Things have come a long way for Kailesh Solanki since he last joined his brother Prav for a chat on the podcast and talked about winding down his clinical hours to focus on business. 

So how are things going?

Kailesh has been busy since his last podcast appearance, finalising an exit deal for his Manchester-based Kiss clinics that will see him staying on with the brand to open and develop ten new practices.

Kailesh talks about his ambitions for Kiss, discusses the challenges of exit and reveals big aspirations for the next ten years.



In This Episode

01.15 – Catching up

04.26 – The exit

09.54 – The Ten Clinic plan and the partnership model

14.00 – Loss and control

20.29 – Changing challenges

24.24 – Ideal partners

33.07 – Purpose

35.44 – The next ten years

39.01 – Structure

47.38 – Existing practices Vs squats

52.23 – Patient offer and processes

59.19 – Maintaining the vision


About Kailesh Solanki

Kailesh Solanki graduated from Manchester University in 2003 and went on to gain implantology qualifications.

In 2005, Kailesh purchased a practice in central Manchester, which he rebranded under the KissDental moniker and quickly expanded the clinic to a group of three. 

[00:00:00] And with their infrastructure, the things that they’ve already got in place, their existing head office and allowing me to create my own head office, my own infrastructure as well. I just felt like, although yes, I’d lost majority share of my business, I gained the ability to grow a much larger business. And I felt I’d rather have a smaller piece of a much bigger pie as such. She’s, I suppose, the old saying but you’ve got to think bigger picture. If you’re going to do that, then kind of say I’ve got three highly profitable clinics, which I had with a very, very good EBITDA, which I had, and I could sell the whole thing. One hit for a big figure, but then where do I go again? And so this, I’m hoping, allows me to partially exit, partially exit again, partially exit again, but in a business that I love in a bill.

[00:00:57] 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.

[00:01:15] It gives me great pleasure to welcome Kaley Solanki back onto the podcast for his second visit. Since the last time we had Kaylee Sean A lot’s happened for for him and you know, we’ll perhaps brother, I think that regular listeners will know that Katie has gone through a process of investment and now looking to grow. How you doing, buddy?

[00:01:39] I’m good, thanks. Hey, how are you?

[00:01:41] I’m good. Good. Good to have you back. So the last time we spoke, I remember there was a lot of tears. Hopefully there’ll be some more tears this time as well. But I remember Prav asking you, so what’s the plans for the future? And you said, look, I want to I want to spread my knowledge. I want to get some more people to do the things that I can I can teach them. And what you’ve done is you’ve sold Dental or sold a percentage of it.

[00:02:14] Yes. So obviously, when you guys had me on the show last time, I mean, it was it was great to be on it. And we were going through a really kind of strong transition of kind of rebranding the clinics I was in, not just probably the maturity of our Academy programme where we were teaching. I think by that point we kind of had four or five vets come through our kind of dental private system. And to be honest, business could have never been better really. You know, the clinics were booming, we were out in chairs and growth was going up, profit was going up. So everything was going in the right direction and kind of where I wanted to be and how we discuss things and the last show and kind of moving forward, we wanted almost like an educational platform and we created KIS courses, which was really well received. And you know, we run I think 12 or 13 courses last year and we had we had full uptake of every single day. It was small groups, but it was really nice. It was great to kind of lecture again and be on that side of the table.

[00:03:29] And so, yeah, it was, it was kind of I felt like everything was going in that, in that direction of how I’d kind of envisaged it going. But you get to a point like in anything where you kind of run out of time, run out of not not energy is thought. It’s just time and it’s just the ability to kind of keep on pushing stuff. And so a decision kind of had to be made on What do I do? Because as we discussed last time, I do a lot of clinical dentistry, I then do the teaching, I’ve got the vets and try to have a bit of private life as well, try to socialise every now and then on the MSN course with you. And you know, there’s all these different little avenues that I do, but at some point you kind of think it’s 11:00 at night and I’m not stopped and I’ve not stopped for months and months and months. And so I kind of really wanted to just evaluate where I wanted to be and where I want it to go.

[00:04:26] So you sell to dental, dental beauty partners or you sell, what, 60% of your business to dental beauty partners?

[00:04:32] Yeah. So kind of what happened was probably pre-COVID before I decided to grow and rebrand and so on and so forth. And there was some offers on the table from, from other corporate groups at that time. I kinda was a little bit down and out about dentistry. I’d been doing it for a long time and I think I’d just worn myself out and for many reasons, some not due to me, others due to decisions that I made. And none of those deals kind of went through. And I think in my heart I just didn’t want to sell the whole business. I just didn’t want to be the guy that sold and then worked out for three or five years. And then for what I do now. And then Dental Beauty came about by a broker called Max from Pluto Partners that basically I was quite tight with. And he kind of came to me, he said, I think we’ve got a good deal on the table here where you can sell it. You know, you’ll have to sell a majority share of your business. So 60%, which is what was on the table. But they want to then look at using you as a vehicle in the northwest and really expanding your brand and pushing dental out and and doing all the things that you kind of want to do, but just, I think don’t have the infrastructure, our energy to do.

[00:05:51] And so, so yeah, it kind of just fitted far better for me because I was at the time 41 I still feel I’ve got a lot to give in a role where I feel a need to be kingpin of the of the of the clinics that I run and. Have a lot of kind of knowledge to give to the younger clinicians, and I didn’t want to lose that at this point. So it was just really important that the deal structure had to be right. Which which men then, you know, dental beauty or a large group now 30 practises, I believe in the South, but mainly mixed practises that their idea is by mix practise and revamp it, let it grow, double the turnover. Bosh You’ve got more profitability and we move on to the next one. And Chris essentially is fully private, no NHS. We are aiming for very high end dentistry. We aim for those patients that are very like discerning patients who really want that, that top end treatment.

[00:06:56] Our model is more squats, our model is more built from from the ground outwards, but using our our heavy branding and marketing to really push those clinics forward. So we weren’t going to step on each of us toes. And I think it was just going to be a very, very good fit. And with their infrastructure, the things that they’ve already got in place, their existing head office and allowing me to create my own head office, my own infrastructure as well. I just felt like, although yes, I’d lost majority share of my business, I gained the ability to grow a much larger business. And I felt I’d rather have a smaller piece of a much bigger pie as such. She’s, I suppose, the old saying, but you’ve got to think bigger picture. If you’re going to do that, then kind of say I’ve got three highly profitable clinics, which I had with a very, very good EBITDA, which I had, and I could sell the whole thing for one hit for a big figure. But then where do I go again? And so this, I’m hoping, allows me to partially exit, partially exit again, partially exit again. But in a business that I love in a bill.

[00:08:10] I think when I was when I was speaking to you about this pro and we were having conversations of what next? You were entertaining conversations from the usual suspects or the different offers on the table. And it was like, okay. Sells. He gets a large sum of money in the bank. But you’ve got you’ve got something that I definitely don’t have at this age right now. You have just got a crazy amount of energy and it almost felt too early for you to do your big exit now because you’ve got so much more to give, so much more ambition to grow. And, you know, I think there’s one thing that Max told me right at the beginning when when we were talking about our exit and it was, you know, the right deal has got to be the right deal for the right person. So the right deal for me was getting out of the game. The right deal for you was, I think, doing what you did, you know, getting some money, getting some cash in through the door so you could sort of, I guess, have a nice cushion beneath you. But then having that vehicle and that infrastructure behind you to just go again and I’ve seen it myself, you know, it’s almost like the drive you had back in 2005, 2006 is back again. That’s what I am saying. I’ve seen that that clash with that drive, that ambition, that that, you know, new start of ambition you had in 2005 and six with a degree of aggression is back.

[00:09:39] Yeah. Can I kind of.

[00:09:41] Kate what do you think they bought. I mean the brand I get that but you write I mean these these these ten, ten clinics you want to open.

[00:09:53] Yeah. I mean.

[00:09:54] What’s going to I mean, have you discussed what’s going to be the different roles and what’s going to happen? What’s Dev and his team going to do and what you’re going to do to spell that out for us?

[00:10:02] Yeah. So I think to answer your first question, you’re right. I think, you know, they as the as the as the dance team told me, like a 16 page dossier about me specifically to Nordic Capital and EDG, who were the fund they’re funded by on the basis that they wanted this deal. But I think essentially when you break it down, they kind of wanted me. So it’s one of those that I kind of think to myself, you know, that’s great. But there’s still that degree of pressure on because, you know, you’re in that situation now where you are now saying, I’m going to do this, I’m going to do the ten clinics and I’m going to, you know, in the next 12 months. And I want them to be profitable, as profitable as my existing businesses are. And that’s what this business plan relies on. So for me, there is some pressure. But then, you know, Devin, the team that’s really helped me. So the helping with finance, the helping with HR, the helping with payroll, the help him with, you know. The ability to just sometimes bounce ideas off people that are in the in a similar situation and kind of get their take on how we can progress and how we can build. And sometimes that little bit of information is pretty invaluable.

[00:11:22] Yeah. What would you say is the difference in the approach of dental beauty to what you would naturally do?

[00:11:31] I think I call both both clinics. Both groups are very aligned to like wanting patient care to be there and which is why they they use the partnership model. I really think the partnership model for kids is going to hopefully work super well. But I think like the difference is I suppose are because there’s so much more ahead in respect to I suppose what they do number of clinics, number of partners, infrastructure, you know, a lot of it is is kind of geared by numbers and by spreadsheets and by, you know, all the kind of business stuff that goes on with all of that. And at the moment, KISS is in the infancy of that. And so aspects of it I love because I can kind of now see kind of what our KPIs are or what they should be and what what our targets are and how are we going to be driven and, and how, how infrastructure in a larger organisation works. And I love that because it gives me a thought to say, well we need one of them or a need and integrations manager and I need an operations manager and I understand the reasons why we need these things now.

[00:12:48] Whereas I would just generally get one of my existing staff and stick them in a different role, and you do it because you trust that person. But maybe that in might not be the right person for the job, but then you don’t want to really bring someone else in. And recently we’ve just brought an M&A manager in for KISS and she used to work for BUPA, but she she’s come as an external. But I believe we need that to grow and to find sites and to find existing practises. And so it’s kind of what I really like is as opposed to differences. The main difference, I suppose, is their business strategy or them strategy and how they grow against the strategy and how this is going to grow. But I think everything else we can really work together to to hopefully produce a really strong secondary group in the north, you know, in my view, is to really combat the Northwest, whether it be Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cheshire, Yorkshire. Those are the kind of key areas that I want to be in in the next next year to two years. Really.

[00:14:00] So. Okay. Did you go through that traditional thing that entrepreneurs go through when they sell their business? I know you haven’t sold it all and I know you’ve got plans for the future, but that that sort of sense of loss that people talk about.

[00:14:13] Yeah.

[00:14:14] You do know you’ve been you’ve been working at this for 15, 16 years now.

[00:14:18] Yeah. It’s you know, it’s a tough thing because when it’s all yours and you kind of feel like, well, I can do that. I can make that decision because it’s my decision to make. And if it goes well, then amazing. And if it goes really badly, then I’ve only really got myself to blame and kind of moving forward. It is tough that when you sell because you have this relief. I remember when I first set up the very first kiss, I think I had 900 or £800,000 worth of debt tied into that first clinic. And then you get to this point where your debt you’re a debt free business, which we were and we still are. We did big numbers and made very good money yearly. And, you know, life life is good, but, you know, life is good because you look at it at a snapshot in time. And, you know, we go back two years and every clinic in the country was closed. Then it was COVID and life was not good and things still needed pay in and this needed to be done. And, you know, to be brutally honest with you, to have a decent lump sum in the bank so that you don’t then need to stress about things is is a really important aspect of why I considered to pull some cash out and do a partial exit now. But yeah, it is sad because it’s sad you feel like you’ve lost a little part of your baby. But, you know, I kind of was was also excited because of the way it went down. And I think if it didn’t, wasn’t this deal, it wasn’t this structure. I genuinely feel like I probably would have lost my mojo pretty quickly, whereas now I’m probably working harder than I ever. I’ve been because as I’ve said, I’ve got that almost that fight back to to ensure that this next level this next step for Chris Dental is a is a really successful one.

[00:16:18] What have been the challenges to you? But I know we’ve we’ve just brought the concept of grief and loss and that that letting go, you know, you’re a control freak. You like to be in control of things and now you’ve let go. You’re not you no longer in control. I guess you’re in control of certain elements. And so what’s the plan for the next part of your growth in your ambition for what? For what you’ve got the fire for? You know, the two groups are different, the kiss and the dental beauties you’ve identified. But what is the plan now moving forward and what and what timescale do you want to achieve that?

[00:16:54] And I think I suppose like control is, is one of those things that you feel like you’ve got or you don’t have in any business. You know, we laugh and we joke and sometimes look at what’s going on around me. And I’m sure most practise owners can can kind of sympathise with me. But you sometimes go into your practises and you think, who’s made all these decisions because they’re terrible, you know, and things are going on around you and the place is falling apart. And then other times, you know, you kind of things are going amazingly and you’re like, Yeah, of course this is all me. And so I think control is like very, very perceived, perceived by many in very different ways. I never really was that control guy though in KISS majority of his staff, if you spoke to them, said, yeah, you know, they respected me when I made decisions. Those decisions were definitely done. So the hopefully, generally the great good of the business. But I do believe that, you know, because I’m still there, because I’m still CEO or clinical director or whatever you want to call me, I’m still the boss there. And to be honest with you, that day to day running, that decisions that we need to make to make sure the business stays successful kind of Dental be a pretty cool they like.

[00:18:14] K You just do what you need to do and you make sure it carries on doing what it does. But then if we talk about me personally and my ambition and my my drive and what I need to do and actually I need to do less than industry. And that is the long and the short of this whole next chapter of my life. Because as much as I love doing the teeth, I kind of need to drop my clinical time down to probably two days a week, really in the next year. I’ve already dropped down to three as soon as the deal went ahead. And that’s hard because you’re right. I’ve got the biggest thing for me is not business control, by the way, is actually clinical control, wanting to do the big 24 veneer cases or the full mount rehabs or the all the armfuls of dental. That’s what I want to do. I want to control that and I can’t, because if I carry on doing that, I will be working solidly in the business. And as the old saying goes, not on the business.

[00:19:14] And unfortunately, it’s really pinnacle imperative that I now work on the business to to grow it and grow it well, really support my new partners that we’re going to be taking on board. So they grow their businesses as well. And I can’t do that if I’m starting my surgery five days a week. So that’s, I suppose, the biggest loss of control. But then for me, ambition wise, the biggest ambition is to be that next leader, not the leader in clinical dentistry, just the leader in both the clinical side still giving support and ensuring that standards of care and showing that dentistry is done to exacting kind of standards and quality, but also making sure the groups, the teams that we build now are going to be super happy and kisses. The brand stays as that happy, friendly kind of brand that people come and see because they love the staff and they love the environment. And you know, everyone smiles and that kind of thing. And, you know, pay has been to our clinics many a time and he always comments like stuff just lovely me. Then I tried to hire the people I think I can get on with and I don’t want those things to change.

[00:20:29] What are the challenges you face as a different type of business owner? So you’ve gone from this guy who’s like super clinical and it’s almost like you’ve changed as a business owner. You’ve had to adapt and develop new skills, whether it’s interviewing new partners for these next ten clinics or having meetings or having structured, I guess, working on the business more so than you ever have done before. What are the changes and adjustments you’ve had to make and adapt as a business owner?

[00:21:00] I suppose it’s like it’s like anything. When you start going more into business, you’ve got to understand numbers, you’ve got to understand spreadsheets, you’ve got to understand balance sheets, you’ve got to look at projections, business plans. And to be honest with you, when you start looking at these things, I’ll be honest. I just wanted to go back to doing teeth because I’m like, Fuck is all this, you know? And people are like, like sending me like, right. We’ve muddled up this clinic that we’re going to be setting up for our partner in Bolton. And I’m looking at it and I’m thinking, just where’s the bottom line? Where’s the bottom line of this? But really not the be all and end all, because I’m kind of seeing how it needs to be modelled out and I need to then actually sit down with that partner and be able to explain this business plan to them and explain this is how we get to these figures. This is what we’re expecting to spend. These are the reasons we’re expecting. And to spend it. And if you do what you say, telling me you can do and we market as we’re going to market these the numbers on a month on month year on year basis which is why you’re going to get this dividend and it’s why you can earn this money and it’s why you’re going to at some point exit for X.

[00:22:13] And that was the probably the hardest thing for me to comprehend and get my head around and kind of now it’s almost like second nature to me. So when someone sends me, you know, at the times and the financial team had done CBC will send me business plans and and models I’ll I’ll scrutinise them and I’ll say I think we’ve got this bit wrong and I think this is this needs to be increased because I think we need to spend more here or I think, you know, this associate actually who’s going to be a partner can grow better than that. So we need to have this. And so yeah, I suppose understanding that which was a, which is more difficult for me because I’m not geared that way. It’s probably been the hardest kind of change to what I do, you know, talking to partners, talking to dentists. I just genuinely believe that I can do that. I’ve done it all my life. I do genuinely believe I’m passionate about something. People are passionate around me about it and they kind of want to be in with that which is which is great because I genuinely believe bringing partners in and, and the right partners to partner up with our new clinics is not going to be the most difficult thing.

[00:23:22] It’s finding the right ones to ensure that everything is met. Quality, looking after my team, looking after the staff, looking after the patients. That’s the most important thing for me. So those things I think have got that skill set already. But it was more the kind of business side which was which was hard to get my head around initially. I mean, death is like a frickin numbers genius, so you kind of sit and chat with him. He talks so fast, it talks like a million miles an hour about and this manoeuvre and I’m like just going way over me and I’m like, You need to slow down, dude. Just simplify this for me. Tell me what’s going on. But that’s him because he is very much more geared as a businessman, I would say, you know, it’s more natural to him. He can look at numbers and accounts and stuff and he’s like that on it. He’s just quick, but not everyone’s got that skill set. But as long as I learn that and I can understand it and I can compute it in my own time, it allows me to then at least be on the same level as these guys.

[00:24:24] Okay. For this for the partners that you’re you’re going to choose, what would you say is this? Let’s start with the minimum skill set that you think a partner of kis dental would need. And then give us what would be your ideal partner? What how many years out, what doing or what kind of work? What kind of person?

[00:24:47] I kind of want partners who can do an all round level of dentistry. So, you know, and I talk about a lot and I genuinely believe the world is going Invisalign bleaching, bonding, mad, which is fine. I believe it’s a very good treatment modality. I’m super happy to provide it. Obviously our practise is provided in a very high, high amount and with all our clinicians, but that isn’t the 8 to 8 is at a dentistry. And so I want my partners to be able to almost be a leader in themselves. So be the guy that if if someone says I’m who’s a little bit maybe less senior than that person, what you think about this? What would you do? Like let’s talk about treatment plans. Let’s talk about this. You know, sometimes you can’t just throw Invisalign. That’s it. And that is something that I need them to be able to do. I want them to be an all round clinician that can do ceramics, that can do bonding, can do orthodontics with Invisalign fine, even if it’s fixed and fine, you know, but can do also general work and understand the more complex stuff. I’m not asking them to be able to achieve that. We’ll have clinicians at different sites to be able to refer to, to be able to do those things. I don’t want them to be amazing implantable objects or anything like that, but also understand the concepts of implant ology.

[00:26:16] So dentistry, I just want them to be decent. All rounders don’t want it. I don’t really want superstars. I don’t want the guy that grosses 200 grand a month. It’s lovely to have that guy. But all the clinics I’m trying to set up a partnership clinics. And what that genuinely means is that guy who can do that 200 grand a month or 150 grand a month or whatever they grow, which is very big numbers, by the way. That guy can keep on doing that the rest of his life. And his options are. He carries on because why would you buy? How would you build a clinic or buy your own clinic? You’re doing that kind of level with no hassles, no problems. Probably walk around with over half a million quid a year with no stress. So option one is crack on and keep on doing it for the rest of your days. But you are it is labour intensive. And I know that because I’m one of those guys and I’ve been doing it for 16 years and you get knackered. And then your next option is do what I did. And bye bye clinic or set clinics up. Back in 2004 2005, believe me, market was different, marketing was different, and there wasn’t many people doing it and doing it well. So I hit the ground running, really doing that now with a squat and trying to get that level of new patient influx and gain turnover and stuff.

[00:27:49] It’s going to be more difficult. Now, this guy that’s doing 200 K is probably pulling 100 K a month just on overheads. So the only way he now makes is half a million quid a year plus is get more dentists in, build a big machine, have to spend more money on marketing. And it’s almost like this vicious circle. And what does he do then? All. The third option is kind of what I’m offering, which is like, you know what, let me go into a clinic which is already well branded, which has got all the infrastructure, which has got the marketing machine behind it and, you know, not telling anyone things that they don’t know. Kiss brings in 300 ish private patients a month. Now, from my point of view, we all have a level of marketing and that will just increase in the areas we set up. So now you’ve got bums on seats straight away. You can still do your decent numbers, but if you don’t want to go so hard. That business should still accrue some money for you. So, you know, 16 years down the line, you’ve got an asset. You’ve earned good money still. You’re probably still doing your half a million quid a year. You can exit for a decent wage at the end.

[00:29:10] Kate. Kate. The kind of guy who’s who’s grossing 100, 200,000 a month has got many, many options. Yeah, you’re right. He’s he’s doing very, very well already. But I’m more interested in the kind of guy who, by the way, I know in your world, doesn’t sound like the kind of guy who’s grossing 40,000 a month. That’s a decent gross. 2000 a day. 20 days. Yeah.

[00:29:36] Yeah.

[00:29:37] Are you interested in talking to that guy or you’re not interested in talking to that guy?

