🎁 Treat Yo' Self: A Holiday Gift Guide for Founders

We all deserve a little self-care this year. Curated from 2020's interviews.

Homescreens features behind-the-screens interviews with founders and makers, followed by their favorite apps, audiobooks, and everything in between. Subscribe now and never miss an issue. Sent every Friday morning.

Happy first day of the last month, of the longest year in history! I’m doing something a little different with this issue of Homescreens: my first bonus issue! As you can tell from the hopefully non-seizure-inducing gif, I put together a Holiday Gift Guide that is 100% curated from the past 6 months of interviews.

This guide is meant for anyone: from the remote worker, aspiring entrepreneur, to the startup founder— I tried to include apps and items that everyone will enjoy. Each product is paired with a quote by the person that recommended it, featuring the following past guests:

Lastly, the inspiration for this issue came from Janine Sickmeyer’s incredible The Ultimate Founder’s Gift Guide, so make sure to check that out as well!

Gifts for Staying Fit and Mindful

  1. The Oura Ring $239 - A smart ring that tracks your health, physical activity, and sleep.

    I recently bought the Oura Ring, which tracks your sleep, your activity throughout the day, and gives you your readiness for the day score. One of my quarantine projects has been productivity hacking — what else can I do to maximize my focus and productivity. - Lena Levine

  2. Peloton Bike $1895 - A connected stationary bike that features live classes.

    I have been using it for the digital subscription. So whether it's a walk or a jog, my wife's also used it for yoga, and different things like that. I've also used it for some meditation. I'm very, very close to taking the leap and getting the bike — I'm probably going to do it this week, so it's that close. It's imminent. [Since this interview, Greg sold the Bike and upgraded to the new Bike+] - Greg Bailey

  3. Headspace $69.99/year - Guided mediation app that offers mediation and sleep classes.

    I love Headspace, I’ve been meditating since I moved to California and it has literally changed my game from 0-100. I feel mindfulness is important, but no one teaches it. To me, it’s all about zooming out. In Photoshop, you zoom out to see the big picture instead of focusing on the three pixels driving you nuts. - Mike Brylinski

  4. Mealime Meal Plans $49.99/year - Customizable meal planning app.

    Mealime is great because it has a bunch of recipes, and when you click on it, it builds your shopping list based on the recipes that you like. So we get recipe ideas, and then it just builds our list out. My wife and I have really enjoyed that. - Jonathan Gorczyca

Gifts for the Voracious Reader

  1. Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, By Matthew Walker Ph.D. $10

    I read Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, as everyone in the world did at some point in 2017-2018, and that was one of the big things—this phone thing. Occasionally when I cave and bring my phone into bed with me thinking, “Oh, you know I'll just reply to this one person super quick” and next thing I know it's 2 am and I've just been scrolling through Instagram doing absolutely nothing useful. So yeah, phone in the bed is a bad idea. - Ali Abdaal

  2. Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility, By Patty McCord $19

    Patty used to be Reed Hastings head of HR at Netflix, and I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the Netflix Culture Deck, it’s a slide deck that’s probably more than 100 slides. If you were a new hire at Netflix, they felt it was so important about communicating the culture and expectations at Netflix, this is the deck that all employees would receive from the leaders at Netflix. - Greg Bailey

  3. Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love, By Marty Cagan $21

    I think the top book for this is Inspired by Marty Cagan. It's good for a beginner. It goes over: What is a PM? How do you work with an engineering team? What is product at a company? Who do they interact with? What do customer interviews look like? It's very, very high level and touches on a lot of the different functions of a PM. So if you're getting into product, I think Inspired is a really, really great book to start with. - Irma Mesa

  4. Smart Cities for Dummies, By Jonathan Reichental $20

    If we’re going to have a happy and prosperous future, we need new ideas, skilled talent, and informed leaders to build the cities of tomorrow. Everyone deserves a good quality of life. This book can help make that happen. - Jonathan Reichental

  5. Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups, By Jason Calacanis $29.99

    I haven't listened to a ton of Jason Calacanis’ one [This Week in Startups], but I did read his book on Audible called Angel, I like that a lot, particularly as an entrepreneur. It's good to have the other side of the investor perspective. - Prem Kumar

  6. Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies, By Reid Hoffman $20

    Another that I think is worth listening to as a founder like once every two years is Blitzscaling. You have these different stages your company can be in, and if you go through it in real-time, it feels slow, you’re moving slowly. But the view here is—oh, yeah, I’m in a very different phase than I was a year ago. - Nicky Hinrichsen

