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VIDEO - DUwHF #901 - Sam Mittelsteadt
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AUDIO - DUwHF #901 - Sam Mittelsteadt
Sam Mittelsteadt, Editor and Creative Director of Dentaltown, Orthotown, and Hygienetown magazines shares how he found a career in dentistry after 30 years in the publishing industry and how Townies can submit their articles for publication.
Howard: It is just a huge honor today to be podcast interviewing Sam Mittelsteadt, thank you so much for coming on.
He is our beloved Editor and Creative Director at Faran media, which you probably know as Dentaltown, Orthotown, and Hygienetown magazines. He's a thirty year veteran in the publishing industry with stints in newspapers, magazines, content marketing. He's lived here in Phoenix for twenty years by way of Montana and Colorado.
He won't tell us why the sheriff made him leave Montana, and then he fled to Colorado, and then the sheriff ran him off. You're working your way down Montana, Colorado, Arizona, so you'll be probably in Mexico this time next year.
Sam: I hope so.
Howard: Then eventually end up and retire in Brazil. I thought it'd be awesome to have him come on the show, we make a magazine every month since 1994.
What makes a good article? Why have we been successful for twenty years? How can we be more successful? If one of my homies was listening to you saying ‘I'd love to write an article’. What would you tell him?
Sam: Yeah, we see that every once in awhile on the message boards which is someone's ‘oh I need to publish another dental industry magazine’ or they're just people who are curious about publishing. So the very first thing that comes to mind for us is, I don't have the experience in the dental industry. I am not a clinician. So we have Tom Jacoby, who looks at it from the clinical point of view, and as far as like how is this dentistry? Are you drilling correctly? Is this the right material? Is this, this. I'm really looking at it from the real industry expert as far as publishing goes, which is how interesting is this story?
So it goes back to my very first newspaper job where I did this really great story, I wrote it, submitted it, all the transitions were beautiful, I used the words I wanted to, it was great. I turned it in, and my editor turned it back and had written at the top was just the words. So what? What I had forgotten was, why should we run this article? That was her question. Why do we want to run this article right now? For us, we're sort of looking for that same thing in a general, kinder, perspective, which is that if someone says ‘hey I filled a filling today’ good for you, but what is the readership going to find interesting about that?
It's like if they say ‘oh I do this every day’ then they're not going to be interested in that article, unless did something go wrong? Was it your very first one and there is a lesson involved? Did the patient freak out? What is the lesson that was involved? Or what makes this interesting for our entire readership of general dentists? So that's I think our overarching question no matter what the topic is. It's really about just saying what's interesting that's by and large (inaudible 03:00).
Howard: So you started in newspapers in Montana.
Sam: Yeah. Yes.
Howard: What magazines have you been with?
Sam: So I started in newspapers. I was in college and I was an English Lit Major, I needed a part time job to cover my rent and bills, my parents paid my tuition but I had to pay for all of my living expenses. I found a job as an obituary clerk at the newspaper at night. So it was perfect hours, it was 4:00 p.m. to 9:00, and it just got me in the newspaper industry. Then as I realized I was going to be a bad teacher, which I had always thought I would be a great teacher. I was a kid who loved English like I loved reading, I loved grammar, I loved all that kind of stuff.
Once you realize that every other kid on earth is not wired like you are, and it's going to be hard to teach them that, I was like ‘oh crap what am I going to do with this English degree?’ I just stayed in newspapers, so I started out as a page designer, then I went to copy editing, and that's when I moved to Colorado. I got a job with benefits kind of thing, stayed there for five years, then moved here to Phoenix for an entertainment publication. That was what started me on the features side of things, stayed with newspapers for ten years, and then moved over to custom publishing which is magazines. So my company did a lot of magazines for the Ritz Carlton.
So if you ever stay in the Ritz Carlton and there's that little magazine, like my company did that for years and years. My clients were USAA, so if you're an insurance company lots of times customers get those magazines like we created that with USAA for them. My client was CBS, so the TV network had its own magazine. So that's where I got my foundation magazines, and then eventually I moved over here so that I have all of that industry knowledge, and that's where my expertise comes into the Dentaltown, Hygienetown, Orthotown.
Howard: Well I have to tell you we have every single comment on you, everyone loves you.
Sam: Oh good.
Howard: I mean everybody is a raving man. I mean like ‘oh yeah, Sam’s cool’, it’s like ‘oh my God, I love Sam’. I mean they do. Things change over time.
Howard: But I think with texting grammar's gone, I mean everything's abbreviations.
Howard: Da, da, da, I mean maybe all four of my sons are illiterate, but I mean no one spell checks a text. Do you?
Sam: I once tried to send one of my coworkers a text disguised as somebody else, and she clocked it as me because she was like nobody else uses complete sentences and punctuation.
Howard: Oh yeah.
Sam: I still do, but everybody else does not. If you spell out Y-O-U instead of using the letter U, you're technically doing it wrong. Code switching, the way that you speak in front of the President of the United States, isn't the way that you speak in front of your friends at home, and it's the same for methods of communication where the way that you send something to your friend as a text, isn't the same way that you talk to your boss at work.
Howard: Yeah, I notice email is pretty more literate. But text has just fallen off the cliff.
Howard: I mean text is just like a drunk hillbilly fell down the stairway with a cell phones in his hand.
Howard: So what surprised you the most? You've been running Dentaltown magazine, Orthotown magazine for a couple of years now. What would surprise you the most now looking back, that you didn't see coming when you entered the world of dental land?
Sam: Literally the thing that surprised me the most that I didn't see coming, is we ran a story by an oral surgeon that I will remember for the rest of my life.
Howard: Bifid on Dentaltown.
Sam: Is it Bifid Uvula? I think.
Sam: Really on Fayette Williams, like it was something that you had flagged actually it’s like ‘oh this is a really cool’.
Howard: Blew my mind.
Sam: Yeah. Basically this woman had cancer in her mandible, and they ended up having to remove basically the lower part here, and he went in and opened up her leg took out her fibula not her tibia. While it was still attached to the leg at the bottom, put implants on it, cut off, grafted it onto her chin, and like sewed her up and she walked out of the hospital. Which is a cool story, but I didn't realize the photos would be there in the article, so when the word doc arrived and there are these photos embedded in it.
It's 8:15 in the morning and I’m eating my breakfast in front of my desk, and all of a sudden literally there’s a woman whose leg is just slashed open by a surgeon, and I was like ‘oh my god’. So I had to read the article with my hand over the photos as I kept going for the first couple of times I read it, and then I got used to it eventually. Then after that I started telling my friends ‘I was like come in here and look at this article. What do you think this photo is?’ By the way the most interesting answer was a really horrible red velvet cake, and I was like ‘no that's actually a woman's face like she's just been flapped’.
Howard: He's got several cases like that.
Howard: Have gone in to see his other cases?
Sam: Yes. It's fascinating and it was...
