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Why cool can’t be bought (or faked)

Ever been to a shindig and the popular, Nickelback-lovin’ rock ‘n roller dude walks in and tries to fit in with the cool kids, only to make himself look like a fool because his fashion is about 2 years old and probably got his coach to negotiate his grades?

Yeah, that guy.

I really don’t mean to sound pretentious, but hear me out.

Southwest Airlines and Virgin aren’t cool because it bought its way there.  They didn’t pay for a report to tell them “X percent of people enjoy listening to safety rules before a flight in a lighthearted fashion.”  At least I hope they didn’t.

And, being on Twitter and Facebook doesn’t make them cool.  Even if you coached your client on how to effectively use these tools, they could still hopelessly fail.

Why?

Because you can’t buy luv (I sure am giving SWA a lot of attention here, but I’m a huge fan) nor can you pay your way to experience purple trail lights.  Who wants statistics written about what is cool? I’d rather tell my clients how to enable “cool” and then let them figure it out themselves.

Here are some of my tips:

  1. Be an owner who knows your industry and is actually passionate about it.
  2. Innovation should be your business model. Not the type that comes from reports entirely (not discounting them), but the type that comes from the experts, your employees (yes, even on the assembly line) and your customers.
  3. Intuition.  If you know that hurting the environment is bad and your product is a contributor to this problem, then fix it! It’s as simple as that.  Sure, it costs money, but “in the long run” investments are now instantaneous thanks to the tools of transparency online.
  4. Design matters.
  5. And, lastly, have some fun. Life is too damn short to worry about TPS reports.

And, no, I wasn’t beat up by jocks growing up (in case you’re wondering).

(Updated to include Virgin Airlines)

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