Ernest Tubb is a well-known name to anyone familiar with country music stars of the 1930s through the 1980s. During his recording and performing career, he achieved many milestones including headlining the first Grand Ole Opry performance at New York City’s Carnegie Hall along with a long string of hit records including Waltz Across Texas, Thanks a Lot, and Walking the Floor Over You.

I spent some time working in country music radio and attended several Ernest Tubb concerts during the later years of his performing life. He suffered from emphysema and often traveled with oxygen on his tour bus. Even when he was having difficulty breathing, he maintained his strong commitment to his fans by delivering great performances on stage and staying to sign autographs until every fan who wanted an autograph got one. Ernest Tubb recognized and respected the importance of his fans, his customers, even when he was frail, with difficulty breathing, in the later years of his life. I saw him in concert several times, in different venues each time, and he never wavered from his commitment to the people who made him: his fans … his customers.

I was fortunate to be able to attend many concerts by many different stars during my time in radio and was always impressed by most country music stars’ commitment to their fans, signing autographs, taking pictures, and shaking hands to the very end, no matter whether in the pouring rain, sweltering heat, or any other imaginable condition.

I also was fortunate to be able to watch young singers build their careers from being unknowns to being stars. I noticed that the singers who were committed to their fans, their customers, from the very beginning, even before the financial rewards started coming, were almost always the ones who succeeded.

I wonder if we, as people who support other people, are committed enough to our customers, our end-users, to stay to the very end, making sure that systems work, that software is functioning properly, and that we’re truly helping our users work more productively, creatively, and efficiently. Do we have an Ernest Tubb-level of commitment to doing whatever is necessary, under any set of circumstances, to get the job done for our customer?

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