Dental technician Simon Caxton shares his unconventional path into dental technology, describing his hands-on learning style, passion for the craft, and drive to excel.

Our conversation takes a deep dive into the current landscape of dental labs in the UK. We explore the challenges in finding skilled technicians, the transformative impact of digital technologies, and the value of collaboration and communication between dentists and technicians.

Enjoy!

 

In This Episode

00:02:40 – Backstory

00:16:10 – Establishing a lab

00:24:30 – Challenges

00:42:15 – Dentist-technician relationships

00:49:15 – Anatomy and workflow

00:52:25 – Skills and training

00:56:40 – Blackbox thinking

01:03:40 – Business exit

01:08:20 – Aspirations 

01:12:40 – Techniques and workflow

01:17:25 – Fantasy dinner party 

01:21:25 – Last days and legacy     

                       

About Simon Caxton

Simon Caxton is a dental technician and director of the Romford-based Simplee Dental Ceramics laboratory.  

Simon Caxton: If I was to build up two centrals together, I always start with the left [00:00:05] one. So there’s patients, right? My left, because the model is upside down. And so I always start [00:00:10] with that one. And then two centrals although they’re similar they’re not identical. And [00:00:15] that’s the hardest thing when people say I want the Centrals to look exactly the same. Well, [00:00:20] in nature they’re not exactly the same. So that’s the hardest thing, is when people say they’ve got to [00:00:25] be identical and the gingival contour is different, you might have one gingival [00:00:30] margin higher than the other. And I think when dentists do composites [00:00:35] they’re building the composite onto unprepped which is yeah, [00:00:40] the majority of the ones I see where they’ve been added to. And that’s really [00:00:45] hard because you’re working with a structure underneath that’s already going [00:00:50] in one direction, or it’s going to be thinner or more bulky in areas. What [00:00:55] we have we generally or we like to have is something that’s been tracked down and [00:01:00] we’ve got a reasonable amount of room and space and we’re recreating that whole [00:01:05] thing. Then we’ve got more scope to to build those line angles in and [00:01:10] the bow bosses and make it look more natural. But as far as shapes go, [00:01:15] it’s get one looking right and then get the other ones to kind of match it.

Intro Voice: This [00:01:20] is Dental Leaders, [00:01:25] the podcast where you get to go one on one [00:01:30] with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your [00:01:35] hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

Payman Langroudi: Dental [00:01:40] technicians are some of the unsung heroes of our profession. [00:01:45] And you know, personally, I remember my first ever job. [00:01:50] I thought I was a brilliant dentist and it turned out actually my technician [00:01:55] was brilliant. I realised I realised 2 or 3 technicians later that that guy John Oliver [00:02:00] in Kent, what a hero. Everything would fit first time, everything would look [00:02:05] beautiful and your technician can make you look amazing and not get [00:02:10] much of the praise for that or make you look terrible. And often we do blame them [00:02:15] instead of blaming ourselves. So I want to have a conversation with some technicians, [00:02:20] and we’re going to start off with Simon Caxton. Massive pleasure to [00:02:25] have you, Simon. Thank you. Simon is the, what do you call it, principal. Uh, is that how [00:02:30] they call it? Manager?

Simon Caxton: Yeah. Well, um, our lead ceramist, the lead technician [00:02:35] may be lead technician.

Payman Langroudi: Lead technician at Simply Dental Ceramics with his partner, [00:02:40] Lee wood. Um, a business that’s been going for 20 years. 20 odd [00:02:45] years or no, sorry.

Simon Caxton: 15 years this year? Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: 15 years. I’m so sorry. Recently, [00:02:50] Simon also, um, sold his lab to a much bigger group, a group called [00:02:55] chorus, who run 80 plus labs all over Europe. So it’s going to be a massive [00:03:00] pleasure to get into all of that. But let’s start, Simon, with welcoming you onto the pod [00:03:05] and get into your backstory. So you know what kind of a kid were you? Where did you [00:03:10] grow up? You know, who were your parents? Why? Dental how did it happen? Well, it sounds.

Simon Caxton: Like [00:03:15] a beginning of a biography. So I grew up in, um, Essex. I’m from Romford [00:03:20] originally, and, uh, yeah, just council estate I grew up on [00:03:25] went to a standard comprehensive school. No real aspirations to do [00:03:30] anything, especially Dental. That was probably the last thing on my mind. Um, [00:03:35] I really wanted to be a policeman, so I’m far from that. That was always my [00:03:40] my main goal, even to the point when I finished my apprenticeship, I still applied [00:03:45] for the Metropolitan Police, but they turned me down. So maybe they they saw something in me [00:03:50] that I didn’t. But, um, yeah, my parents, both my mum worked [00:03:55] two jobs to sort of keep us going. My dad had a good job in the Inland [00:04:00] Revenue. So careful what you say, Payman. Um, but [00:04:05] he’s retired from that now. Um, yeah. I love my sport. [00:04:10] I still quite a sporty person. And that was kind of my downfall, really. [00:04:15] At college, I played too much sport, didn’t do enough work, and [00:04:20] then fell in to dentistry from there. Uh, how do how [00:04:25] so I was halfway through my A levels, did my mocks, got very bad results, [00:04:30] was told I’ve got a really buck my ideas up.

Simon Caxton: And even if. But [00:04:35] back to my ideas. I’d still struggle to get a good grade, so I thought [00:04:40] maybe now is the time to start looking for a job. And I just looked through the local [00:04:45] paper and I found this, uh, advert for an apprentice dental technician. Didn’t [00:04:50] really know what it was, but it was the opportunity to still go to college. [00:04:55] So it was a day release course and earn a bit of money, I thought. So I thought, [00:05:00] well, best of both worlds. I can still go to carry on my education and and [00:05:05] earn a bit of money to to go out and support my sporting lifestyle. When I got to [00:05:10] the interview, uh, actually before I got to the interview, my mum’s friend was [00:05:15] a careers adviser and she said, oh, you can start off being a dental technician. [00:05:20] Then you can work your way up and become a hygienist and a and a dentist that way. [00:05:25] But I actually thought I was going for the interview as a dental nurse. [00:05:30] I thought I’d be in. I actually thought I’d be in practice. I had no idea what this this job entailed. [00:05:35] So I went along to the interview. A bit blind really, but [00:05:40] got there.