Howard: I'm telling you. A lot of people they couldn’t even post a case like that on Facebook. So Dentaltown you have to register, we have to know who you are, you have to have a working email, we have two full time employees that validate everybody is a dentist or works full time in the dental community. But you would not believe some of those cases on Dentaltown, I mean some of those (inaudible 08:45) he has a dozen of those in my bookcases.
But the first thing you should be thinking, Sam’s not a dentist he's an editor, and you put up not pictures that gory on your website. But do you still show a lot of blood, and gum, and pink, and all that stuff, the consumer is talking about putting his hand up. I go to some dentist websites and I'm just like I love it, I'm excited, I'm drooling, but I know people are bouncing off that website page faster than a second, because they're gory man.
Howard: Your website pictures got to be white and fluffy, and pretty, and bleaching, and bonding, and veneers.
Howard: Show a before and after implant case, missing tooth. She's got a tooth. I don't want to see no titanium, I don't want to see sutures, and blood, and guts.
Sam: That's another example of like code switching where it's like for Dentaltown that's exactly what we want to see. We want to see all of those progress steps, because that's what all of these professional dentists are really into, because they don't want to see before and after. For them that says that you didn't tell them everything that happened. So Dentaltown is your place to do that, but when you do have your consumer facing websites, or your public facing stuff, it's another way of like how do you communicate with which audience. Dentaltown is geared toward professional dentists, so whenever we're talking about what you're writing, the people who are reading this are educated peers, they're not random people off the street, they're not parents who are bringing their kids in. This is all about licensed dentists.
Howard: Let me tell you my two biggest mistakes with Dentaltown magazine. I'm from Kansas. Ryan how many guns does your grandma have?
Ryan: Probably fifty.
Howard: Fifty. Does she have an AK47?
Howard: Yeah. How many deer has she shot?
Ryan: Probably like ten.
Howard: Yeah. Does she have her own deer blind?
Howard: Yeah. So we ran a story of this guy in Missouri that had archery deer hunting and you want to be out there before the sun rises.
Howard: Animals only move when it's sunrise or sunset.
Howard: They bed down the night and the day and then to make it a CEE traveling business expense I was the lecturer from like ten to two, and then everybody cleaned up and then went back (inaudible 11:03) but we ran the pictures as a dentist, his wife was a vet and they were sitting there with the trophy.
Howard: Oh my God, we got more hate mail from that. You'd almost think I had murdered the last penguin on Antarctica, I mean it was crazy. I'm not exaggerating I bet we got a thousand letters of insult. The second dumbest thing I did, and I don't regret this, I'd do it again tomorrow but my team won't let me. When I was little my dad he worked harder all day, I mean he had a restaurant.
So when you own a restaurant it's seven days a week, it's from when the sun comes up you're there and he get home eleven or twelve at night.
Howard: My whole childhood the only time I saw my old man was when I went to Sonic, and I loved it because I my choice was stay home with my five sisters playing Barbie dolls, or walk down to the restaurant and get all the free hamburgers, cheeseburgers, see your dad, all these fun teenage employees that were all exciting.
Howard: I loved it, and a lot of my teachers thought it was bad that I was working so many nights and evenings, but I was playing I never worked a day in my life for my dad it was just a blast. But when it came to vacation, it was the same vacation every year. He only liked two things, he liked Six Flags Over Texas, Disneyland, he liked theme parks and seeing stuff made.
Howard: So we went and visited Budweiser in St Louis, we did the arch thing.
Howard: Did the beer tour. One time we bought a station wagon, and we drove all the way to Detroit and got on this electric golf cart tour bus, and followed our car from the beginning until rolled down the assembly line.
Sam: That’s great.
Howard: We went to Coors like you might not know this in Denver but you know old man Coors, Adolph Coors, he made his own bottles, and for a while that technology for the glass he made dental porcelain.
Sam: (inaudible 13:00).
Howard: So a lot of dental labs back in the day making porcelain fused to metal crowns were using Adolph Coors’ porcelain. So I saw all these factors, well I extended that to my kids. So like when we were on vacation in Los Angeles, and they were little, two, four, six, eight, we go visit Futuredontics. We go into the Glidewell, and Jim Glidewell personally showing my four boys all these labs. We were up in Portland Oregon went to Ken Austin showed him the whole adec where you have this factory and in one end they're delivering pallets of leather, and beads, and wood, at the other end comes off an adec chair and Ken Austin walked all four of my boys the process. What was also cool is his hobby is restoring old cars, so he has a museum.
Howard: I mean fire trucks, police, I mean an amazing collection of cars and Ryan, we've got to get Ken Austin on this show. But anyway, so I did the corporate profile because I'm showing you a vacation, on the cover of Dentaltown for years would be a corporate profile. You buy products from adec and glidewell, and all these 3M’s and company. So we do like three or four piece right, but the dumb dentists would say ‘oh it's a rag, it's all sponsored by advertising. They're just trying to sell stuff’. As if there are volunteer dentists doing free crowns.
Yeah they're charging a thousand dollars for a crown but when 3M tries to sell them something for $30 they're selling something. I loved the corporate profile, but Dennis would say it made it look like it was a throwaway rag because you had some big advertising piece on the cover. I could’ve called it Dentist town, and I own dentist town, but I didn't want to call it Dentist town. I called it Dentaltown because if you took away five hundred dental companies I'd be sitting outside on a rug chucking teeth with shit I bought at Home Depot.
Howard: The only reason we look so good is because those companies are making CBCTs, and CADCAMs, and nickel titanium, APECs locators, and I love the corporate profile. So we killed it.
Sam: No, it's still there.
Howard: What do you mean it’s still there?
Sam: Corporate profiles are still there.
Howard: They're not on the cover?
Sam: They’re not on the cover, they're on the cover of Orthotown but not on Dentaltown.
Howard: So why is that? Why the difference?
Sam: I think for the reason that you mentioned as far as the cover is concerned. But we also took the corporate profile in a different direction a little bit too, because what we were noticing is that people were saying ‘if you do four pages about a company, and I'm a dentist, and I already have a competitor, this is my guy. I see this four page article and it's about a company that I'm not interested in, I literally just turned the pages, and that's as far as the magazine goes it's a scary opportunity to have that person put away the magazine.
So what we've started doing more and more for the companies is we work with them on, it's still four pages, but we say ‘hey why don't we work on an article that helps dentists somehow improve their game’. Three pages of it is that, and then the fourth page is ‘here's a profile of the really smart people who just gave you this three page article’. So an example of it, I think the first one that we did that I think worked well was a marketing company. The main article was like ‘Ten Ways to Improve Your Postcards’, and the article had a big postcard.
From our perspective, if you just looked at the spread you'd be like ‘oh that looks like a postcard to get in the mail every day’. But what they had done is they had said ‘look you should’ve put this here instead, if you had put this photo here instead you could have increased your gain by this much’. So we went through and dissected the front and back of the card, giving people useful information that even if they're not interested in that company, there's still tips that they can use in their own practice.
