devices and tech education to students and families who otherwise would not have access (including those who have been displaced over the course of the pandemic). There are some amazing philanthropic organizations focused on this: Bridging Tech, Code2040, Black Girls Code, and of course, Code.org.
A gift to any of these organizations (donate in someone’s honor as their holiday gift!) has profound impact. And outside of that, if you aren’t able to shop small this year and shop on Amazon, be sure to double-check that you’re using smile.amazon.com so that a great social impact organization gets at least a piece of every gift you give.”
Isaac Kato, managing director Techstars Seattle
“Since I’ll be running our new crypto-focused Filecoin Techstars Accelerator in the spring, my gift recommendation has to come from the brave new world of blockchain. I haven’t seen a Bitcoin giftcard in Safeway yet, so I’ll go with the Trezor Model One hardware crypto wallet, perfect for storing your favorite cryptocurrencies in a safe, offline way. Think of it as the 2021 version of the Fossil wallet that you bought your Dad at Macy’s that he never used.” Price: $63.
Sheila Gulati, managing director at Tola Capital
- “Wondrium: I love technology that helps people learn new skills. Wondrium is the place for curious lifelong learners! Their content ranges across a wide variety of topics — from philosophy to science to arts. I have particularly enjoyed the history courses and enjoy learning about a country’s past before I visit a new place. You can gift the subscription in different time increments, ranging from $40-to-$150.
- Apollo: Wearables make technology more personalized. More and more, the world is waking up to the link between gut and brain health, as connected by the vagus nerve. I have enjoyed the Apollo wearable bracelet as a way to quickly connect into one’s nervous system to help program different experiences (for sleeping, meditating, alertness without caffeine, and more)! This has a higher price point at $349, so more of a commitment, but a great gift that contributes to wellness.”
Nick Fajt, co-founder and CEO of RecRoom
“I’m a big fan of (and investor in) Backbone. It’s the best way to play games on your phone. If you wanna improve your K/D on something like “Call of Duty,” you need one of these.” Price: $99.99.
Kieran Snyder, co-founder and CEO of Textio
“My favorite tech gift in the last couple of years is not tech at all. It’s a donation to a nonprofit or charity that the gift recipient has a connection with. Over the last few years, I’ve made holiday gift donations to Northwest Children’s Foundation, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and several other local organizations that are doing important work in our community. It’s a great use of the holiday gift budget!”
Alline Akintore, Oregon Venture Fund
“I am not sure how “techie” this is but Canon’s mini photo printer is high on my gift list.” Price: $99.99.
Laura Clise, founder and CEO of Intentionalist
- “OwnTrail Trail Guides: We all know women who would benefit from being part of a supportive network as they navigate their professional and personal journeys. A subscription to Trail Guides is a gift of connection, solidarity, and support. Price: $10/month.
- Moving Beyond DE&I Mastery: So many of us have expressed the desire to deepen our knowledge and competencies regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion and Moving Beyond’s DE&I Mastery blended learning is a course that provides a strong foundation for practitioners and professionals alike. Price: $250.
- Not surprisingly, at Intentionalist we think about technology as a means to better harness consumer, corporate, and organizational spending in support of a more connected, inclusive local economy. This holiday season, Intentionalist is collaborating with Seattle Sounders FC on our first two neighborhood Small Business Voucher Booklets — Chinatown-International District and Central District. These voucher booklets are the perfect gifts for Seattle-based tech folks who want to be more intentional about supporting the diverse local businesses that make our city great. Explore Seattle neighborhoods one delicious bite or drink at a time, knowing that voucher booklet sales directly support the participating businesses.” Price: $100.
Rebekah Bastian, co-founder and CEO at OwnTrail
“I’d suggest getting an NFT for your favorite techie. There are countless projects to choose from to reflect the recipient’s values and aesthetic taste. Between the art, community and investment potential, it’s a gift that’s both personal and practical. I particularly suggest buying from and gifting NFTs to women and people of color, to get more diversity into the Web3 space from the beginning!”
Dan Shapiro, CEO at Glowforge
“Earlier this year a friend gave me a pound of Boon Boona coffee. I drank it, loved it, read up about it, and now I’m paying it forward as my gift of choice for those who are as fond of the beverage as I am. I’m not sure if it’s a tech gift, but the hot brown stuff sure powers a lot of tech!
Boon Boona is a Seattle-area roaster and cafe that specializes in single-origin coffee from Africa. Beyond the incredible beans, they do a wonderful job of sourcing that goes way beyond Fair Trade. I have enormous respect for their business practices — they work directly with individual farmers and ethical export cooperatives in Africa. At their two cafes here in Seattle they’re incredibly community-focused as well.
Previous GeekWire Gift Guide installments: