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Today’s cool is tomorrow’s retro

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I was once again reminded of the stupidity of passwords when locked out of yet another service that I use maybe once a year. When I decided to reset the password, once again my iPhone offered to set up a strong password that it would remember for me. Once again, I opted to not have that as, if I was using another device, how would I remember x3D1_!”nnnnALY6^? or whatever it was it offered me.

I am so fed up with this fifty-year-old technology: the username and password.

I then found a similarly frustrating experience when I lost my ATM card. I’ve lost the ATM card twice in the past two months. It’s not me having a senile moment, but more to do with having so much flying about and believing there’s a place for everything. My ATM card has its place in the house, on the television table. If it’s not there, it’s lost.

So, I call up the bank – you cannot report the card missing or lost on their app or online – and go through a fifteen-minute conversation with them to get a new card issued. Various hoop jumps later, I put down the phone and go to turn on the television and guess what? Yep, there’s my card underneath the TV table. I’m sure I’d looked there but hey. Fact is I’m now stuck without an ATM card for a week but who uses cash these days anyway? In fact, who uses a TV these days? I watch most TV shows on my phone and laptop whilst travelling.

I am so fed up with this fifty-year-old technology: cash and TV.

In fact, there’s a lot of technologies that were cool when I was growing up but are now crass. Cassette tapes, video recorders, compact discs, a Commodore 64, Nintendo, HDTV and more. You may still think they’re cool – I was going to throw vinyl into that list but took it out – but many on that list were like magic when I first got them.

I remember playing Mike Tyson’s Punch Out! in the 1980s on Nintendo and believing it was the best thing since sliced bread. Then you move on to super game immersion with Fortnite and that’s now cool and Punch Out! is retro.

Some people like fifty-year-old retro stuff like vinyl and Super Nintendo, but the world continually moves on and today’s magic will be yesterday’s retro.

Today, I think it’s so cool that I can take thousands of photos on my phone, automatically store them into the cloud and have Google index them. What will be cool tomorrow? What will be retro?

I’m not sure, but I know we will see the evolution of all these things – games, photos, entertainment and music – into something that future generations find far more real and immersive than anything that’s gone before. Let’s just hope they can remember their username and password to access them.

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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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