The Resurgence of Analogue Technology
The Resurgence of Analogue Technology
Analogue technology has shuffled its way out of the gadget graveyard. The music industry rakes in millions of dollars through vinyl sales. Polaroid cameras are still available. Ditto stereo receivers.
That may seem strange, we know.
After all, in a not far-off future, the thrill of getting your license and hitting the open road will no longer be so sweet. Driverless cars indicate that the responsibility of operating a 4000-pound, metal killing machine will be forgotten.
In a world of pilotless planes and computer-driven cars, how could analogue technology still be alive? Not only alive, but also thriving?
Life offers few permanencies, much to our chagrin. This is especially true when it comes to the various gadgets and doo-dads that come out each year. And things are moving fast, too.
We could go on and on about how this feeling has created our need for nostalgia—both entertainment-wise and product-wise.
But here’s the thing: technology is also going retro. It’s evolving, but there remains a romanticism about vintage devices.
I, too, live in an analogue time capsule.
As I write this article on my laptop (which, as a 2011 MacBook Pro, is practically a fossil), I look down to see my cat playing with one of my typewriters. The cheeky part of me thinks he’s writing his memoirs.
(He does this a lot, actually. Like father, like son.)
The thing is, I have three of them. Typewriters, not cats.
Then I look behind me: there’s a turntable with a couple of vinyl records on top of it. I can take my music anywhere in a pocket-size tune machine, so why do I bother with the expense and inconvenience?
In my bedroom, atop the dresser, there’s a Polaroid camera. I can snap photos on my iPhone. Why do I have this ancient relic again?
On Saturday mornings, I start my day with hot coffee and NPR, which I tune in to on a radio. A R.A.D.I.O. Not a computer.
So what’s the deal here? Have I stepped into a time warp? After all, most of this technology predates my birth.
Because I love this stuff. And I’m not the only one. Analogue technology is here, and people still buy it.
And, as we see it, there are four reasons why.
Why analogue is a hot business.
- Simple is often smarter.
As technology production speeds up, our learning curve shortens. While mom might take issue with a touchscreen, the grandkids will immediately utilize the features as if the device were native to their daily lives.
But no matter how far we dive inside technology’s cave, people will always prefer simple to complex. It’s not that we’re stupid—we simply don’t want to spend time figuring something out. Maybe we’re lazy, but certainly not dumb.
- Style is something to consider, even in technology.
It’s not necessarily cool to have the latest gadget. Since pocket technology is so ubiquitous, where’s the style in that? That’s where analogue technology makes its mark. Say what you will, but you’d take notice if you saw someone using a candlestick phone. (And yes, you can still buy those.)
- Experience matters.
For this example, we have no other choice than to talk about the music industry. Vinyl music, specifically. There are some people out there who genuinely enjoy listening to tunes.
And not in a passive way. To a large sect of the population (your humble blogger included), music provides an emotional awakening. Music is not so much to be heard, but experienced. Vinyl allows this to happen. Without analogue technology, we’d be relegated to passive listening.
- Technology creates tension. Older tech, not so much.
Be honest: do you ever look at your phone when you could be doing something else? Maybe your kids spend too much time scrolling through Instagram feeds. Or perhaps you’re on a date, and you can’t get to know someone, as they’re trying out new Snapchat filters.
Whatever the case, technology can create tension. Not just in how much we use it, but how difficult it can be to learn. Analogue technology brings people together—whether it’s listening to a record together or actually talking on the phone.
The flip side of the analogue revival.
Vinyl is not convenient. Old telephones don’t provide omnipresent communication. Polaroid cameras are expensive to operate and don’t come with filters.
And that’s why new technology still reigns. For example, our wonderful CEO is a painter. But you won’t see him with a brush and canvas all that often. (Though I’ve tried to convince him to grow an afro.)
For Fred, it’s convenience and omnipresence that allows him to enjoy life more. And to enjoy life more, he needs to paint more—even when it’s not opportune for him to do so.
At the end of the day, technology should make life not only easier, but also richer. In a nutshell, it needs to make life more fun. If you develop, sell, or promote any kind of technology, then fun is your chief identifier.
When every move you make works to create fun and happiness, you can’t go wrong. Watch this video for more information.