This week’s guest is the closest thing in dentistry to a media mogul. Ken Finlayson launched his first dental magazine in 1995, which quickly expanded to more than 20 digital and print titles under the FMC umbrella.
Ken chats to Payman about how it all started, discusses the challenges of hosting and judging awards, Dentistry’s Top 50 List and much more.
In This Episode
01.39 – Starting in publishing
04.00 – Backstory
08.36 – Dentistry Magazine
14.44 – Ruffling feathers
17.38 – Independent Dentistry
22.14 – Education and events
28.21 – Risk, ops and ideas
32.39 – Copy and processes
34.50 – Teambuilding and culture
39.28 – Buying and selling the company
46.25 – Awards
56.37 – The top 50 list
01.03.39 – Blackbox thinking, strengths and weaknesses
01.05.28 – The future of dentistry
01.11.40 – Remembering Kimberley
01.14.19 – Fantasy dinner party
01.15.38 – Last days and legacy
About Ken Finlayson
Ken Finlayson is the CEO of FMC, which publishes more than 20 dentistry related digital and print titles.
[00:00:00] I think the essence of the business is its culture and therefore the people coming in need to mould to that culture rather than the other way around. And that sort of drives itself and it moulds and develops people because in order to fit in at FMC, you’ll have to try hard. You’ll have to be fairly accommodating of your of your peers and contemporaries, and therefore they become FMC people. I’d say that’s why the momentum continues to be good, because the ones that don’t fit you probably never got to know payment because it just didn’t work. The ones that do fit stay long term and add to the culture and develop the business that way.
[00:00:45] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.
[00:01:03] It’s my great pleasure to welcome Ken Finlayson onto the podcast. Ken is probably one of the most influential people in dentistry. The man who came up with the list of the top 50 influential dentists. But maybe actually I think I think you used to feature on that list yourself sometimes, Ken. But the last five or ten years, I haven’t seen you there. Media mogul, maybe the biggest publisher in dentistry with 40 titles. How many titles, Ken?
[00:01:34] There’s a few. There’s a few. Not as many as they used to be. But yeah.
[00:01:39] Notably dentistry magazine, private dentistry magazine, clinical dentistry, Irish dentists, loads of education awards events since since I started Enlightened may be the most influential person in my early career for sure. Was Ken and you started this company when Ken was it 25 years ago?
[00:02:04] Started the company in 1994. And it’s a little bit depressing, frankly, to say that I used to be I used to be an influence to you and no longer. But yeah, it was a while back, in fairness, and there’s been a number of things happen since then. But yeah, it was a long time ago. Kicking off with the magazine called Dentistry in the days before the Internet, in the days before digital media. And it was pretty popular.
[00:02:32] It really was, I think, when we started in light in 2001. But I was a dentist since 95 and even then, so between 95 and 2001, at that time, we forget we forget how how much things have changed. I remember the independent was it called independent dentistry at the time? Not not private dentistry, the magazine?
[00:02:57] That’s correct. Yeah. It was in those days, private dentistry was a dirty word. It was something that people were afraid of financially. And there was a sort of class resonance to the title Private Dentistry. Yeah. So we coined the phrase in a general sense, independent dentistry, which reflected the fact that it wasn’t solely based on NHS practise and it gave people, it gave people the options to, to think about with regard to non NHS treatment.
[00:03:29] I remember reading independent dentistry as a young dentist and just thinking, God, this there is a world out there outside of this sort of situation that I’m in at the moment and you know, being inspired by the quality of the quality of the print, the quality of the editorial, the the stories that were in that magazine. This podcast normally starts, Ken, with sort of childhood. Where did you grow up? What kind of a kid were you?
[00:04:00] What does it normally start that way? But not this time.
[00:04:03] Not this time. This story started with this is how we started with independence.
[00:04:08] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, just very briefly, Scottish. I’m Scottish. I moved to South Africa aged 14 years old. And that’s quite a tough move because if anybody knows South Africans and we all know many of them, they typically big people. So coming from Scotland to South Africa at that age was quite a challenge. But they’re so entrepreneurial and so go getting by nature. The South Africans, it was it was very significant in my life ultimately coming back to UK and getting into the publishing world. And I was looking for an opportunity. And I was lucky enough to bump into a legend called Les Paul, who was the grandfather of private industry in the UK. And I had a title called Dentistry Magazine, which was doing well. But in speaking to Ellis, there was an opportunity to create something more oriented towards the options in dentistry away from the NHS. And he was the forerunner of that whole movement and a phenomenal person that inspired me and many, many people. Yeah, for a quarter of a century thereafter, just through the work that he and I did, and he’d had a huge career before that. So he certainly is the guy that deserves most credit for the whole of the private dentistry work that we did, and I’d like to think helped a lot of people along the way. But he was the guy that really inspired the whole thing and deserves the credit for that.
[00:05:52] But how did you get into dental in the first place can.
[00:05:56] Dentistry? Well, I ended up working for a medical media business. So medical media comprises magazines and events typically around hospital medicine, general practise medicine. And that was the essence of the business that I was involved in. We did look at the dentistry area as well, albeit it was the small relation in the business and I was learning the ropes. I always wanted to be my own boss and felt that it was more of an opportunity to if I was going to do my own thing in the dental space because it was less sophisticated in media sense than medicine and there were less players operating in it. And quite frankly, payment, it was less expensive to get involved in the dentistry. So I decided to develop an idea in dentistry. I went to the US and investigated what the media was doing in the US. At that time. Everybody viewed American dentistry as ahead of what we were doing. The American smile was quite well known even back then, and their thoughts on cosmetic dentistry, on the brighter, whiter smile, on what they could do for people outside of just helping them get through pain, was was a big difference to what we were doing in the UK at that point and the media reflected that as well. So I then essentially took the ideas that I saw in the US, package them together in a more British style and launched Dentistry magazine in 1995. And at that point of time, amazingly, I was probably more amazed than anybody else, but we actually launched with huge success. I expected a very slow start, but in fact it did seem that there was an appetite for a less academic take on dentistry going forward, and a more accessible media, which threw up business ideas, looked a lot at the product opportunities that there were and different types of treatment.
[00:08:11] So before you hadn’t worked in any other dental before you started your own dental magazine?
[00:08:18] Well, I was with a medical media business that did have oh that didn’t work in dentistry. Yeah. Albeit was quite small. So that’s where I really got my experience and I could see that there was an opportunity there that was less intricate and less expensive to get involved in than the dentistry area.
[00:08:36] So, so dentistry magazine in a way, if you had to sort of position it as in the, in the normal sort of newspapers and magazines sort of way, it was, it was kind of it would be where would it be? It would be like sort of the on the sort of the I don’t know, it’s the wrong word because tabloids got such such such bad connotations these days. But on the more on the tabloid end, because up to that point, there was you know, there was there was journals, there was BTJ And I guess the probe existed.
