IDK anyone who started out tuning cars, its more of a thing that develops over time. Im pretty friendly with most of the other tuners in this area and a few big name people further away and most everyone has the same story.
What Ive found refreshing, for the most part, its not as cut throat around here as it is in other parts of the country (for the most part). The people with the best reputations dont go around knocking other tuners work, but instead stand behind their own and succeed off their merits. And the guys that have class tend to help each other out. I know when one of my friends/customers has a bmw or benz they need tuned, I know a good guy to help them out. On the flip side when someone with a honda or older nissan needs some love I get sent some business.
Ill tell you when I was tuning my 8th gen civic and I was having trouble nailing the perfect cam angles to get some subaru level torque out of it, I was pretty thankful to be able to get some help from Jeff out at evans tuning. In return he got a lot of good Subaru info that day. There's always someone that knows more than you, or has more experience, or has seen an issue before. If you come across humble, intelligent, and polite people tend to want to help you out.