[00:29:40] Yeah. 100% interest in talking to that guy. Would that guy straight away be a partner for us? I think what I’d want to do is bring him on as an associate. To start with, I believe, a guy that’s doing about 40 to 50 a month. Gross I can probably get them up with some education, and that’s not dental education. That’s not me telling them how to drill teeth or whatever. That’s education and understanding how to treatment plan more methodically, how to get better uptake and and just understand what I think cosmetic dentistry sometimes requires. I think at that point then that person will grow to 60, 70 a month easily. And then we sit down and we then say, I think you’re at that point now, I think well rounded. You’re doing good numbers. Let’s consider a clinic for you and bring them then on as a partner for a new clinic. And I think that is kind of that process. But you don’t want the guys, if I’m being honest with you, pay that, do those massive numbers because you’re also asking them to run the clinic. And so they’ve got to cut down their clinical time to be able to really put energy into looking after the staff and looking after the team and understanding again the numbers and making sure targets are met and all those different things that a good partner would do.

[00:31:10] But you’ve got to support them to do that. So the guy that’s doing those super, super big numbers, all they’re thinking about is I want to create this vehicle with kis dental to just be able to do those numbers there. And I’m kind of educating them and saying, listen, dude, like you don’t need to do that all the time. Like it will kill you in the end, like. Gross Like, if you’re doing big numbers. Gross 100 K, do three or four days a week, really concentrate on that business, grow that business with all the guys that you can teach because you have got an exceptional skill set. You’ve got a skill set that patients trust you, you do good treatments and you do good numbers. So now teach the other guys how to do that and and pull back some dividends at the end of every year. And now you don’t have to work at that. And no, Dennis is going to say hand on heart, five, six days a week solid. They love it.

[00:32:03] They’re doing 12 hour days. It’s hard. Graft is it’s labour intensive. And so from my point of view, it is genuinely important to kind of get them out of the mindset. You know, I’ve got I’ve got a really good associate, you know, he’s my cousin Caution. He grosses really big money. And I’ve said to him, I’ve said like coach, like, dude, this is great and you are exceptional at what you do. His work is beautiful, so it’s not like he’s quick, fast and shit. He’s quick, fast and very, very good at what he does. And that’s how we can do the numbers he does. But ultimately, I said to him, Are you still going to be doing this in ten years time because you are breaking your back, doing what you’re doing now, you can’t physically do any more dentistry. So at some point you want something else which is going to give you an out, which allows you to just still love what you do. Because the guys that do that level of dentistry, genuinely, I believe that don’t just do it for the money. The money just comes because they’re great at what they do and they actually love doing the dentistry.

[00:33:07] Yeah, yeah. Kate, I actually want to get to that. Yeah. Because I remember you when you started. Yeah. If we, if we go down the sort of the purpose led part of dental, your purpose back then was to change the face of dentistry, to turn it into something exciting and, you know, fun and all of that. And what I’m getting from you now is your purpose now is to teach other people. Would that be right?

[00:33:37] Yeah, I kind of I say to all my associates and obviously all my sales is super younger than me. And I kind of say, listen, you can guys can do what I did. I did it. I’ve done it for 16, 17 years. And don’t get me wrong, they all know I’ve led a very good life and I’m very thankful for all of that. And I’ve done amazing things and the profession has allowed me to do all of that. I was like, But wouldn’t it be really nice that in five years time, which I’ve never had in five years time, you can earn really good money every year, and then in five years walk out with a couple of million quid in the bank, solid set. And I was like, When are you going to get the opportunity to do that in dentistry? Staying in dentistry and I, I understand there’s, there’s dentists out there that are businessmen and they have all the other things in all the pies and all those different things and make a lot more money from those things than they do in dentistry. But what we got to understand is the majority of dentists, they’re not like that.

[00:34:41] The majority of dentists are dentists. And that’s all they know. That’s all they understand. And it’s the only way they can make money and make a living. And so it’s a matter of for me getting them to understand that yet you can keep slogging your bollocks off and you can keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll earn a good living. But if you get ill, if something happens to your hands, if something happens to your registration, you’re in a bad place. Whereas with this ideal, you know, I’m trying to create something which is going to give you a real nice nest egg at the end of it. It’s going to allow you to carry on doing the dentistry you want to do in an environment that I believe is still all those things I wanted them to be in 2004 2005. Exciting, fun. You know, vibrant and with our new branding and and kind of just re revisiting everything that we do at case I do genuinely believe we still have all those qualities at all our clinics.

[00:35:44] So what does the next ten years look like for you, bro? Is that you? Out, done and dusted.

[00:35:51] No like kisses. Kisses obviously evolved. We started off, as Pei said, as this clinic, which was like, Yeah, I would probably say super fun at the start, you know, completely different to anyone else had done. The marketing was completely different and blew people out of the wall and they didn’t like it really. And now we are aiming to do that on a much larger scale across more areas and more platforms. But my ideal is to just keep growing it. Like, you know, I’ve got probably I’m 42 today, by the way. I’m doing this podcast on my birthday.

[00:36:29] Happy birthday, bro.

[00:36:31] Sorry.

[00:36:32] But it’s kind of one of those things that. Yeah, of course, I just want it to grow now. I want it to be successful, you know? Edg The European Dental Group have, you know, expressed interest in, in the excitement of the model that I’m proposing, but also expressed a little bit concern and worry because it is very bullish. And so we got approved that right now we’ve got to prove that that model works. I believe it can. I believe we can do what what I’m going to set out to do. We complete on our first partnership practise today as well, which has been super I’m super, super happy about. And it’s with a really close friend of mine and Dr. Randy McLean, who is going to be our first clinical director, our first 5% shareholder of our first partnership clinic. So, you know, things are going in the right direction for me and I just really kind of want to now like build on that and grow and grow and grow. And even if like old P firms flip in the next two, three, four years, if I have the ability to stay on and carry on building my business and building my empire, that’s kind of what I’m going to do because I haven’t done this to then exit in a couple of years time and be done.

[00:37:49] Otherwise I might as well have just been done. I could have got a decent pot of cash if I wanted to and sold the whole thing now. But that’s kind of not my my end goal. My end goal isn’t really, really about the money. Believe me, I’ve got everyone has a number and I’ve got a number in my head where I want it to be in five years time. And and if that is good, then, you know, that number is life changing. But ultimately that’s by the by really. Like I’m comfy now. I just kind of want to make sure I can I can grow this baby and I can make sure that I just want it to be about like, obviously I’m probably quite precious about it, but I want it to be everywhere. I want it to be in most cities. I want kids dental to be the known clinic to go to for cosmetic dentistry, and I don’t think that’s unachievable. I genuinely believe we’ve got the strength in the brand and with our branding team, with our marketing team, we’ve got a really strong in-house team now. We’ve got a really strong external team headed up obviously by to help. So there’s a lot I just think, you know, all in all it can be unstoppable really.

[00:39:01] Can you set up you set out what it means for the partner. I’d kind of like to go in a bit more detail about that, though. First, is the 40%, the deal that you’re going to do with everyone, is that is that the way it’s going to be that the partner will have 40%?

[00:39:17] Yeah. So ideally for us, because what we do in the moment is we set up squats, what we what our aim is between myself and Denzil Beauty. We will we will hold 60% of the clinic and the partners would hold 40, I think, kind of giving.

[00:39:34] And so the cost to me through the costs part, so the squat is going to cost X to make to build and all that.

[00:39:43] Yeah, if we just talk basic numbers, let’s just say a squat was going to cost half a million quid to me.

[00:39:49] Yeah.

[00:39:49] Then on the basis of that cost because there is no there is no business there per say, it is all equity that goes in to ensure that that that clinic can be built and so on. On the crude is the terms you probably looking at the partner putting in a couple of hundred thousand myself and then still putting in the 300,000 and we’ve got the money then to kind of get this clinic off the ground. That clinic.

[00:40:19] And then what about the. What about the the the the the working capital?

[00:40:24] Yes, the working capital goes in generally by the by the group. So we would generally levy a little bit of debt for working capital and things like that. And that would come from ADG, like the European Dental Buying Group and Dental Beauty, essentially. And so the working capital would be considered all build costs of furniture costs, all equipment, cost, marketing spend. Everything is considered even down to staffing, recruitment, the full, the full.

[00:40:55] As the partner as the partner I’ve put in my 200 grand. Yep. Is that it or do I have to put in more.

[00:41:01] No, no, no, no. So you’re done. So is the partner you you now your 40% you’re 200,000 you’ve invested in. You get the full kiss dental machine. That’s what you get. So you are now clinical director of that clinic. I tell every partner you are responsible. I am not here to kind of I am there in a way to hold your hand if you need it, hold it. But essentially we will train that partner. We will ensure that they are well versed in in all the basic aspects of running that clinic. It is on them the decisions they make, the staff they hire, the offers they run. The marketing may be internally that they want to do. It’s on them, but we will support them along that way. We will support them with the main external machine, both in respect to integrations, operations, marketing, payroll, everything, HR, the lot. And they don’t pay. They don’t pay anything.

[00:42:02] Let’s say let’s say three years in my circumstances changed and I’ve got to off I’ve got to move, move country and go somewhere else. Now I want to sell I sell my 40% to a new partner. Is that how you envisaged it?

[00:42:17] Generally, the first consideration is no, that’s not how we envisage it. So it’s usually a five year deal. And so the five.

[00:42:26] Years, let’s say so after five years, let’s say after five years, I want out, I sell my 40%, which is now worth a lot more than it was on day one.

[00:42:35] Yeah.

[00:42:35] To a new partner. Is that the way you.

[00:42:37] Yeah. So the way that it works is actually, we would look at buying you out at that point and we would give you a guaranteed seven times multiplier on your on your value share as long as you are what we would classed as a good lever. So you just need to ensure that this clinic isn’t solely which is again going back to why I don’t want the superstars grossing 200 grand them on. I kind of need that partner to to almost have signed out of that clinic. They’re kind of earning the dividends from everyone else working and it is generally associate led and if it’s not associate led at that point, take 12 months, get it, associate led because if you sign out now I got back to you in and what you do and take that out of my calculation and what I’m going to pay you times seven times seven. So ultimately it’s in your best interest to ensure it’s a very associate led very quickly. And if you look at the model in dental beauty, that’s why if you look at the majority of partners with Dental Beauty, they own two or three clinics. And why do they do that? Because they understand that actually I’ll do one day a week. They’re one day week, they’re one day a week. They’re clinically. But then enjoy the time. I want to run these babies to make them super profitable so I actually make my money without doing a great deal for my dividends per year. And when when I do want to exit, I can exit quickly, cleanly and actually to a high, high level of profit.

[00:44:09] All right. Now, let’s take the other scenario where, I don’t know, dentists or my dentist or someone comes along and buys dental beauty partners. And I’m one of the partners. What happens there? I still own my 40%. And this this new buyer owns the other 60%. Is that how it would be?

[00:44:28] Well, kind of when when the actual P firm flip so if you imagine European Dental buying group now decide to decide to sell. We all we all have faces. Yeah. They all we all basically have an initial push. The initial kind of push is is 20%. So everyone at that point has to relinquish 20% of their shares. Yeah. Yeah. And so that’s across the board. That’s myself. That’s all the partners of Dental baby. That’s all the partners of KISS that all of us. And so what we what we left with. But when we do sell that, do that sell. Whatever that EBITDA is, they’re getting seven times guaranteed. If they put in 200 grand and now they’re I don’t know, the day’s worth 200 grand. I’m going to get seven times that minus that 20%. You know, a lot of these a lot of these deal structures, the walking out on the first push with a clean million quid.

[00:45:34] Yeah.

[00:45:35] And then they’ve still got 20% in skin in the game to ensure that they are still running that clinic, pushing that clinic, getting dividends yearly on that clinic. And then it’s their decision at the end that five years to carry on, is it just making good money that they’re one day a week it’s been run by everyone else? Or did it say, actually, I’m now in a position and kind of want to sell out and get get rid of my remaining 20% and they’ve got the option to do that.

[00:46:02] It’s interesting.

[00:46:04] So it’s not a lifelong commitment. Well, it’s it’s a real nice way to from their point of view, to do what they’re doing now, to understand the running of a dental practise, which I think is a growth in itself for a person, and hopefully to accrue a decent level of capital over a short period of time. And if you put in 200,000 in and at the end of it minus your earnings, the business does well. And you and you come out with, let’s say, 2 million quid plus what you’ve earnt, plus your dividends. You’re essentially looking at a ten times multiplier on your money, which over five year period, if I offered you that deal, you take it, take it. You know, and so and that’s the deal. That’s generally or at the moment on the table. And I genuinely believe the numbers I’m talking to you about at this point. That’s those are realistic numbers. They’re not inflated numbers. They’re not picked out of the sky. They’re numbers that we’ve methodically gone through price per patient, new patients coming through the door. So how many are coming through the door per month, on month? How does that increase to get to a turnover, to get to profitability, to get to an EBITDA, to then say we’re going to go for a multiplier of that and that’s how you’re going to get to that ten times or 12 times or seven or eight times your initial investment at the end of that five years.

[00:47:38] And then pro, what about existing practises? So we’ve been speaking about slots and you know, a partner say putting 200 grand in they they become a squat and whatnot. But what about a practise that’s doing okay and not breaking any records? And they say, you know what, I’d like to rebrand 16 or I’d like to become a kiss dental. Is that an option in your mind? If that is an option, what’s the what are you looking for in that practise?

[00:48:08] So firstly you’ve got to look for Expandability. So you look at a clinic, if it’s a two or three surgery clinic, and there’s no ability to expand it. And we look at run rates. So if we look at the run rate of the three chairs that they’ve got and the run rate, the chairs are at 400 grand each a year. You know, the business is doing 1.2 mil. I mean, how much more can I grow that I might able to grow two of the chairs because one of them’s going to be a hygiene chair. I’m going to probably grow two of the chairs to maybe five or 600,000 a year. I might get a super associate and grow one of the chairs to 800 grand a year. But ultimately, I haven’t got the ability to put a fourth or a fifth chair in to get my run rate higher and to get my growth higher. And also a practise like that, I’m buying at a quite a high rate because because dental practise is going for decent money at the moment. So on the basis of that, it’s really difficult to then say I’m going to buy that on the basis on the basis of it’s just mulling over because yeah, I can increase fees, I can introduce treatments, I can get better clinicians in. How much more is that clinic going to grow? Whereas if I then look at a clinic and things like that, but there’s expandability of four or five chairs, then we start to speak, then we start to think, okay, there’s an ability, because even if we stay at £400,000 run rate per chair, but now I’ve got five chairs running at that.

[00:49:44] I’m already winning. And then on top of that, I’m looking at the partner who is the guy that’s going to be running this place is the existing principal running it to the ground. So he can’t be the partner here. Does he want to stay on? If he wants to stay on, is he going to be cool with me bringing someone else in and saying this guy is going to run the show from now on? Or can I maybe speak to that principal and say, if you’ve got the belly to run this in a different way? And so it is more difficult with existing clinics, as everyone knows, you buy existing clinics, you buy existing baggage. And that’s unfortunately the nature of that beast. And I’ve done that myself personally. And sometimes the gold mines, if you can get past that and get through that. But that’s why I find the squat model more attractive. I’m none of my clinics that I’m setting up are going to have any debt. So when we do go to flip, when we do go to sell, the actual level of that business is going to be much stronger. And so I’m not saying no to existing clinics, and I’ll be brutally honest with you, in the last three months, I’ve probably been to look at 15 existing clinics in the north west, and I pretty much turn the majority of them down.

[00:50:58] A lot of them are old houses that have been converted into practises. You know how difficult it is to convert that into something that flows and that works with the how you want to now create a patient journey and a patient flow and and kind of get them to integrate through with a coordinator and with a, with a finance team and all these different things that you want to try and guide them through to ensure that patient feels special. You can’t do that in a tube down. It’s just physically impossible. And so can I. Then look at that site and go, actually, 2 minutes down the road, there’s a beautiful commercial unit which is 3000 square foot guaranteed to put five surgeries in it. And I can produce the most beautiful clinic there. And now I don’t have to buy a clinic for six, £700,000, but I’m still in the same area. The only thing I don’t have is that existing patient base. But if a market well in that area, does it matter? And so for me, that’s the reason the squat model for me works better. I understand why the existing clinic model for the dental beauty team works really well in the South, but I’m not interested in buying mixed clinics. And so for me it’s got to be high and private clinics and the majority. I already run a decent rate anyway.

[00:52:23] Okay. What about the patient offering as. As a patient? Why do I choose kiss dental?

[00:52:30] And I think in the Northwest now, you probably choose kiss dental because it’s it’s known it’s a well known brand. We’ve been treating patients for 17 years. So the majority of people I had three consultations today while I was working actually, and all three came because someone they know has had dentistry, a kiss. And so the growth of that is just exponential. Over the years, it’s just been something that has just increase and increase and increase. And then on top of that, they come to kiss because it’s the visuals. Why did we rebrand? Why did I spend last last year over £1,000,000 rebranding my three clinics? I did that because now when we run our social media campaigns, when we run our videos, our stories, all the different levels of sort of marketing. It’s a beautiful environment to be in. And if it’s a beautiful environment to be and people want to be a part of that and people want to be at the latest launch, they want to be at the best restaurants. They want to be in the nice shops. They want to shopping Louis Vuitton, they want to do all those different things.

[00:53:40] And why? Because it’s attractive. It’s very it’s a very nice thing to be done. And when someone says, where did you get your teeth done? You want to be aligned with that. You want to be the kiss. And so that’s what we’ve aimed to set up. And so the patient offering from our side is the quality of dentistry. We showcase our dentistry on a day to day basis, and the dentists that I hire, the dentists I train, I genuinely believe they produce some beautiful work in the note and some of the most beautiful work in the north west. And I stand up to that. You know, there are clinics in the north west that are, again, really well marketed, but, you know, dentistry wise and not not on par. And so dentistry for sure. But then secondarily, I do generally believe marketing is a big pull and then reputation is the third pole. And I think those are the three things that we are we are wanting to utilise to really push forward in the new areas and I think patient offering is going to be I want to be a part of that.

[00:54:47] You know, marketing has always been a centrepoint for Kiss Dental, whether it’s the brand, your socials, the content creation, the team that you’ve now got internally. But one of the evolutions that I’ve seen or the changes that I’ve seen in KISS is that you’ve gone to this call centre model, right? You’ve taken away the hustle and bustle of the practise away from the practise so that the the patient experience is just that. And the back end or the back office, the, the chasing, the leads, the lead management, the.

[00:55:21] Tko.

[00:55:22] Management, all of that is now in a separate location. Just tell it tell us a little bit more about that process, how you’ve gone about putting it together, the team you’ve put together, and how that’s go with. Because it’s still early days, isn’t it?

[00:55:37] Yeah. I mean, to be honest with you, it was something I wanted to do about I would probably say about six or seven years ago. I genuinely believe that the worst thing on a reception is a telephone. I think the second worst thing on a reception is a telephone. And I think the third worst thing is the telephone. It’s a nightmare, isn’t it? Because you want your patients to have a very bespoke experience and they’re waiting because someone else, your receptionist is on a call with someone else. And that call could be talking about all sorts of stuff, inclusive of private stuff, monetary stuff, and you kind of just feel like this is really bad and just I just feel I feel for the patient. And what I wanted to do is create a reception desk actually to just be me angry. I welcome to this demo. Let me take you where you need to be today. Have a seat. Do you want a drink? Give us a bit of time. Then she’s going to see shortly. Job done. And that is essentially what a receptionist should do. And for me, we’ve really invested hard in our reception team and not from the dental sector. We’ve taken it from hospitality and recently we’ve hired managers from like the Ivy and and really good quality hospitality institutions to ensure that the people that are our meet and greet guys and girls are very good. But that’s all they do. You’ve then got the team in there in private zones. Are you receptionists, your CEOs or whatever you want to call them that then will look after that patient from that point and they will take money in a private area. They will talk to them about treatment and they will book appointments.

[00:57:26] And that’s literally all that happens front of house in a dental practise from my point of view, because everyone else passed that. We have set up a head office in in Greater Manchester and in that head office we’ve got a team that just looks after new patient leads. So all calls go to her or to them all Instagram enquiries, all Facebook enquiries, all email enquiries, all internet enquiries, all go to them. They then talk to those patients, discuss treatments, discuss ideas and consultations, and get consultations booked in. We then have patient care managers that once those consultations have been conducted, we track them. We know if they’ve gone ahead and at that point they get introduced to their patient care manager again, who is remote, who has a personal mobile number, a personal email address, and they then look after that patient’s journey from start to finish. And then we’ve got the social media team that at the end of that journey will then talk to them about what they’re would be happy to do in respect to marketing. And the journey is over and they go move on to maintenance. But all of that is done remotely. All of that is away from the clinics and what it does, apart from taking calls, the odd call in the clinic, in the back offices about maybe an ongoing treatment or making some call work. Everything else is done in the head office, which allows us to really take away that that level of hustle and bustle in the clinics, and it allows it to be much more patient focussed. And so that patient offering, again, that payment was discussing, becomes much more personal and much more private.

[00:59:16] Okay. A couple of things.

[00:59:18] Yeah.

[00:59:19] You’re your day to day in managing this group of it’s 13 next year you’re saying and who knows where it might go? It might be 26 and I might be 132. Who knows? Yeah. But your day to day, your day to day is going to be very different from what it is now. You talked about reducing your clinical days and your, you know, your daily activity. Some of it will include. Looking out for these partners and looking out for these clinics and making sure everything’s working. And you do see it sometimes where an amazing I think of it from my own experience is like this amazing cafe in Hampstead. And then they, they branched out and they opened loads and it changed. It wasn’t as good.

[01:00:09] Yeah.