[00:09:06] It Yeah, I mean, the the analogy doesn’t really ring true, as you say, with tabloids. Yeah. However, even in 1994, tabloids were very evident and not particularly well thought of, albeit there were very, very popular. The Sun newspaper in the UK was the most popular newspaper in Europe and a very powerful reader base. It had two. So what we launched was not down-market, but it was accessible and populist, and that’s something that I really wanted to do so that if you were practising in a high street or in Scunthorpe or anywhere for that matter, you could dip into the title and get things out of it that that you could implement into your practise. And that was really what we were trying to do. Whereas titles like the BBG, phenomenal, globally renowned media that it still is to this day and was then it was a little esoteric, article wise, and many of the articles wouldn’t be that valid to the average practitioner at any one time. And so we wanted to be more populist, more accessible, easy to access. And the reaction we got from day one was quite phenomenal actually, that it did seem to resonate and people were reading it in their thousands and we had huge responses. There were used to be back in those days, a card system that you put into the title. So for example, if people wanted more information about.
[00:10:49] Such and such an ad or whatever, yeah, I remember.
[00:10:51] Yes. A product or a product news story. Then we would get. Thousands of these every week sent back to us. And it was a very good feeling and very nice.
[00:11:02] What were you thinking regarding sort of business plan wise? I mean, did you have already lots of contacts, as you know, in the in the industry for advertising?
[00:11:14] Well, the plan was that it’s a fairly straightforward approach insofar as we we knew who the Dental companies were. And we had a list of I say we, me and one other person that was the organisation and I was doing that side of it was really I had a list is there was a list of the companies and you call them up and suggest that we have a large audience and if they want to promote their product through, through that, they could. So it’s, it’s quite unsophisticated insofar as getting to the customer base. You didn’t really need to have a lot of contact as such. You just needed to know who the companies were. And of course it’s quite evident by going to a practise, you can see the products that are being used and there are other magazines around that you could also look at to gather who was promoting through through those media. And we basically just contacted them all. The claims of fame we had at that time is when we launched in 1995. It launched as the biggest launch that there’d ever been of a Dental title, and that was because the industry really liked the idea. And even though we didn’t have an audience, insofar as nobody had actually seen the title until we launched it, the industry was very much behind it from day one.
[00:12:39] And the plan always from day one was you were going to send this out for free?
[00:12:43] Yes. So that was the model at that time payment in media for getting dentistry for a second meet. It was a very popular notion in the British media world that you create a good product, i.e. title for the set to your targeting. Give the group that media free of charge so that they read it and enjoy it. And then there’s an audience to market to.
[00:13:12] And did you have massive start up costs? I mean, in the end, you have to publish. You have to you have to print thousands of of these papers. Did you did you have a backing to start with or did you not know you’d lose money to start with or will you know immediately?
[00:13:29] Well, the title launched extremely well. The great thing about media back in those days and still the same, I suppose, with the digital media, but you don’t incur any costs of any significance until such time as the printer starts printing the title, then ultimately have to pay for the paper, the postage, the printing costs themselves. But by that time we already had the advertisers in there. So as soon as it produced it was profitable from day one. And it was it’s a scary place to be because day two we didn’t have another title. So we have to reproduce the magazine again for February and then for March and so on. So it was it was very, very uplifting and a great time in my life. But there was a great fear, as anybody who runs a business has, about how are we going to manage tomorrow? Will the customer base leave us? Will it be well received? Everybody has these experiences and I was no different. But from day one we were. I remember having the champagne when we got the first edition in the door and it was a celebration because we knew that it was a profitable business from from the outset.
[00:14:44] When I think back to my start and I think we lost money for four years at the beginning and the pain that we went through in that in that four year period just to get to profitability and to hats off to you must have ruffled a few feathers as well, though.
[00:15:05] Yeah. I mean, one of the issues that irritated my competitors and not naming them because it irritates me further. But the one of the things that was galling was the fact that we did get such a fast start. And even in media it typically takes quite a while to build enough traction that the industry will support you. So we did seem to to be of our time and that really, really rankled with the existing media who would be quite disdainful. I mean, I’m a very old man now payment is you know that that cared.
[00:15:45] How old were you when you saw started?
[00:15:46] I was 28.
[00:15:48] I was 28. Amazing.
[00:15:50] But the I was viewed as a very young man at the time against my peer group. And they really didn’t like it, didn’t like it at all.
[00:16:00] But, you know, that mantra is, is it was it Gandhi said, you know, first they ignore you, then what is it? Then they eventually and then you in what? First they ignore you, then they attack you or whatever it is.
[00:16:14] You know, you know what I’m talking about, right?
[00:16:16] Yes, I do. Yeah.
[00:16:17] Yeah. I find it interesting because in that in that early phase, when people ignore you is actually a time to grow and, you know, to, to, to make moves that when they finally notice when compared to finding notices you, it’s then too late for them to do anything. Whereas you must have had people actually acting against you straight away because you made such a disruptive move. Did you was there any of that? Oh, no.
[00:16:44] Well, there was there was just a level of nastiness in a I’m sure I sound naive saying it, but that’s how I felt. People were just nasty about it. But the in the bubble payment, as you will recognise from your own business development, you’re just running as fast as you can. There’s a modicum of celebration and that’s momentary. It’s really a question of we need to keep running fast, trying hard, and don’t take anything for granted, which was the way that it worked. And I didn’t really pay too much attention to to the establishment’s views, albeit I knew we weren’t that popular.
[00:17:38] How long did it take before it moved on from one publication? One one title? When did you get your second title? How many years?
[00:17:47] Well, through that first year, I met Alice Paul, who I mentioned earlier. Yeah, I mean, we had a great start payment, so there was sufficient profitability to consider options and we staffed up immediately as well. And then Alice was just this inspiring character from Manchester who was running the show in what was called independent dentistry back then. And I approached him in a car park and just outside Manchester and stalked him and said, would he possibly be consider being editor of a new title I had an idea for and he’s such a great guy. He jumped at the notion. He ended up moving down to London because I couldn’t believe, because he was so established, so famous, you know, he would have been top of the top 50 back in the day, although it didn’t exist. But and just such an enthusiast for calibre things and leading people and thinking more deeply about subjects and teaching that, you know, he he made that a phenomenal success. Also payment. He was a guardian and a custodian of the title. So he really cared deeply and was very, very focussed on the level of calibre and the breadth of articles and such things. So the independent dentistry, which was our second title, had a different cachet to the populist dentistry magazine. And in fact we asked the audience to pay for it, which they.
[00:19:29] In their thousands as well, which was another great success for us back in the day. And as I said earlier, the Alice was without a shadow of a doubt. The man who made that title and inspired you and many, many other people, it’s it’s amazing, actually, how often people come up to me and say, Oh, you were so instrumental in my early years of private industry and so on. And I think to myself and I didn’t actually do anything and Alex did the lot and really has had an impact in that upper half of the age group, I would say in UK dentistry today. He was, he was very, very pivotal.