That way it's still useful to me, and that's something that we brought from the the company that I worked with for magazines, was content marketing. Our whole thing that was really hard for us to get across to our clients, but was ultimately the biggest takeaway that they needed to get was that anything that you send to people, needs to be about those people it can't be about you. If you're a hospital, and you're like ‘I'm going to send out a four page magazine, and it's all about my new birthing center’. People are going to be like ‘I'm not having a baby’. Throw it away.
But if you say ‘I’m going to do a four page magazine, and it's about moms and things that you need to know about taking care of your kids, and it's tips, and maybe it's things in the neighborhood, and there's a little mentioned on the side that says ‘by the way we just opened this birthing center and it has like this really cool this, and this, and this’. You've given them three pages of stuff that you like ‘oh my God, they really care about me, they're really interested in me’, and then that fourth little segment is all about you.
So that's what we're doing more and more for the corporate profiles to, is really asking them to rethink what they want to focus on, and we want to focus on the dentist as much as possible, and the orthodontist for Orthotown, hygienists for Hygienetown, and really have it be these are tips that help your business or your practice, your clinical practice. If it's about tools we don't want it to be like ‘this is all about my tool’. We want it to be like ‘here's how you figure out which tools are best for you. Which instrument should you be using?’ This, and this, and this.
Then when the reader's like ‘oh God this is really smart’ then that last page is like ‘here's the smart people who just told you this’ and they probably have a lot more info if you get in touch with them. So that's what we do for the corporate profile now.
Howard: Okay, but you're talking to dentists and you just say ‘content marketing’.
Howard: They don't know what that means.
Howard: What is content marketing? How is that different than marketing?
Sam: Alright. So content marketing started out and it used to be called Custom Publishing, and so it is like the Ritz Carlton magazine. Where technically when you look at that magazine, there's really great travel stories in it, there's usually some like high end living things, all that kind of stuff. Ultimately the whole goal of that magazine, is to make you want to book another Ritz Carlton magazine, or Ritz Carlton room somewhere, you want to go on an adventure in this city.
Howard: Do you know what I thought every time I read the Ritz Carlton magazine because I've stayed in a lot of them? I wanted to eat a Ritz cracker.
Sam: The buttery goodness of a Ritz cracker. Hospitals same thing, where again it's content marketing. You want to get the message out about your stuff, but it's not a hard sell like regular marketing is. Where for example for dentists, there's a difference between if I got a postcard in the mail, and it was like I offer fillings for $45. I personally have never had a filling in my life, like I've never had a cavity. The only fillings that I have are preventive kind of things.
Howard: You’ve never had a cavity?
Howard: The vodka is killing the streptococcus (inaudible 20:03).
Sam: Yeah. I was lucky because I didn't go to a dentist for seven years when I first to come Arizona, because I was like I don't know a dentist. So there could have an opportunity to go horribly wrong but it did not, again knock on wood. But marketing in different realms it's more about making that connection, instead of saying you're making it a sale, you're making a connection with the reader or the recipient, because that way they think that they know or think that you're on their side.
It's not that you're like ‘I want to fill seventeen fillings today’, you’re like I want to fill this filling because it's important, because you're tooth will fall out of it if it's not. So it’s the difference between true hard marketing and content marketing. It was really hard for a lot of companies to walk that line of really our whole role is to say ‘remember it has to be about the reader, it can't be about you’. A lot of times you're just turning it on your head, and after a while you get used to it. But it's new for a lot of people.
Howard: I'm a big fan of your blog, sammittelsteadt.com, so his first name is Sam.
Howard: His last name you spell it M-I-T-T-E-L-S-T-E-A-D-T. That has to be German, or German, or German.
Sam: It is German, and German, and German.
Howard: So they always say that your website, you should have a blog. Is your blog content marketing? Why do you have a blog?
Howard: Is a dentists blog on his website? I don't know anybody at SEO that doesn't say ‘if you want more SEO you've got to have some embedded YouTube’. I mean they're all doing Google searches. They're saying blog, they're saying that if Google, you're looking for a dentist and this community, and nothing's changed on eighty percent of the websites. Well they're not going to show up on page one.
Howard: They like websites that are getting landed on, saying on.
Howard: Verified. So is blogging content marketing?
Sam: It can be.
Howard: Why do you blog? What is your blog about?
Sam: So I have two. The one that you mentioned is actually my ‘I am an editor, and a professional like professional kind of things. So that just shows like what I've done.
Howard: So Ryan send me other blog.
Sam: Yeah. So it's like freelancing.
Howard: What's the name of your other blog?
Sam: It's just Sammitt, S-A-M-M-I-T-T, dot WordPress dot com.
Howard: Say it again.
Sam: Sammitt, S-A-M-M-I-T-T, dot WordPress dot com.
Howard: Is Sammitt a play on damn it.
Sam: It is.
Sam: Yeah, because it is Sam Mittelsteadt. That was my blog at my newspaper and they let me get away with it. So I was so pleased with that.
Howard: So you're Sam Mittelsteadt is you're kind of like content marketing, selling you.
Sam: Yeah, exactly.
Howard: Like your LinkedIn profiles.
Howard: So you have professional exposure.
Sam: Yeah. So it's freelance stories that I've written for other publications. So like when I got to tour the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Scottsdale, it's the David Wright house technically, it's for his son. There's the preservation instinct for like a magazine needed someone who was local to go out, tour it, and do a story about it. So I got to go out and literally walk through the house and do a tour of it, so that's kind of cool.
That's really sort of the like the online resume more than anything else, most publishing people will have that. But that's not a blog. I would say the other one is more of a blog, The Sammitt one and that's where it's random thoughts. But that one isn't really content marketing, because that's Sam who’s running around on the weekends and like ‘here's the hotel I stayed at, and this was a cute room, or this was an awful room, or this is a drink that I made for this party, stuff like that. So it’s not really like a content marketing thing.
Howard: I love your police mugshot photos.
Sam: Thank you.
Howard: They are so good. I want to go back to that dentist website.
Howard: We sell the invisible, I mean when you go buy bottled water I don't need to see that. I mean it's Nestle it's bottled water, I assume there's no arsenic in it.
Howard: That's cold and refreshing, when I buy and iPhone there’s no chance I'm going to go to a (inaudible 24:26), because it me a decade to figure this damn thing out.
Howard: I’m to freaking old to figure out a new operating system. This one when he came home from college, convinced me that I had to switch to a Macintosh. So I committed to it, Ken bought me the nicest Macintosh computer and I said I'm going to commit to a month of this, after a week I was just thinking of ways I could kill myself. I mean it was the worst experience for me.
Howard: Oh my God. Oh my God. Yeah. Yeah. But when you go to the auto mechanic and your engine light comes on, and you know that the engine light is a stupid light.
Howard: Some naive person is going to walk in there and whatever he says... I mean how do I know if I need to get this maintenance work done.
Howard: I mean they say the weirdest thing, like last time I took in my Lexus, they said ‘your rear axle needs grease’.
Howard: I mean what do you say to that?
Sam: Yeah. Yeah.
Howard: ‘Well actually in dental school they taught us that…’.
Howard: So when they come into the dental office the data is overwhelming, I mean when you come to the office and I tell you you’ve got four cavities. Well you don't know.
