Tag Archives: amazon

5 Unexpected Things Every New Dad Needs – Expecting Father’s Baby Gift Ideas

If you (or someone you know) is expecting a newborn I can already predict that their baby registry is packed to the gills with ironic onsies found on Instagram and useless organic baby bath salts. What’s NOT on the registry are these five things. And these five things are the dad gifts that will actually be useful to your expecting father friend.

These items are weird. In fact, if you put them on your baby registry, your relatives will be perplexed. And yet I’ve found them absolutely indispensable after 6 weeks taking caring for a newborn baby. These 5 purchases were essential to my newly-“dadded” man-brain and they were absolutely overlooked by Blake Lively or whatever blogger’s top ten gifts for dad list, so that’s why I’m sharing them here.

1. 50X Blue Surgical Huck Towels

By far and away the most useful thing in our entire household for 6 weeks straight has been all 50 of these simple reusable surgical huck towels. What the hell are surgical huck towels? They’re basically just uber cheap towels the use in the ER. This may seem straightforward so stay with me for a few paragraphs…

The idea of using a towel completely changes when you have 50 of them. When you just depend on the dozen or so “burp towels” you might get in a few gift baskets, you’ll subliminally limit your usage to just the dozen. When you feel like you have infinite towels, you will finally. be. FREE.

And you are going to need infinite towels. Towels for messes. Towels to protect areas from messes. Towels to cover up areas already covered in messes.

Basically, every time you do something with a newborn, you should start first by laying down a towel to contain whatever hazmat they might inflict on your world. When you have 50 of them, you’ll keep them in every basket, cabinet and drawer within arms reach of baby activity. Use them like paper towels, only they’re washable, soft and reusable.

2. Mini “Button Lamp” LED Lights

You will be amazed as how critical light management is. Even the slimmest shaft of light from the crack of a doorway will startle awake the little one you just spent hours shushing to sleep. So, your job as a dad is to create very simple and non-disruptive lights for essential tasks that take place late at night.

Your old man used motion-activated night lights. The best new solution are these simple mountable LEDs with a basic switch. LEDs are so low-power that they don’t need a wall socket so you can affix them anywhere — both discreet and right where you need it.

These are surprisingly bright for a single-bulb running on a hearing aid battery. You’ll want to stick it in a hidden-away spot both for aesthetics and because it’ll help your light “bounce” more softly into the right position.

These are both your “oh shit” lights and your crucial partners during regular nighttime chores. Here are the essential places we plunked them:

  • In the master bathroom so you can sneak in to pee without lighting up the whole room
  • Right next to the crib for emergency spit-ups
  • Above either side of the bed so that we can feed her at night without waking her too much
  • Behind the changing table because sometimes you can’t quite see if things down there are clean
  • Above the kitchen sink because you’ll be washing bottles, pumps and pacifiers at all hours

3. Temporary blackout shades

For like $5 each, you can buy the most impervious blackout shades available and then just toss them when you’re done. These are temporary disposable ones that stick anywhere with paint-friendly masking-tape-like stick.

Like I mentioned above — you need to prevent even that slender strip of streetlight from peeking between your mini-blinds and the window sill… and on to your newborn’s face.

The master bedroom’s baja chic window treatment is not going to cut it for the next few weeks while baby co-sleeps. Dad’s going to have to buck up for this temporary fix in a few rooms. Just layer them over the terrible light leaks. It’s a little ghetto but you’ll only need it till she sleeps in a more permanent place.

4. Hatch devices — more importantly, their app

My wife and I got on the Hatch train much too late for their epic smart scale to come in handy… I remember thinking, who the hell would want to weigh their baby so frequently? Well, new parents quickly learn how crucial the newborn’s weight can be to their happiness and sound sleep.

You can do two things with a baby’s weight: 1) get a sense of generally how long they can go between feeds because a heavier baby sleeps longer (in other words: estimate how long you can sleep without interruption) and 2) find out how much they’ve actually eaten on a given breastfeeding session (by weighing them before and after).

Another key: The Hatch App

Even if you’re not using the Hatch tech (we also like their sleep light) everyone can benefit from using the Hatch app — and it’s free. You can track everything from diaper usage, weigh-ins at the doctor’s office, nap times and feeding durations. What gets measured gets managed! And you’ll like managing your baby’s stats for two main reasons:

  1. COMMUNICATION – You, your partner and (God willing) some other helper/relative will all be caring for this baby. It helps enormously with communication if all parties know when the most recent diaper change happened or how long the last nap was. For instance, late at night, if one partner skips a diaper change, when then next partner wakes, they can just see on the dashboard what happened rather than waking their snoozing friend.
  2. ANALYSIS – Maybe, just maybe… you can begin to read the tea leaves of the child’s schedule, detect patterns and better diagnose the troubles that ail them and cause all the fuss and crying. Good luck with this one but sometimes we’ve had epiphanies looking at the “Schedule” tab. If anything, it will help you estimate the number of diapers to order on Amazon.

5. IKEA smart lighting with Alexa

Okay, I’m back on the lighting thing! But this is less about maintaining the oh-so-important mood lighting in your home and more about being hands-free.

When you’re angrily hot-stepping across your home with a flailing baby in your arms, it’s a huge win if you can plop her on the changing table, grab a wipe in one hand, a diaper in the other and holler “Alexa, turn on the lamp!” If a stubborn child is growing drowsy in the perfect position in your arms, you can hands-free ask Alexa to turn on white noise to further lull her… or your favorite podcast to lull you!