[00:20:08] Can you say that you’ve operated this, this organisation. I remember even in the early days, I mean I think we’d got this bank loan, I think we borrowed £80,000, something like that. And there was a dental showcase coming up and I knew nothing about anything, right? So I thought, Alright, I’m going to buy some ads before this event. And I just went everywhere and bought ads everywhere I could find, just didn’t think was understanding what I was doing at all. Just put ads everywhere I could find. But all of those advertisers, your organisation was the only one where a human being then turned up. At my office it was an office. It was my flat where we were, where we were running it. It was actually Kimberly. Yeah, your late wife. But you’ve always had that, that and even as the years went on, that human touch of a relationship with the person that the other magazines didn’t have. And were.
[00:21:12] Because you were part of the industry before and you knew something about it, was that a conscious move that you were going to sort of that whole people buy from people thing? Because it must.
[00:21:22] I don’t think it was spamming. I don’t I don’t think it was a conscious decision. It is just my belief. People by people, as you say, and we will lie, Avis, try harder to make sure we make our points to to the potential advertiser or company that we link with and make sure we just do the best job we can. And I do feel and in any walk of business that our success was heavily linked to the fact that we give it our best shot. And it’s quite satisfying in any business, again, to look at competition and think, well, I know they don’t really give it their best shot and therefore that’s an advantage that we can bring to bear, given that they’re there pacing it a little bit and we’re going to give it our best shot.
[00:22:14] And then the next thing you guys did, I don’t know if it’s the next thing you did, but the next thing you did that really sort of resonated with me. That affected me was education. And I think back to those early days of independent seminars where you guys would bring a speaker from the US who not even I’m not even talking about the big names, but, but the big names as well. And on occasion there’d be a 600 people at this event that the guy was just talking. There was no, there was no hands on, but the guy was just talking. And more than that, I mean, I remember some of them were gigantic events. How did you first get into education? Was that were you looking at is that is that a standard playbook for a publisher? Is that what is that? Is that what happened? Did someone tell you, look, we haven’t got enough education because we certainly didn’t?
[00:23:09] Yeah. I mean, the the education went the same way that the original title did in that I went to the US and I followed the lead insofar as what were they doing that was working well? And I suppose the thing that typifies my approach to things is I appreciate, I don’t know best, so I’ll try and learn from the best guy I can and typically in the sector. Uk Dental Communications it’s not one of my rivals. So we’d go to the US and we’d go through every speaker we could find, go to the big conventions and watch who’s really pulling an audience. Where are the audience really engaging? Where do the the approval ratings look the highest? And we would bring those people back to the UK and many of them had never been seen in the UK before. A few of the pioneering early adopting type dentists would go to the US for postgraduate education. But Payman they were there wasn’t there weren’t many of them, and certainly not guys in the younger half of their career. And so we would bring these speakers across. They were honoured to be brought to the UK. They were very expensive but they, they pulled in a big audience and we were viewed to be innovative and, and connecting the audience with, with progressive thinking and different clinical techniques than were present at the time.
[00:24:44] So again, I think in the communications world it was a pretty typical playbook. But the way we did it, it was more my tried and tested approach. Go to the biggest market we can find and see what they are doing. And yeah, that’s there was a procession of global speakers actually that we brought to the UK in a time where the NHS dominated, where major league speakers weren’t really coming to the UK. So we became well known for that attitude and the stakes were quite high. Payman So if we could get 600 people in the room all paying, we could afford it. But if we didn’t, obviously it was a typical business risk that that would end up hurting. So again, and it’s really something that played out many times over the years, us against our rivals. Our rivals just wouldn’t do it. It was too much of a risk where I would do it every day of the week if I could. And, you know, I’m a risk taker and want to push to the boundaries and it went really well.
[00:25:55] So when you look back to those events, the couple that spring to mind that I was at was there was a Larry one. Rosenthal one that was packed. It was completely packed. It was I’d never seen an event that big in the industry before. And then I remember one of those world aesthetic Congresses that just I can’t I don’t know how many people there were, but it was it was a two or three days or something, wasn’t it whack? Was it two days or three days?
[00:26:24] Two days, two days?
[00:26:26] And it was it was an expensive ticket. I remember thinking that’s like that’s a new price for a ticket at the time. And there was hands on. There was there was five rooms of hands. So on it was like it was something bigger than a standard kind of BCD conference that you might go to today. It was it was a big, big, big event with excellent, you know, a V, your staff uniform, did a good food little drink at the end. And, you know, there was a moment there where I remember thinking, you know, we’d started doing a few events here and there, and I was running around sweating. And I remember looking at you and you were just totally calm and cool during these events.
[00:27:11] Thinking back to those days, what are some of the highlights in your head? I mean, those in my head.
[00:27:15] But I think we share those moments. So they were great times and my philosophy in people is invest in people, support your people and let them let them do their thing. So in those moments they ran the show and I was just there enjoying it. So that was terrific feeling mean. It was a great feeling to feel that we were leading the line in terms of original speakers and a little bit of sex appeal was a bit of showbiz was coming into the sector. That just wasn’t evident before. People were also obviously getting a buzz out of it, the delegates that is, and didn’t begrudge spending the money which was. Expensive for a day, but it was really a lovely yeah, it’s a great period of time and certainly in my development it was it was great to see the team that I’d put together, use their individual skills to make these things really special. And I think the more I got involved, the worse it would have become. So I just stood back and enjoyed it. Yeah, and that’s really how it works.
[00:28:21] Ken, would you say you said you’re a risk taker. But where do you think that comes from?
[00:28:28] I think in Scotland it’s quite a conservative country by nature. So those of us who who are a little bit more in are not many of us as a percentage. But if you if you want to really sort of self-selecting, if you want to move on or try something different, you have to just take risks. The markets are too small in most sectors in Scotland to get anywhere. And therefore I just think I just have a competitive appetite to push myself. And leaving home, leaving. I live in South Africa when I first came to Britain on my own. I’d just like to try really hard and it just becomes part of the territory. I don’t want to have a conservative easy life. I just don’t. I want to do the best I can do so. But why? Just think it’s an instinct. Payman.
[00:29:21] You know, I mean, was your dad in business or something?
[00:29:24] My dad is in business. Yeah, he he was in corporate life. He’s a director of a large international company. And then he founded our family business, which is still going to this day.
[00:29:37] What was that?
[00:29:38] It’s a hospitality, training and restaurant business based in Australia. So he is an entrepreneur, very corporate to start with, and then entrepreneur then it’s just something that we like having a go at things and just I think very competitive by nature, just an instinct. I mean, I still play sport to this day and sometimes I ask myself, why do I do it? And it’s not for the love of the sport. It’s just I just like the challenge and winning, if possible. Frequently, not frequently. Not winning, but I’ll always have a crack at it, and I always believe I will win even when I don’t. But it’s quite a shock to me when I trudge off a loser having thought I win to the very last minute. But yeah, I think it’s instinctive. I do.
