Erika Taylor
Note: Erika Taylor, editor of Pool and Spa News, is currently traveling, but will return to this space shortly. 

I don’t really care for television commercials. Yes, I realize they pay the bills of my favorite programs. But beyond that, I rarely find much compelling about them.

A baby trading stocks? Yawn.

Dogs serving adult beverages? Please.

That said, every now and then I come across an ad campaign — or even a slogan or catch phrase — that “works.” Maybe it doesn’t prompt me to rush out and spend my weekly allowance on a six-pack of the latest energy drink. But I’ll find it thoughtful, clever or creative. You know the way you just see or hear something that strikes a chord?

For me, it’s a spot for Ancestry.com, which bills itself as the world’s largest online family history resource. Now at this point I must confess I’ve never actually used the service, so take this with a drop of saltwater.

But what always resonates is the tagline: “You don’t even have to know what you’re looking for. … You just have to start looking.”

In other words, leave your hang-ups at the door — just dive in and start the journey.

What a great message, right?

Well, in putting together this issue of Pool & Spa News, it struck me again that we’re now in the midst of our annual run of industry events — be they trade shows, dealer meetings or instructive symposiums.

Of course, the season truly kicked off in November with the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo. But from January through March, pool and spa professionals come together in nearly every corner of the country, including Atlantic City, N.J., Long Beach, Calif., Orlando, Fla., and San Antonio to continue their education, conduct business and, yes, even cut a bit of rug at a welcome party or two.

So what does this have to do with commercials?

It’s simple: On the way from the classroom to the show floor to the cocktail reception and beyond, I hope people take a moment to stop and strike up a conversation with someone nearby.

Forget about a topic; just ask how they’re doing. Chances are, you’ll find common ground, and may even pick up a novel idea, or an approach to a problem you might not have previously considered.

Meeting and communicating with colleagues from all over, I’ve come to learn, can be one of the most underrated, yet invaluable,aspects of these events. 

Yes, there’s an abundance of knowledge and wisdom in this industry, and it can be found anywhere — often in places you least expect.

As the ad says, you just have to start looking.