Category Nice Products

Hi there. I'm a Partner at Undercurrent, where I lead a team focused on helping ambitious organizations operate in ways that are beneficial to all their users.


Some new things:

  1. 44rn’s new, very limited-edition track chainring
    Dude Aaron Panone likes bikes, decides he wants to design/ a track chainring. Does so, has them manufactured locally out of 6061-T6 aluminum. 50 were available in two anodization options: black or clear. I can’t speak to performance, yet, but I’m looking forward to including this in my upcoming single-speed build. It’s worth noting that he’s made me very jealous by doing this; what a wonderfully cool passion project.
  2. Il Bisonte C233 wallet
    Unfinished edges, 6 card slots, incredible texture and smell. After months of looking around for something perfect, I think I found it. Made by hand in Florence. Should develop an incredible patina over time. 4″x4″ square.
  3. Delvaux for Monocle Passport Cover
    Having not renewed my California drivers’ license, I’ve been using my passport as my primary ID for something like 5 years now. And it’s gotten pretty beat up. I didn’t need a passport cover, necessarily, but sometimes you just really want something. By the way, if you look at/read Monocle, you have to go to their stores. They’re adorable and maybe a little silly.
  4. County Comm Embassy Pens
    I’ve become a bit obsessive about these. Available in copper (!?), titanium, stainless, and aluminum, and they take Fisher space-pen refills. Also potentially useful as a weapon, especially in the case of the stainless version, which is so heavy that it’s nearly uncomfortable to use. Love the interchangeable parts.

Nothing else to see here, move along.

Microsoft Courier Interface: Awesome

It hurts somehow to admit, but I love the Courier interface.

It feels important to me to somehow attempt to mimic a journal for something that will be used as one. Certainly, this could be duplicated on an iPad using an app, but I think the idea of two screens and a functioning spine is a major differentiator.

We’ll see. Via Engadget.

F*ck Yeah German Products!

I recently bought two German-built products that made me intensely happy.

One is this pen, the Kaweco AL Sport. $70.

The other is this safety razor, from Merkur Solingen. $35.

Both exhibit qualities that I appreciate in items.

  • You can take them apart. In fact, in the case of the razor, it must be taken apart in order to be used. This makes me feel like a sniper in a very specific way: the careful assemblage of parts in order to build a tool that helps me complete a task feels particularly Bourne-esque.
  • They both feel very German, in the same way that German car doors close in a particular way, and even how their cars’ Oh Jesus handles fold up without a snap, but rather with with a slow glide. The snap of the pen’s push-button-bit is particularly pleasant.
  • They are both composed almost entirely of metal. The pen is made from aluminum, and the razor from chromed steel.
  • Their design is considered, but simple. I did not choose the alternative, better-promoted safety razor—from Baxter of California—because it wasn’t designed with the user in mind. The handle was longer (bad in a safety razor, where maneuverability is key), and the head was designed in a way that made it very easy to cut oneself while changing a blade.
  • They both have odd names that are fun to say. Mer • kur  So • lin • gen. Ka • we • co.
  • They’re both from old companies that are hard to find on the internet. Merkur (Dovo) has been making razors since 1906, and Kaweco’s been in the pen business since 1883.
  • They are effective, if non-standard items. There’s nothing I like more than doing things differently from the rest of the world, especially if that way is clearly better. Having a pen—a pen that you use, that goes with you from place to place, that isn’t some standard Bic or Uni-Ball—means you never have to buy another pen. Refills are all you need, and they’re cheap. And they’d seem to be better for the environment. Razor refills are astonishingly cheaper than Gillette refills, and the packaging is at least 100 times less intense. Again, better for the environment, and better for the pocketbook. Also, I can attest to this: the shave is WAY better with this razor than I ever achieved with a Gillette Mach 3.
  • Both have somewhat nutty, ugly packaging. Especially in the case of the razor, which comes in a cardboard box. It did feel a bit like I was getting a tiny Harry Potter wand, however, when I opened the box upon returning home. But both of them are proof positive that you shouldn’t always pay attention to the pack.

See why I feel like a sniper with this thing?

Seriously, though, I appreciate that they don’t spend time or money on the box. And while we’re talking about the environment, this is way more friendly than your normal razor packaging, right?

Creed Original Vetiver

My favorite thing in the world came in the mail today. It’s a bottle of Creed Original Vetiver.

From the first time I smelled this stuff in a Nieman Marcus in Orange County, I was hooked. It smells like grass, summer, and awesome. I highly recommend you check it out.

Creed’s definitely an interesting brand, too. It’s still run by the original folks (the Creed family), which to me is one of the most important factors in maintaining a strong culture within an organization. Further, they’ve successfully blended old-world perfumery techniques with responsible manufacturing practices. At least, as far as I can tell. Vetiver, interestingly enough, is grown primarily in Haiti. Hopefully some of my purchase went toward their relief efforts there.


Awesome, Mom & Dad

It’s my birthday on Friday. The big quarter-century…

In advance of that, my wonderful parents have sent me the bench/drawer/divan above. The upholstered top folds up to reveal a compartment separate from the drawer below. It arrived via FedEx Ground (thanks, guys for not ruining it!) today. It’s perfect.

And get this: my parents made it. By hand. So yes, the above is definitive evidence that my parents are cooler than yours.

So I take that back about the brownies being the Product of the Week. This handmade beauty now takes the, er…cake.