[01:00:11] It’s a real danger. Something you need to really, really consider. And the fact that your life and your skill set are going to have to be tested again. And this whole new discipline, I guess I guess the word is discipline, isn’t it? You’re obviously disciplined at what you do clinically. You’re obviously disciplined in the gym and all that, but it’s a new discipline that you’re going to have to put towards this. And the question the question is when it’s going to happen to your idea that something’s going to happen at a Dental that is going to break your heart, you know, so someone’s going to, I don’t know, not return money to a patient who deserved it or something, something you definitely would have done, you know. Are you are you thinking about that? You prepared for that idea? It’s going to happen. Is that the screw.

[01:01:04] That’s yeah. And I get that. And and that’s that I suppose loss of that degree of control again. And I suppose why it’s so important to me is, is the growth is important. Like obviously I’ve got numbers in my head, I’ve got targets in my head and I’ve got to be that way to ensure this is going to fly like I want it to fly. But then there is the other side of it, as you rightfully said. And for me, it’s going to be so important to to cut down my clinical time. So I’ve got the ability to support on those levels. You know, I’ve said to every partner that comes on board, you know, and my first few partners, fine, I’ve got Andy. As I’ve discussed, he was our first partner, Will and Jade, who are going to be our second partners in our Alderley Edge site. We’ve got Coach, my cousin, who’s me, a third partner in our Liverpool side.

[01:02:01] Of course, moving to Liverpool.

[01:02:03] So he’s not he’s going to stay in Manchester. I think he’s going to carry on working at three sites in Manchester at the moment. He’s going to do some work also in the Liverpool site, but again keeping it relatively associate led. So we’re going to gather all the clinicians in there, the decent clinicians that are going to help to start to really drive that Liverpool clinic. But yeah, he’s going to be the clinical director, the shareholder in that clinic and he’s going to it’s a lovely clinic. It’s, it’s a lovely road, beautiful location. So I’m super excited actually about that clinic. But going back to what you said, the reason I’m telling you that is these initial partners have all done a stint at KISS. Yeah, they kind of understand the ethos and the ethics. I go by how I want the patients to be looked after and how I want the brand to be respected. And genuinely, if I’m being brutally honest with you, pay like I’m going to hope that I can keep doing that with with my new partners coming in. And I’ve kind of said to them, I’ve got a couple more partners that that want to be part of this. And I say to them, Give up where you work. You come full time with me for six months first while your clinic is being built and these clinics are taking 4 to 6 months to be built, because I would need you to understand what I expect of you, and I need you to understand what Chris expects of you. And I think that’s really important. And I still don’t think genuinely it will it will stop what you’re saying. But I hope it will take it much further to a point where they will they will think about the decisions they make. They might even ask me and say, okay, what do you think I should do here? And I’ll always.

[01:03:52] Be. Definitely. It’s definitely doable. It’s definitely doable. You walk into McDonalds in New Zealand and you get the same experience as you walk into McDonald’s in Moscow. Right? Money. More Moscow but somewhere else. Yeah, it’s it’s definitely doable. But, you know, it’s a case of executing on this.

[01:04:11] Above.

[01:04:13] Many other things because like I say, what did he buy? He bought the brand and he bought you and, you know, and valued that huge amount of money. And, you know, he put a lot of emphasis on on getting the brand and getting you. And so it’s something that, you know, my my worry for you is this thing that you said before about you were the kind of guy or you are the kind of guy who makes the decision about a person. And if it’s right, it’s right. And if it’s wrong, it was your decision. And being able to have that freedom to do those things. And I know Dev is a very practical guy. He’s the kind of guy who’s going to leave you alone because, you know, he’s got a lot of pies to other pies to be, you know, taking care of. Yeah, but in this area, yeah, this area of keeping standards going in these multiple sites, the managers will be key. I mean, you’re right about the partners, but the managers will be key to set, you know, like you said, get managers who’ve done a stint at KISS, the main kiss.

[01:05:18] And that’s what we do as well. All the new managers are actually trained up at our core three, and we’ve also got regional operations managers and regional integrations managers, and both of them have worked for us for over ten years. And so for me, they’re going to be first line support for the for the new managers and also first line support for the partners with me. And so as well and I’m not saying we’re going to do everything right and it’s going to be a super learning curve, and I genuinely believe that. And there’ll be some ups and downs, I’m sure, but I think in principle I’ve got my masterplan in my head how I want it to be executed. My team completely understand it. And you know, and with me, they’ve been with me for ten years plus and they want to be with me on this new journey. And I honestly believe we do have the team and infrastructure in the north west to to kind of execute this to a good level to ensure things as a map, standards and map, but more the partners and stuff understand really what what this is about. That’s the most important bit for me.

[01:06:27] I like that. Well, I think we’re coming near to the end of our time. It’s been. It’s been. It’s been less emotional than the last time. Sure.

[01:06:40] No, no, no tears.

[01:06:43] You, buddy, you’ve changed. You’ve become a business like a proper business, dude. You know.

[01:06:48] I don’t think. I think any more about three times.

[01:06:52] Yeah. I did it last time. The count was like 100.

[01:06:58] So, yeah, I know.

[01:06:59] You’ve become a corporate. You’ve become a corporate dude, man.

[01:07:03] Well, I’ve just had media training. Now you say, let’s have media training. I feel like the first time was like David Beckham when he was 17. And now, you know, now he’s like a trained animal when he when he gets in front of a camera, kind of like what I’m like now.

[01:07:21] Did I tell you partying in Manchester without you did feel weird. It did. I mean, you know, I still manage to have a good time, but. But it feels weird, buddy. It felt weird, dude. Not being. No, if I took your job at MSB and I did the lecture. But again, next time you go to.

[01:07:40] I’m still here, brother. I still. I live for those nights. I live for those nights.

[01:07:48] It’s been a pleasure to have you again, but and really good luck with it. And what I hope is we do this one more time in a year’s time, see where we are and the 13 clinics are in place. Yes, the 13 clinics are in place. The partners are in place. And you know what you said about one partner taking on several clinics? Yes, I think that would be the ideal, you know, like maybe five, six partners who’ve got one or two or two or three each, you know, something like that. Close, close knit.

[01:08:17] Yeah. And I think if you educate these guys well and I don’t mean not in a condescending way, I just genuinely believe, like said, dentistry is great and people that do it and do it well, I know love it, but it is hard. It’s hard on the body, it’s hard on the eyes and it’s hard on the brain. And I think if they’ve got an ability to still do what they love, choose the cases and and also have have a business at the end of it, which which will give them a nice a nice earnout. Then you’ve got the best of both worlds in a profession that is still loved by many. And that’s kind of what I want to try and achieve, really.

[01:08:58] Amazing, buddy. Thanks a lot for doing it again, buddy. Cheers, bro.

[01:09:02] All right.

[01:09:03] Guys. Enjoy the rest of your birthday, Arket.

[01:09:05] And our curry time now. Lots free time.

[01:09:09] Hope you have a nice time. All right. Take care.

[01:09:15] 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.

[01:09:31] 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.

[01:09:45] 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.

[01:09:56] And don’t forget our six star rating.


In 2017, Hannah Burrows and Jay Shah set out to solve a problem that takes up hours of dentists’ time and designed a platform to automate clinical note-taking.

Some five years on and Kiroku is going from strength to strength. Jay and Hannah chat to Payman about the challenges of starting out and their vision for Kiroku’s for the future.


In This Episode

01.20 – Kiroku

07.20 – Meeting and incubation

11.56 – Early days and getting feedback

17.07 – Dentistry Vs changing the world

20.42 – Influence and impact

22.42 – Day to day running

25.44 – Motivation

28.36 – The mom test

33.14 – Scale, pricing

40.12 – Future vision

43.17 – Blackbox thinking

47.18 – Weaknesses

53.13 – Mistakes

55.06 – Investors

56.55 – User stories

58.14 – Backstory

01.03.21 – Exit dreams

01.04.56 – Last days and legacy

01.07.43 – Fantasy dinner party

About Hannah Burrow and Jay Shah

Dentist Hannah Burrow and machine learning engineer Jay Shah are founders of Kiroku automated note-keeping platform. 


[00:00:00] We knew an awful lot.

[00:00:02] We didn’t know much at all when we started, but we we just built something that people wanted and thought we did. It took us a while to get there. And then, as I said, once we got our first customer, it’s like a snowball effect and we didn’t realise just by listening to people and watching the media, we learnt so much. Yeah. So the first two years was pretty slow. I think we had a to attempt as soon as Martin came on board. It was a few weeks, I think to the next customer and then it carried on from there. There’s this big snowball effect from that point and.

[00:00:28] And like I think I’ve said this before, but I just I can’t tell you how much our customers have like made a difference in, like, we try and listen to everything our customers are saying, everything our dentists are saying to us, but they are as much responsible for like the direction that the product has gone in, more so than we are, because it’s their feedback and then being generous with their time to tell us what they need from the product, which is what what has led us to this point. So yeah, it’s been a process.

[00:01:02] 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.

[00:01:20] Gives me great pleasure to welcome Hannah Burrow and Jay Shah onto the podcast. Hannah and Jay are co-founders of Karaoke, a platform, a platform that aims to save dentists time by kind of writing their notes for them as it listens to what they say. Sounds crazy and impossible. But I first met Hannah something like three years ago when she was pretty much starting this business. I guess you were one year in, and when she said it to me the first time, I thought, this can’t can’t be real. And now it’s a fully fledged business. So lovely to have you both.

[00:01:58] Lovely to be here. And I’ve got one slight, slight a caveat there, which is we no longer actually focus on the voice technology. We do actually automate record keeping. Everything else was was right. But we do it through kind of different technology these days. So one, one, one change over the years.

[00:02:19] To what you do now.

[00:02:21] So now Kyriacou learns from how you’re entering your notes, what you’re doing over and over again. And then it makes suggested changes to your to your crew who workflows based on that. So it is learning to the individual over time and it allows the dentist into the notes in a really easy kind of clickable way. But it’s also doing all of that learning in the background.

[00:02:44] So what happened with voice? Was it too complicated?

[00:02:47] So it was actually kind of a variety of different reasons. I think the thing that I was always kind of awestruck by was the quality of the technology that Jay built. And I say Jay because I had nothing to do with it early doors. But I think the thing that we actually found really challenging was in a loud clinical environment like dentistry, where you’ve got the chair and aspiration and everything going on. It was so, so difficult to get good quality audio through and therefore actually any, any cool technology you built was was reliant on that. And then that was kind of one area of challenge and then another area was each dentist, even if we’re kind of following a similar flow, still has a unique way of doing things. Might use certain acronyms and a certain structure, so it needed to be a little bit customised to the individual. And so we created the platform that allowed that. And as soon as we did that, our dentist just found that with this kind of really clickable, easy to use workflow, they actually didn’t need the voice anymore. So it became something that our user users led us away from.

[00:03:51] Voice Yeah, we realised there’s a huge element to, I guess control of your notes where with the voice system you didn’t have full control because it was almost like magic in the background. And there’s a huge trust element that if your notes aren’t perfect 100% of the time, then you start to take away the trust and they start reviewing their notes. And that takes even more time than writing them from beginning. And with this new way, it’s completely their input and what they want to have.

[00:04:17] To walk me through it. I’m going to do a Crown Prep. What happens next? I’m going to write my notes at the end. Right. You go. Yeah.

[00:04:25] Well, because everything is kind of clickable and you’ve already got this structure for your note entry. You all actually your nurse can just go through and knows what needs to be filled in. So one or either of you will just go through and click the relevant things. And the example might be, okay, so you’re doing a Crown Prep on an Upper Six, let’s say. So automatically you could make an assumption that you’re going to use a certain type of LA, you’re not going to be doing an ID block, you’re going to be doing an infiltration. So it’s able to then populate that information for you. So rather than you having to type all of this information, make these decisions, it’s just guiding you through that.

[00:05:05] So go on, though, literally. Walk me through it.

[00:05:08] Okay, fine. So you’ve got okay, you’ve got a clickable option for a patient has got no complaints medical history you select no change tooth that we’re treating today X risks that we’ve been through and you can click through as many as irrelevant.

[00:05:23] They’re already there.

[00:05:24] Already that exactly so you don’t have to think because everything is there for you. And then let’s say that you are routinely using a certain material, using a certain lab. It will learn that for you. So we’re doing a restoration on a posterior tooth. You only use Emacs, so then it’s going to input that in for you when you’re doing an immaculate only using X lab. Okay, it’s input that for you. So you’re not having to go through and think all of these things that yes, are very repetitive but still take your brainpower. And so this is just so easy. You click through and notice it would take minutes. Take seconds with Heroku.

[00:05:59] Yeah. And everything’s customisable. So if a dentist prefers one way and another dentist prefers another, they can customise their templates and the system will learn over time to make it more and more personal to them.

[00:06:10] And then how do I input that into my software programme?

[00:06:13] You don’t need to. So we’ve kept it as simple as possible so it runs in Google Chrome. This doesn’t need to be a practise wide decision. You just open Google Chrome, you go to the website and you’re able to do your full notes on Google, and then you’re able to just export it into the text box of whatever Dental software you’re using.

[00:06:30] We’ve got a button on one platform. You click that button and it’ll copy it to your clipboard.

[00:06:35] And you see like a copy and paste.

[00:06:37] Yeah, exactly.

[00:06:37] Exactly.

[00:06:38] Perfect. Actually, quite sort of the simplest thing.

[00:06:41] Yeah, exactly. We’ve kept it simple because funnily enough, it’s just not something that actually causes our dentist’s much of an issue. So we’ve kept things as simple as possible so that the dentists, the autonomy of whether they want to use a new software, whereas if we create creating integrations and things like that, it has to be a practise wide decision and that can be limiting to me.

[00:07:02] Back to what were you doing, Jay, before you met Hannah or where did you guys meet in the first instance?

[00:07:07] So yeah, we met about five years ago now. I was at university, in fact, so I studied computer science. I was here in London and then I went to study Natural Language Processing, which is an arm of artificial intelligence, where they focus on language and how machines understand language. And then after I graduated, I was trying to figure out what to do in my life. I had a few options for carrying on for a PhD or to had a few offers at banks and like bigger firms. And then this programme came along called Entrepreneur First. That’s where I met Hannah actually.

[00:07:38] And yeah, so an accelerated programme just for context is a programme that you can go through where they provide you with individuals who’ve exited large companies before, basically people who’ve done it before, and they can provide mentorship to starting a business, particularly sort of tech technology businesses. And if they believe in you as you go through this programme, they’ll provide investment for you as well. But the most important thing is they actually find 80 other individuals who want to start a company and have got these very interesting backgrounds. So you actually have the opportunity to meet people who you might start a business with. And so yeah, that’s where, that’s where we met. Yeah.

[00:08:18] So I guess I got quite lucky there because I met in the first few weeks, I knew nothing about the industry at that point and Hannah provided me kind of all the realms of dentistry. And how about how dentists hate taking notes? And I think that’s a huge part of it. As a patient, you don’t really see you don’t see all the background work, all the screen facing stuff when you are a patient, but also what happens at lunch time and off the work. And then I was quite lucky that I focussed on a similar problem at university and yeah, we put the two together and we started working.

[00:08:48] So that’s like they call it an incubator. Is that what that is?

[00:08:52] Yes, exactly.

[00:08:54] So then they give you funding as well as know how.

[00:08:57] Yes, exactly. Is that what happened? They don’t. Yes, that is what happened. So they don’t kind of promise to fund everyone. But if they if they believe. Yes, exactly. Then then then they will fund it.

[00:09:10] And so, you know, you went into that with the idea.

[00:09:14] Yes. Actually, no, because I went in with just a knowledge of certain areas of inefficiency within dentistry. And honestly, the thing that I was focussing on when I first applied for the programme was actually quite different. It was a way how could you provide consistent preventative advice to patients when we’re not actually kind of incentivised financially as dentists to do that? That’s what I was thinking about is kind of the area of inefficiency. And actually then I went through the process and I realised two things. Number one, that isn’t that meaty a problem to solve. And then the other thing was actually that wasn’t the biggest problem. And I went and interviewed so many dentists and what, you know, what is the biggest problem? And, and I was so biased to the answer as well because they were saying, oh, it’s note taking. I spend so much of my time doing no taking. I hate it. And I was like, Are you sure it’s not giving positive advice? And they were like, No, no, it’s definitely no, it’s not like, okay. And it took interviewing so many different dentists for it to finally drill into my numb skull. And that is kind of the the as we came to the problem and also by that point as well and you knew Jay’s area of research and so I knew that there was actually a solution to it. So it very much was born out of the kind of environment that I discovered that in as well. And meeting Jay.

[00:10:36] To be honest, even when he told me about the problem, I still didn’t believe it. And we did a survey, I think, to about 200 dentists to ask how much of their time did they actually spend taking. They came up with much higher than I expected, 20% of the day.

[00:10:49] 25%.

[00:10:50] 25% of the day.

[00:10:51] When you were adding it up from there, I.

[00:10:52] Couldn’t believe it. I can believe 25%.

[00:10:55] Yeah. So it was significant.

[00:10:58] The thing is, around the time you guys started, when was that 2018 or something?

[00:11:02] 2017, actually. End of 2017? Yes.

[00:11:05] 20 around that time was when when it became that you had to write essays for your notes.

[00:11:10] Exactly.

[00:11:11] And when I was a dentist, it was literally, you know, two lines and that was that. Yeah, actually, I bet abroad it’s like that too. Which limit the size of your market a little bit.

[00:11:22] Surprised actually it’s it’s.

[00:11:25] Actually in some country more.

[00:11:27] Widespread of an issue and increased like all countries seem to be going in that direction as well that it’s getting increasingly litigious and they have to write more and more detail within their loans.

[00:11:38] Yeah, I get it. So, so then so have you done other languages or is that not yet?

[00:11:43] So actually we’ve had our dentist translate it into different languages themselves. So we’ve got German dentists. We’ve got Danish dentists on the platform, but they’ve actually just gone through the Heroku workflows and they’ve translated it for themselves, which is pretty cool.

[00:11:56] Oh, nice. And so when was it from the moment you two met to the moment you got your first customer? How many how long did that take?

[00:12:05] So. I like customers. My first customer here so we.

[00:12:08] Don’t pay some painful price.

[00:12:10] Yeah. So I guess our first non-paying customers in a couple of weeks and that was for that initial voice product. And then I’d say our first actual customer that was paying us.

[00:12:19] Actually the first I don’t think I should say the name because I don’t know if I’m allowed to, but it’s someone who’s been on this, on this podcast, who was our first paying customer and who was loyally supported us from the get go.

[00:12:31] I think.

[00:12:31] That’s the name.

[00:12:33] I do know. I don’t know if they would be annoyed.

[00:12:35] Go. Can’t say the name and then we’ll edit it out.

[00:12:37] If it’s fine. It’s Martin one day.

[00:12:39] Oh, really? Yeah.

[00:12:41] I’m next, in fact, as well.

[00:12:42] Actually, I’m not completely, completely. Both of them. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind.

[00:12:47] Actually, they did.

[00:12:49] That in 1980.

[00:12:52] Yeah. So because we were spending all that time focussing on voice and because it was so difficult to get that product to a point where people could actually use it effectively. Really? We didn’t start any proper commercialisation until we had the product as it is now. So that was more like 2019. 2020.

[00:13:09] Yeah.

[00:13:10] So so in that period where you have no customers and you’ve got I guess a team of developers, right? It’s not just you is it. I mean it must be low.

[00:13:20] Gravity versus not. Yeah.

[00:13:22] Yeah. Then, you know, did you get the points where you were running out of money and runway and all of that or I mean, is that your side hammer raising money?

[00:13:32] Yes, I suppose it’s both of ours. But yeah, I think we’ve we’ve been through a we’ve raised money a couple of times and actually, no, we’ve never been like dangerously close to running out. We’ve been extremely lucky in that we’ve got people who believe in us as people. And I think that’s ultimately what it comes down to, because when you’re that early in a business, they’re not investing in metrics or anything like that. They just do. These people seem like people who are actually going to do what they say they will. And so the thing that was most challenging, I would say, in that time was without any feedback from customers, you’ve got no you’ve got no understanding of whether you’re spending your time on the right thing. And I think motivating yourself when you’re getting no positive or even negative feedback, that that was the most difficult and challenging time of growth for me when we were putting effort into something and not understanding it was just like shooting in the dark.

[00:14:24] Yeah, I’ve been there. I know how that feels. And you know, there’s things like what they call it, they call it product market fit, right? Where you’ve got this brilliant product and the market just doesn’t want it or the price is wrong or or whatever it is. Did you know from the beginning that it was going to be like the SAS model?

[00:14:46] I wouldn’t say we knew. We knew an awful lot.

[00:14:50] We didn’t know much at all when we started, but we we just felt something that people wanted and thought we did. It took us a while to get there. And then, as I said, once we got our first customer, it’s like a snowball effect and we didn’t realise like just by listening to people and watching the media product, we learn so much. Yeah. So the first two years is pretty slow. I think we had attempt to attempt as soon as Martin came on board. It was a few weeks I think to the next customer and then it carried on from there was this big snowball effect from that point.

[00:15:16] And, and like I think I’ve said this before, but I just, I can’t tell you how much our customers have like made a difference in, like we try and listen to everything our customers are saying, everything our dentists are saying to us, but they are as much responsible for like the direction that the product has gone in, more so than we are, because it’s their feedback and then being generous with their time to tell us what they need from the product, which is what what has led us to this point. So yeah, it’s been a process.

[00:15:45] But they haven’t randomly been contacting you, have they? I mean, it’s part of your process to contact them and get the feedback right?

[00:15:52] Absolutely. I mean.