Howard: If you're referred in by a trusted friend or a loved one you spend $3.
Howard: If you come in off a flyer, Facebook, ad direct, MLPs, you'll spend one.
Howard: So trust is everything. So when you're writing your blog on your website should it be more like your Sammitt, so someone gets to know you, there you are with your dog drinking a beer watching the cardinals game?
Sam: A good point is…
Howard: How do you build more integrity, trust?
Sam: So think of it almost like content marketing again, in that even if you’re a mechanic the same thing, where if my engine light comes on the first thing I’m going to do is I'm going to run to Google, and be like ‘what does it mean when this light comes on?’ I'm going to research it, and if you have been keeping up a blog for a long time, and you've been posting a lot of material, that maybe your answer comes up as one of the most reliable answers, and gives me that advice and I'm like ‘Oh that’, again that company knows what they're doing.
They didn't say ‘I'll tell you what it is that if you come down to my office’, and so you've already began to build that connection. The same would apply for dentistry, in that blogs are good but blogs are long commitment of resources. It's not something that you can do when you feel like it, and like my Sammitt one. The whole reason that it's not like anything like that, is because I've literally gone six months without posting, because it's not a priority in my life, because I'm not marketing myself as a person on that site.
But if you're using it for your business you have to be. You can't have a blog up, and then when people look at a blog the last post you did was a year ago, because then they're like ‘why is this even here?’ So you have to commit to having whatever your priority is going to be, if it's once a month, if it's once a week, if it's once a day, and the hard part is feeding that bucket over and over again. We used to do that for our clients in content marketing, as we used to have people who would write the articles for them.
It's not something that lots of people can do in their spare time, because by the time that you make it educational, well informed, should probably have a photo in it so it's just not a run of text. It needs to be read like you're talking to a person, it can't be dentist speak. When you're talking about a maxilla, people don't know what a maxilla is. That was I think the hardest vocab lessons for me, were just like lingual buckle, maxilla, mandible. Like all of those things were brand new to me, because I'm like is it a jaw? Is it a tooth? Is it a molar? You have to speak like that because that's what people are going to Google. You have to think of the search phrases that they're going to use. They're not going to say oral cavity, nobody outside of dentistry uses the term oral cavity, also it's gross don’t use it. They say mouth.
Howard: Well you know why they switch from oral cavity to mouth? Americans say oral cancer. Well you do a search with oral.
Sam: Yeah, don’t do that in the US.
Howard: The last thing you will find is a dental site, and that is why the United Kingdom formally switched it to mouth cancer, and it was all because of pornography. Oral is just not a good search word. What he just said, I still think one of the best things you can do is when you look at treatment plan acceptance rates, the mean average dentist doing seven-fifty taking home a buck forty-five. They're case acceptance on just restorative, we're just talking fillings nothing else. We’re not talking about big implant cases, veneers, bleaching, just decay needing fillings. You only have a thirty-eight percent closure rate. So you're doing seven hundred and fifty, taking home buck forty-five.
Right next door to you is a dentist doing a million three, taking home three fifty same number of patients, same everything the only difference is, he has a two in three close rate and one in three Americans aren't ever going to do anything he said. They’re still adorable and I love them. There's nothing more exciting than when you come to work and you see your first patient, she’s sitting outside your front door, in a wheelchair with oxygen tubes in her nose smoking a cigarette. So people aren’t always going to take your advice.
Howard: I mean how many diabetics do you know that drink a two liter bottle of Mountain Dew every day? Then they take their oral hypoglycemic pill, Then they take their oral hypoglycemic pill. So one out of three are never going to do it but you know what you do? You got an iPhone. When you get to work, tell your assistant or hygienist that when you go in there and do a hygiene check, to turn on the recorder and record the conversation. Then you have it texted out and you can send these overnight.
We send our podcast scripts to India and they translate them. They put the whole text on the deal and then you get a black magic marker and you cross out every damn word you said that the patient doesn't understand. You speak 5000 words of Latin and Greek and that's why your close rate is so high. And when I see the dentists closing two out of three fillings, getting restorations, versus one out of three, the number one trend I see is how much Latin and Greek you lose. I mean Latin is a dead language we don't live in Greece and you're a highly educated man and it was a long learning curve to learn, Maxillae and bicuspid and all this stuff and they're just ranting those words off to grandma and then wonders why she has no idea. And then the other way to check that is, then get with your receptionist and start tracking the whole patient schedule and put a check by every single patient that when they were checking out still had a dental question. I mean they were in with your hygienist for an hour- she's got four years of Latin and Greek. You did a hygiene check and then when they're checking out they're going "Now does the implant, does that come in or out or is that a..." and you're like " You were just with the doctor for an hour when you were in a chair with a mirror and a light and a computer. Now you're standing at a counter asking me dental questions and you enable him. You answer these questions saying, " Oh do you still have more questions for the doctor? Well let me take you right back" and if you kept taking them right back and the dentist realizes that every time he has a horrible presentation and they're asked a question upfront that you're going to bring him back, that's when they'll finally throw in the towel and buy a treatment plan coordinator to do that because he realizes it's just going to ruin his schedule. I mean tell the front desk quit answering dental questions after they've seen the hygienist and dentist. Take them back and that's going to change the way they talk. They're going to talk more succinct, they're going to use English. No Latin and Greek. Keep it simple, stupid and then you'll get your close rate up and then your patients are better served because I'd rather my four kids go to a dentist that convince them to do two out of three of their cavities filled instead of one out of three.
So what if they're listening to you right now and they want to be published. How do they contact you, what are you looking for? How does this process start work?
Sam: Easiest thing is always through e-mail. I'm not a big phone call person just because phone calls can spiral out of control. When you're talking to someone and it can be like "I only need five minutes" But by the time you get into the weeds of things, it's like 25 minutes later....
Howard: What's your email?
Howard: Now are you also at email@example.com?
Sam: I don't know. I think they are a set so that they redirect. So normally what we ask and Tom Jacoby who's the clinic clinical director is the same way. Really it's the idea of... just to shoot us a quick line that says " Hey, I'm really interested in writing an article about this" and then just kind of list out the bullet points of the angles or the topics. What specifically are you going to talk about so that if it is... we're working with someone now about incisal edge closures so it was more about - what are you going to talk about with those? because those can go in many different directions. And one thing that I'm really keen to do is rather than cover something once broadly and wipe out our ability to cover it again in two more issues, three more issues, I'd rather cover something very specific, very deep so that if we're talking about an oral surgery thing ...if not the idea of like, I'm going to cover everything you need to know about it. Tell me about one thing. It's the difference between telling somebody "Oh you should bake an apple pie." I don't want to tell people they need to bake an apple pie. I need you to give me the exact recipe to make an apple pie. I need you to tell the readers exactly what they need to do.
