What it Means to be Cool
Image by Juan Ignacio Videla
A while ago, my friend Greg Knauss wrote an essay about what he calls The Empathy Vacuum. An excerpt:
“A few years ago, a photo made the rounds. It was taken from the back, its subject unaware. He was a fat guy wearing a jeans-jacket, and on the back he had stenciled the name of his heavy metal band. It was a sloppy and amateurish job. The photo earned a lot of mocking comments in my circle, including from me. Ha ha, look at the fat guy with the rock-and-roll pretensions. Look at him. Looooook.
And then someone said, ‘I think he’s awesome. He’s found something he loves, and he thinks it’s great enough to share with the world. This guy is a hero.'”
This is a change I’ve been feeling in myself for years. Admiration for people who are deeply enthusiastic, and less interest in the detached nature of “being cool.”
I think there’s a cultural shift happening toward enthusiasm and away from apathy. Our team at Go Mighty even has a term for it that I’ll talk about more next week. For now, I’m curious about whether your notions of cool have shifted too.
This concept was part of my entrepreneurship keynote at Square’s Open for Business. I’ll be fleshing out more points from my talk here over the next couple of weeks.