[00:15:53] I think it’s a bit of both really. So for example, last week we’re at the Media Showcase and so many of our customers just came up to us and some of them were asking us if we can log into their account. So they want to show us specific parts that they they’ve built on our platform. Some just want to give us see about there and then. So yeah, it is a bit of both. Yeah. I think the part that we can control is how we take that feedback and what we do with it.

[00:16:16] And I think also trying to I mean, I always try if I’m speaking to a dentist who you need to scroll you to make it absolutely clear that we want this feedback so that they know that it’s well received if they’re giving it. And I hope that helps.

[00:16:31] You do fine once you only find customers that once you act on their feedback, they’re willing to give more. Because I think they know changes. Change will happen. Yeah.

[00:16:39] Yeah. Very true, man. Very true. I remember once early on, Enlightened, someone said something about our leaflet. I think it was.

[00:16:47] Yeah.

[00:16:47] And I changed it and he came back to me and said, you know, anyone who’s ever listened to my feedback. And he became one of the key guys, actually, Julian Holmes, who unfortunately passed away. One of the key guys who used to give me advice in the. It’s early days. Tell me, Hannah. You know, you could have just been a dentist. Yeah, like, you know, wet fingered dentist. What made you go on this particular tangent so early in your career?

[00:17:20] It’s such a good question, and one I don’t have a very neat answer to because I’m as surprised as anyone that I’m not a full time dentist. I did dental school. I did my love dentistry. Like, no part of me is not doing dentistry because I don’t enjoy it. But I think.

[00:17:39] When you study.

[00:17:40] At.

[00:17:41] Bristol, Bristol.

[00:17:42] Bristol Dental School and then did my feet in central London and did my teeth at Barts. So I’ve been in London for a while now. I think there was a couple of things where I could just see that things were being done in a really inefficient way. And I think, again, to go back to your point of that was the time when the notes became kind of essays. I think I was graduating in a time when that was happening, and we were constantly being given lectures from indemnity companies or from our from our university, saying that basically the message was no amount of detail you’re going to include is enough. You’re going to get sued. So just buckle up and write down.

[00:18:21] It didn’t happen. All of that.

[00:18:23] Yeah, exactly. All of that. And I think that just that just like put me into a work environment that was always more stressful because it just felt like either you were prioritising patient care or you were prioritising looking after yourself from a legal perspective. And I think that kind of frustration or resistance is what led me to think surely there’s a better way of doing certain things.

[00:18:50] And then here but Hannah, I mean, every single dentist is frustrated with some aspect of that. You know, I don’t need to tell you. Oh, wow. Bloody Matrix Band is ridiculous, isn’t it? So ridiculous, right? The fact that that hasn’t been I mean mean we all get frustrated every day. I get frustrated with almost every day. I’m frustrated with this microphone right now. But it takes the type of person to, you know, get up and do something about that. I mean, what was it in your sort of outlook on life that said, I’m I’m going to change the world? You know.

[00:19:28] I definitely I couldn’t possibly say that. I was like, I’m going to go out and change the world. I think what I did think was this feels like there’s something that could be exciting here and something that is going to I’m going to expand myself as a human, even if in six months I’m going back to dentistry. And I also thought and honestly, this is my entire journey with career. I’ve always been like, you know what? I’ll do this for three months. And then when I fail that, I go back to dentistry and it’s all good. And that’s genuinely and then, you know, when I actually met Jane, we had a company, I was like, okay, cool, we’re going to do it for another six months and then we’ll see what happens. And it’s just extended because I genuinely felt if I don’t do something different now, I’m never going to do it because then I’ve got a dental salary and it’s a double edged sword because it’s so well paid. So it’s addictive. Exactly. And if I don’t do this, I’m going to get a mortgage and then I can never make this decision to do it. So I was like, I’m going to do it now. I’m going to see. And I think the thing that actually drove me to do it and this can make me sound quite selfish, was not I’m going to change the world. It was I want to I want to widen my own skills. I want to learn more about myself. And so that was kind of a thing that pushed me towards.

[00:20:42] You had an influence, though. I mean, you must have had an influence on you, whether it was a friend or family or, I don’t know, some famous businessman. You must have been influenced by.

[00:20:52] Something, I think. I don’t come from a family of doctors or dentists. I come from a family of technologists. So my parents are retired programmers. My brother works at Google. My other brother’s an actuary. So I think I was I was like, okay, there’s different things out there. And and I also got all the reasons coming out now, but I also did a year of public health. My role had a mix of public health. And I think that just gave me a view of, okay, this changes that you can make that actually affect hundreds of people rather than an individual, like doing an individual feeling for an individual person. And I think that was also something that was slightly addictive that I was like, Okay, yeah, exactly. What can I do that causes a bigger impact? Perhaps that was an element of it as well.

[00:21:38] Jay, what about you? You could have gone and worked in Google or whatever with your skills. What made you go down the entrepreneurial sort of Start-Up route?

[00:21:46] Yeah, kind of similar to how to be honest. It’s poor people selfish to improve my skills, I would say I always go back and get a job and that was something that entrepreneur first convinced me on. They said, If you really want job, go in six months and get one. You might as well try this out. And I think I’ve always been interested in the entrepreneur part. So I started a few. I was in very small business as well as at university, at school, and then I thought, This is great, this is fine. And I think I would particularly like a project like Out of Hand. I think when I started it was, you know, Yeah, we’re just having fun, let’s see how it goes. And then as we started it, we’re like, okay, this is a bigger and bigger problem than we thought initially. And the skills I was learning, what I was learning was unbelievable rate. And I still am. You know, the day never looks the same for us. Right. And I think as you get comfortable in what you’re doing, something changes and you learn something new. And I think that’s kept me going over the last five years. Like, I feel quite lucky in the fact that I’ve got the job that I’ve always wanted and that sense.

[00:22:42] So I get the basic picture. J You were Chief Technology Officer and you’re CEO. I guess Hannah is right. So, so day to day, what does that mean? Does that mean that you’re taking care of all the IT brains and hands, taking care of the commercials?

[00:22:58] I’d say on paper, probably, but in real life, I think we’re both just founders at the moment.

[00:23:02] Yeah, I’d say it’s like they are kind of titles, but ultimately we’re both just doing you’re doing.

[00:23:08] Everything we’re.

[00:23:09] Doing. That’s exactly it. And we’re doing we’ve kind of managed to find a balance of certain things. It’s like one of our strengths and certain things that might be another. But really we both have a hand in a lot of it right now. I think as we grow as a team, that might change and probably something for us to be aware of. But right now it’s kind of all hands on deck.

[00:23:29] So how many people are you?

[00:23:31] So we’re our full time team is seven. So we’re not we’re not massive. We’re a small team, but we hope to be growing over the next three months.

[00:23:40] Yeah.

[00:23:40] Did you have an outsource team as well?

[00:23:43] No. So all of our developers and everyone’s in-house. What we do have, though, is it kind of part time Dental team. So a lot of in fact, a lot of them are early customers, Heroku, and they just reached out saying they want to be involved. And we’ve got kind of a way of bringing them in where it’s flexible so their full time jobs is being a dentist. But a couple of hours a week they help us in what we’re doing, give us input, feedback and help with some of the customer support and new features that we’re building. We’ve got about, say, about 7 to 10. Yeah.

[00:24:14] And so do you run that sort of classical sort of iterative process of, you know, sprints and all of that?

[00:24:20] Yeah, yeah, we do. So I think one of the things that we’re quite proud of is a lot of the software in dentistry I found is very old school. Yeah, we can do this. We can move fast, like faster. And most of the companies are already out. And the way we do that is we’re a small team. We can talk to each other, we can do like the first 50 customers. I would probably speak to them personally and so would Hannah. And now we try to talk to as many as we can, and we can feed that directly to our team and get something out within weeks.

[00:24:48] And I know this kind of thing is never really finished because you you have to keep on improving it. But how long will it be before you sort of I’m sitting back as the complete wrong word for it, but where you’ve got a version of it that you don’t doesn’t need more and more developing for a while until the metaverse comes along or something.

[00:25:11] Then I think again, it’s just kind of how long is a piece of string because parts of it we’re now not embarrassed of, but most of it we still are. And and so I think it really is it’s just like pushing it’s pushing a rock up a hill, basically. I don’t think I don’t think it’s going to we get to a point where we’re like, it’s ready. But yeah, there’s the core product I think we’re not cringing at anymore.

[00:25:44] And you know, in that in that sort of period where, you know, you said that sort of frustrating period where you’re not. You can assure if you’re asking the right questions and you’re working your butt off and you’re not making money, you’re spending money. What is it that keeps you going? I mean, do you have that sort of mission focussed? I want to make the world a better place now. I mean, you both look like you’re enjoying it. You’ve got kind of smiles on your face. When I was when I was at your place, I was hating my life because I was expecting something different to what I got. I mean, maybe in that entrepreneur’s first thing, they train you to understand what the process is. But I don’t have any of that right. I was just like working my butt off and losing money, and I hated it. We never raised any money. Of course, it’s a bit different. What keeps you going? Do you have that sort of purpose led sort of idea?

[00:26:40] I think for me it’s kind of two things. There’s the big mission of what we’re trying to do as a company and yeah, leader from the beginning. And that’s to obviously I’m not a dentist, but I am a patient and I’ve seen the impact that our system has on patients. And, you know, I’m quite proud of this year is that we’ve been seen by a million patients. So a million appointments have been done through. And I think that’s for me, that’s great because I’ve obviously received the care from a dentist or a doctor and you can tell the difference when somebody is giving you attention and focussing on you, your of, you know, what’s actually wrong with you compared to somebody who’s on the screen. That’s the second part. It’s much more than just a team I’m around because they definitely had a the rest of the team is is fantastic. I’m surrounded by people that inspire me every day. So it keeps you going quite easily.

[00:27:26] Conan I would say kind of like very similar, I think. I believed in what we were trying to do because I could feel myself that it was a problem that needed to be solved and also team and being around people that you like to work with. I think also for me and to my detriment as a person, sometimes I actually don’t know when to quit and sometimes I will do things when it’s actually too much pressure on me. But I just I don’t see quitting as an option. And I think that really sustained because I do genuinely think during that time when you’re not getting that feedback and you are kind of spending money and the the way that that felt to me as an individual then was not frustration, it was actually just self doubt. And it was it was I’m not good enough for this and I’m not spending my time on the right things and I’m being too lazy or whatever it was. And so they were the voices that I was finding quite difficult to, to contend with during that time. And then I think as soon as you then get that feedback awake, someone’s actually appreciating what you’re doing. That is the thing that kind of passed me through that.

[00:28:36] It’s very true because, you know, I bet they talked about this in the incubator because in the end, you know, you can bring in an expert. You can you can change as the early founder, you really can pivot. Right? I mean, pivot is a big thing. I guess you guys did pivot right from the voice to the voice. And I find sometimes what you said before about, you know, your preconceptions of what things should be like compared to what they’re actually like. And being stuck to those preconceptions can cause a lot of delay. A lot of delay. At the same time, what do you think about that sort of Steve Jobs idea of you can’t ask people what they want?

[00:29:19] I think only Steve Jobs can do that. To be honest. I thought about asking people what they want you to build. It’s asking what the problems are. Yeah. And then need the solutions to get to you. Yeah, I think it’s a thing of constantly testing your solutions as well. I think it’s a book that we try to live by which is this sort of yeah, it’s an idea is obviously iterative development. Don’t build something that takes you months and release it. Yeah. In stages where you validate validate what you’re doing the quickest way possible.

[00:29:53] I also have another book recommendation actually, which every dentist who’s ever kind of reached out to me, I think I’ve sent it to every single one of them, but it’s called the the mom test. And it’s kind of in complete agreement with that, that Steve Jobs quote, which is if you ask people if they like your business idea, they’re inherently nice and they’re going to say, yes, that’s a great idea. You should definitely pick you should definitely build a tinder for dogs or whatever it is. And instead what you should say is, okay, does your dog have an issue meeting other dogs? You don’t even say that. You really need to just go super broad and say, okay, what are your dog’s main issues in life? And you just go very, very broad and allow them to lead you to the problem. And again, like and yeah, I highly recommend that if there’s anyone who listens, who wants to explore a business idea.

[00:30:42] What was it called?

[00:30:43] It’s called the mom test.

[00:30:45] The mom.

[00:30:46] Of my.

[00:30:46] Mom. Which is why I said just. Yeah.

[00:30:50] Yeah. I mean, I think I listened to someone who was it? Some, some venture capitalist on some podcast. I was saying. He was saying, yeah, if you ask people about your idea and everyone sees it and everyone gets it, then it’s a really bad idea because there’ll be loads of competitors. Yeah. And if it’s such an obvious problem, there will be loads of competitors. He was saying if you ask people and no one gets it, that’s also a bad idea. Yeah, that’s going to be very difficult to convince that you were and he was saying this is in between where some intelligent guy might get it or some some thinking out of the box person might get it. But he was saying as a general, when everyone thinks it’s a good idea, it’s just too much competition. Yeah, if you had any competition.

[00:31:40] So yeah, we actually have. So more recently we’ve got other companies that are trying to do kind of similar stuff to what we’re doing. And yeah, I suppose it’s just something that we just need to keep our head down and we need to keep listening to our customers and make sure we’re building something for them that is actually genuinely solving their problem. Because that’s the thing that is going to best protect us from any competition.

[00:32:03] Is that IP in this environment or is that.

[00:32:07] Ip is actually quite a difficult one because I think a lot of a lot of people will quite often say, you know, do you have a pattern and things like that? But actually patent on software is very difficult to enforce.

[00:32:20] Building something is very flexible in the way you can do it.

[00:32:23] Yeah.

[00:32:23] And there’s a million different ways you can code something and do something.

[00:32:26] Exactly, because if you’re applying for a patent, you have to say, this is what we’re doing. And then as soon as you’ve made that process public. You know, just a different way to skin a cat. Someone else can just do things in a slightly different way. So I think the thing that can best protect us is actually just having a product that is genuinely solving our customer’s problems and always striving to do better. As I said, I think that’s like the best equivalent of a patent we’ll ever have.

[00:32:49] Yeah, I agree. I agree. It’s strange with competitors, though, because, you know, sometimes there’s a there’s a place that a part of the market that you’re calling your own and a competitor will jump into that. And then then it’s like your communication strategy has to change. Also, you know, tell me this. How many users do we have now?

[00:33:12] So we’re in the thousands now.

[00:33:14] Oh, wow. Really? Wow. That’s quick. So. So how did you manage to sort of distribute it? I mean, what’s the mechanism?

[00:33:24] So I think over I think we really took off over the lockdown period. So we we set up the first commercial kind of launch was, I think October ish. But we were really slow at the beginning. And then in March, we just started to release kind of a payment model. And then about two weeks later, the pandemic hit. And we were just like, well, it’s unfair. Nobody, nobody’s working, so they shouldn’t pay. So we just made it free for everybody during the pandemic time. And I think.

[00:33:49] That’s a great move.

[00:33:51] Well, it was like we genuinely didn’t do it as a move. We genuinely did it because it’s what felt right. Yeah. And I think actually probably we only did it a week or two earlier than other companies, but the response from our customers was so positive that they felt really moved that we had kind of proactively made that decision. And I think that really bought a lot of goodwill with our customers.

[00:34:14] What was interesting, we thought, great, the pandemic’s hit. We’re going to be out of business, like just can’t use our products. We’re not going to get any customers, we’re not going to get the traction we need. And weirdly, it was the exact opposite where our product needed a bit of time investing. So like we tell anybody when they sign up, you need to spend about half an hour and you can do this at home, just learning the system, making it perfect for the way you do this, and suddenly you don’t have a lot of time on their hands. They were at home, they weren’t doing much. And so so we had a huge uptick in sign ups over that period where people were really trying out. I think it was around June, right. When people start to get back into work. Yeah. And our numbers just shot up reading thousands of women’s every day after that.

[00:34:52] Yeah, but how were you. I’ve seen you’ve done some paid ads on social. It was that the main way.

[00:34:59] So, so that is a channel we use but I think our strongest channel is actually just word of mouth, our dentist talking to their friends and colleagues about how they find it. And really that is that is the strongest thing that we have in our favour. And I mean, we’re already as I said, you know, other people have translated translated it into their own languages. We’re not just in the UK as well. And again, that’s happened purely through word of mouth of dentist telling each other and it kind of spreading internationally in a small way still. But but from that point, yeah.

[00:35:32] Hmm. That’s lovely, man. That’s that’s quick growth. That’s quite good, considering you said the final sort of your first customer came about two years ago.

[00:35:42] Yeah.

[00:35:43] Yeah, yeah.

[00:35:44] That’s quick growth, man. Let’s go a long way. Continue. How do you charge for it? So how much is it?

[00:35:50] So it’s for basic, which is the kind of product that we’ve talked about. It’s $24.95 per dentist per month. We charge per individual clinician and then we also have a pro tier. And largely, I suppose the most notable thing within that is the ability to automate your follow up letters. So particularly for our specialists who do lots of referral letters back to referring clinicians and to the patient that is entirely automated from their career notes as well. So that product is 69, 95 per clinician per month.

[00:36:26] Well, that’s a big job.

[00:36:28] It’s a big job, but it’s a lot more work that has to go in from our team. And it’s also an order of magnitude more time that we’re saving those users.

[00:36:37] Although, I mean, obviously you’ve done your research or you’ve got your your position on this, but for me, the £25 products too cheap.

[00:36:45] In terms of the amount of time we’re saving them. And what that equates to is I think I think I’ve worked out quite recently and it’s 100 X return on investment for our customers. So you could argue that in terms of the value that they’re getting and what they can do with that time, it is.

[00:37:02] But is there something in SAS that says that’s the magic number?

[00:37:06] No, not at all. And actually, I wish that there was something magical, in fact, that told you that. But it’s absolutely just figuring it out on the go. And us, we shouldn’t ever see pricing as something that is fixed. We should see that as something that we’re testing out and changing as well.

[00:37:20] But for me, if I was forward thinking enough, if I was a dentist, number one, if I was forward thinking enough to be the dentist who was going to try something like this in order to save me time, and then it’s saving me loads of time. I just think I should charge more. Let’s just say so.

[00:37:40] Dentists about half an hour per day. And so you can work out what that equates to. It’s a significant amount. If they wanted to fill that time with more patients, it’s extremely significant financially.

[00:37:54] It’s very impressive. So so to 70, the bigger what would you call that product to the pro? It follows up on referral letters.

[00:38:06] So if a specialist is filling in, let’s say a correctly workflow is about them doing a period console, let’s say.

[00:38:18] They’ve seen a patient, they want to go back to the referring.

[00:38:21] Exactly. They filled in their set of notes. And then actually what what these dentist are having to do is then spend 15 to 40 minutes after the appointment writing up the letter specific to that patient with karaoke. That is a click of a button. So they’ve done their notes. All of the relevant information is populated. Populated.

[00:38:41] This was, I guess, a by-product of of main product. So we what we actually do is we structure notes. So that really hasn’t been done before. So we structure the way somebody should write notes. We know what sections they’re in and how, how somebody writes it time and time again. And what that’s allowed us to do is a one click translation into a letter, and that’s really translated into humanised English that can be sent to the patient or to the referring dentist.

[00:39:05] And again, you might not want the language that’s in your medical record to be what goes out to the patient, you might say Upright six, but that doesn’t mean anything to a patient. So the thing that you want to go at in your letter is the upper right first molar tooth, and that’s fine because you can do that translation because it has that intelligence built in.

[00:39:22] Is it is it limited to notes and medicolegal or is there some sort of marketing application?

[00:39:30] I mean, right now, in terms of our areas of focus, probably for for the near term, we really are focussing on the no element and the and the actions that we can take based on that. So if you are sending follow up material consent information to patients and things like that, how can you very, very simply export that? So you’re not wasting your time on that. So we’re focussing on what actions can be taken from the conversation you’re having with your patient.

[00:39:57] So I guess the whole business is around taking away those repeated things that you do every single day. So your brain is focussed on that 10% of the day where you actually spend it on a unique case or, you know, a unique part of your notes even. Yeah.

[00:40:12] It’s what you see occurring.

[00:40:14] I mean, number one, I clearly don’t like to look too far ahead, just like to to keep doing what we’re doing. I think we’re increasingly believing and getting more and more belief that this is a business that can grow. And we want to provide it to as many dentists as we possibly can, both in the UK, but also internationally. And I think also an element that really excites us is eventually the technology that we’ve built doesn’t have to be limited to dentistry, it can be applied to other areas of healthcare, it can be applied to other professions where they might waste their time writing notes as well. So that’s how long term we see this business developing.

[00:40:58] Is that your pitch at the next funding round?

[00:41:03] Did if it sound like it turned into a robot to this.

[00:41:07] That.

[00:41:11] My eyes glazed over.

[00:41:14] Yeah. That’s quite early on that I seen as like it’s for me, the whole dental work is very new. But since we started releasing as dentists, we have a lot of GP’s coming up to us. Yeah. Yeah. We spent even longer than dentists writing notes. Why aren’t you building this for us? And the process is one step at a time.

[00:41:30] It’s one step at a time. And it’s making sure we don’t try and do too many things too soon and not actually focus on our customers. But yeah, long term that’s that’s what we see.

[00:41:40] I mean, yeah, if you could, if you could solve the GP thing, but I don’t know your experience with GP, but when I’ve been to the GP they’re not even looking at you at all.

[00:41:51] Exactly.

[00:41:52] They sort of kind of quick glance up. Quick question. And then and it’s mad because because you think like is he originally listening to the he’s you know, because we kind of know something about it, right? He’s kind of busy covering himself.

[00:42:14] So true. And I think something that genuinely, like moves me emotionally is with the thing of being a dentist or a doctor. If you could actually just focus on the the fantastic, the empathetic part of that conversation, actually providing care, actually listening to your patients and allow the repetitive things to be done by computers, then that is that for me is a human’s time when well spent, whereas us doing repetitive things, doing it over and over again, that is actually where a computer is so much better than us. So why not delegate that away?

