Coolhunting II: the n+1 dimension

I started writing about cool and cool hunting a few days ago, triggered by a conversation I had with a friend. I posted a question on linkedin and other forums trying to understand what people think about cool, what defines it, how important it is and how to get it.

Most of the stuff that I got back was recycling of existing ideas, suggesting that being cool is absolutely essential. Some people went as far as to say that having a strong brand is synonymous to being cool, suggesting that no other positioning is as desirable. I don't have a problem with that. I get it. Starting from high school, moving to college, your only currency is popularity and in order to be popular you really need to be cool. But it is really strange if you think about it. Being cool means being authentic. Being authentic, sometime means being different, certainly it means not being mainstream. I mean, what is the meaning of being cool when everybody is cool?

How cool is that? Not cool.

In a time where you can buy your passport to coolness for $199 (that's how much it costs to get the new iphone), I wonder what it takes to be "really cool". Maybe cool is not even the righword anymore. Actually, cool is what is used to be "hot", or "in" or even "the knack and how to get it" in the 60's. The name changes, but the desire to be authentic, clever, or stand out is always there.

So how do you go around this?

Everybody seems to agree that being cool means being authentic. I buy that. But what does "being authentic mean"? Does it mean being yourself? Sounds simple enough, at the end of the day all you have to do is be yourself. But this short of authentic doesn't cut it. You need to be authentic but also stand for something that inspires people. So in order to be yourself and be authentic you need to "become" yourself. And we all know that this is a long, very long process. That's why Apple is cool. It is authentic but is far from effortless and "just being yourself". You either need to reinvent yourself all the time or find other ways of staying relevant.

On that note, I feel like introducing the concept of the tenth dimension. Maybe you want to watch the whole movie, but you can find the point that I am trying to make in the first 2-3 minutes, actually it is the third dimension.

I am sure you liked it. So, where am I going with this?

In order to stay ahead of the game and be authentic, you really need to think different. In a two dimensional space you need to introduce the third dimension. According to Rob Bryanton, a higher (N+1) dimension allows someone to transport from one place to another in the existing (n) dimensional space. In other words, instead of trying to find the white space in an existing n-dimensional market, you just need to redefine it. Add another dimension.

Maybe it's just a new way of seeing things. Or maybe it's just another way of saying that you "need to think outside the box".

But it is definitely more cool like that, isn't it?