You Can’t Create Cool…can you?


Let’s face it. Everyone is envious of Apple right now. They were the king of cool with the iPod. But then they got out cooled. By the iPhone.

Who doesn’t want to be the iPod or iPhone of their industry?

But that’s the rub. The more you chase cool, the less likely you are to catch it. That’s the premise of the book Chasing Cool: Standing Out in Today’s Cluttered Marketplace by Noah Kerner and Gene Pressman. The book interviews brand visionaries about how they discovered, invented or in some cases, tripped over cool.

Here are a few cool deal breakers:

How many of those are you guilt of?

The book is an interesting read. While it gets you fired up, wanting to be cool — my beef with the authors would be that 90% of their examples are retail, consumer products. It’s a lot easier to be cool selling an iPod than it is being an accountant.

That doesn’t make it a bad read. Just fair warning. There’s still plenty of inspirational stories and solid reminders of how we can better invite cool into our companies. But I would have liked it if they went one step further and helped more with the “how to” section.

(Full disclosure: The publishers sent me a copy of the book.)

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  1. OH MAN! Another book to read… Amazon is loving me! (really, I’m not stalking you Drew)…

    Keep Cooking!

  2. Lewis Green says


    What can I say? You are right on target. I would add that it isn’t necessary to be cool to be successful. It is necessary, however, to be authentic. With that in mind, we must understand whether or not we are cool. Once we understand that, we can build our brands around our true selves, which may not be cool but can be great.

  3. I don’t know if it’s possible to creat cool. However, it’s certainly possible to create a luke warm reception to your product or service by trying too hard to do or be something that doesn’t align with your company’s true self or objectives while attempting to mimic other organizations.

    Jen Thomas
    Muvar Software

  4. Andrew,

    Hey…anywhere I go, you are more than welcome. This was a fun read so you’ll enjoy it.


  5. Lewis,

    Excellent point. In fact some brands, like Geek Squad, really need NOT to be cool. Or in their case, maybe being Geeky is cool!


  6. Being cool is cool, but I agree you can’t really become cool if you’re not, I think it’s nature. The book looks very interesting.

    I actually tend to think that while cool maybe a mainstream perspective, cool can also be a personal perception, like some women really dig accountants and geeks, and they think of them as cool, because they are smart and brainy, and that can be attractive!


  7. Drew,

    “It’s a lot easier to be cool selling an iPod than it is being an accountant.” – I guess it’s harder for the professionals to be as cool as retailers 😀 – I guess I have to say chasing cool is only applicable to retail industry.

    Yes, I agree – a ‘how to’ would make this book exceptional.


  8. Noob,

    I’m not sure it only applies to the world of retail. I just think it’s easier to drum up examples when you are talking product versus services.

    All the more reason for service providers to think long and hard about how to be cool in a way that’s relevant to their specific audience.

    I find most business books leave out the how. Which of course is frustrating…if you are trying to figure out how!