[00:42:50] Yeah, I think what we found from correct a lot of customer sources that the end of the day they just had a bit more energy. I think the more we look into that is because of decision fatigue. They’re tired of making that same decision every single time and it does take that away from you.

[00:43:07] Yeah. With those sort of things you don’t, you don’t realise how stressed you are about them until they are taken away sometimes. Yeah. You know that. That’s very true. Let’s, let’s move on to the darker sort of side of all this we’ve got. I don’t know, if you listen to this podcast, we tend to move to the dark side around 40 minutes. What’s been your worst day at karaoke, each of you?

[00:43:33] What a good question.

[00:43:34] Then I think one day comes to mind. This was like two years ago or something where? We were fundraising. So like I said at the time, we would get for money, but we were excited by the idea of what we could be doing next and I think we had about three. So with fundraising, this is the first time we were raising money. You expect 90% rejections, so and all for different reasons. But we didn’t know that at the time. Right. So we were crashing. So I hadn’t I had about, I think three emails in a row on a monday morning and it just like, yeah, we’re not investing, we’re not investing, we’re not investing. And in that moment where we looked at each other and I think we wanted to kind of shelter the team from that side of things. So that was that’s the one that comes to mind straight away. We were just like, Let’s go for a walk and stretch ourselves up.

[00:44:22] Let’s go for a walk and have a cry.

[00:44:24] How many how many meetings did you go to? How many how many pitches did you do?

[00:44:28] Oh, God, I couldn’t count. Like, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was like 100 like.

[00:44:33] 190 said no.

[00:44:35] Genuinely, that is. That is that’s what you need to expect. But it doesn’t. You gradually get thicker and thicker skin like the longer you’ve done this. But it really is like for me, I’ve always found fundraising difficult on an emotional level because I find it quite wearing.

[00:44:50] And it’s tough. Like you’re, you’re getting rejection off and it’s for completely different reasons. Some, you know, some just might not believe in your vision or some might not believe in you or your team or and I guess another thing is back to what I said, I’m getting feedback. It’s really hard to get true feedback and that’s the most part, the hardest reason you don’t really know what the reason of the rejection is.

[00:45:10] How do you even set up these meetings? How does that.

[00:45:13] Work? Luckily, we’ve got really good network through through the incubator that we went through. So they have like created these they’ve made these introductions to begin with. And now you kind of you’ve got that network and you can reach out to those investors. But you also then because we’ve now got other investors that are invested in Kroger, they really are extremely powerful in terms of making more introductions, meeting new investors, and it really is just kind of back to back meetings, talking through your business, talking through, answering any questions they have. Quite often it won’t even be that they don’t believe in your business. It might just be that they aren’t the right investor to feel like they’ve got the knowledge to support you. But all the same, you do feel it. I think actually my day would be quite different of my my most difficult day of Kroger and it would come down to team. And when we had an employee who handed in their resignation, which happens, you know.

[00:46:09] It just wasn’t a good day.

[00:46:10] Though. It’s just part of part of the process. But when there’s someone that you really, really respect and they’re not continuing to work with you, even if it’s because they’re going to start their own business or they want to be exposed to a different type of technology or whatever it is, that.

[00:46:26] Sort of thing.

[00:46:27] Exactly like that for me felt like a huge failure of leadership or communicating vision or being effective at listening to not even sorry, not customer employees. So that was for me a really that was kind of a tough time.

[00:46:46] I definitely agree with that. I remember that day.

[00:46:49] That’s only happened once.

[00:46:51] So it’s not that we’ve only had one one resignation ever. We’ve had more than that. But quite often, you know, they’re coming. But it wasn’t even the first one, actually, it was just a particularly difficult one where we didn’t see it coming, whereas a lot of our resignations, we’ve known from early doors that they’re considering starting their own business or, you know, it’s been a conversation and I think it being unawares felt like a huge failure because it’s, you know, that is you should have been able to pick that up sooner.

[00:47:18] What would you say is your biggest weakness, Hannah? To the classic interview question.

[00:47:24] I think my biggest weakness and I’m giving you a really classic answer because I’m going to give a really I think I’m not going to say that because that’s just not true. But I think my biggest weakness is probably also a big strength of mine and is that ability not to not quit, not to give up, because I think sometimes that’s allowed me to have real grit. But I think sometimes I have put myself in situations where it’s not returning what it should anymore. And I haven’t called it because I just didn’t even consider I should quit. That would be a failure.

[00:48:00] Yeah, I’m the same. I’m the same. And you find a lot of times your biggest weakness is your biggest strength. Yeah, but I’ll give you example of that moment when you just would not quit.

[00:48:12] I think for me, actually, this is going to sound really like but like not a big deal. But I think it was just when I was I was working in a practise on Saturdays as well as doing Kokrokoo and to say it was 9 to 5 as is not the truth. So like doing a very kind of intense job and doing every Saturday and did it for two and a half years. And I think I just got to a point where I actually just wasn’t going out and seeing my friends. I wasn’t going out for dinners because I was just always so, so tired. And I eventually got to a point which was like, Why am I doing this? It just I hadn’t even considered that I shouldn’t be doing that anymore. And even if it was just kind of changing when I was doing it, you know, it’s not even that I’m not doing any clinical work these days, but I think that for me was me just doing the same thing over and over again and not considering that I could I could change it.

[00:49:00] What about you, J.

[00:49:02] You know what? As you ask that question, I thought I’ve asked this so many times to people. I never thought to ask myself.

[00:49:09] What your answer.

[00:49:10] Is. I’d say maybe sometimes paying too much attention to detail rather than just stepping back and. I think that’s know, I’d want to if I see a process, I want to know every single thing about it. I want to know how it works, what’s going on. But I don’t have time to do everything. And as much as I’d love to try and figure out every line of code and everything within view. I think part of it is actually just stepping back and realising that other people can do a great job better than me at that and letting go of certain things.

[00:49:40] Yeah. And you know, that sort of perfection paralysis thing and delegation paralysis will slow you down. Big time. Big time.

[00:49:49] Exactly. And I’ve learnt that a lot I think recently where there are times where I’ve done the opposite, where I’ve actually just left something and I’m like, Wait, no, we can run. Like it’s actually running a lot better than what I would have done. Yes, it’s kind of just.

[00:50:04] What I found. What I found is at the beginning, you’re doing everything. And then what happens is as you start to delegate it, someone does one little thing not quite as well as you would have done that thing. And that makes you go berserk and you forget the fact that they’re doing all of this other stuff. I tell you, though, it’s funny, because if it comes down to trust in a way, doesn’t it? Yeah, absolutely. And there’s no way you’ll grow if you don’t trust, right? There’s no way at all.

[00:50:34] Exactly. I think I’ve learnt that where we the biggest thing we can do is have the right people. I think the biggest impact we can have on Heroku and what we do is just hire the right people. I think we’ve made really good decisions at the moment with our team.

[00:50:46] I think we have and I think there is more that we can do there because I think quite often I allow myself to be overly busy when actually if the thing I’m doing is making myself more scalable, making myself slightly redundant, that’s actually a good thing for the business. But quite often it leaves you feeling slightly redundant. And I think a lesson that I could develop and I think I would be in a better place if I learnt this quicker, is actually I’m okay not to be really busy all the time. I just need to find the right people who can do this better than we can.

[00:51:17] Yeah, you know, you should take. I’ve learnt something recently and you know, don’t, don’t let it take 20 years for you to learn this. This message is that in a way if, if you’re doing anything, then you’re doing something wrong. In a way I’m not saying don’t do anything, but if you have to do any little thing, then why? Why is it that you’re doing that thing? Why isn’t someone else doing that thing? You know, and it’s an interesting idea because it sounds ridiculous, but but when you actually examine examine it, you know that you want they want to sell this thing, right? Yeah. And and you really want nothing to do with the day to day of it at all. At all. You just want to be leading the sort of the zoomed out plan. And the zoomed out plan means not doing anything at all. Yeah. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m doing I’m doing things. Don’t, don’t get me wrong. But the thought process, it’s quite empowering.

[00:52:20] If we if we aim for that, if we aim for doing nothing, that’s probably doing nothing but not being required for like decisions. I think that’s probably the right thing to aim for.

[00:52:32] And I think it’s really timely advice, to be honest, because now our team is growing and we’re at the stage now where we do have to take a little step back and bring in other people that can actually do this day to day things.

[00:52:42] But there is one big problem with it in that, you know, it sounds all well and good. Hire a guy to do that job, but that guy needs managing and then whoever’s managing, that guy needs managing. And in the end, that comes back to you again. And it’s sort of the difference between finding outsource people and having people in-house. Yeah, because there’s there’s benefits to both. But one of the biggest benefits of outsource people is that you don’t have to hire and fire in the usual way. Yeah, it’s a difficult one. What would you say should be been your biggest mistakes?

[00:53:18] Wolf. So many to pick from.

[00:53:25] To think of this one.

[00:53:30] It’s a bit early because you haven’t had time for, you know, to reflect, really.

[00:53:35] I mean, I try I try and reflect frequently, actually. Clearly, I’m not doing it well enough.

[00:53:41] What comes to mind, actually, is I think almost every company hears this at some point, which is start charging earlier, because I think the moment it came hand to hand, when we had our first customer feedback and charging, people automatically assume you give value to what you’re doing. And if someone’s for free, they’re not valuing it right. They’re not running it, but they’re starting to get feedback. And I think as soon as we started charging for our product, we got feedback instantly and then it kind of spun off from there. So that’s one that comes to mind right now. Whether you call that mistake or not, I don’t know, because I think it worked out.

[00:54:18] I mean, the voice thing was a mistake.

[00:54:20] Again, I find it hard to call it a mistake because I don’t think we would be here if it wasn’t for the voice. We stumbled upon the new product because as a consequence of the voice, it sells other ways to get here. Yeah, definitely.

[00:54:31] I think, again, it’s not like one clear mistake. I wish we’d got to that conclusion quicker because I think we would be know 6 to 12 months ahead of where we are now if we if learn those lessons sooner. But equally. You know, with first time founders, we didn’t. We’re learning this as we go. And I don’t really know what we could have done to have done that much faster. But but to me, if there’s one thing I wish we’d been able to do, it was drive for customer feedback far earlier however that was and realise that that was the problem.

[00:55:06] Without, you know, antagonising investors. What kind of role do they play as far as the day to day? Do they take a position on the board and advise and interfere?

[00:55:19] And I actually we have we are so lucky with our investors and actually genuinely, I would never use the word interfere. I would only use the word support. Yes, they might have a board seat or a board observer. See. So we will have quarterly meetings with them where we present what we’ve been up to. But largely they are there when we need when we need them and they in different ways. We’ve kind of got two main investors in different ways. They get very, very different types of information and support and feedback. And I couldn’t be happier. The people that we have as partners to build Heroku, they they are both supportive and wise and holistic in their in their advice.

[00:56:08] Well that’s that’s nice to hear because you do hear some horror stories.

[00:56:11] Yeah, you do. I think I think that because of the horror stories we were so careful in, I guess who we picked. Quite lucky, to be honest, in a way as well.

[00:56:18] I think luck.

[00:56:20] Is a huge amount of luck.

[00:56:22] But then every time, every time you raise more, you’re going to have a new person to deal with. Is that how it works?

[00:56:27] Exactly. And the unfortunate thing is, again, it’s like suppose it’s like hiring someone. You don’t really know what it’s going to be like. Work alongside them until you’re actually doing it. Except with an employee, if it’s not right, you can kind of do something about it. With an investor.

[00:56:41] You can’t really.

[00:56:41] There’s nothing you can do about it. So you have to pick right and try and try and maintain a kind of filter from your side. Even if you do, you do want the investment you need to make sure they’re the right investor.

[00:56:55] Tell me a couple of stories that your customers have told you. About using. You know, something something that’s changed the way they work.

[00:57:07] I think that it’s like one of the things that is just repeatedly said is like, I’m home. Like this is completely changed. I used to have keys for the practise and be the last person.

[00:57:20] Oh, just writing up all the crap.

[00:57:22] Exactly. And now I am the last person to enter in the morning. I’m the first person to leave in the evening. And I’m able to actually have dinner with my family and I’m able to pay attention when patients are talking to me. So it’s again, it’s so varied because different people use that time different ways. A lot of people actually just want to get home on time. A lot of people wanting more patients. A lot of people want to actually just pay attention to their patient.

[00:57:48] But I think for me, the idea of an idea of somebody getting home has been mentioned time and time again that before they would you know, I spoke to a dentist, in fact, last week that I built a little four day work every day at five in the morning to write letters, but with curfew. Well, now they get to sleep. So it was interesting, home and time, but nice stories were good to hear.

[00:58:14] Generally, we asked this question at the beginning of the podcast, but with you guys it just felt like the wrong time. Tell me about where you grew up, what kind of kid you were.

[00:58:25] I grew up in the countryside outside of Manchester. As you can tell from my accent.

[00:58:33] And the south or the north.

[00:58:36] South Manchester kind of peak district, the area so very, very kind of rural. But I went to school in central Manchester. And what type of child does I am the youngest of three siblings. I have two older brothers. And so I very much embodied the little sister character. I don’t know what else to say. Really gone. Very lucky. Lucky with my parents and lucky with the support I’ve always had from my parents.

[00:59:03] And your parents were it people you said?

[00:59:06] I think people. Yeah, both. Both programmers.

[00:59:10] But were they entrepreneurs as well?

[00:59:12] And no, they both work worked within kind of bigger corporations. My mum gave up working when she had us and so I know that she always missed her work because she was doing so well and I think it just came at a time when she was having kids. So I know that for her she’s kind of always instilled in me that find something that you love doing and don’t stop doing it because you have to have family or don’t do it unless you want to. I think she wanted to give up work.

[00:59:42] That’s fine. You hurried. Get this thing sold, kid. Where did you grow up?

[00:59:56] So mine. I was. I’ve been born and growing up in London. Yeah. For example, the accent kind of is very standard today. There’s not a huge amount. It like great parents. I was. I was in a state school. So, you know, for a variety of people, we had three, 350 people in our year. And there’s a variety of people from people that became athletes to entrepreneurs to a bunch of other stuff.

[01:00:23] Where did you study, Jay?

[01:00:25] So I was at University College London for my undergrad, and then I went to University of Cambridge for my first read.

[01:00:31] The what the I stuff.

[01:00:33] Yeah. Yeah.

[01:00:34] What was it like being in Cambridge with those brains?

[01:00:37] To find out. Just, I guess going from a state school. I thought I never wanted to go to Cambridge because I thought I just wouldn’t fit in. So I thought I’d literally go have no friends. Everybody would be very posh and I wouldn’t be able to click with anybody. And it was exact opposite. It was just a group of really smart people that love what they do. And I think as you get to post-grad you realise that a lot of people have chosen to do something in underground. Often you do find a lot of people that are in the, you know, studying for the sake of study, studying for the sake of somebody told them to. And it’s a good way to do things. I think when you go to post-grad, people will love what they do. And I find that really fascinating.

[01:01:12] Because you’re 18, aren’t you, when you go to university, I mean, it’s a child. What made you decide to be a dentist when with all these technologists around you?

[01:01:23] I liked sciences. I thought I wanted to be a doctor, probably because I’d grown up watching Scrubs. I did my work experience in a hospital and realised, Wait, this isn’t like Scrubs. And actually being on a geriatric ward is really, really sad. And so my school organised work experience in a dental practise and I remember my mum being like, I don’t know why you’re doing that, you’re not going to enjoy that. And I loved it. I mean, I was in work experience with the dad of someone who I went to school with and he was just a really, really nice, relaxed guy. And I think I just kind of liked his attitude and I just really liked that. It was like craft on a tiny, tiny scale. And there’s, yeah, there’s so much pride to be taken in doing that well. And I think I just thought that would be a good fit. Yeah. And like I said, I never regretted studying dentistry. I really, really enjoyed it. Just sad not to be doing construction on a tiny scale more these days.

[01:02:22] And Bristol, such a fun, fun city to be studying and it’s such a fantastic city. I was in Cardiff, but I love Bristol. I really.

[01:02:32] I.

[01:02:32] Love I.

[01:02:33] Love Bristol as well. I’m just waiting for the day where I can move back to Bristol.

[01:02:37] Really.

[01:02:39] It was honestly, it’s just it was so fun. It was really a good mixture of like good music. Yeah.

[01:02:47] Just great art scene.

[01:02:50] Exactly. There’s just a really nice mixture of culture and and it being a beautiful city in its own right.

[01:02:56] Absolutely.

[01:02:58] Yeah. I really, really enjoyed Bristol.

[01:03:00] Is your office London based now?

[01:03:02] Yes, we’re based in Moorgate.

[01:03:05] Oh, really? In that little hub of technology.

[01:03:09] Yes. Yeah, yeah.

[01:03:10] Well, they call it silicon something.

[01:03:12] Yes, Silicon Roundabout people roundabouts.

[01:03:16] It is kind of spread out now, isn’t it?

[01:03:21] In Cambridge, they call it silicon fen that bit. One last question before our final questions, which are always the same on this podcast, if this imagine, I don’t know, some company Microsoft came along and give you a billion. To walk away. Yeah. What would you do next? It’s hard. It’s hard question to answer.

[01:03:47] Is this what what would you do when they offered you or what.

[01:03:49] Would you do once they sold it? You walked away. You walked away. We can deal with yourself and and you listen. Everyone says the same thing to this. Yeah. They say charity holiday. Yeah. So outside of charity and holiday day to day.

[01:04:06] I think because I don’t think I would do charity, I don’t think I’d do like loads of holiday. I think the thing that excites me and I think maybe because I went from doing clinical dentistry to doing quite a different career, the thing that would excite me is like, What’s next? I’m only going to live once. Why not jump back several careers into one lifetime? And like, what else could I learn and start from scratch again? I genuinely think I’d kind of want to.

[01:04:30] I’ll just I’ll probably start your business and whatever I say, I would drag her into as well.

[01:04:35] So yeah, I don’t know. It’s so exciting that like you could, you could do a whole different thing. I definitely wouldn’t just.

[01:04:44] Take your money behind you so you can kind of do what you want with it as.

[01:04:47] Well. You wouldn’t take holiday. I like that. I like that very much. Let’s just end it with the same question. We always end up with the same question. It is it’s difficult with people as young as you too, but you’re on your deathbed. Yeah. You’ve got your friends and family around you. Three pieces of advice you’d leave for them.

[01:05:12] I’ll let you go first.

[01:05:14] Those are the ones. The ones that I thought of is this one. I really do try to live by it, which is just enjoy the journey. I think you never know what’s going to happen, especially both in business and in life, really. Just enjoy every day and what you’re doing and find a way to make yourself happy with it. Second one is follow your instincts and trust your gut. I think whenever I’ve done that, it’s always worked out somehow. So keep doing that. And then the last one is just live life to its fullest. Try and avoid being lazy and just realise like, you know, again, life’s short. Try and make the most of it.

[01:05:45] Lovely, lovely bits of advice on your death.

[01:05:48] What about you?

[01:05:50] I would say one is very important to me, as is stay silly like I do. I don’t want to grow old. My my grandmother. You actually like in the last couple of years passed away was like the most mischievous soul I know. And she was 80. She was 92, and she was just so silly. And so I would always remain silly and laugh at ridiculous things. That would be one. The other one would be, again, this is so like so generic that it’s almost pointless would be just be kind because you have to leave the world in a better state than you arrived in. And for me, that’s just how you treat the people around you. And if you just strive to constantly be kind in every interaction you have, if feel like you’re doing, you’re doing the right thing, you’re moving in the right direction. And the final one, I’m not sure. I think you’re going to have to think this one on the spot. I think this is this is rather than yeah, I suppose it is advice, but this is more just kind of me saying something that I’ve taken huge value from, which is immerse yourself in other people’s stories. And by that I mean I personally am an avid reader of novels, and the reason I do that is because I love getting perspective on other people’s lives and situations. I wouldn’t I haven’t been through myself. And so whether you choose to do that in the form of reading or watching films or listening to stuff, I think constantly prioritising, getting other people’s perspectives will widen your world and widen your your reaction to things as well, how you perceive the world.

[01:07:34] And of that walk in other people’s shoes, sort of.

[01:07:37] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, probably. That will help you with the kindness one as well.

[01:07:43] But I like that. The fact you know, this question, it’s not my question, perhaps question. It tends to give many of the same answers. But those three or kindness comes up a lot but Cillian shoes that they’re good ones they my final question is it’s to do with a fancy dinner party. Yeah three guests that are.

[01:08:07] Like I’m going to hand it over to you first.

[01:08:09] This is a question I always ask and always avoid giving my answer.

[01:08:14] I think. When do you ask this question?

[01:08:17] I think when things get a bit silent, the three to I said one is Sundar Pichai, who’s the CEO of Google. I think his story is just amazing that he grew up from nothing and now.

[01:08:31] He’s the current CEO, isn’t it?

[01:08:33] Yeah. Yeah. And the next one just has to be Steve Jobs. Yeah, I just I’m obsessed with Steve Jobs a bit too much. But, yeah, I had to pick up on this. And the last. I’m a massive Arsenal football fan, so it has to be Thierry Henry. I’m yet to meet him. It’s a one day.

[01:08:54] It’s an interesting dinner party going on.