Simon Caxton: The guy sold it to me. Really. He told me and [00:05:45] showed me all the different things that we’d be doing. I thought, oh, this, this sounds really interesting. [00:05:50] Um, all right, I’ll give it a go. And 30 years later, [00:05:55] I’m still giving it a go. So. So I must I must have done something [00:06:00] right. But it is a really, really interesting job. And I [00:06:05] think with me as well, when I get into something, I get into something [00:06:10] regardless, regardless of what it is, I want to know all the ins and outs and I want to be [00:06:15] do it to the best of my ability. I know it sounds a bit cliched when you hear things like Muhammad [00:06:20] Ali, if I if I was going to be a binman, I’d be the best binman there is. Yeah, [00:06:25] I’m a bit like that with everything I do, I don’t. I’ve done lots of different things [00:06:30] like hobbies and whatever, and and I always go into them very deeply. And I think [00:06:35] this is the same with, with this job as well. I just wanted to know how everything [00:06:40] works and how how to do it. So yeah, [00:06:45] it was what would.

Payman Langroudi: You say straight away you felt that way when you like, you took to it fast. [00:06:50]

Simon Caxton: Yeah, I, I say I’m a pretty quick learner, but [00:06:55] I struggle to retain information. That was part of the reason why I didn’t [00:07:00] do so great at college, at doing A-levels I can [00:07:05] take information in, but not actually necessarily put [00:07:10] it out at the right time. So exams. I’m terrible exams, but I can [00:07:15] remember little details of things that probably are relevant. Um, [00:07:20] but if someone asks me where something is in the lab, I could tell them what shelf [00:07:25] it’s on, how many boxes in it is. But you ask me the square root of something, or [00:07:30] what chemical formula of something is? I couldn’t tell you, but yeah, [00:07:35] I just kind of picked it up. I’m not a naturally artistic person [00:07:40] in respect of creating sort of drawings and paintings [00:07:45] and sculptures and things like that, but I think the science and the art together, [00:07:50] I think you can learn how to do certain processes, and that’s how I kind of picked [00:07:55] it up. And then I just got a feel for it, I suppose. And [00:08:00] the science part as well, but how things work. I always thought as a kid [00:08:05] I was always like to push the boundaries and stuff. So if someone says to me, you can’t [00:08:10] do that because it’s going to break, I’d have to check for myself. It’s going to break. And [00:08:15] then no, you’re right. Or then if it didn’t, it would be like, oh, so I can do that. [00:08:20] So there’s a lot of that kind of involved, especially with Dental technology. We do push the boundaries [00:08:25] on stuff, and when we get asked to make all kinds of different things and we have to work on [00:08:30] all types of. Preps and impressions and we have to make [00:08:35] things work. So yeah. Yeah, that I do think [00:08:40] that. Yeah, I did take to it fairly well.

Payman Langroudi: I mean we’ve we’ve got a Dental [00:08:45] lab now at enlighten and we make one item right. Bleaching tray. [00:08:50] Bleaching tray. Yeah. Which, which I know all technicians for technicians are bleaching trays are nothing. [00:08:55] Yeah. It’s, it’s the lowest of the low. And it’s actually it’s quite a problematic [00:09:00] thing, right. To persuade people to sit and make bleaching trays all day. Um, okay. We may come in a particular [00:09:05] way or whatever, but what one thing that’s I’ve realised by, by now, having [00:09:10] a lab is the sort of the people difficulties [00:09:15] of it, insomuch as, you know, it’s almost like one guy gets really good at this thing. [00:09:20] If this guy leaves, it really is a nightmare. So do you [00:09:25] have to tell me about that a little bit? Do you always have to have at least two people knowing how to do everything? [00:09:30] Yes. In case one of them leaves, I think. Is that how it works?

Simon Caxton: Well, I think the dental technician, [00:09:35] especially when I was training as as an apprentice, you kind of got pigeonholed [00:09:40] into doing certain areas, the type of work. Yeah. So yeah, I’ve only [00:09:45] ever done crown and bridge work. Um, never not really done any removals, [00:09:50] any prosthetics other than a college. I could probably fudge my way through it, but [00:09:55] I could never. I couldn’t do something that I would want to give someone to, to [00:10:00] wear. Um, and I think for me, [00:10:05] as I said, I always want to know how to do everything. So with Crown and Bridge, I wanted to [00:10:10] know how the models were made and how they were done. Right. The metal work, [00:10:15] which we don’t do too much of, now wax in and cast in, and then as it’s [00:10:20] moved through, I want it to be a ceramist. I knew that’s that’s what I wanted to do. And then. Start [00:10:25] with that. And then the CAD cam came in. I really wanted to know [00:10:30] that. And I think by knowing all aspects of maybe just Crown and Bridge, [00:10:35] I think that’s good. Because people, as I said, do get pigeonholed into [00:10:40] doing one thing. So if that one person leaves, you’ve got to then find that one person [00:10:45] who’s got that specific expertise in that that area. So yeah, I agree with what you say there. [00:10:50] It’s it is hard. Um, and it is still hard to find people that [00:10:55] have got a good all round knowledge of, of the, of the work we do. [00:11:00]

Payman Langroudi: But then you’ve got okay on one side, you’ve got that the actual technical work. [00:11:05] Um, and, and as you say, there’s a, there’s an artistry to it, but there is a definitely [00:11:10] a science side to it. Then you’ve got the sort of, you know, the type of technician who produces [00:11:15] beautiful looking stuff, but it doesn’t fit in the same way. [00:11:20] And you’ve got the other type of technician where it fits. Everything fits like a glove, but the aesthetics aren’t [00:11:25] quite there. And that’s just the technician piece. Yeah, let alone the business piece. The running, [00:11:30] running a business where there’s lots of technicians. And then what I’ve [00:11:35] noticed is that we just make bleaching trays and we’re already on our fourth printer. [00:11:40] Yeah, yeah. Because because you realise you need something else or something’s cheaper or something’s [00:11:45] more expensive or and your, your CapEx in a lab, like I [00:11:50] dread to think what it must be like, how much you must have to spend on machines and things. [00:11:55] When I’m just making bleaching trays, I’m spending hundreds of thousands on stuff.

Simon Caxton: Sometimes [00:12:00] we’ve probably got the same machines that do the same thing, but we’re using them differently.

Payman Langroudi: So yeah, [00:12:05] yeah, I mean, we’ve got.

Simon Caxton: Three printers now. Uh, we’ve got [00:12:10] our own in-house milling unit, but then you’ve got all the bits and pieces, as you know, that. Go [00:12:15] with that. So you’ve got the cleaning side of the printing and the post-processing. [00:12:20] Yeah. And all the, the areas to trim up as well. [00:12:25] And. We was having this conversation merely the other day [00:12:30] that we’ll do an implant for someone and they won’t have the right [00:12:35] driver to do that implant in the surgery. They’ve sent us the implant in the first place, [00:12:40] and it’s like I’m the driver to do that. And so we’ve got a driver for every system going. [00:12:45] You might have to buy a driver for a really obscure system that you’ve never heard [00:12:50] of before, for one case, for one case. And they’ve got it sitting in the drawer somewhere. But you’ve [00:12:55] got all these different drivers, we’ve got all the articulators known to man, so [00:13:00] you have to cover every eventuality. And someone said to us, we were [00:13:05] a bit like MacGyver of the dental world yesterday, and that that’s [00:13:10] just the things you can buy without the things that we’ve fashioned up and made ourselves as well.

