Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross

Acceptance Speech

Posted on April 23, 2010

Thank you for that warm applause. And, thank you to Forbes Magazine for this prestigious award. It is an honor to be on this stage with so many amazing entrepreneurs.

Aggregation … wikis … memes … cloudsourcing. Business is no longer about steering the ship; it’s about riding the wave. E-commerce use to be about building a website or a social network. Now, those are simply the seeds of a cross-platform empire. Two years ago, I planted that perfect seed when I created CoolRetardedOrGay.com.

We all realize Web 2.0 or 3.0 or 6.0 are about giving voice to the voiceless. And, I believe in that. I truly believe that only the people can decide if something is cool, retarded, or gay. Not academics or critics. They’ve controlled what’s cool, retarded, or gay for too long. So, I put the decision into the public’s fat, sticky hands.

You see, the trick was--and only someone outside the “establishment” could see this--it was that voting is not a binary system. It’s not always hot or not, Democrat or Republican, perky or MILF-y. Sometimes there’s a third party, and that party is called Retarded.

Let’s say you have a video, and it’s a spoof of a Coen Brothers’ adaptation of Donkey Kong, and you get Jude Law to guest star as Stewie from Family Guy. Now is that cool or gay? Hold on. It’s not up to you. You’re wealthy, powerful entrepreneurs. It’s up to the faceless masses to decide, and they demand more options. They might think it’s retarded.

Or, say you have a t-shirt that portrays Oscar the Grouch as a hobo. To someone keyed into what I will call the “college sensibility,” that would be a cool vote. A grumpy homeless man might vote gay. Everyone has an equal say online. The Internet is the true democracy where any twenty-something male with a high speed connection can make his opinion heard.

And, opinions can change over time. Maybe, that ornery hobo could take “ownership” over the message and wear that shirt in ironic gayness. Maybe, the Donkey Kong video will shift from cool to retarded and back to cool again. Nothing is constant in the cool/retarded/gay continuum. The Information Age is about unpredictable, unnecessary change, but I’m here as proof to Wall Street that you can ride that mindless wave to financial fortune.

Look at CoolRetardedGay Sportswear. CRG Hard Cider. CoolRetardedGay Airlines. Look at CRG’s military support contracts in Afghanistan. Once you open your ears to what the people want, you can start selling it to them. It’s not about telling the public what their basic needs are. It’s about listening to their basest desires.

Thank you for this Forbes NextWave Business Award. As I accept this honor, I want to leave you with one word … Retarded.

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