[00:30:27] How important do you think that is? I mean, it’s weird because you can’t it hasn’t got weight. You can’t hold it. It’s not it’s not a it’s not a it’s not a tangible asset. Confidence is kind of what you’re saying, right? That sort of. But at the same time, it’s so super important when when you when you’re doing something, the idea that that sort of optimism is one way of putting it, but it’s more than that. It’s confidence that you’re going you’re going to win it. This thing. How important do you think that is to have that attitude before you start a thing, a venture of any sort? I mean, when when you guys said you’re going to do education, I can imagine you saying, okay, we’re going to win it this year. How important is that moment, that that moment when you think that.
[00:31:10] Well, I guess it’s pretty damn significant. You don’t think it, though? I mean, you just I mean, my mantra internally would be, we will approach this and we will give it our very, very best effort. And the belief is it will work. You know, that’s really how it goes. I suppose the Avis we try harder notion pretty much sticks with everything we do. You know, we try harder, but we like to think the idea was strong to start with. So if you marry a good idea with a lot of effort, it should work out well. And I’d go into pretty much everything thinking that.
[00:31:46] Yeah, but, but you know, the kind of person who has a good idea isn’t necessarily the kind of person who organises for, you know, massive effort and efforts. A funny word, but you know what I mean. The ops guy isn’t usually the same person as the ideas guy. So which one of you are you both? Were you the ideas guy?
[00:32:06] I’d say. I’m not very creative in my ideas are always pretty basic and likely to work and I take them from from the experts so I suppose I’ll put it into practise. You know, you mould it to the sector, but the idea is pretty damn obvious to start with. And I suppose I’m a practical thinker, not an original or creative thinking. So it didn’t take a rocket scientist to come up with the idea, but in order to make it work, you had to really graft. Yeah.
[00:32:39] Even even in the when I, when I pay attention to the way you guys operate in terms of the copy, when, when I say copy, I don’t mean the editorial copy. I mean, I don’t know. You’re trying to sell me something. Yeah, that that that never works. We’ll talk about that later. But but the copy, the follow up process, process wise, yeah. I’ve noticed over the years the people might have changed. There’s some now there’s some young kid doing something. Yeah, but the process is actually the same process as you are following before. It’s a tried and tested process. So you, the guy who sort of was the architect of that process and do you get involved in the very words themselves or or as they’re someone else? How how did it all come about this this this thing?
[00:33:35] Well, there’s about 40 of us in the business right now. And, no, I don’t get involved in the processes at all. And I don’t even understand them. I don’t really understand them, frankly. And I don’t, you know, a bit like you saw me at the conferences. I don’t really understand exactly what’s going on. Yeah. I mean, I really believe in people and try my best to support them and make sure that they can be the best of themselves. So if they’ve got the role of producing things, then they’ll make that process for themselves and and hopefully excel at it. I would say there is a fairly significant evolution there. I don’t quite know what it is, but it’s certainly more more digital and tech oriented than it used to be. A lot of it’s automated, whereas it never was before. But it’s really again, that that’s one of the reasons I think why we’ve managed to hang on in there as long as we have, is that the people really drive it through their own areas, not it’s not me and I just want to make sure that I keep them as upbeat as possible and support them as best I can so that they want to do that. And then it’s their effort and initiative rather than mine.
[00:34:50] Well, you’ve always attracted good people and kept good people, and I guess, you know, developed good people. What’s what’s what’s your view on recruitment and how do you pick these people? Where do you find them and what are you looking for when you’re hiring?
[00:35:04] Well, I think I mean, we’ve made many mistakes, too, but hopefully, on balance, the recruitment process works. But with your business payment to all businesses that survive, I think the essence of the business is its culture. And therefore the people coming in need to mould to that culture rather than the other way around. And, you know, that sort of drives itself and it moulds and develops people because they in order to fit in at FMC, you’ll have to try hard. You’ll have to be fairly accommodating of your of your peers and contemporaries, and therefore they become FMC people. I’d say that’s why the momentum continues to be good, because the ones that don’t fit you probably never got to know payment because it just didn’t work. The ones that do fit stay long term and and add to the culture and develop the business that way.
[00:36:03] But how much do you get involved in in I mean, at what level is Ken going to you’re going to meet Ken in an interview process.
[00:36:12] No. The answer to that? No, no, not.
[00:36:16] Even if you’re buying that, you’re getting yourself ahead of sales or something or you internally promote those guys.
[00:36:21] That guy’s been there for years. Yeah, but the. No, I mean, again, I mean, that’s really, I’m sure in practises across the country, certainly the ones I’ve met and what I do in my business too is it’s I just really back to people to make the decisions. So it’s no need for me to be there or to, to get involved in that and it doesn’t work very well in it. I’d be too strung out and meddling with people. People that in that work with me will will make their own decisions and hopefully get it right.
[00:36:59] Well, I mean, it’s interesting that, you know, you say culture. I find culture as a thing that just happens in a way. It’s like it’s such a buzz word, isn’t it? That’s sort of for me, though. The culture ends up being what it is. It’s I don’t go and sit there and say, Oh, I the culture here will be X and then make that happen. You know what I mean? I feel like it. It’s a reflection of who you are in a way.
[00:37:30] I think there’s a lot to be said for that, for sure. Yeah. I mean, I’m from I can still remember there’s early days of me sketching out how the company would look. And I am quite a planner in that sense and work ethic, you know, compatibility with one another, you know, going the extra mile, you know, trying to innovate on an ongoing and constant basis. They would be hallmarks from day one, I would say. And they still are, hopefully. And the people that fit the business will will work with those principles too.
[00:38:05] So I visited an office before your current office. The house.
[00:38:13] Was that your first ever office or was there one before that as well?
[00:38:16] No, that was the first ever office. It was it was next to the funeral parlour, just across from Mill Hill. Broadway. Mill Hill. And. Yeah. And you know, you remember those first.
[00:38:29] You were bursting point when I first got there, so maybe that would have been.
[00:38:34] 2003 or something. We would have been happy to leave. I think 2000 won.
[00:38:42] You left in 2001?
[00:38:44] I believe so, yeah. I mean, the I had a picture in my mind’s eye of a basic rundown dilapidated office in the London postcode area. And that’s exactly what I got and that’s exactly what I wanted. And it really served us well. And I passed that office all the time. I have huge affection for it. The windows didn’t actually open at all and it was cheap and it served us really well. So yeah, that was lovely times there and it was a great triumph to leave though. And we bought our own offices in next to the Arsenal training ground in Hertfordshire and felt like we’d come of age, came in and we’re still there.
[00:39:28] And Ken, along the way you’ve sold this company and bought it back a couple of times.
