What Do Tech Analysts Buy With Their Own Money?

My job involves playing with, analyzing, and writing about technology, all day every day. In the lab where I work, we see more than 2,000 products a year. We have an entire aisle of HDTVs, another one for new laptop computers, and bins and bins of smartphones, fitness trackers, tablets, cameras, wireless routers, and other miscellaneous products in our inventory room. There's a lot of very cool stuff that we get to use and don't have to pay for.

Which got me thinking: What products do my colleagues actually buy with their own money?

The question, and resulting article, began from a genuine desire to know what people actually bought with their own money. I figured the public would be curious to know, too. I hear my co-workers from time to time say things like, "After testing such-and-such, I just couldn't give it up. So I ran out and bought one for myself."

The last three years running, around the holidays, I've asked this question and written an article to go with it. I always get reader feedback from the article. People love the "vote with your pocketbook" angle of the story.

I think it's really interesting to see how different this year's list is from last year's (2012) or the year before (2011). For example, this year's results really leaned toward utilitarian technology.

No one on staff is required to participate in the article, so not all of my co-workers are included in the results. And those who do answer can say anything at all that they've spent money on, so they aren't limited to products in their area of expertise. But it's always funny to see some people who stick to what they know. The camera analyst, for example, has purchased a new camera for himself three years in a row, and this year, he spent $7,000 on one!

Read the full article here.