“The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”
If you remember this quote and its author then, you’re most likely an 80’s fan. The epic“ Wall Street” movie and Michael Douglas’s Oscar-winning role of Gordon Gekko, a greedy Wall Street con artist distinctively portrays the office environment and business style of the well-known decade.
The era of emerging technologies, first yuppies and spectacular financial frauds has, for better or worse, left a huge impact in history and a nostalgic sentiment in our hearts.
In the last few years, several movies following the same thematic have been released causing many of us reminisce about this time. The first thing that rings a bell is the 80’s corporate fashion which was so over the top – fluffy hairdos, suits with shoulder pads and suspenders as a must have men’s accessory. From today’s perspective, it is safe to say that 80’s may have gone but they’re certainly not forgotten. When it comes to generating new ideas and competing in creativity across industries, this retro epoch is often used as an inspiration.
For now, let’s stay on technology path and take a look at what has really changed.
Probably the most popular item in the 80’s business world was the brick phone. The first portable cellular phone, known as “the brick” was Motorola DynaTAC, a revolutionary and statement-making accessory. At time when most people talked via landline telephones, owning this bulky device was a trait that separated business sharks from other fish in the pond. Now, 30 years later, with smartphone technology advancing each day one would consider a brick phone a toy or a collector’s item. Well, UK’s Binatone is obviously taking it seriously since they produce their own “Meet the Brick” and let you travel back in time -80’s style.
Another great accessory from the 80’s was the well-known Casio calculator watch. As its name says, it was basically a digital watch with a built-in calculator. Everyone used to wear it, from academics to musicians. Aspiring businessmen preferred more advanced models that had additional functions such as phonebook and appointment reminder. The frenzy about this watch was very similar to the one about Apple Watch we are experiencing today. You can still find it on Amazon and Ebay or if you already own an Apple Watch or any other iOS device, you can download Geek Retro Calculator Watch application and have the best of both worlds.
First Apple’s personal computer Macintosh 128k that appeared in the 80’s was considered a milestone in the success of the Apple brand as we know it today. However, at that time the competition was strong since Commodore 64 was already a big hit among offices around the world as well as Epson’s first notebook and handheld computer which had advanced features and could perform intricate operations for that time. Epson HX-20 was in fact, the closest to what MacBook stands for today.
80’s business affairs were all about flamboyance and making a statement to impress the other party. Probably the best scene that captivates this is from another awesome movie called “American Psycho” where Patrick Bateman and his co-workers are fighting the “silent war” over who has the best designed business card. Believe it or not, business cards were extremely important part of business etiquette and could tell a lot about person’s status and success. Today, with social networks such as LinkedIn, you don’t have to go so deep into presenting yourself to potential associates.
What is your favorite 80’s gadget and what do you think were the quirks of that time?