and Internet presence reinforcing each other. Barely sixteen, Cory
was now being paid $100 per night just to show up at clubs and par-
ties. Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan were inviting her as a special
guest to their parties. Today, her career as a fashion model and
aspiring actress seems unstoppable. Her MySpace page has over one
Coolfarming Lesson: To succeed as a coolfarmer one
also needs to be a coolhunter.
This symbiotic relationship between coolfarmer Mark Hunter
and Cory Kennedy has turned out to be highly beneficial to
both of them, turning Cory into a celebrity, while also greatly
increasing Mark’s standing as a photographer and celebrity
launcher. Great coolfarming from both sides.
For another example of a coolfarmer who is also a stellar cool-
hunter, look at Oprah Winfrey. Talk show master Oprah has become
one of the richest people in America by being a big discoverer and
developer of talent. When she hunts for cool books to be featured in
her book club, there is almost inevitably an explosion of sales num-
bers for any author lucky enough to make it into her club. But this
only works because there is absolutely nothing in it for her selling the
author’s books. She does not take a cut from the books. Her only
objective is—at least for this book-club venture—the altruistic goal
of bettering society by getting millions of Americans to read a good
book, instead of slouching in front of the TV watching a football
game or soap opera.
How Do Leaders Get Selected?
Now that we know that great coolfarmers are also great coolhunters,
the question is: Who is coolhunting for the leaders of the swarm, and
who is coolfarming them? Linus Torvalds gives an excellent descrip-
tion on how other leaders in the Linux kernel team are selected. As
he described it in an interview, “. . . [L]ieutenants get picked. It’s not
me or any other leader who picks them. The programmers are very
good at selecting leaders. There is no process for making somebody
a lieutenant. But somebody who gets things done, shows good taste,
and has good qualities—people just start sending them suggestions
and software updates. I didn’t design it this way. This happens because
this is the way people work. It’s very natural.”
COOLFARMING LESSON: COIN leaders are chosen by the
It is not the leader, then, who chooses the people working with
him, but the members of the swarm who choose the leader
who is best for them. They make their choice based on the
skills and personality of the leader. Anchored in the reputation
of the leaders, their royal pheromone, people select other peo-
ple with whom to collaborate. They are proud of the goals of
the leader and, foremost, of themselves working for the goals.
People working with Nicholas Negroponte on the OLPC,
with Linus Torvalds on Linux, and with Tim Berners-Lee on
the Web have chosen to work with them because they believe
in the goals and the vision of the leader, and they also believe
that the leader can take them there. Every COIN member is
both coolfarmer and coolhunter, continuously looking for cool
ideas and people.
There are some other tangible things one can do to become a cre-
ator. None of them is easy, but in combination, they make up key suc-
cess factors of winning creators. To understand them better, we travel
again to Ghana, looking at how—against all odds—some amazing
coolfarmers succeeded there, in the middle of Africa.