Josh Rubin is the editor and founder of Cool Hunting, designer of Bond Art and Science and publisher of Captain Lucas. While Josh Rubin wears a lot of different hats, he and the Cool Hunting team work hard daily to find cool new products they want to share with the world.
While Josh Rubin doesn’t consider Cool Hunting to be a trend website, there is certainly plenty of inspiration to be found in his work. Josh Rubin talked with us about the role trends play in his industry.
12 Questions with Josh Rubin
1. How did you get involved with Cool Hunting and what motivates you to continue?
I have been a user experience and user interface designer for 14 years. As part of my work I’m always looking for design inspiration. I started Cool Hunting (CH) over 6 years ago (Feb 2003) as a personal database to capture all the stuff I found.
I never felt a need to keep the site private, but only shared it with friends and colleagues. After a couple of years it became really popular by word-of-mouth. Today we have over 400,000 monthly readers, most of whom are also creative professionals, so having a dialogue with them is really great!
2. How significant is the topic of trend spotting to Cool Hunting?
The funny thing is, we’re not a trend site; we never write about trends! We are just looking for things we find new and inspiring. Many trending professionals, however, look to our site and find patterns in our content that they can derive trend information from. I guess in that regard we’re more “influencers.”
3. How do you define a trend?
A trend is simply when something is popular and shows potential to become mainstream. That can be on a very specific level, like a product or brand, or on a more macro level like a mindset or movement.
4. How do you define cool?
For me the word cool is synonymous with inspiration. I genuinely feel that there are no new ideas so what I find inspiring is all about the execution. It’s what you do with the idea that matters.
5. Do you need a culture of innovation to create something that is cool?
I definitely think innovation is a key ingredient because inspiration rarely comes from the status quo.
6. What is the best way to create an infectious idea, product or service?
I think authenticity is incredibly powerful, especially in the “information age.” People can see through spin and hype so easily now that if you don’t believe in what you’re doing it’s really obvious. I also think that any product or service that’s designed with the specific user or customer in mind has a much better chance of succeeding. People love when you’ve anticipated their needs.
7. What is the key to innovation?
That’s a huge question and many books have been written on the subject! All I can say is that for me the key is a combination of honesty, openness and aggressiveness.
8. What is the most important trend you see in your industry?
In terms of design the ever-increasing emphasis on user experience is fantastic! In terms of media and advertising supported content, I think print is the new value-add and banners are a dying breed. This means that sites and advertisers have to take a good, hard look at more impactful ways of working together.
9. What are your ambitions for Cool Hunting?
I like that we’re relatively small but I still think there are many people out there who would like our content but don’t know about it. I’d think we could double or triple in size without losing our edge. I also love our videos. We have been making them almost weekly for over three years now. I do think video is the future and am excited to grow that area of the site out more.
10. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
I try to break the routine as often as possible. Travel is a huge help! Whether it’s getting out of the city to the beach for a weekend or leaving the country for an other-worldly experience, I like a change in perspective.
11. Professionally, what do you want to be doing in 10 years?
By then I intend to be a professor.
12. What are your most important hobbies?
Photography, snowboarding, being a foodie / locavore and taking care of my dogs.
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