Rewind

For those watching the moon landing 50 years ago, there must have been a sense that we were about to herald in a glorious new age of interstellar travel and the colonisation of planets beyond our own. Somewhat disappointingly this has not been the case. In fact, the citizens of 1969 might be a bit miffed to know that progress would be so lacking by 2019 that their 7-year old music format, the tape cassette, would actually be making a comeback. Sales of tape cassettes have doubled over the past year amidst a surge of support from celebrities and hipsters. Those who grew up with these will recall that they have lower fidelity, were easily breakable and needed to be rewound to find the start of a track. However, tapes are not the only tech that digital Luddites are promoting in a bid to rewind the digital age. Polaroid cameras (1963), fax machines (1924), and not-very-smart cell phones (1973) are all beneficiaries of this retro resurgence. With the inescapable, and at times tedious, industry focus on PropTech, is there the danger of a real estate retroaction? I stand ready to launch a start-up promoting the original version of Prodev (1984), slide rules (1620) and of course paper copies of Parry’s Tables (1913).