So it's the same thing about like " Oh you should just do this closure" and it's like no you don't just say do the closure, you have to say "How did you do this closure? What materials did you use? How long did that take? Did you screw up when you did it? All of those things are details that I want to know because that's what makes your story you and that's what the readers want to know because they want to know what they're up against. If they want to practice it in their own practice I think it's a lot of.... So at the beginning it's just really high level. This is the overarching subject and then this is what I'd like to say about it. One of the other challenges for us is to really say ....to have potential authors come back and really take a look at what have we published in the past year because a lot of times someone's like "Oh I really want to do something about improving your social media presence and I'm like "We just covered that two months ago and we did it again six months ago". We specifically... we had Zuckerberg on. Mr. Zuckerberg did that thing on Facebook. It's someone else who specifically did a thing about Instagram and for dentures patients. So we're getting very specific about things. It's not like "how to improve your social media presence. It's how do you use videos on your [00:35:13] card [0.2] receiver -did a thing and it was not just you know how do you use video in your social media but he actually gave examples. There's a video on our website that he made for us, that was like "Here's a good example and here's how it could be improved to a bad example"
So think that we want to have very specific advice in there because that's what's going to help our readers. It's not the level of giving them generalities. Give them as much specifics as possible.
Howard: What comes your mind when I say WCGW?
Sam: Zero things.
Howard: That's a subtitle on Reddit. What Could Go Wrong. And I am so bummed I can't remember his name. He was the Prosthodontist that in his final years before he passed, he worked at Green Dental lab. He was a consultant for the big cases coming in. Gosh darn. What was his name?
Green Dental lab in Arkansas, he was a Prosthodontist. He was a dentist. One of the most famous Prosthodontists in the world back in the 80s and 90s. But what I loved about him and what I think would be better for dentistry and Dentaltown magazine is you know -there's a lot of really good studies that say the more hours you spend on social media the more depression you have because everybody is posting their best picture.
When that girl's eating pizza at the parlor with her girlfriends, how many selfies do you think she took before she posted one and did she crop it and filter it and change it. So you're living in this world where you think everybody's got this perfect, leave it to Beaver or Wally wonderful life and he would get up there... Did you find him Ryan?
Ryan: I just send read your text is it Charles English?
Howard: Charles English- Ryan you're so damn good. How did you find that?
Sam: It’s like having a Siri.
Howard: Oh my God. Look at his pictures, his obituary notice. Charlie English. Charles English. My God what year did he die? November 3 2005 and Charlie it's 12 years later and we're talking about you. Hope you can hear this. Dr. Charles Edward English of Little Rock. Died on Thursday November 3rd 2005. He was born in Lebanon Indiana. But what he did is, he said "You know what I'm not going to stand up here and show you my thousands of perfect cases," I'm only going to show you everything that went wrong. Number one so that you realize that, the greatest lectures on the circuit who are up there, they'll do a hundred veneer cases and just show you the one and it's going to be perfect and she's going to be gorgeous and everything, went out perfect and a lot of us think a lot of their stuff could be Photoshopped. And and Charles English said you know what, "When you do something and it turns out perfect, I don't think you learned anything but let me show you what could go wrong." And he always said "I learned the most by all my dental abortions." That's what he called them. And I learned so much like I can't tell you how sad I felt when Jann and I went to a nursing home and this lady back in the 80s came in and didn't want her partials so I did two implants and two three inner bridge, then 20 years later, she's in a nursing home. She's frail, she's sick and one of them fails and I'm sitting there thinking well if I would have put three implants for three crowns, I could have taken out that failed implant and nothing would changed. But since I saved 150 bucks on a metal implant and did a bridge, now she's going to lose two out of those three teeth. And at that age they're too sick and frail ,no one is going to do surgery on them. I love Charlie's cases and he was so good. Karl Misch used to be sitting in the audience when this guy was lecturing and so I wish we had a section like Reddit called it WCGW. What Could Go Wrong. Now on Reddit, it's always like I'm going to a drink beer by....something it's always... I'm just sliding down the stairway on my drunk passed out friend. What could go wrong? You know and then it's always a disaster. I wish Dentaltown would start encouraging... What is your worst case? Photo document the biggest disaster you ever did because I think we'd all learn more.
We'd all learn more from the accidents. What could go wrong. That's what we should call it; What could go wrong?
Sam: Or What Did Go Wrong.
Sam: I think a lot of readers are probably afraid of what the online community would say like you know when you go on the forums right now and there's already, just that like he was talking about with social media, the lack of face to face communication I think makes people feel more free to criticize. And I think that a lot of especially dentists and other professionals are kind of leery about opening themselves up to that criticism -which is a tough thing. But you know when we started a department which is a shorter piece that usually appears every issue called "Show your work" and that was designed to... If people are hesitant to write a larger article, I'm not an author, I'm not a writer, I'm a dentist. And we understand that but everybody has like a really cool case so we have this feature up front that's called "Show your work." We're literally, we're just asking you : Show us this cool case, show us your photos. You have to have good photos and be able to describe all the steps that happened and tell us what was cool about it. Again that's you know over and over again that's what it's going to come down to. What's cool about this particular case? Was the patient particularly challenging? Did you did something screw up? We recently did one where it was a guy who did his very first implant case which normally you know everybody remembers their first implant case probably every dentist. But this guy also when he got there he couldn't use the guide because she couldn't open her mouth wide enough. And so then he was like "Now what do I do?" And then he had to kind of punt.
And so that was an interesting thing because you know it wasn't just.... "and then everything worked perfectly and it went according to plan and I was done." People are sort of- the patients are incredibly grateful for that I'm sure but there are dentists who are reading and are like "and I learned what here?" you know and so I think that you know we're always looking for people who are willing to share their cases. That's for us one of the biggest things is you know a lot of times when we're looking for authors you know we have a year's worth of topics that we already have planned in an editorial calendar so we'll cover orthodontics x number of times a year. Oral surgery is scheduled x number of times a year. We're always looking for people who have interesting cases.
Howard: How could my homies find that editorial calendar?
Sam: It is on our website I believe under editorial or maybe it's under sales. For us, we would just rather have them call or email and say " Hey I'm really interested in writing an article about this" because those are the minimum number of times per year we want to cover it. That doesn't mean that if a great case comes in and we're like "Oh sorry I've have already scheduled an ortho thing." We're not going to run a really interesting piece earlier if we have the ability to do it.
Howard: [00:42:27] So I just read an [0.8] article and also it has out director Tom Giacobbe, whose been on our team since 2000. He's been on that team 17 years. And Laurie has been the president of that company for 19 years. I am the luckiest man on the world that those guys.... the guy who wrote the first line of code on Dentaltown- Ken Scott 1998, he's still there.
Those guys are just legends to me. They built that whole company. I hate when people give me credit for a Dentaltown and all this stuff like that when God damn, if anybody should get credit for Dental town, it should be Ken Scott. He programmed the whole damn thing. So it sounds to me like you are talking to these dentists, you mostly what clinical cases. Is that.
