I can't say that Weber routinely picks my brain. Thank goodness, because I don't have a lot of extra brain to spare. My first connection with Weber was about the 22.5" WSM in the summer of 2008. A manager reached out to me, out of the blue, which was a surprise. And getting to travel to Palatine and meet the team and debrief on the product and discuss other marketing ideas and cook with them was great.
As for the 14.5" WSM, I reached out to Weber once the rumors about the product got serious, and they would not comment...but once I provided the product photo found on a Euro site, they started to open up. I provided some feedback about that product, too. But in both cases of the 22.5 and 14.5, it was well after the product had already been designed and was well on its way to being manufactured, so no ability to directly influence the initial product. Any influence came through their reading posts here on this forum and their own observations about how customers were using and adapting and modifying the product. I am convinced that the reintroduction of the 14.5" WSM is a direct result of their observation of our Mini WSM Project forum with over 3,000 posts on the subject...pretty strong evidence that there was demand for a smaller smoker.
Some things we talked about in 2008 have shown up as accessories in the past few years, including a broader variety of Weber smoke wood chunks, instant-read thermometers, handles on bottom grate, etc.
My most recent connection with Weber was on the social media side, the joint Weber/TVWB Twitter event we did just prior to Thanksgiving about how to barbecue turkey on the WSM. That was a lot of fun, and I'm hoping to be invited back for more of that in 2014.