Be Cool

Posted by Steve C on January 5, 2010 under The Blog | Be the First to Comment

Steven Jobs was recently identified by HBR as the best performing CEO in the world. Since he returned to Apple in 1997, Apple’s market value has increased by $150 billion. You can read about some of the other metrics that earned him this notable accomplishment.

When people think about Apple, a number of descriptions may come to mind, but for me one of them has to be “cool.” They produce cool stuff. Their stores are cool. A lot of their “Apps” are cool. Who knows, maybe people themselves feel a bit more cool, just by doing business with the company. All of this has contributed to Apple’s sustained growth and financial performance.

I have always believed that cool sells. Of course there has to be value, but all things equal, cool products out sell comparable ones which are seen as plain or simply functional. And today there are a lot of cool products in the world – from eye and ear popping home theater systems to elegant and easy to use cork screws.

But can all products in some fashion be cool? Let’s see, have you ever heard of a cool CD offered by a bank? How about a cool homeowner’s insurance policy? Maybe there are. However, whether it is a box of staples or a financial instrument, it will be very difficult for some products to ever make it on the cool train.

So here is the question you might find interesting to kick around a bit. Regardless of product, what can you do to raise your cool factor? (Don’t immediately start justifying why being cool is not appropriate for you or your business – just go with it.) What might Mr. Jobs or those quirky people from Apple do if they were in your business? And never forget that just because a product may never be cool, service and relationships certainly can be. And those two areas might be the most fertile opportunities for your pursuit of coolness. Don’t let your definition of cool be limited to magical technology or slick packaging. Cool can be a lot of different things.

In 2010, we challenge you to liberate your brains with some no box thinking about cool possibilities. The world economy could use a boost from creative and innovative ideas, and doing something cool is always personally rewarding as well. And who knows, one day even a trip to the dentist office, the bank, a big-box discounter or yes, even the department of motor vehicles might turn into a thrilling, hip experience.

Best Wishes,


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