Industry of Cool

Finding, analyzing and occasionally making cool things.

Is it viral? The new role of skepticism.


When I wrote this post yesterday, the video had around 350 views. Well, in the last 24 hours that’s changed – we’re at almost 90,000 as I write – and a link has magically appeared in the “more info” box.. for what looks like a get rich quick internet scheme.


I don’t want to dignify them with a link in this blog, but you can check the YouTube page by clicking through the video above if you’re that curious.


As I watched this video, (thanks, Laughing Squid) I kept waiting for the punchline. The big reveal that exposed it as a promotion by some ad agency or printing company.

And nothing came.

Just because there wasn’t a big title card or URL at the end doesn’t make me completely drop my guard. It seems too ridiculous not to be fake, right? But how deep are you willing to dig to uncover the truth?

Here’s how far my sleuthing went:

1. Click “more info” in the video box


Nothing here.

Usually, a marketer will add a more on-message description here. It’s also a great place to put campaign/business URLs – though that’s changed with the addition of on-screen annotations (which is a rad feature some people have used to great effect)

2. Scan the comments.


Nothing here.

Surprising though it may be, YouTube comments aren’t a great place for substantive discussions. But no obvious call outs indicating the video is more than it appears to be. Still, as someone who monitors comments on a few viral videos, you’d be surprised how easy it is to dupe the masses. Guess they’re not doing their fact checking.

3. Check the user’s other videos


Hmm… interesting.

Only 4 videos and obviously not from the guy we see ranting about his perfect business card. That’s a marketer tip off – I haven’t uploaded many videos myself. Right now, a robust history on YouTube isn’t as important as the quality of the content – but more and more, it will be important to prove you participate in the communitiy to get noticed.

Even so, the user could also be one of the millions of people who rip and re-post other vids. How could I check that?

4. Title Search


This is where I dropped off. I copy/pasted the title into the Search field and came up with no additional results. My curiosity is burned out.

In real time, those four steps took me less than a minute – and I guarantee that’s more than 99% of viewers will ever spend trying to figure out a message.


So it’s just another hilarious video courtesy of the Internet.

Honestly, that bums me out.

My experience with this video generated so much interest and energy, and it just goes to waste.

It’s certainly not going to the guy in the video – he’s the joke.

It’s not going to the user who uploaded the video – he has no channel or direction for me to subscribe/follow in the hope that I’ll get more amusement down the line.

It’s not going to a brand because they didn’t think of this piece of genius.

The only person who gets any benefit from my experience is Laughing Squid for pointing me to the video.

I think this post is going to lead to some future musings on branded content – a topic I continue to be fascinated by.

But in the meantime, if you hear anything more about my new favorite Business Card Guru, let me know.


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The Wisdom of Alex Bogusky

In winding down at the end of SXSW, my brain reeling from oversaturation of great ideas and inspiration, there is one moment that I can’t get out of my head – and not surprisingly, it was created by Alex Bogusky.

After his speech on the Bcyclce, I was waiting to meet him. As I moved up through the large line and got within earshot of his conversations, I saw he was talking to a woman in her late 30s – early 40s who had the look of Mom about her.

From the scant bits I picked up, she does work with local companies in her town (which was not a large market). She shared some of her thoughts and projects and Bogusky listened attentively.

After a few minutes, he says in all sincerity “Why do you have such good ideas all the time?”

This is the line that I have replayed over and over while here. By the numbers, this is one of the smartest men in advertising today. But the salient point I think more and more people are starting to get is that nobody has a monopoly on good ideas, nor is there any way to predict their source.

Open your ears and your doors.

Welcome radical collabooration.

Stay humble. Stay engaged.

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Resetting the social grounds.

SXSW is not for people who are prone to panic attacks. I am glad I’m not one of those people.

The sheer flood of information/opportunity/inspiration is almost deafening. I had lofty ambitions of steeping myself in it and surviving. I now realize that to do that would require I evolve some sort of gills that can siphon air from a stream of ones and zeroes. Not gonna happen.

Was out last night at the @laughingsquid tweet up: A first for me. There’s a different kind of social credential system at work here. You walk into a space knowing that something is going on, but not necessarily knowing who you are here to connect with. So you just hold up your iPhone and ask people “Hey, are you with the laughing squid thing?” And chances are that the answer is yes. And then you strike up a conversation. It’s so easy that the hardest thing is readusting your brain to the fact that people can connect so openly.

I’ve long held a theory/philosophy that people can connect with anyone – the barrier (or opportunity, depending on how you look at it) is what “grounds” you are comfortable claiming.

So what are “grounds”? Grounds are the bonds we share with other people. They are communities, shared interests, common experiences, etc. Right now, my “grounds” are that I’m a SXSW attendee, and there is a beautiful open understanding that all SXSW attendees are willing to connect earnestly.

But nothing is to say my “grounds” couldn’t be that I breathe air. If you breathe air, I should be perfectly comfortable approaching you with the same enthusiasm.

I generally (my less sober moments withstanding) don’t adopt that broad a view of my grounds. But people do. You know them. They are the ones in the center of the conversation. They are the lightning rods. They are the people who acknolwedge that rules and conventions are only ideas that haven’t been challenged yet.

There’s a lot of those people here. I look forward to joining them.

-Thank you for reading.

NOTE: The idea of “grounds” deserves some sort of graphic. Will work on that.

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The Industry of Cool

Every day we should find at least one thing that inspires us.

Something beautiful.

Something useful.

Something innovative.

Something “cool.”

For me, this blog is many things at once. It is a place for me to share the things I find – through much assistance on the part of other coolhunters. It is a place where I am experimenting (in the smallest of baby steps) with making my own cool things. And, as all blogs must be, it’s a place for me to muse on the world we live in and how we all contribute to an Industry of Cool.

– Thank you for reading.

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July 2018
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