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What’s Old is New – in Business and in Apps

Tom Hanks recently made a big splash in the iPad app world with the release of his brilliantly named Hanx Writer, an app which seeks to mimic the experience of typing on an old-school actual typewriter (remember those?). According to the product description on the iTunes store, Hanks explains, “With Hanx Writer, you’ll hear the rhythm of your work with SHOOK SHOOK or FITT-FITT.” The app was created in partnership with creative agency Hitcents, who according to this report from CBS were loaned three vintage typewriters from Hanks’ personal collection as a source of inspiration. In a world where the act of pressing buttons seems distinctly old-fashioned, this is an app that reverses that trend and provides the visceral joy of tapping away on a typewriter, with all the convenience of modern technology. (Hanks even tweets many of his Hanx Writer personal outputs, including baseball game commentary.)

What’s interesting to me is how much this app has resonated with people, sending it to number one in the iTunes store. Various glowing customer reviews point to the delights of the “best of both worlds” and the feeling of nostalgia the app invokes.

This trend towards nostalgia seems to be all around us, and it is really no surprise that people are seeking comfort in the familiar in these challenging times. Even looking back a few years, there are examples of a kind of ‘brand new / retro’ play on new technology. The retro phone handset phase (as opposed to craze) was a playful take on marrying the old with the new – and creating an arresting visual in the process.

Interestingly, I think, the way in which today’s brands and new technologies often talk about themselves also has this sense of staying connected to a foundation not wholly rooted in the future. Yes, there’s a lot of talk of revolutionizing and disruption, but there’s also a great deal of language that focuses around authenticity, connectivity, realness and experience.

For me, there are clear parallels between this trend and the core strengths – and real power – of small businesses. We have the unique combination of the ability to utilize the very best of the latest technology while retaining the much lauded qualities of being personable, authentic, human and real, allowing us to deliver the best client and customer experience possible. Our local roots and deep sense of community are tremendous assets that shouldn’t be underestimated. So as we all plan for 2015 success, let’s remember these great strengths and go forward with renewed confidence!

Until next time!

 

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