One of the great advantages of my previous job at NASA and now in the pool industry, is we all tend to meet some really great people along the way. Make no mistake about it, I am just not a "fan" sort of guy. I don't get autographs and rarely take photos of celebrities.I know so many fellow Pool Genius Members that have built amazing swimming pools for various celebrities. It's fun to talk about with friends, family and customers and it makes one feel good to give back. Recently, because of some major life-changing events that were dumped on me to "deal with" I had a LOT of friends come out of the woodwork to check in to see how they could help. It is these networks that ARE our success. We must strive to build and maintain them. As I have heard frequently from the Genesis 3 cadre, you have to "speak their language." Don't always assume it is their business. Genesis does the wine and cheese gig and that is great (when I'm not dieting).But this chance meeting this weekend here in Madison, Alabama was just a great experience and it has some DIRECT bearing on our industry and the Pool Genius Network. I was sitting out watching a blues band on friday evening to unwind a bit and on a complete lark, sent an email to Billy Gibbons (ZZ-Top fame) with a photo of the band and a note about some good guacamole I was munching (he's a BIG TexMex fan). At that very moment, he was sitting with his laptop just 5 miles away from me and replied back - Hey....let's get together tomorrow and hang out!A quick background, we met over 10 years ago, and have been friends since. it is based on our LOVE and passion for space travel - we rarely if EVER talk about music. In fact, we don't talk about ZZtop. They are a company, true they are buddies, but the bond is the group's business and what each of the three of them brings uniquely to the table. They have some knock-down arguments, not unlike your family business, but in the end it is the dream of keeping the vision and life of ZZ Top alive that ALWAYS drives them to work through the issues and work on the big picture. Very few bands make it to this level and so I have spoken frequently to Billy about business and overall success at keeping it together as he is an AMAZING businessman.We discussed the economy...the issue with purchasing houses or swimming pools and financing, he even had a pool sketched out that he wants to build someday. But his eyes just went WIDE open, when we whipped our macs and went onto Pool Genius Network. he reads some blogs, looked at pages, and could not believe this all launched on October 20th! He saw immediately the power we all share in this sort of neutral forum to exchange and push ourselves to the very best.Later saturday we both had appointments at the Apple Genius Bar so we were off doing our thing (did you think I wasn't going to mention a mac???). He understood clearly the accidental industry and related very well to how we can become so passionate about our art, and making family members - there are a lot of parallels. As well, we remain VERY fortunate that we can stay in touch with the many families where our pools are located - that is something he has no way to accomplish with millions of fans and yet, it was that very personal touch with his fans 39 years ago that eventually made him who he is today - one of the legendary rock blues guitar players of the last century.So I invite you to do three things today:1) Make a plan on how you are going to stay in contact with your customers and create "raving fans" that will be with you year after year - Rex says if they wouldn't have you over for dinner, you haven't gone far enough.2) Take the holiday season to write each of them a card - no mass mailing, skip the fruit basket - reach out to those you can and write it from your heart;3) Finally, look within your company and see the petty disagreements, arguments and control struggles for what they are - COMPANY KILLERS - just let go, pull the team together, and make success and customer loyalty your prime directive.now for the funny ending. I am a HUGE Jeffrey Gitomer fan and as I was pulling my mac out of the backback, my stack of "customer satisfaction is worthless cards," spilled out on the floor in the Apple store. One separated from the pack and on it, a GREAT quote (hey they are all good, but consider situation I was in ):Treat every customer asthough they were your favoritecelebrity, hero, friend, neighbor,or your grandma.Where might that get us if we internalized and lived it EVERY day? Definitely get the Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Book. in fact, buy ANYTHING Gitomer - he is amazing. Work through your company differences diligently to make the biggest impact for your customers, and take advice from a Rock Legend that has been everywhere and seen everything - partnerships succeed and fail, because of the choices we make every day. Err on the side of ethical decisions.oh, yeah....and finally, take some advice from a a Pool Genius and Blues Genius. Buy a mac. The quality of life will never be better!