[01:08:58] And I’ve actually only got two answers to this. I did actually try and wrack my brain, but two, two came to mind very easily. So I’ll actually just answer answer those. The first one is my grandma from my dad’s side, because I was so young when she passed away that I actually never got to interact with her. My dad speaks so highly of her. I think that would be so lovely to actually understand more about her life and therefore probably understand more about my dad and therefore probably understand more about myself. So that would be one. And the other one that instantly came to my mind is Anne Boleyn. I don’t know why I love the Tudors, but also I’d want to. Anne Boleyn for me, as someone who’s the way that she is told in history, is with a very, very sexist perspective and angle. So I would love to meet.

[01:09:49] The first wife.

[01:09:50] Second wife. She beheaded, beheaded yet, but clearly caused massive change to to England and history. But I feel like I’d want to understand what she was like as a person because she sounds like she might have been quite a powerful, impressive person.

[01:10:10] Yeah, I think I’ve had one of the answers was Henry the eighth, so you might as well invite Henry the eighth, all your other grandma. That would be the third guest.

[01:10:20] I mean, I’d love to.

[01:10:22] You can come. You can come back. Grandma did.

[01:10:27] Well, it’s been a pleasure. And I know I only met you for that 10 seconds in dental showcase, but. But. But, Hannah, you know, I really understand why investors, customers, employees are inspired by you. Just you give off this energy of sort of enjoying everything you do and really listening. I really do. I really do.

[01:10:49] That means a great a great, great deal, especially from you. Yeah.

[01:10:53] There’d be sitting but it’s just, you know, I know again, we’ve met each other twice. Twice, but both times. Both times are very, very, very impressed with you. So I’m sure your work is going to go from strength to strength.

[01:11:05] And thank you so much for having us.

[01:11:09] Yeah, thanks very much.

[01:11:10] It’s been a long time coming.

[01:11:13] 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.

[01:11:29] 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.

[01:11:44] 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.

[01:11:54] And don’t forget our six star rating.

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.

[00:16:13] Yeah.

[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.

[00:19:28] Did.

[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] You.

[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.

[00:27:10] Yeah.

[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.

[00:38:12] Yeah.

[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.

[00:45:19] Yeah.

[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.

[01:03:38] Yeah.

[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?

[01:10:20] Yeah.

[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.

[01:12:00] Yeah.

[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.

[01:13:51] Kimberly’s.

[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.

[01:17:40] Yeah.

[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.


Adam Naughton is one of the thousands of dental students whose academic life was rudely interrupted by the COVID pandemic.

In his fourth year of study, he’s yet to get hands-on with impressions, crowns, root canal and other treatments.

But that hasn’t stopped Andrew from putting his name out there and finding his niche on social media early on. His Positive Smile Club Instagram channel pitches five questions on dentistry, mindset and self-development to both new and established names in the profession.

Adam chats about dental school, his Instagram channel and hopes for the future, and reveals his own answers to Positive Smile Club’s five questions.



In This Episode

02.38 – Being a dental student

07.14 – COVID

10.19 – Backstory

14.29 – Instagram

16.03 – Why dentistry

19.22 – Content creation

25.25 – Mindset and self-development

27.27 – Five questions

38.11 – Soft skills

42.28 – Black box thinking

46.44 – Dental school

55.01 – Positive Smile Club

01.00.57 – Inspiration and specialisation

01.08.46 – Last days and legacy

01.11.45 – Fantasy dinner party

01.14.17 – TikTok


About Andrew Naughton

Andrew Naughton is a fourth-year dental student at the University of Leeds’ School of Dentistry.  He runs the Positive Smile Club Instagram channel.

[00:00:00] And I think for me as a student now and obviously for even for the next ten years, I’m a young dentist and longer than that. But the amount that it’s opened my eyes to the world outside the dental school and bonded on days and by or by dentistry and just like it’s it’s absolutely ridiculous. And even just the little hints and tips you get, like inverting the rubber dam how to do a floss, floss tie. Like, you know, I just love it and all these things, you know, because it’s not that dental school doesn’t teach you dentistry. Well, I think for a little while I was kind of in that mindset that like the dental school doesn’t know what they’re doing and obviously they obviously do. But there’s just stuff that happens in the real world that dental school you can’t do or it doesn’t happen. And it’s nice to just have an appreciation and an understanding of that to prepare yourself for when you do get that.

[00:00:57] 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.

[00:01:15] It gives me great pleasure to welcome Adam Lawson onto the podcast. Adam has the questionable honour of being the first ever Dental student on this podcast. Hopefully we’ll get some more going later on. Adam’s come on to my radar because of his positive small club content that he puts on Instagram where he’s actually been interviewing some of the top people around himself. But what I really love about his content and your content, Adam, is, you know, it’s very sort of bite size. It kind of hits the questions, kind of the opposite of this show of where where were you born or whatever it goes and gets right to the point, you know. And it’s actually it’s one of my favourite pages. I actually go to it whenever whenever I see it, I definitely pay attention to it. So I just want to talk to you about that, but also about what it’s like to be a dental student today, particularly with COVID as well. Another another another angle on it. Welcome to the show. But, you.

[00:02:20] Know, thank you so much for having and I really appreciate that that feedback and the idea I have masses of I guess imposter syndrome right now being the first student but also really excited. And you know, as I said, I listen to this podcast religiously, so to be to be on it is amazing. So thank you for the invite.

[00:02:38] My pleasure. Really. My pleasure. So tell me about. I know we normally start with where were you born and all that, but what’s it like right now to be a dental student? What’s what’s what what are some of what’s what’s on your radar? I know you’re not a typical dental student because you seem connected to a lot of dentists already. But what was going through your head?

[00:02:59] It’s difficult. I mean, I’m in my fourth year now and I speak to the rest of the people on my. Yeah. And we’re all kind of of the opinion that we’re behind where previous fourth years would be. I mean if I give myself as an example, I’ve taken no impressions on patients, I’ve never done a crown, I’ve never done a root canal, I’ve done no dentures, I’ve done three fillings. So, you know, I think we’re all feeling fairly behind and we’re all expecting a very difficult and intense final year because, you know, the usual three or four years of clinical experience that you get are all being squeezed into that final year. And the uni kind of like shoving you out the door and then you’re the the PhD practises problem and I can’t say that for every dental student in every university, but I have, I do speak to some of the students at other universities and they are also experiencing similar things.

[00:03:50] Is the university got a plan in place for giving you more experience in the final year or not? You an idea?

[00:03:58] I mean, because we start outreach soon. Yeah. I mean, it’s hard to be too difficult on them because they are in a difficult situation. But, you know, we haven’t you know, we haven’t got afternoon or evening clinics or weekend clinics and we haven’t been told. But yeah, I think for the for the yeah. Below me they’ve actually started on clinic and some of them in the, some of the people in the block kind of getting ahead of people in our Yeah. That people are getting a little bit miffed about but I think, I guess they have to get it back to normal at some point. And I think I guess our year and the year above really the years that have been the worst affected.

[00:04:32] Yeah. So exactly how much did you miss. I mean talk me through it. Tell me through when, when, when lockdown happened, you guys went home. Was the university equipped? Obviously was wasn’t equipped to give you online lectures yet, was it or did it do that straight away?

[00:04:49] No. Yeah, of course. The outside, they were fairly quick to act, I think. So. Obviously, lockdown hit in March and that may be March to the end of that year to July. We didn’t do a hell of a lot, but Pulse starts in third year and we were back in Leeds, I was back based in uni and we were going in for labs. We had maybe one or two half days of labs a week and then we were given online lectures, online exercises. But I guess the main thing is the examinations have been different, so we haven’t had an in-person exam since first year and now in fourth year. And I think, you know, you can imagine the differences between an in-person exam where it’s being invigorated and one at home where no one’s watching. You can use your notes and the uni knows that we’re using our notes. So I think the level of understanding as well and the kind of exams and the stress of that for sure to learn.

[00:05:39] So what happens? They send you the paper and you can in your own time do I think we’ve just answer it without any of.

[00:05:46] The usually time the usually time time limit it assessment so it’s it’s an hour or two but up to now, all of them, it’s kind of been fair play to to use all the resources. So, you know, I think you kind of know for your own sanity going forward that if you’ve coasted all the way up till now, you’re going to have a really difficult fifth final, which you’re going to be on your arse a little bit, but it’s definitely possible to have done that.

[00:06:11] Uh, is anyone feeling as if you are passing?

[00:06:15] I think that. Well, well, it’s been very difficult to fail so far, but I think in the next year for finals, obviously finals have to be invigorated. You have to be up to a certain standard. Yeah, that’s what we’re all not kind of worried about. But it’s yeah, it’s definitely there’s definitely concern that people are not reaching the totals. People, if they are reaching the totals or maybe not feeling confident in themselves to go out and be a good PhD. And you know, but I guess the more I speak to PhDs and graduate dentist is kind of the thing that people say about passing your driving test is that you learn to drive once you’ve passed your driving test.

[00:06:51] So it’s true, but it’s true it over worry yourself. You worry yourself because you know, in the first month of PhD, you end up one ends up doing more clinical dentistry than the five years before. So it’s the same it was that, that that feeling was there for all of us. I get why you’ve got a bigger problem than the rest of us who didn’t have COVID. Tell me while we’re on the subject of COVID. Socially. What’s it meant? I mean, I’ve been thinking this question quite a lot. Yeah. Like who’s been worst affected socially and clearly your group. I mean, I remember thinking, God damn, if I was in Union Year one or two or three, it would just break my heart.

[00:07:36] Yeah. No, I mean my year. Luckily we so we kicked off towards the end of second year. So we had a full freshers year. We had quite a lot of second year. But I think the main thing it’s kind of done is really kind of when I was at the dental school, when I first started, it felt like the whole dental school was together the first years, the fifth year, second year everyone knew each other. And now because basically the first year and the second year is, you know, some of them. I mean, I think they have some of them haven’t even stepped foot in the dental school because if you’re not in if you’re not in labs and you’re not in clinic, there’s no lectures anymore. No one kind of knows each other. And I think that’s been the main impact is that and also it leads what used to happen is the second year is used to assist the fourth years, the third year used to assist the fifth year. So everyone knew each other through that as well. So I think that is kind of sad and obviously then it affects the social element in terms of like when you go out over the years kind of stick to each other because people know less people in the other years.

[00:08:29] Yeah.

[00:08:29] And obviously you learn from each other as well.

[00:08:31] You haven’t been able to go out as much. Right. And uni, that’s a big factor in your life where you want to. You know, it’s funny because it’s not. Yeah, it’s not, it’s not only about going out and getting drunk and all of that, you know, you find yourself in those, in those moments, right? I mean if you if you put your mind back to when you were 15 year old and then when you were a 17 year old, and then when you’re a 19 year old, there’s re-invention happening in each of those moves. And the one at uni is almost the most important one, isn’t it? Because you can literally reinvent to whoever else, whoever you want it to be, but if you haven’t had the opportunity, that’s tough, man. It’s tough. That said, difficult. That said, I was talking to different people. I was thinking about my parents. You know, the end of their life they’ve got every day is super precious. And yet two years have been taken away. And I was wondering about this question and you know, who’s worse off? And we’re all valley of whatever. And I spoke to one of my customers and she said she’s got a two year old baby. And she said, oh, he’s ever known his covered from the day he’s been born. He’s seen masks, you know, and you think, what’s that going to do to to to that baby?

[00:09:48] Of course. Yeah, 100%. And almost, you know, we almost kind of felt a little bit privileged as as dental students. And the fact that during COVID, we were still able to go into the building they still put on, you know, the older years were in clinics. We were still in labs. We were still able to see maybe 15 to 20 people. Some of our friends, as everyone else at the uni was told to go home, don’t come in. And all of that work was online. So, you know, we were hit, but, you know, we were a little bit lucky in some ways as well.

[00:10:19] Tell me about Buddy. Take me back to childhood. Where were you born? Where did you grow up? What kind of kid?

[00:10:24] We so I grew up in Bury North Manchester. I had, you know, and obviously I had to fill in this this question was coming from less than. But, you know, I did I had a really loving, supportive childhood. I think I was quite a gifted child. And I think in my own head was growing up a little bit more because I didn’t go to the best schools. So, you know, there wasn’t many kids who academically or, you know, picking things up were at the same level as me, who had the same aspirations of me. So, you know, I think it gave me actually gave me a lot of confidence in terms of like if I put my mind to something, I can do it and, you know, have big aspirations and, you know, you’re kind of more able than the other kid. So, you know, you can do stuff and do do something with your life. So, you know, I didn’t see it as a particularly bad thing.

[00:11:11] Wow. How young were you when you first thought that? Thought probably like.

[00:11:16] I can imagine. I can remember. Sorry, in like year one, like knowing like my whatever two or three times tables quicker than the other kids. And we used to like play games against each other. Who can get the answer fastest? And I think really I did clock like, you know. Yeah.

[00:11:30] And which kid are you? Are you the oldest faster. The youngest. Youngest. So did you get like.

[00:11:36] Yes, I’ve got I’ve got one sister.

[00:11:38] Did you get like positive feedback from your parents? Like, you know, with with parents, you sort of you start pigeonholing your kids, you say, oh, he’s the clever one. And then the kid sees that and then, you know, decides it’s going to be more clever and try harder. As you say, she’s the funny one or he’s the sporty one. Did your parents support that? Was it did it go on the agenda? He’s an achiever.

[00:12:01] I think possibly. I think that that could be the case. I mean, my sister, she just she qualified as a dentist. Oh, really? But she was more the hard worker. So we both ended up really getting the same grades in the end. But I was always the smart one and she was the one who had to absolutely graft and. Like You cannot teach us. But the teachers loved her. She did her homework. She spent hours up in a room doing work while I was kind of stuck playing on my X-Box. But yeah, I think it could definitely you could have bought into that.

[00:12:28] So how is it you both ended up in dentistry? Do you have family? Connexions?

[00:12:33] Yeah, I mean, that’s the question. When I tell everyone, that’s the question I get all the time. And now we don’t we don’t really have anyone medically related in the family. I think my grandfather was an optician, but and the thing was that even like although we both ended up doing well in education, my, my mom is like it was education was like, you must do this. You must do a certain profession. It was kind of like, do what you want. And you know, even if I kind of didn’t do my homework, my mom wasn’t like, you need to do this. You need to do this. I think, you know, and we were quite lucky that both of us kind of applied ourselves and wanted to work hard and do well.

[00:13:09] And you like what you’re saying. Your parents didn’t push you hard, like this normal story we hear on this podcast.

[00:13:17] No, no, I love that. Not at all. Obviously, like.

[00:13:20] Yeah, it was good. Tell me then explain it to you. Just what happened, did you decided yourself you were going to try and be really good? I love that.

[00:13:30] Yeah, I think for me, I think I think part of it was probably validation from the other kids. Like, I wanted to impress the kids, I wanted to impress my teachers. And I also I wanted to, you know, do do something impressive myself. And I think, you know, that’s where it came from. And I’m not saying my parents I wouldn’t say my parents were pushy, but they also were very supportive. Like, for example, my sister used to play football for Man United as a kid. I was a squash academy in Manchester and they they and my parents and the rest of the family kind of drove us all up and down the country, watching us, taking us to training three or four times a week. So, you know, we had a lot of support, but we were never pushed to do sports, never pushed to do well academically.

[00:14:13] What would your parents do?

[00:14:15] My mom does not control. I think they make a company, they make firemen’s uniforms. And my dad is an office manager at a law firm.

[00:14:29] Oh. So, listen, man, when looking at your content that you put out on on on Instagram, you’ve got an obvious fascination with self improvement. And, you know, that whole genre and there are books and there’s, you know, I guess you’re brought up on YouTube or whatever it was. Yeah. When when did that start? Was that in childhood? Was that before university? Was that was that during is that very recent thing?

[00:14:56] No, it’s difficult to say. It definitely was early on. I think I always wanted to improve myself. And as you say, I think not that I never fit in, but I think I always had this feeling that like and it maybe it may be due to a wanting kind of validation from other people, but just wanting to improve myself, wanting to be able to do better. And it kind of ties into the reason I wanted to. I ended up choosing to do dentistry and obviously my sister did it and she said, Oh, I’m enjoying the course and it’s a good profession. But like I wasn’t anyway the most naturally extroverted person. I’m actually not very naturally good with my hands and I was very aware of that before going into dentistry. But you know, I wanted to have that growth and I wanted to challenge myself.

[00:15:39] I bet you didn’t say that in your dentistry interviewed you?

[00:15:43] No, I didn’t know. But, you know, it’s like, yeah, I just waffle wheel full of heart. I mean, we had there was an origami station at my dental school interview and and it was at Leeds and I have no idea how I got in because it just ended up as a massive spoonful ball of paper and it was meant to be a penguin. So I thought that was clearly obvious as well.

[00:16:03] So was it that your sister had gone into? She was happy. Was that the reason why you picked dentistry? What were you thinking of? Something else.

[00:16:10] I mean. So, yeah, I don’t think I would have considered dentistry if my sister hadn’t gone and done it. And, you know, she looked like she was enjoying it. But, you know, it was it literally was. And I remember thinking at the time, like, I was fairly confident that I’d be able to get the grades that I wanted. And with that, I could do anything I wanted. And I wasn’t being pushed by my parents to go in a certain career direction. I could choose one. I remember really deeply thinking about what I want to do with my life, because this next decision was really going to determine where my life went. And as I grew up, I was always told, No, you’re really good at maths, you should do something to do with maths. And you know, as I thought about, I realised that if I did the maths thing I don’t feel like I’d have fulfilled my potential as a person. You know, the people you kind of get on a maths degree is very different to the type of people you go on and then instead of going into it like that, I’d have become and stayed that kind of more reserved nerdy guy if I’d gone down that degree. And I think also I and I also kind of realised in my job I wanted to directly contribute to something. I mean I looked at like maybe doing a stock, being a stockbroker or an actuary, but like I didn’t in 20, 30, 40 years time, you know, what have I actually contributed to? And, you know, who were who I hoped. And that that for me, I think also was a big factor in kind of going like, you know, doing that it should be would be really cool.

[00:17:32] Were you the kind of guy who then then went and did the due diligence and talk to dental students? Because for me, what I thought it was going to be compared to what it actually was completely different. I’m sure, you know, it’s a shock for everyone. It’s a surprise for everyone to to some extent. But it was nothing like what I thought. I had a brother in medical school, so he mentioned dissection and anatomy and these sort of things. But how different was it for you? I mean, as an expectation? I mean, it’s such a first thought. I thought university was going to be a whole different story, like something out of the movies, cool kids with cool orange cars and guitars and, you know, just a childish view of what that was going to be like. And then when I got to uni to dental school itself, it was like 50 times harder than I thought. Yeah. How was that for you? What was your expectation and what did it end up?

[00:18:28] So yeah, I mean, you know, as I was saying, it’s easy for me to have the idea that, you know, I’m going to be a dentist and I’m going to get all this personal growth. And, you know, I’m going to be a great communicator and I’m going to then become fantastic at working with my hands and all of this. And yeah, no, I stepped into labs in second year and I was the worst person. Yeah. In the laboratory every single week. And, but also, you know, that did actually start to really affect me. It affected my confidence. I’d be like really stressing if I’m going to pass these tests, if I’m actually in the end, if dentistry is for me and if I’ve made the right decision and you know, really it lockdown came for me as obviously all the terrible things that’s happened, but it kind of came as a blessing and kind of pulling me away from from that pressure and that environment and giving me time to learn more about dentistry and figure out my space and dentistry. And that was really important for me.

[00:19:22] So when was it that you first thought you’re going to start putting content out? I think like in.

[00:19:29] Me, I’ve always like like at school, like at school, even though I was quite quiet, I had like the lead roles in the school play. So I’ve always kind of liked like doing stuff and like making things and people kind of watching what I’m doing. But it was kind of, it was in that time of being in them labs and struggling and stressing and thinking, you know, there’s dentists out there who might have been in the same position as me and I’m not currently managing my stress very well. But, you know, there are dentists doing the job now who have similar, if not more stress levels than me. How are they managing their stress? Who do they listen to? Who do they look up to? You know, what books that they read? What is their advice, mindset advice. So that was really the the beginning of it and you know what as ended up becoming five questions with them positives Marg club was really just something that I wanted to know the answer to and then me realising that, you know, there might be other people in a similar situation and this stuff is actually valuable, valuable stuff to be shared.

[00:20:26] Yeah, but did you not worry about what people would think about you?

[00:20:30] Yeah, massively. And that’s why it took me from March 20 to like well before March 2020 to to be having these ideas and then all the way till I didn’t start the page till November and I didn’t tell. I think I spoke to one person about doing the page. I didn’t tell any of my friends. I just popped up saying, Look, this is my page and this is the first video and that’s it. And I didn’t tell anybody because even I think to some of my closest friends, they didn’t know I was that into like the mindset stuff and the psychology. And, you know, I’d say I’m pretty not a closed book, but I know I’m not that open with that many people.

[00:21:08] Yeah, by the way. Would you agree with me that it’s a lot harder answering the questions than asking them?

[00:21:14] Oh, 100%, yeah. No, I mean, especially with me. I’ve got I’ve got I’ve got five, five questions to remember and then, you know, a few others that I think of. Yeah, this is a different experience, but I’m enjoying it.

[00:21:25] Whatever, whatever I’ve been on, I’ve been a guest on the podcast at the end of it, I’ve been so tired and I properly like what the hell. That was really hard. But it’s honest I think, because you can say whatever can eat your head. So that’s interesting. You’re saying you’re you’re an introvert in one way, but an extrovert in another way. That combination is interesting. I mean, I find we do this composite course, by the way, you should come, come and watch or whatever. Actually let students come and watch. We’ll be in Manchester next weekend. Do we do this composite course and we ask them there’s this bit, there’s this marketing bit, and you say, Oh, who’s got a Dental Instagram page? And I know some people are shy to put their hands up here, but most of the time it’s like out of the 30 people in the class, it’s like maybe five at the most we’ve got one. And then I scratch my head and think, Well, most of the guys on our on our course of younger dentists, you know, they’re maybe 5 to 10 years out of out of dental school. And I think, wait a minute, these guys have grown up with it and yet they’re not doing it. And then when later on we’re having a few drinks or whatever, and I asked them, you know, what’s going on, man? I mean, it must be something you should do. Everyone worries about what people will think of their work, what people will think of the way they come across. And by the way, I totally get it. I mean, I hate cameras myself. The reason why I’m doing a podcast is because somehow I can be myself with audio, but as soon as there’s a camera, it I’m rabbit in headlights. So the fear of actually doing it is the thing that stops people from doing it. What’s your advice, dude? You think you must you must have you’ve grappled with this yourself. But my advice generally is that no one’s paying attention. Just. Just do it.

