Our Favorite Gear

The business tools you can't work without

Lia Steakley, Business 2.0 Magazine

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- Micro Manager

OCZ Ultra-Slim Mini-Kart 2GB Flash Drive; $40; www.ocz.com

SCOTT HANSELMAN Chief architect, Corillian

Imagine a computer shrunk to almost the size of a postage stamp. Well, I have one in the form of the Mini-Kart flash drive. Check out what this superslim device can do: No matter where I am, I can access my entire desktop on any computer (as proven on a recent trip to Tanzania). One gigabyte of memory holds all my files for work, as well as portable software to handle e-mail, instant messaging, Web browsing, and so on. The other gigabyte has encrypted personal information like photos of my family's passports and medical data. Since portable applications don't alter a computer, I never have to worry about security settings preventing me from plugging in the drive, launching applications, and quickly retrieving documents or e-mail. It's a godsend when I want to grab a file from someone. Because the Mini-Kart is so small, I just pull it out of my wallet and I'm ready.

Portable Valet

Garmin Nüvi 350; $640; www.garmin.com

PAUL ENGLISH Co-founder and CTO, Kayak.com

Not all GPS devices are created equal. I should know because I've owned plenty, and none has matched the Garmin Nüvi 350 in style or function. The design is beautifully minimalist bulky entry keys have been replaced by a touchscreen display, and the Nüvi slips easily into my pocket. But it's also packed with features, including an MP3 and audiobook player, a travel clock with time-zone data, and a converter for foreign currencies and measurements. If I'm listening to music, the Nüvi will automatically pause the song to tell me which way to go before resuming play. I'd also recommend the optional translation software, which speaks words or sentences in nine languages, and the travel guide, which has restaurant reviews and other information for 50 U.S. cities. In other words, not only will the Nüvi help you find nearby Chinese restaurants, it'll tell you which one has the spiciest kung pao.

Natty Knapsack

Timbuk2 Commute; $100; www.timbuk2.com

RAND WACKER Group product manager, IronPort Systems

As much as I loved my messenger bag in college, it was basically a cavern for my junk and not anything I'd use as a professional. That's not the case with this Timbuk2, which looks sharp and has a ton of pockets to keep me organized. You won't believe how much I can fit into this bag: a power supply, a digital camera, an iPod, a card reader, snacks, and three sets of cables, all in separate pockets--and I still have one pocket left over. I keep my 15-inch laptop in a middle sleeve that's padded and, for added protection, doesn't reach the bottom of the bag. Outside, I store my pens in one hidden pocket and a water bottle in the other. Not only is this Timbuk2 comfortable to carry on my shoulder or by hand, but it's hip enough for my business school classes and professional enough to take to customer meetings without looking like I'm still in college.

Shake 'n' Wake

MeDose 6-Alarm Vibrating Wristwatch; $140; www.epill.com

MICHAEL BELL Co-founder and CEO, Dealhack.com

Running a startup is never a 9-to-5 job, which means I get up hours before the rest of my family and spend my days running from one meeting to the next. To wake up in the morning and stay on schedule throughout the day, I've tried more than my share of silent alarms, but they were either so quiet that I slept right through them or so poorly designed that they'd fall off my waistband. But I'm not the type to give up so easily. Determined to find the perfect solution, I decided to try the MeDose, which is actually marketed as a device to help people remember to take their medication. But I've found that it works just as well for a busy executive. It has a strong pulse and six alarms that I can set a minute apart to make sure I wake up without disturbing my wife. I can then reset the alarms to ensure that I stay on track at the office. My one complaint is the device's cumbersome user interface. I still haven't quite figured it out, so I'm forever having to thumb through the user manual. Even so, this is one of the best productivity investments I've ever made.

Tell us about your indispensable toolsTop of page

To send a letter to the editor about this story, click here.