What Is CooL?

For marketers, cool is the holy grail. Mostly, marketers find cool after it’s been discovered and try to monetize it, like the politician who sees a parade and jumps in front of it.

I think cool has some principles. Some fundamentals. An underlying bedrock.

Here’s what I think:

Cool has to be authentic. Or maybe being authentic is cool.

On a related but distinct note, cool has to be genuine. Pretending to be cool is the opposite of cool. Pretending to be cool reveals innate insecurity, and it might pass for cool, for a while, but in the end, faking it isn’t going to make it.

Cool is confident. Cool is poise. Cool is, by definition, cool under pressure.

Cool is take it or leave it.

Cool is effortless. Sean Connery was cool. For me, Roger Moore as James Bond was never as effortlessly cool as Sean Connery. Under his cool facade, Roger Moore always came off as a little strained, a little fragile, maybe even a little petulant, like he was trying to be cool and afraid he’d be caught out. Sean Connery could be cool hanging out in a dive bar with longshoremen or roughnecks. Roger Moore would never have been able to pull that off. Roger Moore’s James Bond was always trying to impress, with his cars and watches and gizmos. Sean Connery’s cool was more fundamental.

Cool is unexpected value. Cool is a rocking thrift store find, or a bar with a great jukebox.

Cool is exceeding expectations.

Cool is understated.

So how do we translate that to a community? How do we translate that to El Paso?

El Paso’s sales pitch has to be authentic. As JerryK wrote, El Paso is a Mexican city in the United States. Pretending we’re not Mexican is patently fake, and we can’t fake it till we make it. El Paso needs to embrace its Mexnicity.

El Paso needs to project confidence. We can’t be throwing tax incentives at every business that gives us the eye. That’s pathetic. That’s needy. We are what we are. Take it or leave it.

(You can tell that the City of El Paso and the Borderplex Alliance didn’t have anything to do with luring that Amazon distribution center here because Amazon didn’t get tens of millions of dollars in tax incentives.)

Not like anyone making these decisions cares what I think, or what anyone thinks, except maybe the puppet masters pulling the strings of local government for their own benefit. I like to throw these ideas out there, as an alternative to the current visions of economic development for El Paso.


  1. and cool is NOT having a p´ing contest between the mayor and county judge over public health/safety.

  2. The sad thing is that economic development questions like this are still being asked after 40-yrs or more.

    Embrace Mexico, push the climate, play up the location for shipping, military services and contracting, and the place will sell itself. It’s not rocket science.

    Confidence is a major issue. El Paso has long carried an inferiority complex that needs to be broken for any true progress. I’ve seen the city at the point of breaking it a few times, only to see a quick relapse back to the “we’re just El Paso, we can’t do that” mentality.

    Personally, I arrived in El Paso, thinking it was the least coolest place ever, only to leave a decade later thinking it’s one of the coolest and singing its praises.

    The definition of cool: Miles Davis.

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