Payman Langroudi: And [00:13:15] then this thing that you said where you sort of hyperfocus on some [00:13:20] stuff like like sport, for instance, and like, you know, technology, [00:13:25] um, I’ve noticed technicians have that they’ve got like a, I don’t [00:13:30] know if you’d call it ADHD or whatever. Yeah, but but something like that where [00:13:35] they’re focussed completely in and they’re in that world. And sometimes [00:13:40] if you, if you interrupt them, it can really get to them. It’s. Is that a thing? Yeah. Just my technician. [00:13:45] Definitely. Yeah. Uh.

Simon Caxton: It can take me a long time [00:13:50] during the day to actually sit down at my bench and start work. I might [00:13:55] I might not start building a case until, like, after lunch. And I’ve got to finish [00:14:00] it that day and to build up a case from start to finish. Could take me. If it’s a [00:14:05] full arch, it could take me anything from a full arch, probably an hour and a half plus, [00:14:10] and you get interrupted in the middle of that, a phone call or a text and email or whatever, [00:14:15] and you just lose, lose your focus. It it’s really hard. [00:14:20] And as you say, running a business as well. I think I’m still learning how to do that. Even [00:14:25] after 15 years. And since the, uh, we’ve been, um, become a part of the group. [00:14:30] Like you just said to me, CapEx there, I never even knew that what that was until last week. And all these abbreviations, [00:14:35] I’m getting these spreadsheets to fill out. And it’s [00:14:40] like, what? What does this mean? And it was before it was like, do we need is [00:14:45] it broken? Yeah. Can we fix it? No, we need to buy it and let’s get another one that.

Payman Langroudi: It’s quite it’s [00:14:50] quite similar to being a dentist, right. As a dentist you’re trained to do some dentistry, but you’ve got no idea [00:14:55] on running a business. Yeah. And, and and a lot of us fudge our way through, [00:15:00] don’t we. And make loads of mistakes and and and sort of. You [00:15:05] must now be in touch with loads of different labs. Does does is that true. [00:15:10] Is is each lab very different because of this fact that people are just making it up or [00:15:15] is there has there been like a professionalisation?

Simon Caxton: I always used to think that people didn’t have the same problems [00:15:20] that we had, and every lab was different and we were doing something wrong, and then you [00:15:25] speak to them and they have exactly the same problems, the same problems with staff, the same problem [00:15:30] with work coming in and impressions and preps, things going missing [00:15:35] in the post. The same the couriers they use, everybody has the same. I think it’s the same if [00:15:40] if that’s the standardisation, that’s it. We all have the same problems. Um, I [00:15:45] think with digital coming in now, that has started to standardise things [00:15:50] a little more with designs and people designing [00:15:55] work as well. Although there’s I’ve had a few people say to me, [00:16:00] oh, you can just get someone in who’s good on a computer and they can design, but yes, [00:16:05] they can. But going back to what you said earlier, you get people that make these beautiful looking [00:16:10] restorations, but they’re not functioning properly. They can they can fill a space [00:16:15] with a software design. But they don’t look [00:16:20] at the path of its excursion and the bite. So [00:16:25] you may get a lovely looking ground. You come to fit it. It could be as high as you like, really tight [00:16:30] contacts. So I think we try and the technicians we have here [00:16:35] that we bring on to CAD cam, we try and get them to do still diagnostic waxing by hand, [00:16:40] finishing the work themselves. So once they’ve designed it, they’ve got to finish it as well so [00:16:45] they can see the problems. Because if they’re getting problems at the next stage, [00:16:50] then the dentist is going to get problems coming to fix it. So they’ve [00:16:55] got they’ve got to learn that way. So CAD has standardise it a [00:17:00] little, but it’s all.

Payman Langroudi: Your work done with CAD now.

Simon Caxton: Um, I think [00:17:05] 80% of our income in work is CAD. So [00:17:10] intraoral scanners, most of it is designed by CAD. Now, I still do [00:17:15] quite a bit of, uh, feldspathic work like refractory veneers and things. They’ve, [00:17:20] they’ve come fashionable again I think.

Payman Langroudi: Is that like contact lens veneer. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: Yeah. So [00:17:25] yeah. So a lot of those still use the old techniques like duplicating [00:17:30] models and foil veneers, things like that. But yeah, all [00:17:35] of our posterior work is pretty much done CAD. Now we don’t really build anything up. And [00:17:40] in that respect. So.

Payman Langroudi: So tell me your training [00:17:45] when you say college to become a technician. How long is that?

Simon Caxton: So when I did it, [00:17:50] it was for a day. So a four year day release, one [00:17:55] day a week. And we it was broken up in each year. So first [00:18:00] year was sort of your basics and fundamental kind of stuff. So it was like basic blocks and [00:18:05] special trays, anatomy, things like that. Second year was removable. [00:18:10] Third year was also again never done any ortho since then. And the last stage [00:18:15] was crown and bridge, which was great for me. But I was like, I had to wait four [00:18:20] years to get to the bit that I really knew how to do, but now there [00:18:25] are. I think they do degree courses that are about 2 or 3 years. [00:18:30] I’m not sure. There are still day release courses. One of our, [00:18:35] um, trainees here is on a day release course. She’s an accidental nurse [00:18:40] who decided she’d had enough of nursing and was a bit arty and decided to come into this, which [00:18:45] is good. She’s doing really well. But yeah, the college is. Now that there’s not [00:18:50] enough of them, there’s not enough people coming into the trade that that that is.

Payman Langroudi: A and when you [00:18:55] when you get when you get a new person in the lab, how long does it take you to work out if that guy [00:19:00] is, you know, knows his stuff or is good? If it can tell pretty [00:19:05] quickly. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: If it’s a trainee, you can normally tell within sort of 3 to [00:19:10] 6 months. I’d say that. And they normally start off pretty good. [00:19:15] They’re quite keen. We used to do like a three month probation period, but we extended that [00:19:20] to six for trainees because say they start off very keen and want to know [00:19:25] everything and then they settle in and then it’s more down to their attitude to [00:19:30] work I suppose with any same with any job. But you can also then start to tell the more [00:19:35] you give them to do their manual dexterity, whether they can do [00:19:40] that, they might have the the right attitude, but they might not be actually necessarily be able to [00:19:45] to work with it.

