It’s hard to be the dad, and it’s harder to be the dad who’s also trying to make a startup happen. You’re trying to make real your vision of the future and get others to buy into it, all while managing often out-of-control egos, working through a to-do list that never gets done, and making it all look nice to outsiders. And then there’s your job.

So, whether it’s you or some dad you care about, we offer the Fathers Day Gift Guide for the Startup Dad.

  • $ = under $50
  • $$ = under $100
  • $$$ = sky’s the limit

Something to make long days a little easier

Teavana tea tumbler $

Most dads benefit from a little caffeine to get through the day. This is the absolute best commuter-friendly, indestructible, easy-to-clean tea tumbler around.

Yogibo midi $$

Yogibo is one of our most fun clients. Their bean bags make everyone feel like a kid again, and they’re a great place to stretch out and brainstorm.

Mirra 2 desk chair $$$

6+ years ago, we decided to make what some people say was an imprudent investment in these chairs. Since then, we’ve spent more than 10,000 hours sitting on them, which gives us the right to endorse them. If you want to shop around, Wired wrote a review of six high-end desk chairs.

Something to help with the business

Switch $

Here at Berman, we specialize in changing how people think, but it’s really, really hard. This book by the Heath Brothers (Remember Made to Stick?) is all about how to make change happen. And if there’s one person who knows how hard that is, it’s a Startup Dad.

Brass letter opener/ruler $$

We know lots of Startup Dads aren’t into following rules, but we also know that systems and processes are key to startup success. Maybe we ought to listen to this ruler more.

Withings Activite Pop watch/fitness tracker $$$

Timing is key in any business and at startups it seems to move at lightspeed. Keep him punctual and appeal to his analytical side with this beautiful watch-meets-fitness tracker by Withings.

Something for the early adopter in him

Artkive $

He pushes enough paper at work, so consolidate it at home. Artkive is an app for digital storage of the kids’ art that converts endless piles of crayon drawings and painted construction paper into beautiful albums.

Fitbit Charge HR $$$ named the Fitbit Charge HR the overall best fitness tracker you can buy.

Ultimate Ears Boom $$$ named the UE Boom Bluetooth speaker one of the most functional, highest quality units out there, and our founder’s son has one, so we can vouch for it. It’s nearly indestructible, sounds great, comes with an app full of bonus features, and in not quite a million fun color combinations.

Something to show he knows it’s partly about show

Happy Socks Gift Box $

Men don’t wear much jewelry. But they do wear socks. These add some energy to any guy’s wardrobe, and with men’s pants going shorter than ever, good socks can add that certain je ne sais quoi.

Bespoke shirts by Original Stitch $$

This bespoke shirt service by Original Stitch is a fine way for any Startup Dad to distinguish himself. Their gift card gives him the power to customize his own shirt, from fit to color to pattern.

Goorin Bros Hat $$$

Every self-respecting man should have at least one good hat. The century-old family business Goorin Brothers makes flawless fedoras, and more than a few other nice toppers.

Something that keeps on giving until next Fathers Day

Counterculture Coffee Subscription $

Did we mention that small businesses run on caffeine? Gift him roasted-to-order, organic coffee from Counterculture to make each morning a little more energized.

Massage Envy Membership $$

A massage once a month sounds like something in which no reasonable dad should indulge. But when you chalk it up to $60 for monthly stress-knot removal, it seems like a pretty smart investment. And when he says he can’t go to lunch because it’s Massage Monday, he’ll be the envy of his team.

Taster’s Club Subscription $$

Yes, he probably needs a drink, if not this moment, sometime soon. A nice whiskey, rum, or tequila subscription through Taster’s Club solves that problem in a fresh way each month.

Mantry Artisan Food Subscription $$$

Does his startup offer bowls full of artisan snack foods? Not until the next tranche of funding comes through? Well, here’s a way to tide him over until then.

Something to remind him of home

Reasons My Kid is Crying $

If there’s anything that will make a Dad happy his work requires him to periodically leave the house, it’s this book.

DIY wooden family figurines $$

Brings a whole new meaning to “bring your kid to work day”.

Hippopota art piece $$$

Christian Jaillite created photography project Hippopota to document the objects your family cherishes most. You send him, for example, your kid’s (maybe formerly) favorite stuffed animal. He photographs it in ultra-high def against a modern white background, gallery mounts it, and sends it back to you. And you get a beautiful, comtemporary, gallery-worthy art piece for the home or office.

Something for his desk that will have people wondering what makes him so cool

Triada Blocks $

Imaginative play doesn’t have to be limited to the kids. Here’s some desk art that’s great for a mental breather.

Purefizz soda maker $$

The handsomer, smarter, more successful cousin of the Sodastream.

Moleskine Bag $$$

It doesn’t get any more quintessential than a Moleskine notebook. We love them here at Berman. A Moleskine bag makes for tasteful, well-designed utility, big enough to hold his everyday devices, and beats the pants off of a briefcase.

Something the whole office can appreciate

Vintage metal Sox player sign $

We are in Boston, after all.

Vintage leather speed bag $$

Sometimes, startup life makes a dad want to punch things. This provides an alternative to his coworkers.

Stendig calendar $$$

“Design isn’t how it looks. It’s how it works,” said Steve Jobs. The Stendig calendar is, not coincidentally, the most functional calendar we’ve found (aside from our own handmade one — stop by and see).

Something to brag about your craftiness

Daddy and me board book $

Low tech? Yes. Powerfully touching? Also yes. This is a great way to remind him of all the reasons he’s a great dad.

DIY leather tie clip $

You know what’s great about do-it-yourself things made up of words? You can write anything you want on there. Anything. Like your kids’ names. Or the place where you went skinny dipping after making love on a blanket in the sunshine, for instance.

Something to keep him sharp

Custom memory game $

This customizable family photo memory game is something he can do at home with the kids, or keep at work as a Solitaire alternative.

Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments $

For the healthcare or biotech Startup Dad. Something to do with your kid(s) and maybe even a way to explain what happens at work.

Custom, hand-painted bike helmet $$$

We don’t know why, but cycling and startups go together like beards and microbrews. These one-of-a-kind hand-painted helmets are so beautiful, they’ll make up for his nerd backpack and rolled-up pants. Mostly.

Revolights bike tire lights $$$

See above comment about bikes and startups. Another way to keep him safe in style. If your budget’s on the tighter side, check out their associated Kickstarter campaign, Revolights Arc.

Next up: A few of my favorite things, and why they don’t matter: Subjectivity vs objectivity in advertising