Do You Start with What’s Cool or What’s Possible?

Lester Young was the original king of cool.

In the late twenties, not only did he originate the hipster ethos with his cool tenor sax style, he literally coined the word “cool” in jazz circles as a slang term for someone, someplace or something that created a smile in the mind.

Nearly a century later, cool still matters. In fact, cool matters more than ever. With the end of mass, the rise of tribes and the popularity of social sharing applications like Pinterest and Instagram, people don’t just know it when they see it – they share it when they see it.

And while cool isn’t a guarantor of success, a substitute for quality or a panacea to anonymity or, it’s certainly a powerful accelerator to help our ideas travel.

But most of us take the safe bet. We’d rather bow to the altar of practicality than knock at the door of whimsy. Like my friend Mike reminded me, instead of asking, “Will this be cool?” we ask, “Will this be possible?”

Can you imagine what our world would look like if Steve Jobs thought that way?

He didn’t design for practicality – he designed so customers would lick their computers. Literally. Apple products belong in our mouths. If that’s not cool, I don’t know what is.

The point is, if we plan to change the world, we need a reasonable amount of irrationality.

Starting with what’s possible can be profitable, but starting with what’s cool can be priceless.


How cool do people think you are?


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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting

Never the same speech twice.

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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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