What are you packing?

Joe Leech on stage referencing his bumbag and explaining he'll reveal it's contents.

On day one of Business of Software’s In-Person Europe Conference, Joe Leech mentioned he was part of the bum-bag brigade (fanny-pack fraternity for those in US) and some may have noticed I also had a handy satchel with me during the conference too.

So I thought you might be interested (and if you aren’t, well you’re already this far so just keep reading anyway) in what we considered to be BoS Conf essential enough to be on our person all day:


  • 3 sharpies
  • 2 biros
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Glasses (incase contacts fall out)
  • Phone charger
  • Highlighter
  • Battery pack
  • Spare mask
  • SD memory card
  • Keys
  • Tunnocks caramel wafer
  • Huel protein bar
  • Hair grip
  • £6.53 in loose change
  • A key to an unknown lock
  • A multi purpose tool (like a Swiss Army knife but with pliers and no corkscrew)
  • Tic Tacs
  • Scissors
The myriad of items mrjoe carries with him in his bumbag
mrJoe Leech’s bumbag contents


  • Rare earth magnet: handy for rescuing keys that have fallen down hard to reach places
  • 6-1 InCharge charger with all the things I need to charge
  • Packable shopping bag
  • Credit cards
  • Measuring tape, handy for buying furniture and other things. Also is magnetic so useful for holding screws when taking something apart
  • Dog treats in a mint tin, with a bonus rubber band or two
  • Loyalty cards, I have so many because I am so loyal, bonus crocodile clip
  • Cable ties, handy 
  • Token for a shopping cart / trolley or swim locker
  • Coin bag
  • Pack of post-its 
  • Crocodile clip, safety pin, paper clip
  • Wallet Warrior multi tool
  • Cash money (My bumbag is my wallet)
  • Swiss Army knife, this is the outdoorsman so with a saw, scissors a fire stick and a cork screw. Everything you need for a good night out!
  • Space pen
  • Mini-sharpie 
  • USB stick (has a data recovery tool set, handy for family data loss emergencies)
  • Micro SD card
  • Parachord, 2 meters (use with the magnet, or many other uses)

So what does this tell us about ourselves, our personalities, or our priorities that the are the items we give top billing and that we don’t want to leave behind or misplace?

Much like Joe’s talk – where he split up personality traits into internal board of directors – we can break our close-kept possessions down to the the function they play, and the trait that chose them.

The CEO of our bag dictates the agenda and mission. They know what we are like and they know the things likely to happen. For conference it told us that we’ll be on our feet, meeting people, helping people, and to be aware of our surroundings. How each of our other internal board members handle that mission statement was up for discussion.

Did you spot Kirk's satchel?

Now we can’t speak for Joe and his board (you’ll have to see his talk for that), but let’s look at my items. 

First, there were some easy board members to check in with:

My CFO was pretty relaxed; knowing that lunch was provided, that the bar was open, and that there was cash rolling around our bag since pre pandemic, they took a back seat. 

Chief Medical Officer has been worked pretty hard in recent years so has muscle memory of mask/sanitiser/wipes on hand as a standard response. Knowing we were well equipped and trained on using these items, they could sign off their department’s input.

Some conference specific thinking then comes in to play.

Head of Thinking chimes in with some overthinking hence the several biros and sharpies and highlighters, and refuses to throw away the unknown key as it promises to remember which lock it is for and knows the second they let that key go they’ll need it. They put their foot down and win so the key stays and joins the myriad of pens.

My Operations Director has seen it all, and with a crack of it’s knuckles pulls out the battery pack, SD card, multi-purpose tool, and scissors with a grin on it’s face that says ‘Trust me, I’ve seen things, and I know what I’m doing’, drops the mic and walks out of the meeting.

Last up is the double act of Imposter Syndrome and Anxiety. The thoughts of doubt that say “you can’t share a lunch table with titans, take a protein bar and eat in the shadows”, “did you definitely lock your door”, “what will people think of you if they realise you’re a human and forgot something in your room – best unpack and re-pack everything and check you have your keys and phone ten times!”.

So what does my satchel contents tell you about me?

It tells you I overthink. It tells you I have tried to think about the questions you are going to ask and pre-empt you asking. It also tells you that I love doing events and all the twists and turns it takes no matter how perfectly you plan. Plans tell you one story, the journey following that plan is another – but thankfully you have your board of directors with you wherever you go who will help you out as much as they think they are being helpful.

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