Friday BBQ Spotify 5/10/13
This has been a pretty good week for Tex Howard’s Pit-Smoked Bar-B-Que. We’re hitting a good groove with the Thursday Smokeathons, and some of our tests and initiatives are starting to pay off. It’s not that there haven’t been mistakes or hiccups in the process. Far from it. But we truly have some of the best customers around, and you’ve helped us improve as a business. I know that it can be a misused cliché, but we really do look at our customers as part of our extended family. It tends to be a hard-earned lesson, but you have to always remember to be honest with your customers, and always, ALWAYS involve them in your operation. More often than not, their opinions are invaluable, and most people just want to be appreciated for their opinions and like to be involved. They’re human beings, not just numbers on a spreadsheet. We don’t take any of you for granted, and we never will.
I tend to see a lot of parallels between the ups and down in business relationships and the ups and downs in relationships in my personal life. It might seem simplistic, but after making certain that you have quality products as a foundation, I feel the most important part of business is making sure to have a foundation of good customer relationships to help you ride through the raging rapids of daily business. There’s going to be rocks in your way. Sometimes your own mistakes make the obstacles appear. But you have to have faith that if you stay the course and go with the flow, those kinks in the path are going to work themselves out if you strive for quality, maintain a healthy balance between ego and humility, and rely on the people who you’ve been lucky enough to have as customers.
It’s a lot like the relationships in your personal life. I’ll turn 60 this summer, and I’ve been fortunate to still have close relationships with friends I’ve known since I was in elementary school. I’m in business with a couple of them. I may not see some of them as often as I would like, but their presence or even just positive history helps me maintain an even keel. One of them called me out of the blue today to invite me to a joint 60th birthday party in Houston, and any difficulties I was thinking about at the time just dissolved away. I’ve been watching one of my long-term friends this week, remembering how hard she worked against strong odds as a young divorced mom to make her mark in the world, and now she has the family she always dreamed of, a non-profit foundation that’s making a difference in the world, and she’s entertaining the President in her home. Pretty amazing. You have to keep these long-term friends in mind when fair-weather friends and other difficulties cause disruptions in your life. Their presence and support in your world help you have the strength to take risks and try new things.
I was thinking about these things when I was trying to decide what music to offer up this week. I gain comfort from the music and musicians that have always been part of my foundation, and maybe that comfort is what helps to enable me to grow and try out something new to listen to. And surfing around Spotify the last week has been fun, because I’ve found a lot that’s new and exciting in several music genres. So let’s step off the beaten path and take a walk down the road less traveled with some new artists you’ve probably never heard of (well, with the exception of Edie and The Two Steves), but will probably hear a lot more from in the future, in styles from country to indie rock to bluegrass to post-punk revival. And anchor the whole list with the latest from one of the foundation members, Mr. Steve Earle. Enjoy this warm May weekend, and have some barbecue with your Cinco de Mayo leftovers. And think about your own foundation and flow.