I’ve found IKEA’s lights to be very buggy but cost-effective enough that you’ll convert nearly your whole home in a weekend. Once a new dad has an inexpensive Alexa device and a few bulbs installed in the nursery, the family is pretty much kitted-out with hands-free automation.

Still not inspired? – More Dad gift ideas

It should go without saying but please PASS on the ironic onesie or the plush corgi and if all else fails, buy your expecting dad one of these things:

So those are the top 5 gifts I give every dad now that I’ve had a newborn myself! People will buy a new father all the other crap he needs so I’ve skipped that important junk. These 5 things will come in true handy and are at my fingertips when a new colleague or friend has a little one coming.

Apple’s Rumored Hardware & Content Bundle – Maybe Content is Just for Retention?

blog post maybe content is just a retention tool

I’ve been thinking a lot about the rumor of Apple’s hardware and content subscription bundle. The idea — whether it actually happens or not — is that they’d create a very expensive subscription of $80/month or so that bundles Apple Music, the new Apple original content, Apple Care, iCloud and a new iPhone every year. This is very much a rumor but very viable avenue posited here and by Matthew Ball at Redef.

This immediately reminds me that for years, Americans paid $100+ per month for another expensive hardware and content bundle: cable TV. I remember the salesman coming to my home and explaining to my parents what cable TV included. It was much more than TV, because before the internet, that box was your only gateway to many things. It was movies, music channels, educational programming for your kids, breaking news, live concerts and the hardware to make it all look beautiful on your only screen.

One way to frame Apple’s rumored hardware/content bundle is that they attract you with their device ecosystem (hardware) and then keep you hooked with their shows and music (content). The phone and its TV and cloud components are already a huge draw for audiences so their content can play the role of keeping users engaged there by making that ecosystem useful on a daily basis.

This got me thinking… maybe content isn’t really an effective audience awareness or acquisition tool AT ALL. Maybe, when all the cards fall, content is just the retention piece of a recurring payment business model and other elements of the bundle are what bring you in the door. This is somewhat reflected by the calculus Amazon did around their original video: it turned out that prestige TV shows like Mozart in the Jungle and Man in the High Castle weren’t such an efficient acquisition tool for Prime.

Amazon shows don't easily drive Prime memberships

Check out how this thinking might apply to other businesses. I’ll use this analogy: come for X (acquisition); stay for content (retention).

  • Apple hardware/content bundle – Come for the hardware ecosystem; stay for Oprah.
  • Amazon Prime – Come for free shipping; stay for Nicole Kidman.
  • HQ — Come for a cash prize; stay for the trivia.
  • Facebook — Come for your friends; stay for Facebook Watch.
  • And the corollary seems to also be true with failed SVODs and streaming services — there’s no acquisition component, just a bunch of originals and licensed content to retain the audience that never came.

There are probably a bunch of examples that prove this thesis wrong, chief of which are Netflix and HBO. (But you could argue that they OVER spend on content, trying to force content into becoming an acquisition tool.)

Even if it’s only a little true, it’s a helpful thought experiment: what if you had to launch a streaming service WITHOUT using content to acquire an audience? You’d have to offer real utility to your users — some other valuable product or service that would attract them to your subscription. Apple already has that part figured out: the phone, the ecosystem. And on the content side of your business, brands like Marvel, leagues like the NFL and celebrities like Oprah wouldn’t be as valuable because you already have a giant draw for new users. If your content is only playing the role of retention, it doesn’t need to hit an attention-grabbing must-see fever-pitch. It can be much less ambitious. You can spend way less than Netflix.

Media and Tech Moguls’ ‘Rare Displays of Mortality’ Will Make You Feel Better About Your Mistakes

Jeff Bezos is #1 on Vanity Fair's listWeighted way-too-heavily with tech platform executives, journalists and media moguls, Vanity Fair’s New Establishment list (out today) is basically a who’s-who of people I idolize… But my favorite part of the list is how they recap their picks and in particular, an occasional category dubbed “RARE DISPLAY OF MORTALITY” which highlights one of their colossal missteps in 2017, instead of how they continued to dominate.

I’m a perfectionist. I’m an asshole to myself when I make mistakes. So it helped me a ton to read a laundry list of mistakes and embarrassments made by a usually infallible elite. They’re just like us! Here are some highlights:

  • Peter Thiel would have $6 billion if he hadn’t unloaded his Facebook stock soon after the IPO
  • Two of Shonda Rhimes‘s new shows were cancelled this year
  • The joke was on Stephen Colbert and Showtime’s Election Night Special when the election results upended the entire show
  • Remember when Mark Zuckerberg said it was “crazy” that Facebook might have swung the election?
  • Larry Page‘s own CFO is giving hell to his pet-projects like Fiber
  • Tim Cook helms a company about to be worth a trillion dollars… but his latest innovation is an Echo rip-off and their first original program was Planet of the Apps which one reviewer said “feels like something that was developed at a cocktail party”
  • Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet/Google, made a $2.7-billion-dollar anti-trust mistake in the EU
  • The New York Times is firing hundreds of employees
  • Snap’s stock is down 40% and it was probably the most-anticipated IPO of the year
  • Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and DB Weiss announced their next project was about an alternate-history where the Confederates won the Civil War and it was naturally hosed into submission online
  • Head of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy has had to fire 3 directors of Star Wars installments
  • Marc Andreessen has never hired a female partner at Andreessen Horowitz
  • But of course Jeff Bezos, #1 for the second year in a row… is perfect