A Plumber Looks At 50…

Can’t quite get my head around the fact that while ABBA is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jimmy Buffett is not.

Sure, Jimmy hasn’t had a hit since 1977, but Parrotheads have been getting wasted away in Margaritaville for decades.  Jimmy has parlayed one hit song into a global brand featuring novels, restaurants, hotels, a Sirius radio channel and even his own beer! Heck, being a Parrothead isn’t just being a fan, it’s an entire lifestyle!

But it all started with the music.

Jimmy’s done a number of “coming of age” songs for adults.  ”A Pirate Looks at 40″ might be his best…

The great thing about a Buffett show – everyone knows the words, making it one huge sing-along!

When a pirate turns 40, there’s a great song in it.  When a plumber turns 50, however, the best we can do is a blog entry.

This old plumber hit the big 5-0 this summer, and it’s still taking time to sink in.  Being in the “Back Nine of  Life” has been interesting, but this turning 50 thing means I’m golfing through Amen Corner.

Time for the Par 5 13th.  After that, only five holes left to play…

Muhammed Ali once said a man who looks at the world the same  at age 50 as he did at age 20 has pretty much wasted 30 years.  This whole milestone has me thinking about what, if anything, I’ve learned over the past 5 decades. After taking a quick inventory, here’s the best I could come up with:

Self-deprecating humor is the best….

Don’t judge. When you point a finger at someone else, three fingers are automatically pointing back at you…

That said, I just don’t get why people don’t do heat losses on every job they do, including boiler replacements. It’s easy, and new computer software makes it fast…

And it’s the only way there is to know what size equipment you’ll need…

On top of that, it’s easy to learn how to read pump curve charts, and how to select the right circulator for the job…

I’m not half as smart as I think I am. My Dad taught me that…

I’m not half as dumb, either. Picked that one up on my own. Dad wasn’t so sure…

There are people who, for some reason, simply don’t want to learn the simple fundamentals of heating. That’s kinda like the surgeon who says “I don’t need to really know anatomy…I’ll just feel my way through…”

There’s a difference between simple and simplistic when it comes to heating systems. Simple often includes integrated controls that are easy to program and wire, intelligent zoning strategies and properly applied accessories…

Simplistic often means “I don’t want to learn anything new…”

At this point, a draw doesn’t look like it’s going to be part of my game. Better learn to control the fade and live with it…

When in doubt, read the instructions. Oddly enough, they can be helpful…

And manufacturers rarely, if ever, “forget” to put them in the box. That’s a lame excuse. I know, I’ve tried it myself…

It’s what you learn after you know it all that really counts. My Dad taught me that…

There’s nothing like a good training seminar to get you thinking about things. A good class will teach you stuff you can use right away. A great one will inspire you to apply what you’ve learned and expand upon it…

Larry Steinmetz put on GREAT seminars…

Respect for your customers is vital to success. I’ve seen contractors scornful of homeowners, wholesalers scornful of contractors, reps, scornful of wholesalers and manufacturers scornful of everyone…

It doesn’t bode well for long-term, or even short-term, success…

Teaching seminars for a living has taught me one VERY important thing. No matter how smart I think I am, the guys on the other side of the table are the ones doing the actual work. They’re the ones making the products we sell sing and dance and do what they were born to do…

And don’t for a minute think that the contractors you’re teaching aren’t fully aware of that. We trainers need them a hell of a lot more than they need us…

Right around the end of July/beginning of August, the golf game goes stale. It must be the clubs…

Lessons from a pro? Naaah…I’ll just feel my way through…

Loyalty is an interesting concept. Manufacturers, wholesalers and contractors expect their customers to always be their customers, simply out of loyalty. Hey, no one signed a contract – a contractor can buy from whomever they want, for whatever reason that suits them…

That said, I’ve learned that when folks stick with one product, it’s because that product simply works for them, and the distribution “relationship” channel – from manufacturer to rep to wholesaler to contractor – also works for them…