[00:39:33] Yeah. I have. Well, as anybody who who set a business up knows, it’s a daunting process and you’re always in fear of it going pear shaped for whatever reason. And I’m no different to that. So basically we had a lot of success one day. I had four children at the time. I’ve still got four children, actually, but they were all under five and it’s very expensive and exhausting and all the things you get. And somebody offered me a significant amount of money out of the blue for what they thought was a burgeoning organisation. And in the moment I initially said we weren’t for sale as I read in the book, that’s what you’re supposed to say. And shortly afterwards I capitulated. But but it was really through fear, frankly. You don’t know what the future’s going to hold in store. And and I regretted that. Thankfully, I managed to stay in the company as an employee and did a management buyout the year later, which was an interesting exercise. And then I developed the business further. And a few years later, tragically, my dad died in Australia. As you know, running a business takes a lot of your time up and here we are 8:30 on a monday night and I felt very guilty that I let my dad down and that I hadn’t been there enough for him, even though he got on extremely well.
[00:41:02] And I thought to myself, I don’t need to put this level of effort in anymore. So I decided to sell the company again through an emotional connexion. And it was very, very sought after by the major media businesses in Britain at that time, and I didn’t think I’d ever come back payment. And then a few months after that I’d gotten over my dad’s passing and realised how much I regretted selling the company and was lucky enough to be able to repurchase it, which is where I am now. And that’s probably those two are regrets I have in business. You know, there’s no need to do that. You need to take a deep breath. You need to maybe go away for a bit. And which is what I did in my last tragedy, which, you know, you need to take a bit of time out that you don’t need to panic with the business. And I certainly learnt some lessons over the years this time.
[00:41:55] That was the time you sold to Springer Group, right?
[00:41:58] That’s correct, yes.
[00:42:00] So the process of selling to a giant organisation like that, though, I mean, that’s that’s a proper you must have gotten corporate finance people. I mean, they don’t buy companies quickly, do they. They kind of do do all their due diligence. And all that was it was it was a purposeful process. It wasn’t like someone just made you an offer you decided to sell.
[00:42:20] Yeah, it was a calculated process on my part.
[00:42:24] But I don’t think it was. Once you’d sold it, you felt like you made an error.
[00:42:28] Well, as I do in most things, it was a process, so I thought about it. Enlisted corporate finance. As you say, we did a beauty parade. It was all it was all planned and organised. And I’m delighted to say that nearly every major media business was interested in us at that point. And we finally sold to Springer, which is a multi-billion dollar organisation based in Berlin as a headquarters, but they’re all over the world. But the. Yeah, and quite frankly, I mean it was a, it was a seamless exercise. It just just went exactly like we’d hoped and planned. And it was a smooth process, actually. It’s only afterwards when you realise you’ve got nothing to do and no real purpose that you realise maybe that was a little premature and I’m much happier now.
[00:43:22] I fully understand the derisking thing that you’re talking about because a lot of times the business you’re teetering on the edge of becoming a multi-millionaire or becoming bankrupt at the same time is kind of a weird, weird feeling in business that you have because like you say, you take another risk even even even when things go very, very well, you can ruin it all with a very, very big risk. That was miscalculated. Right. So I do get that that sort of idea of sort of de-risk take some money off the table. But but I’ve never sold the company, so I don’t know how it feels. So is it that cliche thing that people talk about? Is that what it was that you felt empty and all that? And if it was, why didn’t you do something else? Like, why didn’t you open a restaurant or something? I know you’re not a restaurant guy, but you know. You know what I mean? Why? Why the same business again? Because you loved it so much.
[00:44:14] Well, the interesting thing there is I actually started multiple businesses after leaving.
[00:44:20] Oh, you did? Yeah. Go on.
[00:44:22] I realised how incapable I was at that over the course of some years. So you go back to what you’re good at? Yes. I’d had a lot of success and I enjoyed it a lot. I really do enjoy what I do. I mean, I have a lot of social time within the industry. You know, the great awards nights are great fun and and I missed all of that and I always had fairly good earnings as well. Over the years the company’s been been well positioned and profitable for a quarter of a century. But but I didn’t need much of anything and my life was just a lot more dull. So I started up by businesses. You know, some of them are still going, but.
[00:45:08] What would you call them? What did you do?
[00:45:11] Well, I started a. If you’ve ever.
[00:45:15] Heard of me.
[00:45:16] Pimlico Plumbers.
[00:45:20] I didn’t start that. But I looked at the model really carefully and I decided to start a company called the London Tree Company.
[00:45:28] A tree surgery, I remember.
[00:45:29] Which is it was branded tree surgery for the the London brand, whereas much like Pimlico Plumbers did that for Up-Market London, that’s really where we’re going. We had contracts with Wembley Stadium and other aristocrats in the area, so but I realised how dangerous it was. The idea actually did work very well but it was a hell of a danger. So I decided to get out of that and on it goes. There’s a number of different things. I did an advertising agency, a PR company, some other things, and they were unfulfilling for me. I think for the people I was working with, it worked quite well and I’m very happy to that. But for me it wasn’t, quite frankly, I wasn’t a significant in what I was doing as the experiences that I’d enjoyed within the dentistry world. And and I really yearned for that without even realising it.
[00:46:25] Over the years, Ken Phelps’s had some stick over awards. Sometimes, I don’t know. You’re probably not part of the Facebook groups that I’m reading where these things come up, but I’m sure someone’s pointed it out to you where people worry about what’s it? What is it? They were, they weren’t. They worry about who says this practise is the most innovative practise or that that whole thing that people worry about with awards.
[00:46:53] Yeah, well, there’s a lot of Chinese whispers and talking in the corridors about it, and I understand that they really understand it just out of interest. The idea came from the media industry where FMC has been a regulator as well. We’ve entered the awards. We believe in the notion of being judged by our peers and and it’s a great feeling and uplifting for an enthusiastic business to get that accolade. And so we believe in the notion of it. So I introduce it to the industry because of that. And I knew the impact it could have on someone with, with, with a mentality to, to want to be appreciated, if you like, and to learn. And I realised also when we entered the Media Industry Awards that when you have to look at the entry forms and actually put down what you have actually achieved and what your standards are, then it does. Sometimes it’s quite an illustrative experience experiment where you think.
[00:48:03] Holds a mirror up to you, doesn’t.
[00:48:04] He? Yeah, that’s a great way of saying it. Payman You think we’re not as good in that as I thought we were? We need to try a bit harder to. I believe the process is one that benefits whoever does it, and I don’t care how good people are. If you really are looking holding the mirror up to your face and really examining the creases and cracks in your face, you might take some more action and maybe stay out of the sun a little bit more. But the you know, you learn from from the experience then then I mean, as you say, I hardly do any social media, I’m glad to say. But the I do hear time to time and people are entitled to their opinions. It’s absolutely fine. I go to these occasions, not always, but usually I go to the awards nights, the ecstasy on people’s faces and the practise enjoyment that they get. It’s just lovely to be part of and people enjoying their work and they’re their colleagues and enjoying the success that they feel they’re getting is lovely to be part of. And I feel quite. Listening for them, then I know the process as well. It’s where the zealots for making sure the process is above board. Several times. I mean, many, many times, to be honest. I’ve heard people saying if you don’t buy a table, you don’t win, and all that sort of stuff.
