How Many Gadgets is Too Many?

ScreenshotOver on our parent blog GigaOM, Om Malik bemoans the lack of desk space in his office, thanks to too many gadgets. I can certainly sympathize – in fact, Om’s desk looks positively uncluttered to me. Currently on (or under) my desk, I have:

  • Two tower and three laptop computers.
  • Two 24″ monitors
  • Two document scanners and a flatbed scanner
  • Two sets of external speakers, including subwoofers
  • Two digital thermometers, one clock, one timer
  • Digital camera and camcorder
  • A RadioShark external antenna, plus an analog AM/FM radio
  • One telephone and three assorted headsets
  • One GDrive
  • One substantial UPS
  • And of course a rat’s nest of assorted cables

OK, so I might have a problem. But I’m betting that I’m in good company among our readers (not to mention in my office, where my wife has her own desk as do some of our kids).

I find I have conflicting impulses when it comes to gadgets. On the one hand, I’m always interested in finding smaller, better, more portable ways to do things. On the other, I’m always interested in finding the best ways to do things. The two are often at odds – the simplest example being that lots of screen real estate makes me more productive, but less mobile.

As you can probably guess, I’m mostly a stay-at-home member of the web work tribe, so I tend to accumulate hardware without worrying about it too much. Fortunately, I’ve managed to go nearly paperless, so I don’t need desk space for much besides gadgetry. If I traveled more, no doubt I would slim down the pile somewhat again, as I have in the past.

What about you? Is your desk lean and mean, with only a few bits of hardware on it? Have you ditched the desk altogether, and composed everything into a traveling kit? Or would you like to confess your own hardware addiction in the comments?


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