So it’s the third day of the NAMM 2014 music convention in the Anaheim Convention Center and I find myself in this packed room of Taylor Guitar and Jason Mraz fans that have gathered for an intimate concert. The band is about to take stage but not without a proper introduction from none other than Mr Bob Taylor, the company’s co-founder and namesake. Typically when a suit addresses the crowd it’s a promotional greeting of sorts, of course welcoming the crowd but also taking a moment to tout the company’s accomplishments and new offerings. In the two minute talk that Taylor had with us, however I picked up on key reasons why the Taylor Guitars business has been such a success, the passion and the success that lives within Bob Taylor. His passion inspired me so greatly I could do nothing more than feel obligated to share the greatness.
Let’s be Friends
Taylor greets the audience as friends of Jason and hopes there are friends of Taylor Guitar as well. This introduction instantly puts the audience, the fans, the customer in a warm state of mind. We, as the constituents, feel we are amongst friends and are welcome. Taylor is there to be our friend and make our life through music better. Leaders should always revere their fans, customers and general audiences as friends. After all, friends promote each other, help each other and will always be there for you. Companies need friends in order to survive. If more companies did this in an authentic and genuine way they’d garner more support that would drive growth over many years. The easiest way to do this is to do what you love. If you are in an industry that you are truly passionate about … if you dream it, breathe it, live it there is no way your execution can come off as nothing but authentic.
The Law of Attraction is Real
Four years ago Taylor started on a quest to find the perfect person to take over his business when it came time for him to retire. Taylor scribbled a list of his requirements that he would want this person to have. Creating this list on a single sheet he described a person who was a better guitar maker than he was. He wanted the person to be from San Diego, where the company was founded, keeping within the company’s roots. He wanted the person to be young enough (under the age of 30) to be relevant but experienced enough (at least 20 years) to have the craft ingrained in their being. One year later he meets Andy Powers at NAMM2010. At NAMM2010 Mraz played for Taylor Guitars as well, and Powers happened to be his guitarist, and just so happened to fit the bill that Taylor crafted a year prior. It’s amazing what the universe brings us when we wish upon it. Now, it’s not as simple as scribbling down a list of desires and having them suddenly appear before. It’s more about Taylor clearly crafting his ideals in a person to lead his business and keeping his eyes and ears open at every opportunity in order to find this person he was searching for. It’s about relentlessly, tirelessly not giving up until you find what you know is best for that company. Had Taylor not clearly known what he was looking for his meeting with Powers may not have blossomed into this beautiful relationship.
Live a life of Passion and Success Will Come
It was clear from the words and the emotion that Taylor uses when he conveys those words that he is passionate about his business. Upon closing his short talk, Taylor describes Powers as “the greatest thing in my life right now.” At that very moment he actually shed a couple tears. He was moved … I was moved. For Taylor it’s not just a business it’s a life and he’s done his best to ensure the health of that business lives on well into the future.
Now I’ve never met Mr Taylor in person (though I would love the opportunity as my admiration for him is so great) but after experiencing his heartfelt, well-crafted and master delivered introduction of Jason Mraz and Andy Powers I am honored to count him as a “friend”. His passion and love for his company and the people he does it for (and with) are the reasons Taylor Guitars is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and is a celebrated guitar company around the world. These are the very same reasons Taylor selected Powers to take over the business and the reason why Taylor Guitar will enjoy the same success in the next 40 years to come. While the concert was also memorable and I, a Jason Mraz fan, was most excited to see him in such an intimate setting, what I learned from Taylor struck me with inspiration and admiration that I will never forget.
I’m always looking for inspiration and motivation. Moments like these are often not planned. When I don’t expect them I find them most profound. What are times in your life where someone inspired you in such ways you never expected?by