What Will Cool Cats New CEO Mean For The Brand?
Cool Cats have announced former Disney and Warner Bros SVP Stephen Teglas as their new CEO – but what are his plans for the iconic Blue Cat? John investigates.
At the time of publication, John held 1 Cool Pet NFT worth 0.295 ETH ($362 USD). This NFT was acquired via the secondary market.
The Chief Cat has arrived!
With over 25 years of experience leading some of the world’s most recognisable brands, excitement grew as the news spread across social media – and markets reacted immediately, with the 2.24 ETH floor price quickly rising to 3.47 ETH, before settling to 2.75 ETH at the time of publication.
Teglas broke news of his appointment via the brand-new Twitter account @ChiefCoolCat at 14:50 UTC on September 20th, followed by concurrent announcements on the Cool Cats Twitter and Discord at 15:35 UTC.
This was followed by a Town Hall Twitter Space, in which listeners from around the world – including Farokh and Matt Medved of nftnow – tuned in as founders Clon, Elu, xtremetom and Lynqoid invited Teglas to discuss his new role, his approach, and the future of the Cool Cats brand.
So, what did Teglas say, and what does this mean for the future of Cool Cats?
Hey, I’m the new cat in town!
— ChiefCoolCat (@ChiefCoolCat) September 21, 2022
Coolness. Inclusiveness. Relatability. These are the three traits that define what Cool Cats stands for, says Teglas, and what he’s keen to enshrine, build on, and grow further.
Everything Cool Cats does must stick to this core DNA, says Teglas. He wants “Cool” to mean not just nice clothes, enjoyable experiences and fun interactions, but standing up to bullies, uplifting the oppressed and fighting back against adversity too.
His goal is to turn Cool Cats into one of the biggest and most influential brands not just in Web3, but around the world. He stressed the importance of remaining true to the DNA of Cool Cats, whilst not being afraid to adapt and evolve as times and trends change, and to pivot when times require it rather than sticking to a rigid script. Careful expansion – where the brand grows without alienating the core audience – will be his approach.
Teglas plans to adopt a mindset similar to his time with IPs such as Star Wars, Marvel, Frozen and more; posing the question: how do we ensure that – in 5, 10 or 25 years from now – the Cool Cats brand is more beloved, adored and recognisable than today? He played a major role in re-building Disney’s Mickey & Minnie characters in the early 2000s – from faces on t-shirts to cultural icons through smart collaborations and partnerships – and he’s looking to take that same approach into Cool Cats.
His focus at Disney was to bring joy whilst serving the community, and he holds the same focus with Cool Cats today. He views his responsibility to the business and to the community as equal in measure, and, recognising the potential of Cool Cats to be a leader in the Web3 space and beyond, is keen to start “doing” in order to seize the opportunity.
Teglas is acutely aware that, although his efforts were a contribution, Disney took 100 years to become an overnight success. Long-term staying power is the result of plans, not flukes, and he intends to build those plans for Cool Cats. He recognises that he doesn’t have have 100 years to personally dedicate, but wants to use the months and years ahead of him to ensure Cool Cats is succeeding, in lockstep with the team and community, 25 years from now.
If there’s one thing Teglas made clear, it’s that the community – and in particular the holders – are still of paramount importance not just to the Cool Cats team, but to the brand moving forwards.
Teglas referred to Cool Cats as “our brand” – not the team’s brand, but belonging to everyone who holds a Cool Cats NFT. As such, first and foremost, he’s here to listen to, learn from & leverage the creativity of the community.
He expressed his passion for personally engaging with the community, as well as a desire for the Cool Cats team to have a more active presence on their channels. He’ll be taking his seat and engaging with the Community Council, both fielding ideas from & bouncing ideas off not just the Council, but the community at large.
Teglas sees the community as central to the success of Cool Cats long-term, noting that the community are the megaphones, carrying the torch for the brand, and that the continued and future success of Cool Cats will be a collaborative effort.
Responding to a community question, he remarked that he’d investigate ways to utilise user-generated content, tools and products in a more official capacity, stating that allowing creators those freedoms is critical for brand success – though he’d not thought about the logistics in much detail thus far.