Payman Langroudi: And so you have to make an assessment of can I teach this person. [00:19:50] Yeah. Or are there some things that can’t be taught?

Simon Caxton: I think there’s some things.

Payman Langroudi: That can’t be level of [00:19:55] artistry. Yeah. Like a your eyes basically. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: And the art [00:20:00] history sort of level of it comes into it. I mean they may have a really good knowledge of [00:20:05] how things work and how to do things, but if you can’t build [00:20:10] up a crowd or finish a crown, then, I mean, that’s our finished product at the end of the [00:20:15] day. That’s why people keep coming back. And yeah, yeah, you can [00:20:20] you can tell pretty quickly from that.

Payman Langroudi: So tell me you did your you did your college. What [00:20:25] did you do next? Did you go get a job at a lab.

Simon Caxton: So no. So the the apprenticeship [00:20:30] was four days in a lab. So the, the lab that I went to for an interview was, [00:20:35] um, all NHS work. This was sort of mid, mid 90s 93 [00:20:40] I started. So it was all NHS work, um, and [00:20:45] quite a high volume of NHS work as well. We were doing [00:20:50] between 100 and £120 a day, um, between [00:20:55] four people, and I was one of them as a trainee. So it was a real.

Payman Langroudi: The [00:21:00] old way as well. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: Everything that precious metal, um, which [00:21:05] you wouldn’t do now, um, just for the sheer cost of it. Um. [00:21:10] Yeah. So I did four days a week in the lab, one day at college, and then [00:21:15] when I qualified, I decided, well, when I qualified is when I [00:21:20] then applied for the Metropolitan Police because, um, I thought it would be a given [00:21:25] because in those days, uh, one of the stipulation was you had to be over six foot two and [00:21:30] I’m six foot five, so I thought, I’m definitely going to get in here, but no. So [00:21:35] I then because I got the knock back from the police and that was what [00:21:40] I really wanted to do then actually was wasn’t really what I wanted to do. But [00:21:45] I finished the apprenticeship, I went travelling to Australia for a few months and then came [00:21:50] back. And then because I didn’t really know how to do anything else, I [00:21:55] kind of got a job. In a lab again. And I got a job [00:22:00] as a freelance technician, and I worked in three labs. Um, six days a [00:22:05] week because that was what was available. And I did that for probably [00:22:10] about 18 months. And then one of the labs there was a really good lab [00:22:15] and all private work. It was only like a one man sort of lab. [00:22:20] And that’s where I really wanted to work, because I knew I could learn a lot there, [00:22:25] and I did. So I managed to get five days a week there and stayed [00:22:30] there for 11 years.

Payman Langroudi: Wow. Which lab was that?

Simon Caxton: That was, [00:22:35] uh, amdec. Ropsten. Oh, really? Yeah. So we have met before. [00:22:40] Payman. I don’t know if you remember me on on the, um. No action courses. [00:22:45]

Payman Langroudi: Oh, on the course.

Simon Caxton: Yeah, yeah. So, um.

Payman Langroudi: It was at that point [00:22:50] you were with Rob? Yeah.

Simon Caxton: So I used to do the lab work for the courses.

Payman Langroudi: I [00:22:55] see, I see, I see. So. So then tell me about the time you decided [00:23:00] I’m going to go out on my own. Well.

Simon Caxton: When I started as an apprentice, I always thought, [00:23:05] like, oh, maybe I could do this on my own. Like, I could see what? And it was [00:23:10] always an ambition of mine to do it. Yeah. I never really wanted to leave where I was, [00:23:15] but I didn’t see any way around doing [00:23:20] doing it any other way, really. I, I wanted the recognition for the work I was [00:23:25] doing. I think that’s what a lot of technicians don’t get. They don’t get [00:23:30] the recognition for the work they do. As you said at the beginning, the unsung heroes really, I think [00:23:35] without wanting to blow my own trumpet, it’s well, if we probably do get a blame for [00:23:40] a lot of stuff that don’t turn up on time, and I think that doesn’t fit. But [00:23:45] when it does go right and I see it a lot now on social media, these dentists [00:23:50] putting cases up, the technician very, very rarely gets a mention. [00:23:55] And it is a team effort when we’re half of that. So [00:24:00] a team that’s put that together. So yeah, I wanted to [00:24:05] get recognition for what I did and I wanted to do things my way. [00:24:10] I think when you work for somebody else, you can you sort of toe the line, really. [00:24:15] You have to kind of do things the way they want to do it. And I wanted to do things [00:24:20] my way, and I wanted to do a lot more courses. I wanted to learn a lot more. I’d [00:24:25] say I get really involved. I really, I really want to know stuff [00:24:30] like, I love doing a course. People that know me like I’ve I’ve [00:24:35] been on loads, I’ve seen some of the best technicians in the world and I’ve spent a lot [00:24:40] of money on courses. So I was trying to totally up the other day, and I reckon I’ve spent over £35,000 on [00:24:45] courses just in the last 15 years. Wow.

Payman Langroudi: So was Lee your partner [00:24:50] from the beginning? Yes.

Simon Caxton: So I knew Lee from college. So, um, we [00:24:55] started college at the same time, and, uh, we both live quite close [00:25:00] to each other, so we always stayed in touch. And then he came to work with us at Amdec [00:25:05] as well. It’s a bit controversial because we both left at the same time to, to [00:25:10] set up. Yeah, they go down too. Well, I bet.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, I bet. [00:25:15]

Simon Caxton: So, um.

Payman Langroudi: But tell me about the thought processes. Like, you know, I guess [00:25:20] you decided you were going to do this and and did you take to business ownership? Well, [00:25:25] were you worried about it? What did you do? Did you have to save money and [00:25:30] and get a loan and. Just talk me through the process of actually making that [00:25:35] leap because it’s it’s a massive leap, right? Just like an associate going to become a principal. [00:25:40] Such a big thing to do. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: So like, I mean, I’ve [00:25:45] got a well paid job and and you want to make this [00:25:50] leap, as you say. And and it is I had a young family. I had two children under [00:25:55] two. So yeah, it was and it was a point where for [00:26:00] me, it was now or never. But one of the. How old were you? I was 37. [00:26:05] Yeah. 3637 something of that. And [00:26:10] I kept saying to Lee, do you want to start a lab? Do you want to start a lab? And he’s like, no, [00:26:15] no. And then one day I said to him, like, just tongue in cheek, you want to start [00:26:20] a lab? And he went, yeah, I do. And I was like, really? And he’s like, yeah, I want to do it. [00:26:25] So okay, so we looked into it and it was all done. We had [00:26:30] a little bit of savings, but it was all bank loans and credit cards. Yeah, just [00:26:35] maxed them out. We went unpaid for the first three months. Luckily, [00:26:40] we had a couple of people that, uh, knew we were leaving. [00:26:45] And then.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. How does that how does the goodwill piece work in labs? Is that is [00:26:50] similar? Is it similar to a practice like an associate when he leaves the practice really shouldn’t be taking [00:26:55] patients with him. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: There’s no goodwill sort of thing. There’s no goodwill.

