There is a new marketing book out entitled Cool is for Fools by marketing guru, Romi Mahajan. In the world of business how-to publications, this one is decidedly different and also a forward-looking work revealing that the world of marketing actually takes in a lot more territory than people usually consider (including how any brand interacts with the crowd).
Mahajan’s book feels not as though you are trudging into the corporate mire of stodgy, self-important business decrees, but instead as though you are entering a conversation. It is a book that proposes philosophy in snippet-sized chapters and positions principles as a dialogue taking place between the author and the reader: many thoughts are punctuated with self-reflexive criticism or offer tangential asides, many chapters end with a question. It’s an invitation to make some of these ideas your own, build on them, adapt them, and explore them, more than it is a prescription for how to do business as everybody else sees it.
It is a slim read, fitting easily and unobtrusively into a purse or laptop case. But if you’re interested in what it means to innovate, to manage ideas and inspiration, I might pick up Cool Is for Fools.
Consider this small portion:
“We all have that friend, peer, boss, employee, associate – you know, the guy who always knows how everyone should do everything, how to run every company and every country, the space program, and so on. He’s worse than an armchair quarterback, and even as a Monday morning quarterback, he often loses the game […] Okay, fine, you get it. Arrogant pricks, right?
Yeah, well, sure. But here’s the deal: How do we find the one out of 1,000 ideas that is really revolutionary unless we go through the torture of listening to the other 999?”
Mahajan goes on to talk about other visionaries who were bold enough (even arrogant enough) to ride their one out of a thousand ideas to success. Which means that we always have to be listening to our network and ourselves as we generate numerous ideas and also have the courage to innovate the right idea in a sea of ideas.
How else can crowdsourcing serve us? How else does crowdsourcing reject the idea of “cool” in favor of true innovation?