What's In Your Bag, Imran Ali?


IMG_0461To paraphrase the famous Wes Anderson and Robert De Niro American Express ads, “My life happens here; my bag is Timbuk2.”

I’ve lived an untethered, web working, co-working lifestyle for around nine years. In my previous life as an R&D consultant, hopping between Paris, London, Leeds and San Francisco, having my “office” at my side was the only way to be productive. As such, what I carry when traveling is exactly what I have when I’m at a desk. I don’t like to carry multiple devices, chargers or files and papers.

The Bag
My pride and joy used to be the Timbuk2 Detour, which works as a messenger bag, a briefcase or a backpack. It’s tough as nails, stylish, and big enough for a 15-inch notebook. I recently replaced it with a slightly roomier Timbuk2 Commute Messenger that allows me to carry my digital gear as well as enough clothes and toiletries for an overnight stay if necessary. Timbuk2 is the “BMW of bags”: pricey, but desirable and durable.

The Computer
I have a 2-month old unibody 15-inch MacBook Pro. I’ve always preferred to keep just one computer, carrying all my personal and professional data as well as all my apps, so that I have my entire digital existence at my fingertips. I’ve only been a Mac convert for two years, but the combination of power, elegance and simplicity has me hooked. However, the unibody design on my current machine is noticeably heavier than my previous 15-inch Macbook. After a month of conferences in March (attending ETech and SxSW), I’m thinking that a Macbook Air may have been a more pragmatic choice.

The accessories…
I’m Apple through-and-through, so I also carry:

  • a white 16gb iPhone, largely used for email, Twitter, maps, music, podcasts and schedules.
  • an Apple Bluetooth headset, for use with Skype, iChat and my iPhone, when driving.
  • an Apple remote, for presentations, although this has now largely been superseded by the Remote and Keynote iPhone apps.
  • a wireless Mighty Mouse (yes, I’m one of the few admirers of the Scroll Ball!)
  • a Mini DisplayPort to VGA dongle for the MacBook.
  • a 512mb USB flash drive

The non-digital accessories…

  • a B5 Muji notebook (although I actually rarely use paper, even for notetaking. My brain has lost the ability to operate a pen!)
  • a pair of Muji Gel Ink Pens (red & black)
  • 20-30 Moo MiniCards, for giving out my contact information

I like to keep things simple and uncluttered, but looking ahead, I’m seeing the value of taking up a few more items: a 3G data plan coupled with a netbook (although it will have to be from Apple!) and perhaps an HD camera, such as a Sanyo Xacti.

Most significantly, I think my “gear” is becoming less important to me. I’m pretty sure that I could live off a range of web apps and a powerful smartphone. I suspect the value of gear will be reduced as ‘‘things” are increasingly articulated as services.

What’s in your bag?

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