I’d like to use this inaugural post to thank all of the generous people who have taken the time and emotional commitment to share their stories with me since 1994.
The first focus group I watched consisted of California Harley-Davidson riders who were there to talk about their experiences with the brand. Before they shared their stories, we handed them crayons and paper and asked them to color in shapes that represented their feelings. They eyed the moderator with initial skepticism as they tentatively reached for the crayons. Soon, grown men were immersed in coloring various shapes to represent their views of the past, present, and future of Harley. This exercise then led them to share their passionate stories about what Harley meant to them and how it had shaped their lives.
Since then, I have talked to thousands of people around the U.S. and the rest of the world. I’m continually amazed at how willing people are to open their hearts and share their desires and fears. They eagerly participate in our creative exercises not knowing where we are headed or what emotions might be unveiled. I’m so fortunate that this business gives me a chance to travel the world and meet all sorts of people. Unlike most tourists, I get to meet the citizens of a community who may not typically cross paths with the typical visitor to their city. We may start a conversation around paper towels, or breakfast, or insurance, or software, or allergy medicines, but soon we are talking about relationships, families, career goals, financial challenges, and the pursuit of happiness.
Humans are a social species and we learn, live, love, and heal by connecting with others. I sincerely offer my appreciation to everyone who has shared their stories with me over the years. I invite you to read about some of these stories here in the future and possibly share a few of your own.