Man-bags and iPads

Yesterday I was listening to the most recent episode (86) of the Build and Analyze. This is a great podcast targetted at developers by Marco Arment (Mr Instapaper) and Dan Benjamin (Mr 5 By 5).

They were discussing the much rumoured iPad mini, and the possible importance of the smaller form factor on customer demographics and the vexed question of men who don't carry purses. Surprisingly this is actually a topic close to my heart.

I was a little surprised by Marco saying "… I would love if it was possible, or if it was acceptable, for men to carry purses …". I hadn't realised that this taboo was so strong in the US that one might consider it unacceptable or impossible. I assume that it is not such a big deal here in Australia, but perhaps I am just a bit slow on the uptake.

As a man who carries a small bag everywhere I agree with Dan's response "… I say you and me, we just we start doing it right now …".

Henk Berg bag

For two decades in the corporate world I carried a brief case, laptop bag, satchel or equivalent every day. Let's face it, these all play the role of an acceptable man's handbag. Somewhere to carry all of the odds and sods that don't fit into a pocket (or - shudder - would spoil the line of your suit).

When I left the corporate world I started to miss having something filling that role. This became even more galling when I got the first iPad. I wanted to be able to have it with me whenever I was away from the house, but didn't want to carry around a full sized backpack/messenger bag etc.

I found the perfect answer for me one Saturday at Hobart's famous Salamanca Market. Henk Berg Leather is a Tasmanian business making fantastic leather goods. They make a small satchel that is the ideal size to hold an iPad and more. In fact it will hold two iPads if you are that sort of sad individual (like me).

The bag has pockets and compartments galore and can carry all the clutter that I would put in a briefcase (glasses/sunglasses, pocket diary/note book, Swiss army knife, thumb drive, cheque book, pens, sachets of salt … OK perhaps too much detail).

I carry this whenever I go out, and (so far) I haven't received any grief about it. So Marco and Dan, go forth and get handbags!

Update : 17 May 2017

It is nearly five years later and me and my handbag are still going strong. The leather has aged well, developing a nice patina that a number of people have commented on.

About a year ago one end of the handle on the top of the bag wore through. This seemed like reasonable wear and tear after years of daily use. I took it back to the Henk Berg stall at Salamanca to see if they could repair it for me. I left it with them and a week or so later it appeared in the post repaired and strengthened, so literally better than new. And all at no cost to me. Now that is outstanding customer service.