The Best Democratic Tools

I love democracy, open-access, and I like the idea that no matter how rich or poor you are, you can gain access to the same tools.

This stems from the fact that I grew up poor and I always wondered:

If I were richer or had more money, would I somehow become more empowered with certain (expensive) tools?

For example in the domain of photography; always wondering whether if I bought a full-frame camera that I’d unlock more of my artistic potential. Or conquering my fears in street photography by owning a stealthy Leica.

After my last decade+ of inquiry, here are some of my thoughts:

  1. Clothing: All black everything. For t shirt, black Merino wool on Amazon (minus 32 brand). For socks, Outlier NYC Merino wool black socks. For boxer briefs, Exofficio. For jeans, Uniqlo black stretch jeans (or lightweight black Merino wool leggings on Amazon). For warm jacket, Uniqlo ultralight down.
  2. Camera: RICOH GR II.
  3. Tablet: iPad Pro (10.5 inch). Or get a new iPad (normal size).
  4. Leather products: When in doubt, always buy leather instead of the more “technical” synthetic materials. Leather products age more beautifully (wabi sabi) and you can use them forever and build a beautiful attachment to them. This is why HAPTIC products are all timeless leather.
  5. Phone: Buy a generation old, or refurbished. I think the best Android phone is a refurbished Google Pixel 3. Right now also might be a good time to buy a used iPhone X. Or even getting a used iPhone SE (the small one with the same power as the iPhone 6S).
  6. Car: It seems the Toyota Prius is the ultimate commuter car. Or perhaps get a used Tesla Model S. Or Tesla Model 3 (cheapest model), or wait until the Tesla Model 3 Version 2 comes out. I’m also a huge fan of the Chevy Spark.
  7. Film camera: Film Leica MP, Leica 35mm f2 Summicron ASPH lens. More budget friendly is the Leica M6 with 35mm f2.5 Voightlander lens. Or Contax T3 for ultimate film point and shoot camera. Best value film camera is a Contax T2.
  8. Video camera: Lumix G9 and Leica 12mm f1.4 lens. Or a Gopro Camera for a more budget friendly option.
  9. Laptop: Maxed out 13 inch MacBook Pro (touch bar, refurbished). Or buy a used maxed-out 11inch MacBook Air.
  10. Leica digital camera: Used Leica M9 or Leica M8.2, or used Leica Q1. Or even a used Leica M original monochrome.

What do you do once you have access to the best tools?

Ricoh GR II

I still like testing out new equipment for fun, but I don’t really desire to own anything new. More fun to stick to old and classic technology, than to invest something new.


Be a late adopter, and slow to buy into new things. Always remain skeptical, critical, and employ wise judgments when it comes to material things and tools.

Keep your tools simple and effective, and use all your life-force-energy/time to create epic art!