Gifts for the Productivity Guru

  1. Calendly $96/year for Pro - A scheduling app that allows you to quickly share a link.

    I use Calendly for everything—it saves me at least five hours a week. You'll notice on my home screen I have the Calendar there, but I have Calendly piped in the back end that automatically loads all my events. I have forty-two calendars running. I use calendars almost like messages. - Jack Greco

  2. Superhuman $300/year - A lightning-fast email client powered by keyboard shortcuts.

    I’m going to say it’s been close to a year now that I’ve been a Superhuman user. It’s been fantastic—prior to Superhuman, I’ve always been one that’s used my inbox as a file storage mechanism. This aspirational objective that all of my colleagues were talking about of “inbox zero” was always some lala-land for me that I could never wrap my head around. Now, Superhuman has taught me that there’s a certain thought pattern and workflow that you’re to follow as you go through email. - Greg Bailey

  3. Reclaim $108/year starting in January 2021 - Software that syncs your calendars and allows you to block flexible time for yourself.

    Reclaim.ai is more for managing your personal time and your deep work time. The concept is that you can set things that you want to do every day or week. For example, I want to have a thirty-minute lunch every day, and I want to have it sometime between 11 o’clock and 2 o’clock. It will put a placeholder in your calendar, and as things get added to your calendar it will move it around. If your calendar gets too tight it will lock-in an invite, and you can set rules around that. - Derek Williamson

  4. Evernote $69.99/year - An all-in-one note-taking solution that syncs across all of your devices.

    Evernote is the base layer of my second brain. If you imagine a real brain, it's kind of like a long term memory layer. Evernote is where I know I can just chuck stuff and I can always retrieve it at a later date. That's helpful for like, a corporation tax return and random receipts, and random paperwork that I will get through the mail. I will just scan it straight into Evernote and not worry about it, because the search feature with optical character recognition is very good. - Ali Abdaal

  5. Drafts $19.99/year - A quick capture, intermediary note-taking app.

    Drafts is only for quick capture—it's very quick to open. If I'm listening to a podcast in the car and I want to take some notes, I have the Drafts widget on my Apple Watch on the home screen so I can dictate stuff into it. The Drafts dictation feature is pretty good. I would just dictate various notes as I go through the podcast, then at some point, I will go through my Drafts inbox because you can export with a single click straight into Evernote. - Ali Abdaal

Gifts for Around the House

  1. Wyze Camera $49.99 - A home surveillance camera with pan/tilt/zoom functionality.

    I really love this Wyze camera. They're super affordable so you can get a bunch of them and you can network them together and set alerts and everything. So it's a really, really nice option for a camera. - Jonathan Gorczyca

  2. Nest Thermostat $199.99 - The learning, self-programming thermostat

    Love Nest, we have a few thermostats to easily manage that stuff. - Jonathan Gorczyca

  3. Eero Mesh Wifi System $174 - A whole-home mesh wifi system

    It's fantastic. I really love how you can manage which devices may have access or not. I have a whole slew of testing devices next to me that are sometimes sucking a little bit of bandwidth even when they're at rest, so it's really easy to put them all in a category and hit pause so that they're not taking any connection. I've been loving it. - Jonathan Gorczyca

  4. Citizen $199/year - An app that provides a real-time personal safety network.

    It tells you all the things that are happening in your neighborhood around crime. So, if there is a shooting or if there's a robbery, you get an instant notification, like — Hey Irma, five miles away something happened. They'll give you information like a suspected robbery is going on right now and update you in real-time with what's happening. If you're in the area you can record a live video and other people can watch what's happening. - Irma Mesa

  5. Big Black Tea $16 - A black-owned global tea brand based out of Oakland, CA promoting peace and tranquility.

    There's so much sh*t that's happened in 2020; it makes me sad. But I realized— let's just do something while we're building Guide, let's do something we know our community can get their hands on immediately and can be something that comforts them through this economic downturn, through the social unrest, and all of this polarization that's going on in the world right now. I see tea as an aide, I drink a lot of tea myself, and it allows me to keep peace. It allows me to stay in a very meditative state. - Tim Salau


    Thanks for browsing the Treat Yo’ Self: A Holiday Gift Guide for Founders. Give a gift to that burnt out founder you know, to that Zoomed-to-death remote work partner, and of course, treat yo’ self. You deserve it this year.

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