Knowing “how” is good. Knowing “why” is better…

‘Cause those who know “how” will always work for those who know “why.” My Dad taught me that…

The day I first attended a Dan Holohan seminar was the day the sun started shining in my heating world. Wow! There’s a reason we do stuff. Who knew?…

He taught a very green 29 year old about pumping away, the point of no pressure change, pump and pipe sizing and how all these parts and pieces we use actually work together in a system…

That day quite literally changed my way of thinking, which changed my way of doing, which ultimately changed my life. 21 years later I’m still in awe of the man…

Dan puts on a GREAT seminar!…

It’s more than just putting the parts together. It’s understanding why they go together and how they work together that makes all the difference…

Makes trouble-shooting a hell of a lot easier, too…

…Top 5 favorite songs of all time:

5. Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard – Paul Simon

4. Drift Away – Dobie Gray

3. Waterloo Sunset – The Kinks

2. God Only Knows – The Beach Boys

1. Thunder Road – Springsteen

(Man, I am old…)

Brand loyalty is really just a mutually beneficial business relationship…

But it’s important to remember – whether you’re a wholesaler, rep, contractor or manufacturer, that your customer, whoever it may be, is a free agent after every job. Like LeBron, they can sign on with another team for the next job…

You don’t earn “loyalty” from a customer. By doing a good job, you earn the right to try to earn their business the next time…

GPM = BTUH ÷ (ΔT × 500). It’s a simple equation, but it’s central to everything we do. It’s called the Universal Hydronics Formula for a reason…

It’s as important to us as anatomy is to a doctor or torts are to a lawyer…

it was a happy day was when I finally figured out what a reset ratio was, and how to pick the right one…

Fairway, green, two putts for par. Why is this game so *#@%*#@*** hard?…

If I live to be 100, I’ll never understand why the guy who put his picture sitting on a toilet on his work truck thought it was a good idea…

Value = What you get ÷ what you pay…

Bobby Orr was the best ever. By a lot….

And lastly, since turning 50, this Buffett song from 1981, has taken on a lot more meaning.  Enjoy…

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7 Responses to “A Plumber Looks At 50…”

  1. High OLD John?—- or — Hi John. Great picture of your DAD. He would be very proud to see you now. I had the same feeling about a Dan Holohan class. Are you still trying to be a DJ? What did your dad tell you about that? My first visit to your blog.I enjoyed it. I gave away 50 cent pieces when I turned 50. Good thing they don’t make 60 cent pieces. You put a smile on my face. Thanks Dana ps you don’t have to live with a fade, just hit it straight .

  2. Haven’t been high old John for a couple of decades, at least!

    Can’t take the DJ out of the boy! Thanks for taking a look at the blog. I still remember you teaching me how to use a right angle drill – and not letting it smack you in the head when drilling a hole in a floor joist. If I remember correctly, you shared that info with me one or two holes too late!

    The magic of the 75-80 weekend is gone — 91-93 last weekend. Did I mention I love this game? Care to play 18 sometime? Looks like next spring will be the next time I get out there during golf season.

    Take care…JMB

  3. JB, WOW, sometimes I stop and have to think how we got to be this old… it’s been a great trip!! and now look at us… we turn 50 and start giving it all back to anyone who wants to learn! Oh.. and we start paying forward too…. Thanks for the run through! If it all ended now I would die smiling! wheels

  4. Wheels…I think we age well because we’re basically immature ;-]

  5. Hi John Next spring for golf will be great I know a nice easy private course to take you to. The only reason I shared with you on how to use a right angle drill was so I would not have to take you to the hospital.It seems you learn quickly by instruction but not by pain. .. Playing for the club senior four ball championship Friday wish me luck!!! Dana

  6. Dana-how did you do in the Four Ball? Inquiring minds want to know!!

  7. Hi John We won 2 and 1 . 2nd year in a row we won. My partner and I both shot 80 The highest score on my card was a 5. Thats the first time that has happened, of course 1 of those 5s was on a par 3. Dana

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