I think my initial attitude about writing yet another business book for an unsuspecting world was best expressed by the late, great comic genius Groucho Marx who said, “From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend on reading it.” Fortunately, some serious people encouraged me to tell these stories in order to help other people along their business journeys. When writing a book, I learned you must surround yourself with family and friends that have the patience of Job. That’s because as Abraham Lincoln said, “Books serve to a show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.” I bounced a lot of ideas off a lot of people about what you’ve read here and I was often humbled by their insistence on guiding me in a completely different direction. You talked and I listened. Now that I have completed the task at hand, I’d like to thank them.
Much, much gratitude to the three people who really believed in a new author from day one, my publishers extraordinaire, Erika Heilman and Jill Friedlander, co-founders of Bibliomotion and Rusty Shelton of Shelton Interactive. Thank you for your faith in me. Editor Susan Lauzau asked the right questions that made me think. Jill Schoenhaut kept the whole publishing process train running right on schedule. And many thanks to Susanna Kellogg and Emily Hanson for your persistence and patience. Thanks to Barbara Henricks of Cave Henricks Communications for your superb work and friendship. And thank you for the fantastic support from the entire Bibliomotion family of authors who have offered great support and encouragement.
Customer CEO has really been a family affair. For Franze, my wife and partner in every crazy adventure along the way, my love and thanks for helping me see that there was light at the end of the tunnel. To my dear mother Martha: you placed the love of reading in my heart and put the pen in my hand when you encouraged me to start writing so many years ago. That’s a gift every mother should give their children. To my late father, “Big Chuck,” thanks for the fine example of high character, endless courage, and the love of family you provided me. To son Chuck III, thanks for being my researcher and Devils Advocate through so much of this material. You made it a much better book than I could have ever done on my own. To son Alexander, thanks for bailing me out of so many tech-jams and always being my biggest encourager. To my sister Carolyn and her family Jerry, Jonathan, and Justin, thanks for your prayers and encouragement every step of the way.
So many friends, especially Michael Port, got the ball rolling for what became Customer CEO. Michael, you rock! Simon Mainwaring, you were an inspiration and great friend through this crazy (but good crazy) process. Thanks to all the contributors who shared their invaluable insight with me including Jason Hunter, Fiona Blades, Steve Patti, Paul Pellman, Landon Wood, Dave Harris, Edward Craner, Larry Mills, Elisa and Patrick Galloway, Tony TaCito, Dick Lee, Peter Shankman, and Marion Debruyne. And of course, Jason and Jennifer Smith, Bob Dugas, Elizabeth Darling, Danielle Behrens, Marie-Jeanne Juilland, Ed Schumacher, Tom Cuthbert, and Joseph Rodriguez. Thanks to my new friend Nate Ernsberger and the team at Compassion International for your help in creating the Water of Life partnership with my readers. Finally, thanks to my dear customers, who taught me the real value of listening. You’ve kept me on my toes for four decades and I owe you more than you’ll ever know.