I always feel compelled to share some of my favorite things that I experience or use whether they be everyday occurrences or one time experiences. I thought the best way to do so was to wrap them up into a yearly recap to make it easier to compile all of them. So without further ado, here were my favorite products, experiences and services I used in the past year that you should definitely check out.
Spotify – Without a doubt, Spotify was my favorite product in 2012. I only started as a casual user, but quickly I found that the bulk of my music consumption found it’s way here. I was already a huge fan of the subscription based model for music, but no one has been able to deliver what I think is a scalable, affordable, and now social music experience like Spotify has. For roughly $10/month I get access to just about any song, anytime, anywhere. I haven’t purchased a single track since becoming a user, and it just makes complete sense to me. The desktop experience is great, the apps are great, and I’ve never really had any technical issues whatsoever. I love that I can easily share music and playlists with friends and family. And it’s always incredibly cool to have someone say they want to listen to a song and within a minute or two, I can be playing it. Totally worth every penny.
iPad Mini - I’ve been an Apple convert for a few years now, and when I first heard about the iPad Mini, I didn’t think much of it. But the minute I held one in my hands, I knew I was ready to trade in my full size iPad. I’ve never really used my iPad as a productivity device. I use it to consume media, browse online and play games here and there. And for that, the iPad Mini delivers a much better user experience in my opinion. The size just makes sense for those tasks. I love that I can hold the device in one hand, and you’d be amazed how much of a difference that makes. I also like the smaller, thinner form factor which is great for traveling. The only thing I wish is that the device had the retina display, but that seems like a certainty for the 2nd generation.
Ford – This past year I decided to end my fun run with the Mini Cooper and get something a bit more practical, but still fun. I ended up landing on the Ford Edge. Bottom line in my personal opinion, Ford is killing it lately. They’re cars just seem way more cool these days. I used to be high on Toyota, but it really seems like Ford is hot right now with their car designs, in car tech, and value. I LOVE my new car, and while I’m usually the guy that needs something new every couple years, I could see myself being happy with this purchase for longer. I’ve had a tremendous experince with the car so far from the quality of the build to the sales and service. And the in car technology has been fantastic. GPS, music and voice recognition work flawlessly.
Hyatt – In 2012 I found myself becoming brand loyal to the Hyatt hotel chain. I love Hyatt properties. First off their service has always been impeccable for me. Always taken great care of, the properties are always super clean, up to date and reasonably priced. They have a great loyalty program, and I combined that with their Hyatt Visa and have found myself earning a ton of free rooms, upgrades and perks. One bonus is that the properties typically are very well connected socially. Comments or inquires are typically met quickly by friendly staff.
Pinterest - I’ll probably take some heat on this one, but I can’t lie, I find Pinterest to be very useful and entertaining. I’ve found countless recipes I wouldn’t bother with, ideas for fashion and home, and just a variety of interesting things I can gather to incorporate into my life at a later time. It’s incredibly useful, a great time killer, and the web and app experiences are seamless.
BONUS: NOT SO HOT
Barnes & Noble Nook – Ugh. My son asked for a Nook color, I caved. Big mistake. The device is slow, buggy, and just doesn’t have the build quality I’ve come accustomed to with Apple products. The device fell off his bed onto a carpeted floor, and the screen went bad. No solution, no support, no options. We’re stuck with a broken device. There’s a reason Apple has done as well as they have. Superior products and service. From now on, I’ll pay the premium as you definitely get what you pay for.
American Airlines/United Airlines – Luckily for me, I typically can avoid these chains, but they both suck. It’s unavoidable for most people to not have to fly on the major airlines to get where they want to go, but my experinces with both airlines are almost universally awful. Shoddy service, overpriced flights, poor luggage handling…you name it. I only wish airlines like JetBlue and Virgin had more flights to different places.
Those were mine. How about you??