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A note about connection and the “cool S”
Sketch of the "cool S"

I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was like a time portal had opened and transported me back to Mr. O’Brien’s history class. Room 25. Red desks coated on the underside with stinky juicy fruit gum and layers of adolescent graffiti on top. Memories of teenage crushes and frayed school jumper sleeves flooded back. 

“How do you know about that ‘s’ thing?” I asked him. I was sure this tag only “went viral” in our rural comprehensive school back in the 90s.  But there he was, a French man who spent many of his teenage years in Turkey doodling the “cool S” and passing on a piece of our apparently shared cultural heritage to our son. Looks like this tag was way more widespread than the notebooks and desktops of St. Aidan’s.

I was surprised, delighted and felt connected to him in a way that was unexpected but very reassuring. 

Just like the urge to type “80085” on a calculator, (heehee, still funny)… it turns out there are lots of little references that we share and make us feel connected even though we grew up in different countries and without internet.

Connection is the key to building trust. It doesn’t always have to be a shared cultural experience. And it doesn’t always have to be serious OR silly OR totally perfect. At its core, connection is more of a gut-level thing. A feeling. An instinct. It’s powerful stuff.

Connection is such an important part of relationships, whether you’ve been married for 10+ years or you’re hoping to get hired by a new client. What do you do to make a connection with your audience?

And more importantly, did you have this in your school?


I went down a Google rabbit hole (like I have nothing better to do!) and found this hilarious video from a guy even more intrigued by the ‘cool s’. The artist Jean-Michel Basquiat used it, it was a widespread tag in US graffiti and the actual origins could be way older than you think!

If you like a good geeky typography moment, check this out!

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