I just got back from a quick trip to Thailand. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. Beautiful beaches, amazing artifacts, but the best part by far was the people. Everyone we met was way chill, very friendly. It was also apparent that they loved to have fun. In fact, it’s so much a part of the Thai culture that they have their own word for it: Sanook. There’s no literal English translation, but the best approximation is “fun”.
Today I was thinking about what each of my favorite sites or blogs or services all seem to have it common, and one of the obvious common denominators is this concept of Sanook. For example:
- If I click on the Spam folder in Gmail, it gives me an adsense link for a recipe for “French Fry SPAM Casserole“
- Engadget posted a hilariously disgusting video about an ear scope gadget today
- Check out Cambrian House’s Napolean-Dynamite-themed site design
- Would anyone argue that Kevin Rose’s awesome Diggnation podcast isn’t a key reason for the success of Digg?
This definitely isn’t a new concept with developers – I personally have a ping-pong table and three old school video games right outside my door. But send a product up the chain and it seems like the Sanook gets sucked out little by little. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons that so much of the best stuff coming out lately is being done by the small teams and startups. There’s no committee to suck out the Sanook, so you get left with things like little inside jokes, a weekly podcast about your product while drinking a few beers, and videos showing the inside of some dude’s ear.
As I throw out ideas of my own, I’m going to try my best to infuse a little Sanook into each one. I’ll probably even throw in a few fake startup ideas in the mix every once in a while to Sanook up this blog a bit (Coffr.com – coming soon!). At of the end of the day, it’s not just fun but also good business sense. Just like the old Thai saying: Sanook sells.
Got an example of a sanookalicious startup I should check out? I’d love to hear it, post a comment or shoot me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.