Sam: We love clinical cases because readers love clinical cases. A lot of times we have so many people out there who either you know practice management consultants are the experts in practice management field and they know that there are a lot of dentists out there who are trying to redefine themselves. I'm leaving clinical practice and now I'm going to work more on finance or something like that. We have a ton of people who are doing that already too. So that's a harder- you know we already have more contenders in that field. So it's hard to say yes- there's a new idea in there. Clinical cases for us are always, we're hungry for.
Howard: I must say something on the record. I refuse to ever be on the cover of my own magazine because it's kind of... It would be like getting Time magazine "Man of the year" if you are the owner of Time magazine. I mean it's kind of narcissistic.
Sam: You're on the cover for January.
Howard: I'm on the cover for January? For what?
Sam: Sneak peek. It is a preview of, not all of the speakers at Townie Meeting but a dozen of them and you're one of the dozen.
Howard: OK. So I'm just with them now?
Howard: But I just want to say on the record I tell them at Townie Meeting, I mean I've spoken at that meeting every year for 15 years and I said, I don't have to be on the program and you're editor and I ran a monthly column since 1994. They don't need another column from Howard. If you ever sit there and say you know Howard,"We're going to retire your column, we're going to go to once a quarter or once a year." Trust me, I'm cool with that. Don't ever think that poor Howie has to have a monthly column I mean.
Sam: But the numbers you know we look at the numbers on how things are doing on the website and that informs how we decide what to do more of and less of too. And your column is number one or number two almost every month. So.
Howard: Is it really number one or number two? And who is usually number two?
Sam: It depends-usually it's something that's on the cover which I think is a direct correlation to when people see the HTML version of the magazine. The covers there and they can click and see something that's on there.
Howard: But you got data that they're more likely to click a clinical case.
Sam: We haven't looked at it that ( I hate that word) granularly we haven't looked at it that deep, in terms of you know normally we just kind of look issue by issue and say "Oh this one did really good." Quizzes do really well for us. So when we did "name that oral lesion" which is another phrase that I never thought that I would say out loud in my life.
Howard: "Name that Oral Lesion" That's the game you want to play when you're on your date with some chick from Plenty of Fish- Name that Oral Lesion.
Sam: That one actually did incredibly well. That out shone your column by almost 50 percent. People love a quiz I think.
Howard: Yeah. But you know how I really .... and I'm going to ask the community about What Could Go Wrong because here is another beef I have with the big dental meetings is you go to any lab like Glidewell which does five percent of all the crowns in the United States of America and their data... I mean they do millions of crowns a year and they tell you that ninety six percent come in one tooth at a time. And you go to all the other labs and most all the labs agree that you know 95 out of 100 crowns come in one at a time. Then you go to all the dental meetings and every course on [00:46:30] crown and bridge is just full [1.3] mouth rehab and they all stand up and say "OK it's almost Christmas.Raise your hand if you didn't do one full mouth rehab case the entire year?" and all the fricken hands go up OK. So that's another... So they always show these perfect unicorn, full mouth, All on Four... I mean like what percentage of dentists that place implants have never done and All on Four? Oh just 99 percent of the general dentists haven't done All On Four. So then you get the magazines what is it all on? All on Fours. I'd like to see more reality more "What could go wrong. Your biggest disaster case" and when you're submitting cases...You know it's not my call- By the way I have no authority over Dentaltown Tom Jacoby's has had that position since 2000. If I say print it or don't print it, he didn't even give a shit. I mean it never even made an impact but I personally would rather see more real world than....I'd rather read a case on a single unit crown than a full mouth rehab. I'd rather see a case on a molar endo than a retreatment case, digging a broken post out of the palatal canal- you know what I mean ,just real world stuff because you know and silver diamine fluoride. That's a hot topic. You know when you [00:47:53] unclear . [0.6] To me Go, you had a screaming, yelling kid and you want to give it a shot and do a pulpotomy and crown(47:58 ) when there's people like Jeanette McLean yeah. Jeff McLean who I just totally worship that pediatric.. she made the cover of the New York times.Oh my God.
Sam: Her CE course on silver diamine fluoride is doing really well because she did a print one for us and then she also did an online one. Both of those, the numbers are really good.
Howard: But I guess what I'm just saying is more real world.
Sam: Yeah definitely that's something that we're all really interested really keen to get in because I think that that's more applicable to readers every day. I think the other stuff you know the things that we talked about here also play.. if dentists are doing events in their community and they want to try and get in a local newspaper you know and they're sort of like "how do we get press for this cool event?" Maybe they're doing free treatment for kids or something. It's again like when you talk to that local media, you have to think about what's the interesting angle here? You know if it's I'm doing a cool thing for people, it's nice but you need to have a little bit more than that because depending on what city you are in, there could be five or six other dentists who are all doing that same thing that weekend. And so it really comes down to knowing what is your angle going to be. We had a profile of I think some orthodontists who had an event and they brought some Arizona Cardinals and they had .....there was some sort of additional level to it. So it was really more about at that point when you're talking to a community newspaper, what's the benefit to the community? Lead lead with that.
And I think more and more it's the idea of just knowing that when you're selling a story or trying to pitch just to get some valid media for what you're doing that you need to remember sort of the timelines that people work under. Even for daily Newspapers when I worked in the feature section, I would write.... you know we're not writing- we're not breaking news for features and so we're not going out on a Wednesday and publishing for Thursday's paper. We're starting things a week or two in advance and so you can't call up and say " Hey today I'm doing this cool thing" because chances are, when they're doing the breaking news the TV stations, newspapers, all that kind of stuff, they've dedicated that day's things to breaking news. They're not going to run out and do a feature piece. So that's something that you call a week ahead of time and let them know and ask what sort of coverage is available. Maybe it's not going to be the cover but maybe, "Can I just get a photo? Can we provide something?" Pitch it ahead of time because a lot of times feature magazines and newspapers sections, they're not trying to cover it when it happens, it's just the nature of the beast that if readers are interested in it, they want to know if they have a kid that can qualify for it. They need to know about it ahead of time. And so that's another thing to keep in mind. Same for Dentaltown. Right now it's December 12th. We're almost done with January. We go to the printers next week. We have already nailed down our February lineup. March content is due January 15th and I'm already talking about stuff for August. We have a lot of stuff, wheels always moving and so just know that like a lot of times it's like "I'd like to get something in March" and it's like " Oh you might be able to because we might be full.
Howard: The richest man in the world is now Jeff Bezos of Amazon. Number two is Bill Gates of Microsoft. Number three is Warren Buffett and he lives in Omaha Nebraska and that's where I went to college and Creighton University. He actually came out and spoke at our school one time but you started off in newspapers and Warren owns 31 newspapers. He said just yesterday "If you look there are 13 hundred daily newspapers left. There were seventeen hundred or 18 hundred not too long ago. Now you've got the internet aside from ones mentioned, they haven't figured out how to make the digital model complement the print model."
Do you think newspapers .... when I got out of school, there were 15000 dental labs and now there's only 7 500 because the ones that all died where the one man shows. You have too much equipment. Couple of years ago there were 1800. Now there's 13. That's down 500. Ten years from how many newspapers will be left? Are they going to die? Bezos the richest man in the world, he bought the Washington Post. I don't know if he bought that because that was a good business or because he wants political influence in Washington D.C.