[00:49:32] And where does that come from? Well, I mean.
[00:49:34] But I think it’s just a misunderstanding. I mean, people just guessing that’s the case. And maybe a few people quite enjoy putting us down and stuck sticking that into the mix. And I’ve certainly seen that on LinkedIn and other things where people, some of whom have got a significant amount of influence, will see those sorts of things to try and do us down or get some sort of competitive advantage. They think it’s a shame though, because we don’t do that. And if anybody, for example, was to turn up to the private industry awards judging day, when something like 38 different luminaries from the sector are there poring through for hours on end the different submissions they’ve received, and if there’s any conflict of interest, they have to eliminate themselves and so on and so forth. It’s a it’s a tough process to do these things. And at the end of the day, Payman, you know, does the practise is it definitely the most innovative practise in Britain? Probably not. However, it will have tried hard and it will have innovated and it will have have progressed itself. And therefore, if they’re getting a positive reaction for that, I think is a great thing. There’s really no no harm done by it. And.
[00:50:55] Well well, I think we do need to in order to understand this. Yeah, we do need to separate the sort of the ridiculousness from the what could possibly a reasonable person be worried about this? Yeah. So the ridiculousness. I totally agree with you. I mean, the notion that you would try and fix this event from a from a business perspective is a complete, ridiculous idea. Why would you bother with that? It makes total sense for you, for the organisation organising the event to have nothing to do with picking the winner. Just it just does that, that separation just makes much more sense financially for a business. If profit is your only motive even. Yeah, but I guess what people are saying is something around patients. You know, patients are being misled by practises claiming they’re the best, whatever, be best young dentist, London or whatever. What do you say to that? I mean, I don’t even want you to refute it. I want I want you to understand it.
[00:51:56] Yeah. And I think if professionals are intent and hell bent on exaggerating their skill set to people and making a deal of it, they’ll do it. And the Instagram’s awash with such things and self-appointed experts or whatever that type of immoral approach happens, whether we do anything about it or not. If the guys win it through us or girls win it through us, well, at least they’ve gone through a rigorous judging process. And in the case of young dentists, there’ll be it’s probably the most popular area there is to enter. So in order to win in that area, you have to work very, very hard at your submission, if nothing else, and fooled a lot of people who are experienced and focussed on making the right decisions. So yeah, I mean we, we can’t go in everything and ensure that, that it’s, it’s the best it can possibly be. We do our, our utmost to, to judge it appropriately and zealously. And anybody that knows David Houston, for example, is a hell of a guy that cares the private industry awards. Nothing gets through that net unless it’s complied with every single thing that we can put their way. And as I say, if people want to be unscrupulous about anything and lie and cheat, they can.
[00:53:25] And they’re probably wrong for lying and cheating. I mean, they on their website say winner of London’s best young dentist, that’s not lying or cheating.
[00:53:34] That’s no. Well, if they’re one, then they’ve got through a rigorous process payment. And one suspects that in order to fool that many people, if that’s what they’ve done in other ways, either they are a very good dentist and they did win it and therefore they deserve that accolade because they did or they’ve duped a whole lot of people to get the accolade in the first place, if you see what I mean. I mean.
[00:53:55] I agree with you. Look in so much as far as the harm this might be doing. Yeah. When, when I walk past a curry house in, in Manchester and it says winner of the Curry of the year, whatever. I don’t think to myself this is the best. In the world. Yeah. Don’t I think. Well, this must be kind of a good curry because he’s won something. Yeah. Yeah, I think what the, the sort of the criticism that people level is that patients are in a, in a in a situation where, you know, they it’s a more important decision than than my curry. And they’re in a situation where they haven’t got any information at all or enough information because it’s a scientific subject and it’s a different lingo and all of that. And so patients come to rely on this instead of relying on other variables. But the thing is, you know, what other variables? What else is there a sensible person, if they’re going to find a new dentist, will talk to a friend who’s been they get a recommendation, right? That’s the right thing to do.
[00:55:00] Well, I say I mean they go through a rigorous process to Yeah.
[00:55:05] To withdraw the award in the first.
[00:55:06] Place and one surmises that the people that really aren’t up to it wouldn’t enter in the first place. It is a little self-selecting. That’s how it works in media as well. We don’t bother putting some of our things into the publishing wards. We know it’s not going to win, it’s not good enough. But some things we do think are good and we’ll self-select the best elements we have and sometimes we don’t enter, you know? So I feel that goes on to the other side of it is, is, yeah, you know, people will go on a myriad of different routes to make the decisions trustpilot and all sorts of other things. I don’t even know what they do, but you know, it’s a free country.
[00:55:46] I think it’s interesting as someone who who who would want to put themselves up for an award, it’s there’s a lot of downside here because unless you win. You didn’t win. So know you have to have respect for let’s say ten people put themselves up for best practise north or whatever it is, whichever the category is. Nine of those people are not going to win that and they’re going to go through the process and not win. And so the winner does deserve something, you know, some accolade there in beating those nine. But but for me, taking the risk in the first instance to even go into that thing, knowing that the chances are you’re not going to win it, you know, that that’s that’s the important thing. Let’s go on to the other controversial thing, which I think was your idea, right? The top 50. Was that your idea? Ken’s own idea. It was a bit controversial, too. Yeah. Do you understand the reasons for that?
[00:56:47] Yeah, I understand the reasons for it, and I also understand the level of misunderstanding that it throws up every year. And people believe they understand the process and they don’t. And somebody’s grandmother sister told them, this is what happens. And, you know, it’s not that at all. And then and then obviously, you guys on social media, you know, love throwing, you know, ridiculous notions out there about it. You know, some some people do. Anyway, the the reality of the history of that just, you know, was the Sunday Times. Yeah. The most popular edition of the Sunday Times annually is The Rich List. So I was inspired by that. I saw I was fascinated by it. And, and, and then I thought, well, how could we do that within our sector? You know, and I thought through a few areas and then I came up with a brainwave. I say that slightly sarcastically, the naive notion that we would just ask the dental world to vote for who they figure was having the best or most significant impact. And we could create a list through that. And I naively believe that to be an irrefutable way forward after two or three years. And I would always meet the person who came out top and it was it started off a few hundred people. It ended up being thousands and thousands of votes. It became probably the most popular thing in the dental media all year with that list. Love it or loathe it.
[00:58:22] Anyway, everyone’s going to read the list, aren’t they? Every that day your website gets the most hits or whatever they do. You mention also.
