"Wow! That`s cool!"
"Wouldn`t it be cool if...?"
The common denominator is the future.
Cool is the perceived future of your lifestyle - of a field. Whether it`s a newly released gadget like the iPhone that became the future of cellphone design on its release, or an upcoming release with potential to change the field, or the daydream speculations of an inventor trying to be the next best thing, cool is always the next best thing. It`s physical existence doesn`t define its coolness. Its allure to the people who care does. Cool has to be personal, because it`s an opinion at heart.
Now see, I don`t think "cool" is directly equal to "great." I like the possibility of "trendy," but I don`t think it`s enough. But when we get to "cutting edge of lifestyle," I think we`re approaching something.
That the manifestation of cool is different for everyone is only the definition working its way through their lives. Success, fear, failure, all are different in the specifics for everyone. But the definition holds true across all experiences----or it should, if it`s a proper definition.
The main problem with saying that "cool is the latest expansion of progress in a field," is that it`s reactive. In Kawasaki`s observation, the inventor is *being* the expanding force---not reacting.
So a reactive context would be to see something and say, "Woah, is THAT cool...!" The proactive context would be, "Wouldn`t it be cool if this or that existed." The assumption is that it doesn`t yet exist.
Cool goes beyond great. It includes a "wow" factor, much like something being really great. But I think even the word "great" is a colloquialism....a cultural substitution for the same underlying concept. That`s why cool, groovy, boss, nifty, slick, awesome and so forth don`t get us anywhere.
Nor does the literal translation mean anything. "Cool" in the cultural context isn`t a measure of temperature.
Making limitless possibilities much more limited.