Sam: The Post comes with added benefits in that it has its own wire service. So newspapers subscribe to the Associated Press, which is sort of like a it's a news filter that gives them access to certain stories. And the L.A. Times Washington Post has its own news service too. So because they have such good writers, it's a syndicate and other people pay to reproduce their content. So they have something that like most Daily Newspapers don't have, which is truly sellable content. Other newspapers are picking it up. Newspapers really got hit by the Internet. Warren was right in that, they just weren't prepared for this model that suddenly gave away their two biggest gravy trains which was: classified ads, which was Craigslist and then car finder, which was all the auto advertising ads. And suddenly they weren't really able to pivot quickly enough because that's where people were going for their needs. The Internet. It was easier to do this than it was to wait 24 the next morning until a newspaper came out and for a long time they were so busy I think I can't speak for the entire industry but there was so much about still focusing on this print product and thinking of the website as an ancillary when in real life people are going to the website first and they didn't work on that fast enough and I think that's sort of what led to the idea of they probably should have monetized their content to start with because people are so used to now getting that news for free. The New York Times has and The Washington Post as too, X number of free articles a month, you need to pay. And then you get access to the whole thing. And they're making money that way they're not making hand over fist money like they used to but they're in a lot better shape than I think some other titles and newspapers are.
Howard: And by the way if you're listening please download the Dentaltown app. We have free classified ads and there are like six thousand free classified ads. They all expire after a certain date so nothing's old. Looking for associate, looking for a job, selling a practice. Some of the most successful dental practice brokers on earth, are listing all their dental... That's their secret sauce. I mean they send me e-mails they say " Thank you."I get wine, cheese, shit mailed to the house because they feel guilty because they're listing all these ads for free and it's because in the old world it would have been your local state Dental Journal that came out once a month right and now they're on there 24/7.
Sam: I think Ryan McCall. He mentioned in his article that he found his practice on Dentaltown when he.
Howard: And the other the other thing is you're selling your practice. Say you're in Phoenix Arizona. So you put it in the local Arizona Dental Association classified ad magazine, great whatever. But that's print. The kid that might be coming to Arizona might be in the Navy might be in Okinawa. Maybe he got out of school in Florida and he just met the love of his life and she wants to move back to Phoenix. So, you've got to think international. Some of these dentists, post their ads in California and the person that's finding them the Buyer is in India and they're starting a negotiation to buy a practice and she's still in New Delhi you know I mean. So the classified is amazing. It's a free service that the Dentaltown does. So newspapers are dying. Do you think it's the pendulum where, we you went from 1800 and 500 not very efficient, go weeded out and now you're down at 1300 stronger ones? Or do you think they're just gonna...
Sam: I think that they're going to have to redefine what they are in that more and more, if they were to redefined themselves as a media company and not a newspaper and really think about where their- their opportunity lies online really truly. There are always going to be people who subscribe to a newspaper for certain things. But when you're thinking about what your core customer is looking for, your core readership, they're looking for facts now. That's that those sort of immediate updates when you read about a " Oh there's an explosion in New York, a subway explosion." You're not going to wait 24 hours for your print publication to come out to give you that nuance thing. People want updates now so, they need to have that robust online somehow. And then they can supplement the print as they see fit. And I think that's true. You see it happening in magazines as well where people will have like this very vibrant online community. Dentaltown is built that way where you see millions of posts and you know the message. ..
Howard: Five million.
Sam: And the message boards that we print, each issue sort of redefine and just reinforce to our readers that, this ongoing conversation is happening all the time. There's new topics, there's new posts, there's all of this is going on. We usually publish two or three an issue just from different topics to reinforce the fact that there's so much more online than what's in the magazine too.
Howard: Oh my God I look at this. So we're up to 4 million 900000 posts with 235. So we're about to celebrate two things. Five my million posts and a quarter million at 250, a quarter million dentists. And what's so funny is we came out in 98, Facebook came out in 2004 and everybody's been telling me " Facebook is gonna kill Dentaltown, Facebook is going to kill Dentaltown and then every month we get 1000 more members. We have more members every month than the month before since we started. And it's funny because Facebook is a mile wide and an inch deep and Dentaltown is an inch wide and a mile deep. I mean when you've got five million posts I mean you break a file off on an [00:58:37] MB2. [0.7] You know it's there, the cases are there and the follow up questions I mean, it's just amazing. And I also like the organized message board. Say you were the greatest Endodontist in the world and I wanted to find a [00:58:54] case (unclear) [1.3] .What am I supposed to do? Go to your page and just scroll back forever? It's organized. It's searchable.
Sam: I have I've used it a couple times when we were looking for authors. You know sometimes when we're looking for someone to write about a particular topic, I'll search the message boards and look for people who are posting especially the people who are answering the questions, not necessarily people who are asking the questions because they might not.... I'm looking for the people who have the answers because I think that the people who have a strong enough opinion of themselves that they're going to be posting these answers in these forums, are the same people who are sort of bold enough to want to publish an article that puts them at the scrutiny of their of their fellow dentists too. And so those are the people that I reach out to one on one when I'm saying "Hey we have a story about prosthodontics that needs to happen and would you have any interest in anything do you have any interesting cases?
[00:59:44] So I kind of scope it out. [3.7]
Howard: I like the words you used. You said bold enough. You said strong enough and then be scrutinized by your peers. You know what you're saying? They always say the greatest fear in life is public speaking. But I've never been to a funeral where everybody said "Well at least he's not giving a speech." In any community even when it's your Facebook friends, one percent of every community whether it be message boards, Dentaltown, engineers, Facebook- 1 percent is what they call super users. And they're super users create much content and everybody mischaracterizes them saying that they're thick skinned or their bold or they're strong or they're going to be scrutinized. It's not that they have thick skin it's just that they realize that the other 7 and a half billion humans are just crazy monkeys and they'll put something up there and they do it purely because they want the feedback. Some people just shudder they think " Well if I posted a case.."
Sam: It makes it look like I don't know what I'm doing.
Howard: And Sam came on and said "That is the worst veneer I've ever seen in my life" that you'd go jump off a building. Take it back to your family when you're having the big Thanksgiving dinner, what percent of your aunts and uncles are bat shit crazy?
Sam: I haven't been back for Thanksgiving dinner in like 20 years.
Howard: Because of that?
Sam: No, we never really were like big family. We were nuclear family dinner and that was it.
Howard: But what percent of my average homie, what percent of America's bat shit crazy?
Sam: I would always guess that as far as the opinions of people that really matter, I would say you can probably discount 60 percent of them- easily.
Howard: 60 percent? So, It's not that you're thick skinned we just don't spend all of our time- when I'm making a post, I'm not saying " Oh I wonder what Charlie would think of this." And Larry and Amy- NO! I'm posting this because I find it interesting. And what I love the most about Dentaltown is, I can't tell you how many times I'll post something and their minds are so amazing. I mean they all got 8, 9, 10 years of college and they see stuff in articles that I didn't see- the questions they asked. I remember way back in our earliest day, someone posted a case and I was looking at this cosmetic case. The first comment was like " My god, too bad they had four bicuspid extractions, they butchered the whole smile and I was just a young kid. It was like 1998 and I was looking at that thinking I didn't even notice the four bicuspid extraction. And I just love the way that everybody sees something different. And just stop caring what other people think and another way to explain, I will explain it like this.