[00:58:31] Payman. You know, to a certain extent our job is to create audience and to create, you know, traction with people. You know, people can take from it what they will. But we need to build as big an audience as we can, and we want to do it appropriately. But if some people don’t like it, it’s not not a disaster for us, frankly, anyway, the I must say the funny side of it. So I would take the winner of the list to lunch every year. I mean, they probably didn’t even want to do it with me, but they usually go along with it anyway. So I remember meeting one of the winners in the early years, and I believe in this list 100% at that point in time. And then over lunch, the person who obviously shall remain nameless said to me, Yeah, I worked really hard to get that. I said, You worked hard. How did you do that? I said, Well, I spoke to as many people and wrote to as many people as I could to generate the the and I had no idea that this was going on. And it became evident to me that it was corruptible. And frankly, that wasn’t used to me at that point. I thought before that it was just an innocent sort of reaction from people. So we’ve been evolving it ever since and trying to to cut out the sort of people using, you know, IP addresses from abroad and all sorts of stuff that goes on and lobbying and all sorts of stuff. And at least as it stands today, payment, I believe it’s out very shortly. We actually.
[01:00:02] Am I on it but.
[01:00:03] You you you might be. I’ve not been to the office for many months. For all I know you are on it. I might as well.
[01:00:12] We should do though. You should. You should, you should. You should make your own note. Did you used to do this? That was it. Like there was the top 50 and then these were the next 50 GS to do that?
[01:00:23] Yeah, I think we did do that.
[01:00:25] We expanded out, make 50 more people happy as well, you.
[01:00:28] Know what I mean? Well, we meant well, but now, now just for the record payment and I’m quite happy to say this to the however many hundred people listen to it, but the the the one coming out shortly is, is really it’s our view as dentistry where where we spend our lives listening, watching, seeing who’s creating an impact, seeing who’s coming through. We mean well. And there is no ranking in the list anymore. It’s 50 people who we feel have made a big impact, some mostly for good reasons, some through infamy. But but the idea of the list now is, oh, is it changed?
[01:01:09] It’s not a it’s not a voted thing.
[01:01:11] Well, people can vote, which gives us some currency to look at. But the editorial board and the office, I mean, I’m not part of it, but the office themselves sit down and think about whether payment Langroudi should be on that list or not. And I don’t know Payman I actually have no idea. As usual in my life, I don’t know what who’s on the list, but I know, I know the positioning of it is, is, is around some fireworks going on is is who’s made an impact. And it’s 50 people who we believe deserve to be recognised for having that impact. And if anyone’s going to criticise it, they can say it directly to us because we’ve picked it. We’ve been helped by people out there in the UK saying We think this person, we think that person and they voted. But but we’re making it clear that it’s it’s not just the list. It’s not just about it.
[01:02:06] I mean, can any time you do anything significant, there’s going to be some sort of unintended consequence of that. It’s just you just take that for granted once you get.
[01:02:15] Your head above the parapet. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[01:02:18] Even even a simple, I don’t know, a simple performance related pay scheme that I put in for my sales people in. In the end, that itself produces some unintended consequence. Sure. And then you try and address that and then it produces a new identity because like anything you do does have an unintended consequence sometimes in media. I guess one of the things is that you’ve got you’ve got a lot of people who feel like they can attack it. You know, that’s I guess.
[01:02:49] Exactly. And I suppose if you’re trying really hard, you’ll have a few more people having a puppet you than than if you didn’t. I mean, there are media out there that I never hear people complaining about anything they do, and I don’t seek it. But if people are making a deal, if the industry 50 list is not necessarily a bad thing payment and I know our heart is in the right place, we’re trying to help and I think generally speaking it does have a positive impact and that’s as good as we can do, but we can’t always get it 100% right. But we’ll try our best, but also to innovate. You know, the old thing about let’s do some market research, let’s ask people what they want. They don’t know what they want. We have to take a gamble and and.
[01:03:35] I’d say that was a very successful gamble. Is it can.
[01:03:39] Mostly, yeah. Tell me about mistakes you’ve made and things you would have done differently. You undersold it twice.
[01:03:48] Yeah, they’re the biggest mistakes. I thought about that over the last night when I was considering this podcast. I didn’t need to do that. I lost a few years of my life in the wilderness as a consequence and actually Payman in a candid note, when I wasn’t in the sector doing, you know, I worked pretty hard and I don’t go to the office anymore, but I’m still working all the time. It is I wasn’t as purposeful in life in general and the consuming world that I live in with this small organisation that I’ve developed, it takes a lot of concentration and is a good thing for me as a human being. I think so. I do. It’s the biggest mistake I made. I don’t regret it, but it was a mistake for sure. No need for that.
[01:04:36] What would you say? What would you say is your biggest weakness as an operator?
[01:04:41] I’d say. It helped me hugely through my career, but I’m a hell of a tolerant guy.
[01:04:50] I’m the weakness.
[01:04:51] Yeah. I’m the most tolerant guy I know. Now, you imagine being in the same job for 78 years or something like that. Payman If you’re if you’re a very, very tolerant person, as I would say I am, then that that can that can cause trouble. It typically works, but it’s it’s you know, it can’t be construed as a weakness.
[01:05:14] No, you’re right. I mean, a lot of times your biggest strength is your biggest weakness as well. Yeah. You know, you could say, hey, I’m a kind guy, but then two kind in work doesn’t work either, does it? Yeah, that’s the thing.
[01:05:26] So I’d say that. Yeah.
[01:05:28] I want to talk about what you think is going to be the future of dentistry and the sort of the short to medium term. You’ve got a unique sort of position if you’ve watched it, do what it’s done in the last 25 years.
[01:05:43] I’m really excited. Payment for the sector. I’m really excited. I think if you look at the per capita spend on dentistry in UK compared to Germany, compared to Spain, compared to Italy, compared to France, we are way down. I know that the NHS has played a significant role in that, but I believe that the population is prepared to invest more heavily in dentistry and that throws up huge opportunities for for dentists and dental professionals. And training is going to play a huge part in that. Skill development is going to play a huge part in that learning and listening to the innovations. But, you know, it’s just it’s a really exciting place to be. When I look at my children, all of whom are in their twenties, they all have dental work in progress. They’re all their peer group. Their friendship group has. And I think me at that age and my friendship group, we weren’t doing anything in that area. And it’s and they love it and they’re enjoying these developments. And I think there’s so much to be excited about in terms of of private and cosmetically oriented dentistry. There’s a huge demand I know the Conservatives are in in terms of type of person. I don’t particularly like that notion, but I think consumer demand is massive for that and appropriately done and ethically done. You know, dentists can help even more people be more happy and more confident in life than ever. And there’s good revenue to be had there too, if done really well.