Payman Langroudi: Is that not [00:27:00] a thing? Is that not a thing with labs at all? Yeah, well.

Simon Caxton: It is, but I is there.

Payman Langroudi: Not a contract [00:27:05] that says, hey, don’t take my customers?

Simon Caxton: Um, no, no no, no, [00:27:10] there’s nothing. There was nothing in my contract. Um, I couldn’t [00:27:15] work within I think it was 12 miles of of of the [00:27:20] lab. But there was I mean, I think as a. An etiquette [00:27:25] thing. You shouldn’t do it. I mean, we never actually, we did. And hand on heart, I didn’t [00:27:30] approach anybody. And I still maintain that to this day. It’s a fight, what [00:27:35] people say. But, um, it’s just when social media was kind of, [00:27:40] sort of kicking off, like. So it was still early days with Facebook and [00:27:45] there was no real Instagram, but I just put out my intentions, what I was [00:27:50] doing on Facebook, and people found out that way. And. [00:27:55] When they found when they knew we’d actually left, they got in contact [00:28:00] then. So would you would.

Payman Langroudi: You say you were profitable in the first year? Yeah.

Simon Caxton: Oh, [00:28:05] brilliant. So we started in August 2010 [00:28:10] and by January 2011 we needed more staff. [00:28:15] We had so much work with, well, two people anyway. [00:28:20] We didn’t know what to do. And then we were thinking, have we done the right thing here?

Payman Langroudi: So [00:28:25] because there’s those growing pains as well, right? You know, like you suddenly [00:28:30] you need more people. The culture changes. How many people were you when you sold it?

Simon Caxton: Uh, [00:28:35] I.

Payman Langroudi: Eight in total.

Simon Caxton: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Is that eight [00:28:40] technicians or is that eight humans?

Simon Caxton: So seven technicians and one admin. But [00:28:45] since we’ve, we’ve um, the takeover, we’ve [00:28:50] actually added another admin because we just can’t keep up with. [00:28:55] All that side of it, and I do. Is there a.

Payman Langroudi: Simon? Is there an element of a technician [00:29:00] eventually getting to a point where he doesn’t do the work and everyone else is doing the work, or is that not [00:29:05] the kind of technician you want to be or what?

Simon Caxton: It’s not really the kind of technician I want to be because I [00:29:10] do enjoy doing what I do. I do like making making things [00:29:15] and stuff. Yeah. And getting getting my hands dirty. Still, I think I’d much rather do that [00:29:20] than have to run a business and. Yeah, and do all the [00:29:25] paperwork and sort out finances.

Payman Langroudi: But there is that other type of technician as well, isn’t there, [00:29:30] that you see it sometimes where it’s the senior guy, the one, the guy with the name on the door. Yeah. Isn’t [00:29:35] the one making. That’s kind of what you were saying. You weren’t getting the, the, the kudos [00:29:40] for the work you were doing was that the situation was that kind of the situation?

Simon Caxton: Yeah, that’s how I felt as well. But [00:29:45] I think it’s a bit like some the celebrity chefs now as well. But they have their [00:29:50] name on the door. But you go to their restaurant, they’re not cooking. Yeah, [00:29:55] yeah, yeah. But I think some people or some clients have got send work [00:30:00] because they want me to do the work. And I’m sure that’s the same with other labs as well. The other technicians [00:30:05] that have got a good reputation, they, they get the work because [00:30:10] people want them to do the work. Yeah. Yeah. So. Yeah, [00:30:15] I would rather be on the tools at the bench doing the work. [00:30:20]

Payman Langroudi: Let’s quickly let’s quickly while we’re on it. Let’s quickly sort of fast forward to the to the end of that [00:30:25] journey where you sold up. How did how did that come about? Were you looking [00:30:30] to sell? Did they come and find you? What was the process? Um, so.

Simon Caxton: No, it wasn’t looking to sell [00:30:35] at all? No. And we’d been approached by [00:30:40] another corporate to see if he was interested and we wasn’t. And then [00:30:45] Ashley Byrne, who had joined chorus last year. Uh, [00:30:50] he was the first.

Payman Langroudi: He wasn’t the first one.

Simon Caxton: Yeah. So we met him. Well. [00:30:55] Bumped into him in a bar at the Addy last year and we [00:31:00] were just chatting and then we asked him the question, so why have you joined? Chorus. [00:31:05] Like any sort of explain why and his thought process behind [00:31:10] it and why he’d done it, and he said, there, I’m glad I’ve bumped into [00:31:15] you actually, because we’d like you to join as well. Was that? Ah, okay. [00:31:20] And mainly had a conversation. Quite a few conversations [00:31:25] as to the pros and cons for it, and [00:31:30] we can only really see pros for for us. And so [00:31:35] that’s why we decided to go down that route.

Payman Langroudi: How are how are labs valued? [00:31:40] Is it just like like practices. Is it like a multiple of your EBITDA EBITDA? [00:31:45]

Simon Caxton: Yeah, yeah. So um.

Payman Langroudi: But then is there to explain it to me. Like what what [00:31:50] kind of EBITDA is good EBITDA and what kind of EBITDA isn’t good? Like what what makes a [00:31:55] lab like increase the multiple?

Simon Caxton: I don’t know, because it’s just another thing I’ve had to learn. [00:32:00] I’ve I didn’t even know what EBITDA was when until last year I had to [00:32:05] Google it and work it out. And I’m.

Payman Langroudi: Not. No. Okay. My question kind of my question is if it’s let’s [00:32:10] say the lab is turning over £2 million, if it’s 2 million NHS pounds, is that [00:32:15] as valuable as 2 million private pounds for the sake of the argument?

Simon Caxton: Uh, yeah, probably. I mean, because [00:32:20] the actual doesn’t make a difference. No, because the type of work you do from an NHS crowns were [00:32:25] private crown other than maybe materials, the work should be the same. [00:32:30] That’s why when we we set up the lab, we didn’t decide. We decided we just wanted to do [00:32:35] private work. But the actual type of restoration you’re making is [00:32:40] the same. You might be able to to skimp on a use a cheaper material here and there. [00:32:45] Um, but the processes you do is exactly the same. So I [00:32:50] don’t really see that there should be any difference in or there should only really be one price [00:32:55] for a crown, um, because you’re doing the same thing and [00:33:00] by calling it an NHS crown or whatever, or giving it to [00:33:05] like a junior technician to do. You’re devaluing it and they’re not getting the best work. [00:33:10] Really. That makes sense.

