Alfred Thompson talks about what makes things cool.
Lots of PR people buy into his hype. That I alone can make things “cool” just by saying so.
This simply is not so.
What you don’t see behind the scenes is the cultural pressure that builds up through tons of people who are telling me things are cool.
Here’s a question: if I said “Quechup is cool” would you believe it?
Why? Because it wouldn’t match what you’re hearing in the conversation space.
Facebook became cool over three years.
I remember a conversation I had with Jeff Sandquist who told me that Facebook was being used by everyone at his daughter’s college.
I remember getting tons of requests from tons of you to join up.
I remember having dinner with Kevin Rose and having him begging me to join Facebook.
Aside: if Kevin Rose says something is cool it probably is simply because HE is cool.
It really bugs me when PR people assume that if I write about them or put their product on my show that it’ll “make them.”
This is NOT true.
What would I do if I wanted to make something cool?
I’d document the 10,000 news sites and blogs that get onto TechMeme.
Then I’d figure out how to get at least 100 of them to use my product and become crazy evangelists for it.
You only need 100.
Talk to Guy Kawasaki for how to turn people into evangelists. Or talk to the Church of the Customer folks.
Start at the bottom of the stack. Getting someone with five readers to use your product will be a LOT easier than trying to get through to Mike Arrington (he has 700 companies who tried to get his attention for the soon to happen TechCrunch Conference).
I watch about 880 feeds, almost all of whom have been on TechCrunch at some point or another.
So, if you have 100 people who are rabid fans of your product believe me I’ll hear about it, read about it, and be forced to share their thoughts on my link blog. Speaking of which, the video at Google of the graphing calculator story is, indeed, cool.
Anyway, it’s amazing to me how few PR people really understand how things do get to be cool.
MySpace got cool musicians in Los Angeles to use it. That’s why I heard about MySpace.
Anyway, Alfred is a lot cooler than he thinks he is. He was a teacher and helps teachers use technology. That makes him, in my book, a lot cooler than me.