[00:23:26] Yeah, I think that’s I think that is a really important part. I think at that time I was kind of reading a lot of like kind of like positive. And I think that’s why I ended up going positive smartly. But I didn’t a lot of like positive psychology books and like, you know, you got to believe all that like, really, like believe in yourself and like, you know, like think victory and succeed and all this type stuff. And it, you know, it’s kind of like I kind of also got to the point where I saw this as, you know, as an opportunity not just to answer these questions, but also to, you know, for my career’s future career prospects and, you know, the good it could do in terms of that as well. And also for myself to grow. And you know, that was I think one of the main drivers for me is that, you know, I’m in dental school. I can’t go into dental school. I can either, you know, the exams. I don’t really have to do that much work to pass them. To be honest. I can either sit on my arse and and do nothing or I can chase that growth. I actually wanted to go into dental school for the in the first place to do so. You know, I think you got to step outside your comfort zone and and do it, I guess. And, you know, the longer way the you know, it’s one of the best things. But yeah.

[00:24:35] But you could have could have you could have gone and become the best badminton player in the world or something, you know what I mean? You could have you could have done a lot with your time, but you decide to go down, down, down this tree. It was. Did it surprise any of your friends?

[00:24:50] I’ve not really had that conversation directly with them, but I’m sure it did in some ways, because I also don’t think they were aware of like I think I’ve got quite an obsessive personality, but how much over before lockdown, I wasn’t enjoying my dentistry and over lockdown I came across, you know, tubules this podcast, the Jazz Jazz Colitis podcast, all these incredible people. And I started developing this passion for dentistry that I don’t think I’d really shared with many people. So I don’t I don’t also think they were aware of how much I don’t want it on my model for dentistry.

[00:25:25] The thing is, look, there’s a moment when that happens for a lot of people. Yeah. Like for me it was in, I think that that moment happened for me that I suddenly went from the guy who was just going to scrape through to the guy who wanted to be really good at stuff and wanted to find out what’s going on. And, and for me actually, it coincided with reading my first personal improvement sort of book, which is, you know, Seven Habits, Stephen Covey. That really resonated. If you asked me that question, that’s that’s the answer I would have given that my favourite book because it was the first one I think, I think I had some. Yeah. So so was what was the first was the first self-development sort of book or video or thing that inspired you in self development?

[00:26:14] And I mean, I think.

[00:26:16] To be honest, I.

[00:26:17] Do remember like watching a lot of YouTube videos. It was like there was a page called like Charisma on Command and stuff like that. And he had really kind of useful videos about just kind of communication and you know, like how to talk and how to, I guess, be be more charismatic. But I guess the first one is pretty standard. One is Dale Carnegie, and the name of the book Just Lost My Mind. But it’s the one.

[00:26:40] How to win.

[00:26:41] Friends. How to win friends. Yeah. Of course, that was I think I can’t remember how old how old I was when I read that. But I think also my mom is similarly I think she’s quite into the the mindset type of stuff. I remember just picking up a book off the bookshelf once and it was all about having a growth mindset. And I kind of read it and was like, Oh, I already had like, this. Is this not obvious? Like if you try, you can get the other things like, but I think How to Win Friends was, was the first one. I remember thinking, oh, like, I can use this in, in life. And it’s, you know, it’s a really practical, useful book.

[00:27:14] And you’ve got a six part, six part post on, on, on how to win friends and influence people on your pages. So it sums it up, right? So turn that into bite size as well. Actually, for those who don’t know, we should go through what is it? What are the five questions that you ask people go on and I want I want you to do is I want you to answer them as well.

[00:27:36] Oh, gosh. Okay. So the first question is life changing book for me. And again, the name the name of the book is Just Lost Me. But it came at that time of of lockdown. And there’s also the Tony Robbins Tony Robbins book. It’s like The Power Within or something. Awaken the Giant Within. Awakened the Giant Within. That’s it. Yeah.

[00:28:02] That was one of my I read the book once.

[00:28:04] I read that, that book and this book and I start when I was mentioning like a proper American style, like, you know, you need to believe in yourself. There’s no difference between you and that other man down the road, except he believes in himself more. And, you know, but all of that. But that was after like coming out of a time where I was failing and failing a hell of a lot, that that was kind of what I needed and that kind of like positivity and, you know, to kind of rebuild my self belief in myself. And so that then two books, if I can find the name, I’ll let you know. But they were really the life changing books.

[00:28:38] Then what’s the second? First, the first question is life changing, but what’s the second question? Yeah.

[00:28:42] A favourite quote or motto. Gosh, that is a difficult one. Things I used to have.

[00:28:48] Have you never been asked these questions before?

[00:28:51] I have not. You know, I used to have a lot of quotes that I that I had. And I’d like some some of them I’d like read like read every morning. And it’s not even very probably positive can do attitude. I think.

[00:29:06] It’s.

[00:29:07] It kind of puts you in that state way you know if if you know for example even being invited on this podcast, you know, I could have gone, no, I’m not ready. I’m a student, you know, I’m not sure I’d be able to do it. And what again, what would people think of me? But, you know, I think just being I can do it and just being positive and, you know, taking that, it kind of helps you take that step outside of your comfort zone where you might go, no. And show up and you know, you can kind of move forward with that. So I think that will be my answer for that.

[00:29:35] So that sentiment.

[00:29:36] Yeah, that sentiment. The next one is the next one’s. What is inspirational figure?

[00:29:41] Yeah.

[00:29:42] That’s a difficult one. So who inspires me? I mean, the standard answer I get is, is family. And, you know, my family are great and they love, you know, I love them a lot and they give me a lot of support. But I don’t know. I get inspired by a lot of people, even a lot like I know you had Zayn Rizvi on this on your head recently and even just seeing other young dentists who are absolutely pushing the boundaries, the doctor one day people who are going out there and you know I think if the people like Dr. you one day didn’t go and they were kind of the first people to do it then you know there’s me and there’s plenty of other now dental students with platforms and who make content. But you know, I do find them on a just in terms of what I did. They they do inspire me to kind of do things that I haven’t done before by dental students.

[00:30:35] Nice. What’s next?

[00:30:36] The next one is mindset advice. And I guess the the positive. Yeah, the positive stuff works. I think, you know, recently and this is very recently, I’ve kind of got a lot more into meditation and being present and you know, not getting too because I think I am someone who definitely overthink things and analyses things. And you know, I’ve done that ever since being a young child and really, you know, my brain’s going like a million miles an hour. And I think I’ve found a lot of benefit from being present and just, you know, being rather than always being being on the go. So I think that would be that would be if no one’s kind of discovered meditation yet or gotten into it or giving it a go, you know, I’m trying I’m doing it like two or three times a day now and I think I’m really enjoying it and finding benefit.

[00:31:25] How did you how did you get started on it?

[00:31:27] I listened to a podcast with Jay Shetty. I don’t know if you’ve heard of him. He’s like the guy who used to be a monk and he was on a Stephen Bartlett podcast and he was talking about recently Benefits of meditation. Yeah, recently. That’s how recent. And I just downloaded Calm the app and just like tried it out and you know, before I have tried meditation before, but it just never clicked in this time I felt I just felt something change and I’ve just felt a lot calmer recently. So yeah, it’s been good.

[00:31:58] It’s crazy how it just I mean, I’ve tried meditation here and there and you try and put your finger on what is it? And I know. And in the end. It’s breathing. It is. It’s amazing how important breathing is. Yeah.

[00:32:17] I I’ve just bought a book about breathing.

[00:32:19] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s it’s it’s so important, because if you sit there and breathe for 30 seconds, breathe properly, it changes a lot. And I remember people telling me this before I even tried it, and I’m thinking, Well, what are they talking about? Yeah, but. But it’s real. But you know what? I found that the thing that got me deeper than anything else was a float tank. Have you ever tried that?

[00:32:46] I have. No.

[00:32:47] It’s I don’t know if that’s still allowed post-COVID, but it’s like this. It’s this, like massive bath full of, like, a very salty water that you float on. And then it’s at it’s a body temperature and there’s a cover over the top of it. So it’s totally pitch black. And in this one hour session here, I was floating in space upside down, like by just lying there because, you know, you just you just and and so sometimes in meditation, I’ve gotten maybe one quarter of the way to what happened in that floating where I didn’t even realise that’s what was supposed to be for, you know, someone bought it for me or something.

[00:33:29] I’m going to have to I’m going to have to source.

[00:33:31] One last question was question.

[00:33:33] The last question is, most of all on social media page or person.

[00:33:38] Go.

[00:33:38] I’d say also if there’s any I mean, obviously they’re listening to this podcast, but only then shooting out though is listen to this. And I’m not just saying that cause I’m on it because I’ve found the insight and people’s stories incredibly useful. And more people should be listening to this show. Yeah, this show.

[00:33:53] Yeah, this show.

[00:33:56] I think I like a lot of what Stephen Bartlett puts out. I always I always listen to his podcast.

[00:34:01] Me too.

[00:34:03] Huberman lab I’ve gotten to recently. He’s like a neuroscience guy, I think at Stanford. Huberman Lab is the name of his podcast, and he’s like a neuroscience guy at Stanford. It’s he covers a lot of things, but I think brain health is probably underrated and I’ve learnt quite a lot of interesting things from him about that. So I think he had no science was something I considered rather than at the time because because of this kind of thing about mindset and development and all of that. But yeah, he chose dentistry instead.

[00:34:35] What about dental pages that you follow.

[00:34:38] Oh, so many. I mean, I think the, the, the biomimetic guys in terms of education, the like, they’re opening eyes. I do like to follow like some deft people just, just to like just to see their standard. And then also there’s some people at DFT who like producing and like, like Zane Rosevear. I think he’s a few years past that now. But, you know, the standard of work through, you know, the education on Instagram and even podcasts like this and the amount of resources available now. And, and I remember you said design like 20, 30 years ago, it would not be possible, but, you know, it’s it’s super inspired and, you know, really good to see the quality of these people’s work, you know, even two years ahead of me.

[00:35:20] Yeah. You know, you’re right. We were talking with Sane about how much you can learn from Instagram, which did I don’t know before. I mean, you won’t remember this, but five years ago, if you told people that people, dentists or dental students or dentists are learning from something like Instagram, people would have shot you down. People would have shot you down for even suggesting that that’s a possibility. But I remember seeing the first time I saw beautiful dentistry or whatever it were, I might have been at a conference in America, you know, like I had to get on a plane and go somewhere to see it for the first time, think, Wow, that looks amazing to get inspired that we were talking about. What inspires you? Yeah, to get inspired to say, hey, it’s possible to do a composite that’s that’s invisible. You know, you can’t tell it’s a composite. Yeah. Something as simple as that. That said that said there is a downside to you kind of feel like you’re not good enough all the time, you know, in the same way some some pretty girl might think she’s not thin enough or whatever, you know, because that whole that whole thing. Do you reckon that’s the thing? Because I’m not practising anymore. But if I was practising, I’d worry, man. So I see all the all the rubber time and beautiful work and, you know, output the output of the work. I was I was with Adam Burgin, the CORNISH dentist. Do you know him? Yeah. Yeah. At the weekend we were first I never met him. And I was I was saying to him, you know, the amount of output of having to post and all of that can bring on stress in itself. No.

[00:37:00] Hundred percent. And I think that’s.

[00:37:01] The crazy.

[00:37:02] Thing. I’m lucky in the sense that as a dental student now, there isn’t a pressure on me to create a portfolio and to post any work that I’m doing. You know, you don’t you don’t have to post work, but it’s it’s it’s a it’s a nice thing to do. But I think for me as a student now and for even for the next ten years, I’m a young dentist and longer than that. But the amount the it’s opened my eyes to the world outside the dental school and, you know, bonded on those and bio bio in dentistry and just like it’s it’s absolutely ridiculous. And even just the little hints and tips you get like invert and the rubber how to do a floss, floss tie. Like, you know, I just love it and you know, all these things, you know, because it’s not the dental school doesn’t teach you dentistry. Well, I think for a little while I was kind of in that mindset that like the dental school doesn’t know what they’re doing and obviously they obviously do. But like there’s just like stuff that happens in the real world that dental school you can’t do or it doesn’t happen. And it’s nice to just have an appreciation and an understanding of that, to prepare yourself for when you do get the.

[00:38:11] Definitely, dude. I mean, dental school does what dental school does. Right. There’s no we should talk about what it should do better, though. I mean, that’s that’s a worthwhile conversation, you know, because. Definitely could do better, I think. But one thing you shouldn’t forget as well as you as you’re going forward and you know, first you’ll learn the basics of rubber dam, then you might do that one to dentistry. Then as it goes on and on and on. Don’t forget the soft skills. Yeah, the communication skills. I mean, probably just as important as the hand and eye skills and brain skills are the communication skills because it’s you’re too young to have had loads of medical problems or had to go to doctors when you’re under that stress of a medical problem. But as you get older, you start meeting a few more doctors for friends and family and all of that. And in in that moment that you have a problem, a medical problem. Yeah. Crazily, the guy’s reputation, the guy’s, you know, or what he’s achieved in his career. And obviously we’re in the field. If I if I need an eye surgeon, I can talk to my brother to find an eye surgeon or whatever. All of that stuff becomes secondary to, Did I get on with him or not? And in dentistry where it’s not, you know, it’s not exactly life and death. Yeah. The do I get on with him becomes the most important thing. And a lot of that comes down to kindness, empathy, these words that are never going to come up in your in your dental exams, you know, but you know, learning those. Yeah, I think there’s some of that which is innate for sure. But, you know, if I were you, I, I guess how to win friends and influence people. Is that is that. Yeah.

[00:40:06] And I for a while I became really obsessed with like someone like Barry Elton. Do you know.

[00:40:11] Barry? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:40:13] Yeah, yeah. So like, I interviewed him for the page and I’ve watched a lot of his lectures. I got the opportunity to go onto his course as well. And you know, that really kind of cool. My kind of interesting, kind of even just like flipping it onto the, you know, the patient wants, needs, hopes, dreams for the next 20, 25 years. And yeah, dental school doesn’t never mention that. It’s kind of like prescriptive treatment. Like you have to have this because you need this and it’s kind of like, oh, so you know the patients, you know how they think and what they want and that, you know, that really matters.

[00:40:48] Definitely, man. Definitely. And, you know, different people translate that in different ways. And I don’t know if it goes down to what you Dental experience you had as as when you were a patient. You know, what your dentist was like with you. But I’ve had friends, you know who I thought, I know them really, really well. And then we’ve had some sort of interaction where we don’t know. We worked in the same practise because he was visiting and the doctors or whatever it was and watching him talk to patients. Completely different person to the one that I know. And I don’t know why he thought, oh, maybe it’s the right thing to do for all I know, dude. But he thought the right thing to be as the end. Adonis is the expert and to sort of have that sort of a barrier between him and what we’re telling the patient. And when I was a dentist, my position was completely different and I didn’t realise my position was different to someone like him, you know. So, you know, we need to have this conversation in the profession because I’ll tell you one thing, but when I talk to my big users, the big, big private dentists, the ones who’ve got multiple clinics and everyone at your stage, not your stage above your stage is saying, how do I get a private job? How do I get a private job? All of them all of them prioritise communication above everything else. You know, almost like that can’t be taught, so everything else can be taught with that card, you know, I think it can be taught. But my point is, while you’re busying yourself with rubber dam ties. Yeah, don’t forget that side. You know that that’s even more important in many ways. You know, let’s move on to darker days. Yeah. You must have heard this part of the podcast before. Of course. Of course. What would you say is your biggest weakness? For.

[00:42:45] What would I say is my biggest weakness? I. I think I think I’m definitely an overthinker and I think that that can hamper me. I think sometimes I think I like to have my own way. I think definitely I don’t tend to get on with authority very well. I did as a child up to a point. And then I guess I don’t always like getting told what to do and how to do it and can think I know better, which I guess isn’t isn’t always, always ideal. So yeah, I’d say that probably the.

[00:43:21] Overthinker and problem with authority. Tell me about the overthink of it. What does that mean? Like. You don’t take things on face value. You try and find other explanations for why. Some things?

[00:43:33] No, I wouldn’t say that. I think.

[00:43:35] I guess.

[00:43:37] I think I do have, as I said, a little bit of an obsessive personality. And just like that, even every interaction I have in the day and like everything, you know, I’m just always thinking. And I think that’s why the meditation has been so helpful, because I’ve actually sat and just realised like, you know, you don’t have to be thinking about everything all the time, you know? So it’s that type of thing.

[00:43:58] What about feeling? Do you do you feel stuff as well?

[00:44:01] No. Yeah, no, I think so. Yeah. I think, you know, I do sometimes get probably more anxious maybe than other people. But, you know, I think as I’ve got older, I think when I was younger I didn’t manage it as well as I as I do now.

[00:44:15] So when you when you think about the world, you think about the world as it’s really quite funny or do you feel about the world? Like It’s really quite tragic.

[00:44:23] I’d say quite funny. Generally, yeah. I like to laugh most things.

[00:44:29] Because they say there’s a phrase it says For those who think the world is funny or for those who feel the world is tragic.

[00:44:36] Oh.

[00:44:37] What are those? Well, I mean, it’s a joke point. No joke. I don’t know how real it is.

[00:44:43] So that makes sense.

[00:44:45] So what would you say is your darkest day in dental school?

[00:44:49] It will have been like just before COVID was hitting and it was when I was considering, you know, I was considering whether I was going to quit dentistry and like, oh, I’d have to go and ask for more support because, you know, at the time I was I was just fading labs week after week and I think they were letting me through. But there was a kind of shared understanding the you know, this wasn’t good enough. My composite look terrible. I was hitting all the teeth, like and you know, mentally as well, you know, I couldn’t keep phantom hair. Yeah, yeah, phantom head. But, you know, I couldn’t I couldn’t keep keep up like that because I, I wasn’t a high achiever in everything, you know, in squash. I was good. But at the level I was at, I was probably one of the worst players. So I was used to losing and failing and dealing with that. But I was also then obsessed kind of thing with how am I going to deal with this? And at the time I was quite into stoicism and I was racking my brain and how, you know what, you know how to manage the stress and you know, what can I do? And I was kind of coming to a loss and that’s when I was like, right, like, what do I do now? So I think, you know, without the lockdown, I probably would have asked for more support and who knows what would have happened then. But luckily I am not not luckily, but you know, lockdown came and I was I was pulled out of that situation.

[00:46:09] And then why did lockdown help? Just because you had time?

[00:46:11] Yeah, I had time. I wasn’t going into labs every week. And, you know, I mean, what can dental school do better? I think we were getting examined like from the first week on our composites and our on our. And I covet your prayers. And it was always it was straight in the mouth from like the first day. And I was just like completely thrown off. So I feel like they could have taken it a bit slower with those. But at the same time, there was maybe a few of the people who have in similar problems to me and you know, not not everyone was. So. Yeah.

[00:46:44] So. Right, let’s let’s talk about the Dental course. Okay. That’s one thing you’re saying, right? You’re saying it was too intense, too quick. Yeah.

[00:46:53] Possibly. I know what you’re saying. Yeah, possibly. I think, you know, we should be we should get more practical experience through funding, through funding heads, through patients and clinic. And obviously, COVID has affected that. But, you know, for example, and I’m not the only student who’s ever said this and I’m sure most of my friends, but like having access to the phantom headroom when you’re not meant to be in there, like go in and at lunch or going in in an afternoon when you’re not allowed, you’re not meant to be in. That would just that would just be so, so helpful. But the uni just so against the.

[00:47:24] Neck is going to make a mess.

[00:47:25] And all that. Yeah. I mean I went in one week to do so. We have a grounds test. I went in to do a grounds to to pass my grounds test and then I went in said, oh, can I just do an extra, an extra crown to practise doing a crown prep? And the guy was like, oh no, you’re wasting uni resources and I’ve got other students to deal with, go home. And you know, I’d gone in, I’d got changed and he got ready and he’s like, Oh no, you know, you’re going to coat one plastic tooth and that’s too much resources. And I was just like, you know, I stayed and I did the crown.

[00:47:55] But did you? Yeah. So then you’ve gone through some of the course. Now you’ve got you’re in your fourth year. Mm hmm. Is there something that you wish they were teaching you that they’re not? I mean, let me give you an example for me. I mean, the basics of running a business. Someone should there should have been a week on that in dental school. Right. It’s the very basics of recruitment, finance, marketing operations. Yes. Because the vast majority of that class are going to be eventually either working in or running it, running a business, a small business, and it’s not acknowledged at all.

[00:48:39] So, yeah, 100%. 100%. I mean, there’s just there’s obviously the stuff on on money. And obviously as young people, we do graduate and we do end up earning a, you know, a fair sum of money and managing that taxes or all of that. Yeah. Yeah. Could be covered in a lot more detail.

[00:48:58] Even school, man. I mean, imagine all those hours you spent in school doing differential equations, and no one ever once said, Yeah, this is how you get a mortgage or, I don’t know, save more than you spend or more on careers in school. Like more. Right. But in dental school, I think hopefully by your time it’s changed a bit. But we had one day where the guys talked about what can you do afterwards as a dentist? What are the different, different avenues you could go down? Did you have any more of that or is that next year or you don’t know?