So we know a about 100 billion sapiens have come and died before today and there's seven and a half billion sapiens alive today. So let's round it off to eight percent. So ninety two and a half percent of all the humans have come and died. Do you worry what they think? Today are you going to worry that you're going to make a post and 92 percent of all the humans that ever lived are dead and aren't going to see it or comment on it.
And it reminds me of a story from when I was little. Remember Schwinn bicycle? So my Schwinn got a flat tire and all this stuff and you know I had five sisters and dad worked all the time but lunch hour was eleven to one and dinner hour was five to seven. So my dad's downtime was actually after lunch he would come home and that's when he'd actually take a shower brush his teeth, shave, do all that, come downstairs have a row, maybe breakfast with mom or whatever. And so he came home one day and I said you my tires got a flat, mom said you know.... can you help me take it to the shop. So he had his big old Lincoln Town Car. He pushed a button- you could put the ten speed in the trunk with the kickstand down. I mean these monster cars- we drove it to the dealers and dad pulled over to the side and popped his button and I got my bike out and then I said " Are you going to go with me?" He said "Why?" And I said " What should I tell them?"
He was like " Damn Howie, go tell them you're [01:04:05] unclear [0.8] and you want your tennis racquet restrung. If you can't tell a man what you told me to get your damn tire fixed, then you shouldn't get it fixed. Just leave the bike here and go home." So I'm in there and I'm 10 years old I'm all scared you know... this stranger and then dad told me later, he said "Look Howie, there's six billion people in the world and not one of them has ever thought of you.So don't ever worry about what someone thinks of you because no one's thinking of you. They're all thinking about themselves" and he says "If you want anything on this earth, you better climb to the tallest mountain on the tallest tree and scream as loud as you can and that's how you get something done." And he said " No one will do that because they're afraid someone is going to think of them and what they don't know is, that no one's ever thought of them. So don't be afraid of what someone thinks of you especially when no one's thinking of you.
You're posting on a Dental community and the biggest controversy we have on Dentaltown, is the anonymous. And everybody says "On Facebook, I know that you're Sam Mittelsteadt. Well yeah, if Sam says your root canal sucks, you'll just delete him from Facebook. Dentaltown, you can't delete and block a quarter million people. And the reason- I know who everyone is. We have two full time employees, that check, verify everybody on Dentaltown. We know who they all are but the reason I let them go anonymous because what's most important for me, is the sacred, sovereign profession of dentistry and dentistry needs a place where you can anonymously ask a stupid question. And if I take that away from our profession, now I got some dentist practicing alone... what if you're an endodontist and you have to show a failure and then the other endodontist, sends out a link to everyone and says "Look at these questions he's asking on Dentaltown. He obviously doesn't know endo. I mean the specialists working on referrals, they couldn't ask a question. And the only thing weird about the anonymous sources is- this is so bizarre, twice we've caught someone setting up multiple accounts and started a thread and they were responding each other now and me and Jacoby and Ken Scott are looking at this like what the..I mean is this guy completely insane?
Sam: Was he fighting? Or was he agreeing with himself?.
Howard: Oh he was being all controversial. It was a total drama. Oh my god man. We went ten minutes over, they're sitting in the parking lot with their car running, wanting to go inside. Is there anything that I should have asked that I didn't ask you?
Sam: I think we covered everything really. It's just like what makes it different? I think everybody has a different story. Don't be afraid to reach out to us because I think the other challenge that I think a lot of people don't remember, is that it's our job to make you look good. That's my job. We'll be really honest about "Oh maybe this isn't a great fit for the publication but what else do you have? Or do you have anything else?" We're not going to say "Oh this is a great thing" snicker snicker and then publish you because that's ultimately our goal, is to make the publication look good and we can't do that without good content. So I think anyone who might be hesitant about "Oh I can't write" or anything like that. We will make it as easy as possible. There are ways to format things to make it easy. You know.... "English isn't even my first language." We help with that. We have an editorial staff who helps with that.
Howard: English wasn't my first language. I was born in Kansas and that is definitely not English. I'll just tell you my secret in writing. Whether you like my writing or not is... I never, ever will write- I've done a monthly column every month since 1984. I won't write a column where it's like "OK Tuesday at three o'clock, you're gonna write a column." I'm not writing a column until I'm passionate about something and I just rant and I don't like to type it. What I do is I meet with Sam. He's got a recorder and I say "Sam, I want to come by your office and rant about this.
Sam: And I have a dictaphone.
Howard: Yeah and he has a dictaphone. Then I just come in there and I just rant . So what I would say, if you're going to write a case, do something you're passionate on. Do something where at the end you're like Yes!.
Sam: And the other thing is we ask you to write the way that you speak. We know who our audience is so think about that you're talking to somebody, an educated peer at a party. We are a Journal but we're not like a dry, dead Journal. We're going to use contractions. We're going to talk about things- like talk to it like you would append it's not you know highfalutin sort of language. You want to talk in a regular manner so that people understand that you're talking to them one to one really. Imagine that you're speaking to somebody who- so you don't have to go into a lot of background info because again, our readership is general dentists and specialists too. So you don't have to start from scratch. You can assume that they know a lot of what you know but this isn't a textbook. We're not doing an encyclopedia entry. This is a fun article. You should be having fun writing about this and that's something that we want to make sure comes through.
Howard: Well , I think you're doing an outstanding job. Shout out to Tom Jacoby- thank you for guiding the clinical side. I call him the voice of reason. What I love about Tom is since 2000 - what I love about Tom [01:09:37] Laurie, Ken [0.8] Stacy, all of those who people have been with me 20, 30 years, I'll throw five ideas and they'll say "OK these two are completely crazy. This one will ever work. This one maybe but you've got one good idea here."
Every time I come to a fork in the road and I send that decision to Howard Goldstein, Tom Jacoby, Laurie, Ken Scott, not only do they always put me in the right direction but like Jeff Bezos said, our four worst employees in Dentaltown in the last few years, all had MBA's and four for forward just dumber than a rock disasters force.
Jeff Bezos says "I don't care about any alphabet soup behind your name." What he tracks is - he tracks your decision making and he says I just want you to be right. I don't care how you got right. I don't care if you are from Harvard, Stanford, MBA, high school dropout, GED and what I can say most about my team is, you go back 20 years, they're always right. That's pretty damn cool and you know that's a big question. Would you rather be right or lucky? They're just right minded people. They're just very street smart, reasonable people. I mean Jacoby has always got his Doctorate and all this fancy stuff behind his name but goddamn he is so street smart he's just always right. On that note...
Sam: Thank you sir.
Howard: Thank you so much for coming by CASA Farran.