Payman Langroudi: It does. It does give us the lay of the land [00:33:15] right now. Yeah. For someone from an outsider kind of looking in and at the [00:33:20] dental technician, the dental technology sector in the UK, what’s the lay of the land? [00:33:25] It’s not. What, because there’s been loads of changes. I know there’s been loads [00:33:30] of outsourcing that um to abroad and then you’ve got [00:33:35] the changes in the NHS, private system itself. Just give us a, give us an outline [00:33:40] of the lay of the land, land. And where do you sit in that? I know you’re a very, very private and [00:33:45] award winning and so forth. Right.

Simon Caxton: So, um, it sounds [00:33:50] great from my point of view because there’s very there’s less technicians [00:33:55] now. Why? Well, I think Covid didn’t help. [00:34:00] So since Covid there were unregistered GDC registering 2020, [00:34:05] there were 7500 technicians in the UK. [00:34:10] There’s 5000 registered technicians now. And well, [00:34:15] there’s there’s not enough people coming into it to there’s more people leaving than there [00:34:20] is. Joining the education doesn’t help. I think [00:34:25] there’s only something like 6 or 7 colleges or universities that are doing Dental [00:34:30] technology now. The average age of technicians doesn’t help. I think [00:34:35] it’s going up. Yeah. What do you think the average age of a technician is in the UK today? [00:34:40]

Payman Langroudi: 30, 30.

Simon Caxton: 56.

Payman Langroudi: The [00:34:45] average.

Simon Caxton: I’ve actually got some stats on my phone. Oh my goodness, I am so. [00:34:50] Nearly 40%. Of technicians are over 55. [00:34:55] Wow and 22% are over 65. A [00:35:00] less than 16% are under 44.

Payman Langroudi: 22% are [00:35:05] over 65.

Simon Caxton: That’s crazy, isn’t it? So in a few years time. [00:35:10] It’s if they’re lucky.

Payman Langroudi: Enough that 22% gone.

Simon Caxton: Yeah. So yeah. [00:35:15] And there’s not 22% new technicians coming in. So. [00:35:20] Yeah. In that respect, that doesn’t look too, too good. Um. [00:35:25]

Payman Langroudi: But when you say Covid had a lot to do with it, what does a lot of labs go under [00:35:30] during Covid?

Simon Caxton: Some. Some went under, especially NHS sort of level labs. And [00:35:35] then a lot of techniques, especially, uh, foreign technicians, [00:35:40] went home during Covid and then never came back.

Payman Langroudi: And then Brexit. [00:35:45]

Simon Caxton: Brexit had a big part, part of it as well. And [00:35:50] technicians that were coming over with qualifications, the GDC wouldn’t recognise [00:35:55] them. So they some of them are working in the UK but they’re not [00:36:00] GDC registered. We’ve got one ourself who is a very talented technician [00:36:05] from Hungary. She’s tried to register with the GDC, but [00:36:10] she’s got to jump through all these hoops with all the paperwork and everything. She just gave up in the end and [00:36:15] she’s more than capable of doing the work. But I think during Covid as [00:36:20] well, there was technicians, especially in the sort of lower end of the the scale, like the NHS [00:36:25] labs, they could earn more driving for Tesco’s or [00:36:30] doing other jobs which were less stressful than being a dental technician [00:36:35] and. Not not the money. I mean, we always [00:36:40] try and. Pay a little bit over the odds for technicians. Keep [00:36:45] your people happy. Yeah. Yeah. Um. Just because it’s hot. If you find [00:36:50] a good technician, you’ve got to retain. It’s like any job, I think. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Lock and key.

Simon Caxton: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: I [00:36:55] agree, so. But go on. The lay of the land insomuch as. [00:37:00] Tell me the general makeup of a of an NHS lab. Is it a much bigger organisation [00:37:05] or smaller? Not necessarily. There’s not because you guys are eight, [00:37:10] eight. Kind of. You’re a boutique lab, right?

Simon Caxton: Yeah, I’d say so, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: So what are the big labs doing? [00:37:15] What’s the story with them?

Simon Caxton: But the bigger labs tend to do more full service [00:37:20] laboratories, so they’ll do prosthetics. And although they’ll do a lot more [00:37:25] disciplines, whereas the smaller labs tend to stick to your lovely prosthetic labs and your average [00:37:30] labs.

Payman Langroudi: Do you have any idea? Do you have any idea of what percentage is being outsourced [00:37:35] to China or wherever?

Simon Caxton: Not outsourced? No. Uh, China. So that [00:37:40] kind of all got, um, sort of a few years back. That was [00:37:45] the, uh, thing. The thing. Yeah. But then I think again, with Brexit [00:37:50] and, and whatever the import sort of side of it, that slowed everything down. [00:37:55] And I don’t know, I’m aware of the outsourcing part isn’t as much [00:38:00] of a threat to Dental labs now as it was as it was. I think the biggest threat is lack [00:38:05] of technicians and and most people and most lab owners. You say [00:38:10] you speak to them, they can’t find good technicians.

Payman Langroudi: So, [00:38:15] Simon, look, if you rewind 20 years, do [00:38:20] you think technicians were more valued then than they are now?

Simon Caxton: No, I think they’re more valued now, [00:38:25] I think, because.

Payman Langroudi: Then how can it be that they’re not getting paid enough to want to become technicians? [00:38:30] I think what’s going on? What’s the story there?

Simon Caxton: I don’t know. It’s not unless [00:38:35] you know about Dental technology or. Yeah, you’re not going to come into it. I [00:38:40] fell into it. Uh, Lee fell into it. He he leads [00:38:45] a qualified stonemason. So. And it was only because he couldn’t find a job as a stonemason. [00:38:50] His friend, who was doing a part time job at a lab, said, oh, we need someone part time [00:38:55] just to make some models. And he’s like, oh, I can make models. I’m a stonemason. And [00:39:00] then he’s been doing it ever since. There’s [00:39:05] not many people that go looking for Dental technology. I say they either fall into [00:39:10] it that they even know someone who’s already in dentistry, or [00:39:15] it happens by mistake. But I think we’re more valued now, especially by dentists. [00:39:20] I mean, because there isn’t many of us about and especially like I mean, [00:39:25] I’ve been doing it 30 years, people with our knowledge and our experience. We [00:39:30] get a lot of, um, young dentists that get in contact with [00:39:35] us and want to know. And we’ve had, um, know about the lab side [00:39:40] of it. We’ve had dentists come to the lab, spend a couple of days here [00:39:45] just to see what we do, and they haven’t got a clue. Some of them, especially ones straight [00:39:50] out of, uh, university, because I don’t think if I’m right, [00:39:55] I don’t think they teach the lab side so much now as they used to. So [00:40:00] yeah, they don’t really know. What goes on in a lab. [00:40:05]

Payman Langroudi: And I found I found one of the best ways to know, like, who’s [00:40:10] a great dentist is to go and ask technicians.