[00:49:38] I think that I think the fifth is maybe get one lecture, someone from the BDA comes in. But I think nowadays and probably in your day as well, it’s kind of a find out for yourself and or attend certain conferences. Like if you go to the BCD conference, if you go we have the PDSA, so if you go to them, you get all these different talks from all these different people. But if you if you’re not attending these conferences, then, you know, I don’t think you are getting as much insight.

[00:50:08] Has anyone mentioned teeth whitening in university.

[00:50:11] Please? Very briefly, not a lot, obviously. It’s obviously it’s not not on the NHS, but yeah, no, I don’t think we’re giving lectures about it. We’re definitely about.

[00:50:22] Digital. Scanners.

[00:50:26] Yeah. It’s mentioned in passing. Typical answer is you’re aware of it, but you don’t. It leads anyway. You don’t get any experience of it or how it can be used or why it might be better or worse than taking a lab impression and stuff like that.

[00:50:46] And is there a scanner on the on the clinic at all? Or no.

[00:50:50] No, not as far as I’m aware.

[00:50:52] So that’s interesting that there must be one, right? They must use it for postcards only.

[00:50:59] Yeah, I guess, you know. Yeah, we’re not told anything about.

[00:51:04] What about what about ortho? What’s your awareness of ortho?

[00:51:09] It’s it’s ortho digital with P. So it’s kind of like the IL ten. And when the different teeth come through and obviously stuff about occlusion that kind of ties in but there’s nothing on aligners or even even brackets and orthodontics. I think it’s a fairly poorly understood subject as taught an undergraduate level.

[00:51:39] And what about things like composite anterior composite veneers, these sort of things that aesthetic composites does that? Yeah. To be fair to.

[00:51:51] Leads like we have in this show, actually over just in January, we’re in the labs and it’s called Complex Adult Dentistry. And we did a composite build up with all the different layers, like the dentine shades and the translucent, oh, nice incisal edge. So, you know, to be fair, you know, we did actually do a nice composite build up and, you know, they were kind of teaching us about that type of thing. So I can’t I can’t complain in that regard.

[00:52:17] What about amalgam to use amalgam at all?

[00:52:20] Yeah, we do. We were taught it in labs. I’ve yet to find a tutor to tell anyone to do it. I actually have placed it amalgam, but I don’t. We don’t use it often to be honest. I think it’s yeah. If you can place a composite and you can get moisture controlled and then do that and if not JIC.

[00:52:39] And what about Ramadan?

[00:52:41] Yeah, it’s it’s encouraged. And I’d say.

[00:52:47] So if you’re doing it, if you’re doing an MOT on the clinic, you’ve got to use a rubber dam or it’s encouraged to use the rubber down.

[00:52:54] It’s encouraged in terms of I think I’d encourage it. But yeah, I think to be fair, if you tell if you’d spoke to the tutor and said, I don’t want to use your arm, I’m going to use cotton wool. I don’t think they’d have a problem with it, to be fair, even if you didn’t even try to clamp on the tooth. Yeah. Not. Not. Not for photography. I think, to be fair, I’m not in outreach yet, so I think when you’re in the so we have we do not hold on Bradford and other places when you’re in them clinics, you take the photos yourself and you do learn. But within the hospital you take to photography, you warm the mirror up and then the. But yeah, we’re not taught like how and that is the different. Every dentist I speak to is like as soon as you can, as soon as you graduate, buy a camera, learn how to take photos, reflect on your work, build a portfolio. So, you know, it’s something that should be should be mentioned more for sure.

[00:53:53] Yeah. I mean, the thing with photography, I had someone asked me this weekend, you know, she was saying, I want to move to London, I want to get a good job. What do you think? What should I do? And for that purpose, definitely photography. But yeah, just to teach yourself, just to show your patience. And there’s so many reasons why you need to learn photography. What about occlusion?

[00:54:16] I think occlusion is fairly well taught. I think it’s such a difficult subject that I think it may be well taught, but still, you know, understanding my understanding and isn’t isn’t great. I’ve even done lectures outside of uni on occlusion. I’ll hopefully spend my weekends watching, including lectures, and I still don’t really understand exactly what it’s meant to be or how it’s meant to be. But yeah, I don’t think that, you know. Yeah.

[00:54:49] It’s not like no, it’s not that no one does. But there’s plenty of people ten years out of school, 20 years out of dental school who don’t know. So I wouldn’t worry yourself. I wouldn’t beat yourself up about it. It’s interesting. But so let’s let’s get onto what’s been the reaction of the audience to your to your content, to your positive smile club? Have you had people tell you tell you that it’s inspired them to do something or to follow someone or get a job or anything? Because it always surprises me when when you said when you said you listen to this podcast, it just surprised me. It’s always surprised me when someone says they listen. How does that make you feel?

[00:55:30] Well, when someone tells me that they listen to mine.

[00:55:32] Yeah, yeah, it’s.

[00:55:35] Yeah, it’s, it’s class and you know, to be far I’ve I’ve been now to a few student events like, like PDSA and all the things and you know.

[00:55:44] Getting recognised, not.

[00:55:45] Being right but being recognised and like obviously you know, speaking to other people who are doing similar things and there are, you know, there are a fair few other people now who read their own pages and kind of just. Networking and just meeting them. And, you know, it’s a really nice atmosphere. God, I like what you’re doing and I’ll say what I’m doing. And, you know, but yeah, you know, it is when people have also engaged with the content and listened and gone, Oh, like that episode with Richard Porter. Like that was Richard Porter also.

[00:56:14] That was good.

[00:56:15] Yeah. Yeah, he’s he’s he’s a crazy guy. I also feel like, you know, to a lot of my friends, like I’ll and I’ll say to them, oh, you know, I’m interviewing, I don’t know Chris McConnell tonight. And they’ll be like, who’s who? Like, you know, you know, like Chris said. So I also feel like, you know, it’s kind of introducing people who might not be as into it as I am to these people and to potential career pathways or know, you know, and that’s this that’s what your your podcast does for me as well. It’s like this person’s had a career like this and they, you know, they’ve done this and this and this is, you know, this is a possibility of what I could do. And this is also like the work life balance. And this is, you know, how they see the kids and raise the kids and, you know, all that stuff I find really insightful. So I think, you know, I kind of feel for some of my friends and the people around me. I’m kind of introducing them to people I think are really cool. And, you know, they should also have a doctor as well.

[00:57:16] And what’s your process? How do you how do you approach these people? Just DM Simple as that.

[00:57:22] Yeah, yeah. The emblematic of the start. I have to give a massive shout out to, you know, these people, especially at the time I had, you know, I’d never done anything on camera, I’d not done video edit in the page at the time. I had like 150 followers or something. And I think I’m just guilty. I’m Drew Short and, you know, just out of the blue and, you know, the nicest people in the world, aren’t they? But, you know, they came back, I think Charles replied to me, replied to me like 3 minutes. And and I obviously explained the concept and how much I love their content as well and tubules and I genuinely do. And you know, just like love the concept that I think he was isolated at the time let’s do it tomorrow and then you know, I kind of put my pants a bit and it was like, oh, like tomorrow I’m speaking to jazz and I’ve got, you know, for what I’m doing. But yeah, and I think from once I had some more established names on it, obviously it gets easier and people kind of don’t go, Who’s this random kid messaging me? They can kind of see know this person’s been on, this person’s been on. You know, it’s the more likely to to want to get involved.

[00:58:27] I think Chaz Gulati is is. If you’re interested in teeth. Teeth themselves. My next guest calling if you’re if you’re interested in teeth themselves like you want to know about teeth. I think jazz glasses, content. Some of the best stuff ever, man. Some of the best stuff ever. And yeah, what I love about it, what I love about it is the enthusiasm of the guy. And he knows a lot about. A lot? Yeah. Or maybe he’s one of that. I don’t know if you saw him on this podcast. He was top of his class or whatever. And so maybe he does massive research before he gets someone on, but he adores teeth himself and it just comes through. And, you know, dude, I no longer need to pay attention to, you know, I don’t know what kind of splint to use in a TMJ surgery. It doesn’t it doesn’t affect my life anymore. I don’t have patients anymore that need to listen to that anymore. But his enthusiasm just it just is so infectious. And then in that one hour, the amount you learn. Compare that to to, you know, that’s what dental school needs a bit more of, doesn’t it? It needs that sort of punchy, enthusiastic, sort of, you know, and it’s so interesting because he’s only seven years out of dental school himself. And I know to you that must feel like a long time. It’s not a long time. It’s not a long time at all. Seven years out of dental school. And yet I’d say as far as influence goes, like influence on on education, he might be having more influence than some professor of whatever. You know, I really admire him, Andrew. I think of Jews like the Jesus Christ of 10 million. Yeah. The guy who sacrificed himself for the profession, you know?

[01:00:24] You know? And I can’t speak with.

[01:00:25] A halo or something.

[01:00:27] Yeah. Yeah. And I was lucky enough to go to the The Tubules Controls conference in Brighton this year and you know, just the amount of love that he has for people but also get shown back to him. And I was just so happy to see that because you know, I think tubules that that was one of the first things that he kind of turned it around for me like it’s such an amazing platform and he’s been really generous to me for through a lot of things. So yeah, I can’t speak highly enough of them.

[01:00:57] Yeah. Great guy. So when you’ve now now that you’ve had this, you know, you’ve you’ve you’ve been reading and watching content. Yeah. But now you’ve had the opportunity to directly speak to some of these people, like the likes of Richard Porter or, or Drew. You know, I saw who else you had, Simon Chard. I saw you had you talk you talk to these people. And you’ve listened to so many of the stories on on this show. What’s your view now that what’s going around your head about the kind of dentist you want to be? I mean, are you are you more inspired by I don’t know. Martin One day who’s a who’s amazing implant ologist? Or are you more inspired by Dev Patel, who wants to open 100 practises this time next year? Which which one? Which one, which one sort of making you interested?

[01:01:49] It’s difficult one, I think.

[01:01:50] I think the.

[01:01:52] I think I want to do high quality work. And that’s why the kind of the the biomimetic people kind of I think I really interested me in kind of the science behind that. But I think I like kind of like Dev Patel was saying, I’m quite interested in patient journey and I know it will be important as his whole thing is improving the patient journey and that’s always been something like like and he was saying it seems so obvious and I’m like it is so obvious like in from like being practise. Like there’s so much simple things I feel like could be improved. And so if I did have my practise that that would be something that I’d, I’d really want to focus on and just create a place where people want to come and that, you know, the patient journey is kind of is top notch. So I guess in that way, the kind of own in a practise is is appealing. But I also like it kind of like invisibly said, I kind of just want to be the best general dentist that I can be as well.

[01:02:48] For now. Sure. For now you should. For now. That is the main. The priority for now is to learn, right? Learn, learn. And for the next five years as well. You just learn and be good. Don’t forget the soft skills, like I said for sure. But I think you’re in a privileged position now. I guess you put yourself in that privilege. It’s the wrong word. You’ve put yourself in a in a strong position whereby you probably know more about what’s going on out there than most PhDs, let’s say. Yeah. And or your or you’re part of that conversation there. And I don’t know, people people always say the general advice they give younger dentists is, you know, just become a generalist first and then get good at everything first and then decide what you want to do after that. But if there was some aspect of dentistry that that got you excited for the sake of the argument you implant, if you were that cat. Yeah, then for me the sooner the better know. Because if you know, if you set your sights on implant ology and you now being you, you could give me a call and say, Hey, can I go and sit with Martin one day for two days? And him being him, you’ll say Yes you can, and suddenly you propel you in implants. And I get that thing about try a bit of everything. Yeah, but actually I think the sooner you decide, it doesn’t even matter what the thing is, it really doesn’t matter. You could say implants, you could say endo, you could say business opening 100 practises. You could say any of those things. Yeah, but the sooner you make your mind up about those things, the sooner you start to set goals and and get to those places. And I find a lot of time people worry about, what if I’m making the wrong decision? Don’t worry, man. It’ll it’ll it’ll show itself later on. It’ll be fine. It will be fine. Yeah. So I’m a bit concerned for you now. Go on, go on. Going on?

[01:04:55] No, that’s something I’ve always been interested in, is having dentist opinion on that. Like, should you specialise? When should you specialise? Like, if you should specialise at all, like when? When do you choose what you want to do? How many years before you can go to private practise? How what’s the transition to private practitioner that you do mixed and then this know it’s.

[01:05:15] There’s no right or wrong way there’s no right or wrong.

[01:05:17] Way. Yeah you get a million different you get a million different opinions. Pretty much start where you ended up. I end up where you started.

[01:05:24] I mean, I was I was interested in patient journey because not because I was said I was interested in medicine, but I turned up to my job and I just couldn’t believe it. I could not believe that’s what it was. You know, dentistry is this. And by the way, I had a great boss. He was a very forward thinking boss. But I don’t know. It just wasn’t the way. It wasn’t anything like the dentist I used to go to when I was a kid. And then. Then you’ve got two choices, right? Your choice is fit in and do do whatever you do or this thing about actually make a change and make things better. I don’t know. If you listen to the Robbie Hughes episode, that’s a good.

[01:06:03] Idea for a guy who wants to.

[01:06:05] Change change the patient journey. But it is a little bit concerning with you do dear, because of what you said about what Covid’s done to your experience. What’s the consensus like? Are you guys all saying the same thing that it’ll just work itself out in the wash? Are you going to try and get extra? You know, some somehow get some extra experience. What do you do?

[01:06:33] I mean. Yeah, for me, this is kind of my way of my way of dealing with it. You know, as I said, like lockdown and content, just. Yeah. Like speaking to people like you, speaking to the dentist, kind of getting my name out there, doing everything I can if I can’t be in clinic.

[01:06:49] Good.

[01:06:50] You know, watch. Watch. Tubules lectures. I’ve watched. I have the thing in Australia, right? Global like content. Look on Instagram, learn, learn as much as I can. And you know, the, you know, obviously the, the biggest part of dentistry is seeing patients and doing that obviously with the soft skills as well, but doing the treatment, doing them to a high standard to get a good enough, you know, the best jobs, you know, you do have to to have a certain ability in doing these treatments. And if we’re not getting the experience as dental schools, you know, it is difficult. But I guess I’m trying to do as much as I can to to to kind of negate the fact that, you know, we’ve you know, the clinical experience I’ve had so far has been has been extremely little.

[01:07:42] You know, I don’t know if you listen to Kunal Patel, he studied in Czech Republic and he qualified dental school having done six fillings and he was saying qualifying Czech Republic made him not so worried about everything. Like people who qualified here, not worried about the GDC, not not worried about anything because they didn’t tell him to worry. And, and he said he’d sort of came and just started working and all that. And, you know, he’s now he’s about I don’t know if you follow him love teeth. He’s he has one super. Practise, one super duper practise. Yeah, but what he’s doing is he’s going from 1 to 7 in, in one year. He’s like, well and so and my, my point is he qualified with seven fillings. Yeah it’s a don’t worry. Don’t worry. But you do worry to the point of trying to, trying to do your best now. Right. That’s that’s all there is to it. All right, man, it’s been a real, real pleasure having you on. You know how we always end this year? Yeah, perhaps. Final question and my final question lately. Should we start with perhaps? Uh huh. Have you prepared?

[01:08:59] Yeah, whichever. Whichever. I’ve got some notes. Yeah. I doubt in.

[01:09:03] My deathbed it’s really difficult talking to a 12 year old about deathbed. Which year were you born?

[01:09:13] 2000.

[01:09:14] Oh, my God. I was five years old. Terrible deathbed. Nearest to see the three, three, three pieces of advice.

[01:09:30] So yeah, the first one I came up with was be kind and have good intentions and I think it’s fairly vague advice. But I remember I had a chat with my squash coach and I couldn’t have been I wasn’t, I was maybe like 13, 14 and it was kind of getting really deep with me about like what, you know, what I want from life and what I want it to be. And I kind of, I think the word that I came up with was good and not just like good as like, don’t be excellent, be good, but like just a good person who didn’t cause harm to anybody. And, you know, it wasn’t just like I did something good and positive to the world. So I think that would be the advice that I’d give as the first piece of advice. The next one would be to live your own life and kind of don’t let other people’s opinions. Or, you know, I guess if they were my family, like whatever my opinion was to stop them doing what they want to do because, you know, I feel like I didn’t have any choices forced on me, you know, growing up. Like, I wasn’t, you know, you have to do this. You have to work, work hard or do whatever. And, you know, I feel like everyone kind of should be free to kind of do do do what they want and it’s their life at the end of the day. And the last one, I guess also I felt as if I was kind of dying and I didn’t have long left. It would be to tell them to be grateful and be present for every day, every minute, you know, everything that they’ve everything that they’ve got. Because, you know, you know, and I’ve been thinking, you know, especially with some of the meditation recently, it’s like, you know, you live in so much anticipate in the future that, you know, you’re not present and you’re not enjoying the now and you’re not grateful for for what’s going on right now. So they’d be my my three things.

[01:11:06] Yeah it’s nice man I mean that that live for the now thing is a bit of a cliche everyone talks about but but living is actually quite hard is it.

[01:11:15] Yeah.

[01:11:16] I get annoyed when people worry about the past quite a lot. Like an annoyed too strong man. But. But you know what I mean? Like, forget the past. But. But I. I do find myself constantly into the future and. And not in the now. Constantly imagining what if, what if, what if, what if, what if and and and you forget now as the only real thing is.

[01:11:41] Yeah, yeah, that’s it. Yeah. The future doesn’t exist. Like.

[01:11:45] Yeah, what about pace. Final question. Fantasy dinner party. Three guests, dead or alive.

[01:11:55] Yeah. So I’m really bad at this question. Anyway, I’ve, I’ve not that I get asked it all the time, but, you know, I just don’t know who to choose. The first person I chose is. Is Li Li Mark is you know Li. Yeah. Yeah, I don’t comedian. Yeah. I just love, I just love the guy. And, you know, I listen to Russell Howard’s podcast, not his podcast. He was on Stephen Butler’s podcast and I remember he called like LAUGHTER The Lubricant for Life. And, you know, it kind of just made me appreciate, like, you know, comedy and laughing and how how great he is. So Li makes me laugh more than than any other person. So, yeah, I love him. So. Yeah. Li Li Mark would be the first person.

[01:12:40] Cool after that.

[01:12:42] I was. I know he kind of got a bit more difficult for me, but I was going to say Kanye West. But I think recently he’s is kind of gone a little bit not not himself. But I was watching the genius documentary recently and like Kanye West 20 years ago, maybe I think, you know, he is is is a genius. So I’m not going to choose Kanye West then, but I’m going to choose Jay-Z because I think I’m not I’m not I am a big fan of rap music and grime music, but I’m not a massive Jay-Z fan. But I think the label that he’s built and I think he’s got like a marketing marketing company and just kind of the life he’s lived. I think he’d be a really interesting person to ask a lot of questions. And I think he’s, you know, he’s not just a rapper, he’s bigger than that. And he’s one of the most influential people of of of current times. So that’s why I chose Jay-Z. So one more and the other last person. Yeah, one more. The last person is kind of like a homage to my not not homage I present to my younger self. And that was John Cena, the WWE wrestler.

[01:13:50] John Oh.

[01:13:56] I used to love him going off on again, like he’s risen to the top of the profession as in his work ethic is maybe ridiculous and he seems also just seems like a very charismatic guy. And yeah, I think younger Adam would be very excited to meet John Cena globally.

[01:14:17] And one final thing I notice you’re not on Tik Tok. Yes, positive smile club. Why is that one?

[01:14:26] Mannix. I can’t.

[01:14:27] Dance. But you make an error. You make an error. You make an error in the same way as in the same way as my generation was making an error when we didn’t move to Instagram. Yeah, you’re making an error there because it’s it’s powerful. You must be on it. You run it yourself, right? Oh, no, I.

[01:14:50] Well, I try and avoid it just because I spend a lot. I actually have delete just delete it off my phone as well. But I used to my my phone time, which used to be like 8aa hours a day, like around like every day. So I’m trying to stay off it, obviously get work done, be more not necessarily productive, but do better things with my time. So I take it like on top of it it would have just been a catastrophe. But yeah, I think I guess, I guess dentistry. Dentistry tick tock is definitely a thing, but I still like still, I still feel like Instagram’s where a lot of the dental stuff happens, but, you know, I feel like, I guess I could use TikTok just to put content out there. And rather than actually taking in any content, I guess you’ve got to use the platform to understand what makes a good.

[01:15:33] Tik tok Yeah, I mean no one’s really worked it out so I can’t think of a tik tok page Dental tik tok page. That’s really amazing. But that in that is the opportunity itself. Yeah. And that is where the opportunity lies. Exciting. All right, man. Lovely. Really lovely.

[01:15:51] To think.

[01:15:51] About it. I’m sure we’re going to be seeing a lot more of you and let me know if you need something for sure right here. It’s been a real pleasure to have you. Check out Adam Naughton and Positive Smile Club. Right. If someone wants to to connect to send you a DM on their right, post a small club on Instagram.

[01:16:11] Yeah, 100% positive. Small club and. Yeah, no. Yeah. I’ve really, really enjoyed this and I think I’m going to listen back to it and kind of not. It’s going to feel very surreal to be on this podcast and just hearing my voice for once on the set of Every time I listen, I kind of think of what I’d say to these these questions. And yeah, it’s I’ve really enjoyed it. So thank you so much.

[01:16:33] You’ve been very buddy. You’ve been brilliant. Thank you so much.

[01:16:38] 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.

[01:16:53] 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.

[01:17:08] 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.

[01:17:18] And don’t forget our six star rating.