A few weeks ago we received a very discrete letter from Panasonic. The return address was pre-printed on the envelope with the words "Panasonic Ideas for Life". It looked like it could have contained anything, but what was inside was anything but ordinary. It was a thank you letter from Yoshi Yamada, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic of North America. He thanked us for appearing on the CES 2009 Main Stage as a Spotlight on Ideas speaker. He told us we contributed "a new level of extremely relevant information" with our appearances. At the end he simply said, "I know this kind of commitment of your valuable time was a challenge, and I truly appreciate your making it happen."
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!? Panasonic flew us there, gave us money for food, put us up in a hotel room for five nights, and celebrated my son's birthday as if he were a member of their own family and HE is thanking US! Sure, organizing the five of us to appear onstage every day and getting to and from Vegas was no small task, but we never dreamed of getting this kind of acknowledgement for our efforts.
Plain and simple: Panasonic gets it.
Mr. Yamada, in front of everyone who is reading and listening: we thank you. From the bottom of our Crazy Calandro hearts, thank you. Being with your company and your employees at CES gave us the opportunity to connect with a brand in a way we never thought possible. Everyone we met and talked with cared about us and what we had to say. Panasonic was interested in our opinions; we mattered. As humans, we instinctively want to feel like we are important, like we belong. Everyone at Panasonic listened to us when we talked about their products or even when we were just talking about our lives back in San Luis Obispo. For that, we thank you. We thank you for working tirelessly to link your philosophy to your consumer and the Panasonic products. Your company's vision was presented to us every day: you care about the people using your products and you want Panasonic to improve people's lives. Your personally signed letter following our trip demonstrated the importance of us to you.
That's the part you got completely correct, Mr. Yamada: you and Panasonic have improved our lives more than you can ever know. Tonight John is relaxing in front of our awesome TV and I am blogging via our laptop while sitting at my kitchen table. Tomorrow I will be taking our youngest son, Miles, to his first day of preschool. At night we will all gather in front of the TV, insert a little SD card in the slot on our television and our whole family will share in this momentous event in HD. Four months ago these occurrences would have been drastically different in our home and far less enjoyable. Thank you Mr. Yamada and Panasonic. Your "Ideas for Life" have made ours absolutely wonderful.