Industry of Cool

Finding, analyzing and occasionally making cool things.

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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March 2009
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