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our interview with josh rubin: curated inspiration – hunting for cool

Based out of NYC, Cool Hunting curates inspiring finds from the fields of design, technology, style, travel, art and culture. Founded back in 2003, the platform started as a way for founder and Editor in Chief, Josh Rubin, to store and organize his new discoveries. Today, it’s one of the most influential among the global creative class. After reading his insight in this interview, look out for Josh in our New Creation line-up

As the attention economy gathers pace, how do you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to content?

Our audience is savvy and curious – they read lots of different publications across a broad range of media. They come to Cool Hunting expecting to learn about something they haven’t heard of before. Sometimes we have stories about up-and-coming artists or brands and other times we have insight or interviews that other publications aren’t offering. Our ability to deliver this type and quality of content comes from the access we’ve developed with the creative community over the last 14 years of publishing Cool Hunting. In short, it’s all about relationships.

Identifying trends is part of what you do at Cool Hunting.
Do you, or would you, use AI to support you with tasks such as pattern recognition?

On the editorial side of our business we rarely talk about trends, but we do offer trend insight as a component of our design and curation work for clients. While it might be possible to use AI to process high volumes of information from social media, news feeds and other sources to surface patterns, we do not currently. Our practice is very hands-on, and we try to apply the trends we see to the needs of our clients. I haven’t seen an AI yet that can build that kind of bridge.

“I think the biggest change is how content distribution moved to social media channels and those channels are algorithmically choosing what readers should see.”

How have you managed to successfully scale your team while maintaining a personal, highly curated feel?

Our team is quite small, actually. We like
to be nimble. Outside of our core group
we have correspondents all over the world delivering stories and insights. But all that information and content is channeled through our core team to ensure it’s relevant and engaging for our audience.

As someone on the creation side of new media, what are the biggest changes you’ve seen, and what’s coming next?

I’ve been doing this for over 14 years so I’ve seen many changes. Of everything, though, I think the biggest is how content distribution has moved to social media channels and those channels are algorithmically choosing what readers should see, in turn forcing many publishers to try to game the system by creating high volumes of stories or sensa- tionalized content in order to grow – or even maintain – audience size. I think there’s a backlash against this coming.

watch josh rubin’s talk at me convention with rana june

The Art of Emotion Data: Using Biometric Data to Visualize the Human Experience

Disclaimer: The views of me Convention speakers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of either Mercedes-Benz and/or SXSW.