Is it cool to be cool?

By Posted April 29th, 2013

Cool Vendor_sm

If you’re a friend or colleague of SpinifexIT, you’ve undoubtedly heard by now that we were recently included in the “Cool Vendors in the SAP Ecosystem, 2013” report by the noted research firm Gartner. We posted a formal release about this terrific honor here, so I won’t revisit the details in this post. But, ever since we got the news from Gartner that SpinifexIT was a Cool Vendor, the concept of “cool” has been going back and forth in my mind. What is cool? Is it still cool to be cool?

If I asked you what you thought of when you heard the word “cool”, some of you might think of jazz musicians like Miles Davis. You might also imagine The Fonz making the juke box work with a smack of his hand or you might picture James Dean’s stare. According to my daughter, my collection of 1980s new wave albums is definitely not cool, no matter how much I try to get her to like A Flock of Seagulls. So, it’s subjective (even if she’s completely wrong).

According to my daughter, my collection of 1980s new wave albums is definitely not cool…

In his article, “What Does It Mean to be Cool?” in Philosophy Now (it’s in the August/September 2010 issue in case you find yourself lost in the journals/periodicals section of your local library), Thorsten Botz-Bornstein wrestles with the definition and origin of “cool” in our culture. Botz-Bornstein spends a good deal of time analyzing the paradox of cool and its history, from Greeks to modern hip hop culture. It’s a great read, but it doesn’t answer what makes a software company cool.

One thing I learned from my search for the definition of cool is that you cannot globally define it. Cool exists in the mind of each of us. This week, Gartner told us that what makes a software company cool is the ability to innovate and to provide answers and solutions that improve processes. That’s as good of an answer as I could find anywhere and if they’re willing to vouch for our coolness, I am good with it. Thankfully, for your sake, I didn’t even have to break out my A Flock of Seagulls album to back it up.