Simon Caxton: 100%. I always say, if people ask [00:40:15] me, do you see?

Payman Langroudi: You see the actual work, don’t you? I mean, I know a thousand dentists here, but I don’t know [00:40:20] what the actual work is like. Yeah, I see the end result. Right. But that’s, that’s that’s [00:40:25] not a true picture of what’s going on sometimes, you know, picture before and after doesn’t show me [00:40:30] anything, does it. As far as what happened. No. But you see it all.

Simon Caxton: Yeah. But those before [00:40:35] and afters they. They tell a story of this is what we started [00:40:40] with. This is what we finished. Yeah. They don’t tell you the bit in the middle. So we [00:40:45] might do a great case of a dentist that puts it on Instagram and say, oh, look at this. [00:40:50] This is the and it’s like, wow, that looks brilliant. But they don’t see all the stages [00:40:55] that have gone to get there. And the plan in. The [00:41:00] fight is of things that have gone wrong on that case, that we’ve been redone. [00:41:05] And, um, so you might get a dentist call you and say, oh, I’ve seen your [00:41:10] work. It looks great. I want it to look like this case. And then they’ll send you something and say, well, [00:41:15] I can’t do that with this. This. You’re not going to get the same thing. And then you’ve got to try and sort of talk [00:41:20] them through it. And plan it. And and I don’t always [00:41:25] want to do that. There are lots of people and there’s probably lots of technicians as well that cut corners and. [00:41:30] Just it’s the planning side. And that’s where. [00:41:35]

Payman Langroudi: I find, you know, I mean, okay, I wasn’t I wasn’t a pretty I wasn’t [00:41:40] a very accomplished dentist. You know, I gave up quite quickly. [00:41:45] Um, dentistry. And I think it takes a good, good, good ten years to become a good dentist. [00:41:50] I feel like, you know, once you’ve been through all the different sort of situations that can come up. [00:41:55] I never did ten years, but but one thing that I sort of figured out [00:42:00] early on was how much you can learn from your technician. I [00:42:05] mean, some of the best things that I learned were from my technician, you know, and [00:42:10] getting the technician involved early on in the process before you cut. Yeah. So [00:42:15] that so that together you can say, right. You know, you can I can use some porcelain that’s slightly more [00:42:20] opaque or the 100 different variables of things you could try. [00:42:25] Um, people don’t realise. And by the way, I think the same thing about salespeople, [00:42:30] you know, a lot, a lot of dentists see salespeople as a pain in the neck. You know, I don’t want to see that guy busy. [00:42:35] I want to drill teeth or whatever. But salespeople have got, you know, market knowledge [00:42:40] and it’s gold. Yeah. Do you have that? I mean, what would be your best case scenario is that is that it [00:42:45] to see the patient before or see pictures before the guy even goes ahead? Yeah. Do you have that relationship [00:42:50] with some dentists. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: And and new clients as well that ring up and ask me [00:42:55] to do a case before I’ve even decided on what we’re going to do and how we’re [00:43:00] going to do it. I need to to see the beginning so that that planning part is key. [00:43:05] Uh, they might say to me, I want to do this case and I will use all feldspathic [00:43:10] veneers. Is that why do you want to use Feldspathic? I think that will be the best case [00:43:15] or that would be best. You know that now. I don’t think it will. So I want to do a [00:43:20] all ceramic crown on a post and core or an implant and say, well, a [00:43:25] good old fashioned PFM might be best there because we’re going to mask everything out. It’s not [00:43:30] always like that product might not be the best answer [00:43:35] for that case. It’s not the best solution. And we’ve got a I like to have more, [00:43:40] uh, like the control over that. If people insist on something, I’ll do it for [00:43:45] them. I will point out that the the the shortfall in zone out and where it could [00:43:50] go wrong. And normally when you say if it goes wrong, you’ll be paying again, then they [00:43:55] start listening to you. I said.

Payman Langroudi: Look, I mean, it’s funny because [00:44:00] you got the one side of it, which is what you just described there. I mean, we get it all the time. We get terrible impressions sometimes [00:44:05] for for bleaching trays. Yeah. And we call them up and say, look, we need another impression. [00:44:10] And often they say, just go ahead and do it right.

Simon Caxton: You’re just going to come out with the classic line of do [00:44:15] your best. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, do your best, do your best. That is [00:44:20] the and I don’t know, we’re internally we had a whole situation about this about because [00:44:25] at the end of the day if, if then the the bleaching doesn’t work as well. That that that [00:44:30] does reflect on our brand as well. Yeah. And at what point do we refuse the [00:44:35] impression and say you have to retake. We’re not we’re not making it. Yeah. Because it’s it’s [00:44:40] slightly different with us. Right. Insomuch as that, you know, the brand gets gets its own Google reviews [00:44:45] and things. Yeah. So we can’t have it not working. But people get very violently angry [00:44:50] sometimes if you tell them that I do.

Simon Caxton: Yeah. And yeah. And [00:44:55] I’m glad you you’ve seen it from that side because that we get that all [00:45:00] the time. And I think some people don’t want to lose face with the patient [00:45:05] because they’ve got to get them back and redoing it again because then it looks reflects badly on them. [00:45:10] Um, yeah. And I always say that just tell them lab can’t do what [00:45:15] you’ve asked us to do. Blame. Blame me if you have to, I don’t care. Yeah. Um, I [00:45:20] mean, I’m not at the coalface. I don’t see them. So very rarely do I get to see patients. [00:45:25] Um, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: And to be fair, to be fair, there is the other side of it. Yeah, that sometimes clinically, things [00:45:30] are so difficult. Oh, yeah. That is the best you can do. You know, like the patient won’t go back. He [00:45:35] won’t open his mouth or, or whatever it is. You know, there’s a particular reason why [00:45:40] it’s such a terrible situation. Yeah. Um, but but I think it comes down [00:45:45] to the collaboration, the communication between dentists and lab. Even though these [00:45:50] days, I’m sure, you know, with you and your customers, it’s all very like, you know, together [00:45:55] there isn’t best practice, hasn’t really been figured out or no one really taught us [00:46:00] here to be very collaborative with our technician. And and [00:46:05] I think it’s such an important thing is probably [00:46:10] the most important thing to be able to communicate quickly and effectively [00:46:15] with the technician. What percentage of cases do you end up actually coming in and doing [00:46:20] a shade or, you know, seeing the patient?