[01:07:24] See, can I get where you’re coming from? Regarding, I don’t know. A waitress in a bar was, was, was offering me a drink and she was wearing Invisalign. Yeah. And, and that’s a £4,000 treatment or whatever it is. And you’re right, 25 years ago, no waitress was spending £4,000 on her teeth. No way at all. But you grew up a bit in South Africa and you recognise what I’m saying about in some countries because there hasn’t been an NHS or for whatever reason it’s clear people save up for their teeth or they buy insurance for their teeth or you know, that people think I’m going to have to spend money on braces for my child. It’s in the culture, it’s there. Whereas here that you feel like, you know, it translates the fact that that waitress is buying the cosmetic thing. Do you feel like now we’re at a sort of inflexion point where more of the population will will actually think that I’m going to save up for my teeth? Absolutely. You know, we’re not there in health care and I actually don’t want it to get there in health care necessarily. But in dental, you think there is that inflexion can happen?
[01:08:39] That is my take on it and the research that we do amongst the profession to ascertain what are the trends, what are you being asked to do more of, what are people coming in and asking for all points towards that as well? There’s going to be geographic differences and variances for sure. But I was in Edinburgh yesterday, my daughter’s at Edinburgh University and you know, the brighter, whiter Smile was very much in evidence there. And I went to school in Edinburgh too for a bit and it wasn’t, it wasn’t evident then, but the I can assure you, and I feel that there’s a lot of doom and gloom in the world, in Britain and everywhere about, you know, after the pandemic. And it’s going to be terrible and things are going to go back. And I don’t see it. I just think that I’m very excited about what’s going to happen in UK dentistry over the next few years and see me through my career. I believe that it’s going to be higher up the priority list in the population and you know, there’s great opportunities for dental professionals and media for that matter in that development and I can’t see any other options. I can’t see going the other way.
[01:09:46] I mean, one thing we can be clear on overall. Covid was very good for the professional. It’s a weird thing to say, but it’s true. And so you’ve been through how many recessions now? 2001, 2008? There was one before that, wasn’t there? You’ve been through you’ve watched the profession go through three recessions, at least. And if there is one around the corner, what’s your view? What’s your what’s your advice to young? I mean, there’s going to be some dentists who’ve never seen recession, right?
[01:10:21] Well, as a profession, we seem to fare okay in a recession. Do you agree?
[01:10:26] I’ve not seen the same major problems in dentistry the whole time I’ve been in the sector. Yeah, frankly, I mean, we hear in the national media, but dentistry has never been particularly hard hit. It’s as far as I’m aware. And my thinking in terms of young dentistry going forward is the diversification of offering. So segment the local community into different types and target those different groups rather than specialising in one element is to offer, you know, the older people such as myself our type of care, the younger 20 something group, a different type of care and so on and so forth. So by segmenting the options, I’m just convinced that there’s a fantastic ethical and business model for young dentistry better than there ever was. And more satisfying to the amount of dentists that’s spoken to me is that, you know, I still much prefer the way it is now because I can implement skill set skill levels that when I just used to do NHS dentistry I just couldn’t do and it’s much more fulfilling, is nice to hear. So I think it’s a blend of that, but I think it’s, it’s very good times ahead.
[01:11:40] When at the end of our time can. I do want to talk about Kimberly, your co-founder, your wife in many ways the heart and soul of FMC, who was taken by COVID, one of the first UK citizens to be taken by COVID before the first lockdown.
[01:12:03] Was losing her meant to the to the company and then with the family, the kids and all that.
[01:12:10] Yeah. I mean, losing Kimberly was an absolute. In a disaster for us in every element of her life, business, personally, the children and so on. Her memory lives on, though. You know, we talked about culture earlier in our Kimberleys. Culture runs right through the middle of that business to this day. It’s a very generous, very creative individual. And, you know, we still are inspired by that on an ongoing basis, you know, and I think that like it would with me, I think payment, you know, if I was to to pass away tomorrow, I think the business would be fine for the fullness of time. But the the it’s hard the children very, very hard. She’s terribly missed. And the there’s not much more you can say but in the business and what we do there, I think her effect will be there for the long term. One of the things I’m very proud of, though, you were a great support of this payment. Many, many people were. Is that in communities memory, we managed to raise a significant amount of money and her memory has has has meant that we’ve been able to purchase a significant bus for Dent Aid, which will have Kimberly’s name on the front of it and will help homeless people, people that need dental treatment across the country for many, many years to come as well. And that’s very comforting for me and the children, the people at FMC as well, that that.
[01:13:52] In essence of her, we’ll be driving around the country helping people as she did when she was alive.
[01:14:02] I’m sure she’ll be missed. I’m sure she’ll be missed. She really was a life force. Was. That, as I say, the first person I met at FMC. Yeah. And, you know, I hope your kids are managing. We end it with the same questions every time can. You open your mind to some fancy dinner party? Three guests. Dead or alive?
[01:14:33] Dead or alive? Well, you mentioned him earlier. A huge power in the world. Spiritual force. Gandhi. I think spending time with someone like that would be amazing and inspiring and. That’s that’s something I also really enjoy and enjoyed. I don’t know if he’s if he’s on as much as he used to be. There’s a rabbi called Jonathan Sacks, who and.
[01:15:01] Another rabbi, Radio four.
[01:15:04] And again, I just love the thinking. I love the the way the way he sees things. And any time with wise people of that nature, it’s just. Inspiring. And the third one would be I’ll just take Kimberly back for that moment. And she’s such a humorous, wise, fun, energetic, lovely person to be around. I think we’d have it nailed with those three.
[01:15:38] Perhaps. Final question. On your deathbed. Three pieces of advice for your loved ones.
[01:15:47] Well, I felt like I’ve been there, but I managed to get away with it. But I’m still I’m still here. So. So the mantras that I try to preach to my kids are you. Be you. Just be yourself, but be the best of yourself. So make sure you just leave your imprint. A favourite one for me. Payman. Which again obviously I do talk to my kids all the time and as a single parent is really key at this time to do that. But the I don’t like the notion of worry at all either. Don’t worry about anything. Take action where the problems are. And lastly and obviously I’ve had the pain, as we all have in life, losing people and so on, and just love the people around you and love the day you’re in because you never know what’s going to happen. So make sure you show them and enjoy them. And even in yourself, make sure that day is a winner and you take a lot from it because we all take things for granted and there’s no such thing as perpetuity. So we need to make it make it work.
[01:17:06] Well, that’s lovely, man. Ken, thank you so, so much for doing this. You one of the biggest inspirations in my career. You continue to be as well. I really, really enjoyed that conversation very much. And thank you. Thank you for being so open about everything.
[01:17:24] It’s a pleasure payment and about that art deal that we’re talking about.
[01:17:28] Yeah, yeah. Find me on that. Yeah.
[01:17:34] Make sure that I got you say yes. You said a clear yes there.
[01:17:41] Well, thanks for having me on payment. It’s been great. And you know, I’ve got everything to thank the dental world for and I have a great life and lots of, you know, I enjoy myself as much as I can. And in my work time and my evenings with with the with the profession and is everything to me. So it’s great to be featured.
[01:18:02] Absolutely, man. Real inspiration. But thank you. Thank you so much for doing this.
[01:18:08] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.
[01:18:24] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.
[01:18:38] If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it, too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks. And don’t forget our six star rating.