Teglas noted that whilst Cool Cats has very strong and relatable creative and storytelling arms – as well as an outstanding community – they fall short on strategic priorities and execution, moving from one activity to the next with no larger goal in mind. Teglas will be looking to give focus to Clon’s creative genius and the expertise of the wider Cool Cats team – providing strategic direction and the long-term thinking that’s currently lacking.
He dived into Cool Cats at NFT.NYC, visiting the physical Cooltopia pop-up with his son. The community, trans-generational appeal and overall Coolness of the experience blew him away, as well as his son, which eventually led him into this his new role as CEO.
On a personal level, he spoke of his love of reading, tales of human tenacity and how we grow from our mistakes, whilst peppering in friendly anecdotes such as his “raised in Philly, living in SoCal” mindset, his penchant for Belichick-esque hoodies, and his childhood dream of becoming Second Baseman for the Dodgers.
Teglas shared his Web3 journey, and how a meeting with David Yu (CEO of VeVe) opened his eyes to the potential of the blockchain space. Jumping from Warner Bros. to become employee #1 at RECUR in 2021, he learned the industry inside-out, especially the importance of community. Comparing that time to now, he revels in both the excitement and the familiarity, no doubt keen to put his experience to use.
He sees a land of opportunity, and a lot of hard work, ahead of him, but Teglas seems genuinely excited to have the responsibility of taking Cool Cats into a new era.
Teglas’ response to a critical question – how Cool Cats’ strategy will differ to RECURs Nickelodeon, Care Bears and Hello Kitty NFTs, some of which currently sit at floors below 0.01 ETH – was notable. He spoke of the importance of utility, and how incorporating it into long-term strategy would provide sustained value – noting that announcements over the next few weeks will clarify where Cool Cats is headed, their investment into the brand, and establish a clear mindset of building long-term value.
From his time at Disney, Teglas noted that he won’t just be bringing his previous contacts, partnerships and leadership expertise, but also his experience of mistakes that he doesn’t plan on repeating.
Teglas is looking to bring three key elements of Web2 success into Cool Cats to aid with mass adoption – long-term brand vision, strong prioritisation of what gets them there, and transparency of communication. Currently, the team is full of ideas, but has yet to execute on many of them. Teglas aims to take those ideas and bring them into reality – with the mantra “say what you’re going to do, and do what you’re going to say”. Importantly, that doesn’t mean the team won’t pivot, but he believes this gives Cool Cats the baseline for success.
One of Teglas’ goals is to continue telling the Cool Cats story via different mediums. NFTs and blockchain are one, but others, such as animations and comics, will see further expansion. He sees physical products as the area in which brands have the highest touchpoints – fans are happy to represent the meaningful brands they enjoy.
The essence of “Cool” is a big factor in this. Teglas’ view is that any expansion of Cool Cats must be both inherently Cool, and in alignment with Cool Cats DNA. A theoretical example he gave was a collaboration with a fashion or sneaker brand – for it to be Cool, holders should directly benefit from that partnership.
Teglas is also planning to expand the Cool Cats story, bringing the brand together across Cool Cats, Cool Pets and Cooltopia. The direction of Cool Cats will be deliberate, methodical and honest – with a focus on reality rather than hype and speculation.
On top of sticking to Cool Cat’s strengths, Teglas is looking to understand three things; the community (what they stand for, what they want, why they’re holders, and more), the passions and skills of the current team, and how those factor into the long-term strategy. His belief is that for a multimedia company to still be around in 10-25 years, it needs the right team – not just to execute on the brand, but to make sure they’re meeting the needs, expectations and values of the community.
When expanding the team, Teglas will be looking exclusively for candidates that are both Web3-natives, and are familiar with the Cool Cats brand.
Nobody doubted Clon’s creative genius, and the Coolness which radiated not just from Blue Cat, but from the whole Cool Cats brand.
What’s been lacking up to this point is strong, experienced strategic leadership – someone who can set long-term goals and guide the team in creating a lasting, meaningful and impactful company. Stephen appears to be exactly what they need. He has the experience, the credentials and the contacts to be a gallant force for the Cats.
His inaugural Town Hall was an overwhelming success. He came across as open, friendly and approachable, but also a strong leader with the experience to craft Cool Cats into a world-renowned brand.
Stephen signed off the Town Hall in the only way the Chief Cool Cat can:
We Love The Cats.