Simon Caxton: I couldn’t say percentages, but I probably [00:46:25] see on average about five patients a week to do shade matching. Yeah. Say [00:46:30] daddy and it is normally just anterior posterior [00:46:35] stuff that they do themselves, but it is normally the single central [00:46:40] or single lateral or smile cases. I might see someone that’s, um, been [00:46:45] in tents for a week or so and we do a review and sort of guide [00:46:50] them through a shade. And some people already have in their mind [00:46:55] they want white, they just want a white, white set of teeth and that’s it. And then others [00:47:00] want white, but they want him to look natural. And you have to kind of try and explain to them. Which [00:47:05] shades will work best for them. And I think when they come into [00:47:10] the lab as well, they. They’re amazed that what they say because it [00:47:15] half of them come in and say, oh, do you make them here? And it’s like, yeah, we make everything here. [00:47:20] And because where we do the show taking it at area, it’s like a glass partition [00:47:25] off to the rest of the lab so they can see out and see everybody [00:47:30] working away. And. All the machinery go in and and a [00:47:35] lot of them are genuinely interested in what’s going on and how [00:47:40] their teeth are being made, and that’s not really something they see. So. It. [00:47:45] I think it gives a bit of added value as well to the case [00:47:50] when the patient comes down. And definitely. So definitely. Yeah. So we [00:47:55] see a lot of people, um.

Payman Langroudi: Simon, tell me from the anatomy perspective because, [00:48:00] you know, it’s funny, since this sort of composite bonding thing is taken off, a lot, dentists [00:48:05] are having to learn the very basics of line angles and, [00:48:10] and just, just, just smile design. Right. Actually making making the teeth themselves. [00:48:15] Right. And for instance, we run a composite bonding course and Dipesh [00:48:20] who’s the teacher? His brother is a technician at Palmer. Right. Yeah. Yeah. [00:48:25] And and the, the amount of stuff that Dipesh has picked up from hit and, [00:48:30] and the kind of things that he says that. Oh yeah. My brother [00:48:35] would do it this way. It’s it’s almost like the teaching of anatomy [00:48:40] and shade is separate for dentists and for technicians. We’re taught separate [00:48:45] things, different things and, and and yet we both need to get to this final [00:48:50] result right of the tooth. Um, so it’s a bit of an unfair [00:48:55] question what I’m going to ask you next here, but it’s kind of like, what’s the crux? [00:49:00] What’s the crux of making two centrals look great?

Simon Caxton: Make them look great.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. [00:49:05] Where do you start? Where do you. What do you really? I’m familiar at the medial line angles. Right. Obviously. [00:49:10] Yeah. They have to be the same.

Simon Caxton: So when I, if I was to build up two centrals together, I always [00:49:15] start with the left one. Start with just. [00:49:20] Oh, sorry. Oh, so it’s patience, right? My left. Because the model is upside down. [00:49:25] And so I always start with that one. And then. Two Centrals are, though. They’re similar. [00:49:30] They’re not identical. And that’s the hardest thing when people say, I want the Centrals to look [00:49:35] exactly the same. When nature did not exactly the same. So that’s [00:49:40] the hardest thing, is when people say they’ve got to be identical and the gingival [00:49:45] contour is different. You might have one, uh, gingival margin higher than the other. [00:49:50] And. I think when dentists do composites, they’re building [00:49:55] the composite onto Unprepped, which is something. Yeah. Yeah. The majority [00:50:00] of the ones I see where they’ve been added to, and that’s really hard because [00:50:05] you’re working with a structure underneath that’s already going in one direction, [00:50:10] or it’s going to be thinner or more bulky in areas. What we have [00:50:15] with generally, or we like to have is something that’s been tracked down and we’ve got a reasonable [00:50:20] amount of room and space, and we’re recreating that whole thing. Then [00:50:25] we’ve got more scope to to build those line angles in and the [00:50:30] bow bosses and make it look more natural. But as far as [00:50:35] shapes go, it’s get one looking right and then get the other one to kind of match it. And [00:50:40] get. Yeah, but.

Payman Langroudi: What are you what are you looking out for specifically? Like give [00:50:45] me, give me like some for you. It’s probably totally second nature now that you just do it. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: So. It’s [00:50:50] hard to say that each case is different. So [00:50:55] yeah, you look at I look at the laterals and work out whether they’re an oval [00:51:00] shape, a square shape, a more triangular shape. So you’ve got [00:51:05] there’s no point to putting an oval central next to the triangular lateral, because the [00:51:10] rest of the teeth have got that triangular shape. And you’ve got to get the the length right, the incisal [00:51:15] edge position right, you want it to be depending on the way the [00:51:20] patient wants it, if they want it to look natural, then they’re going to be slightly longer than the laterals, [00:51:25] about the same length as the canines. But the way some of the market’s [00:51:30] going now, everyone wants their straight the same length and it’s horrendous. It’s so [00:51:35] hard to do. It goes against what we’ve been told to do. Um yeah. So [00:51:40] getting that shape right, getting the proportions right. The [00:51:45] length width ratio. Yeah. And then I think that that’s what I [00:51:50] kind of like about canines.

Payman Langroudi: Canines are canines are challenging teeth isn’t it. To, to build. [00:51:55] What’s the key to that. Is it the two faces of it.

Simon Caxton: Uh, yeah. The kind of [00:52:00] three. So get the cervical. Uh bogosity. Right. And then I [00:52:05] look at the mesial and distal sort of line angles. And again, some are more [00:52:10] rounded than others. Some have a nice slight, sharp, uh, cusp to it. [00:52:15] Others are quite worn and flat. So I think if you’re matching a single tooth into [00:52:20] existing dentition, it’s just looking at what’s around in [00:52:25] the rest of the arch or, and looking at the, the wear patterns of the other teeth [00:52:30] as well, because you can use that to your advantage to if something’s guiding [00:52:35] across and you can see that it, it’s flat on the centre or the canine [00:52:40] or. Yeah, the canine or the lateral, you can build that wear into a central when [00:52:45] it’s the same each. Yeah. Each tooth is. Yeah, each mouth.

Payman Langroudi: You guys [00:52:50] have like a signature. Like like if you look at a case and you can tell that’s Lee’s work [00:52:55] because of just the, just the way he does things.

Simon Caxton: Um, Lee’s Lee doesn’t do ceramics, so [00:53:00] I’d be able to. I’d be able to spot these a mile off if he did. Um, [00:53:05] or someone else’s?

Payman Langroudi: Or could someone look at your work and say, that’s a Simon case?

Simon Caxton: Because [00:53:10] my shapes are very similar. You might get the triangular or the oval, but [00:53:15] I tend to do, especially if a smile case. They all look the same. I’ve got one shape that I like to do and [00:53:20] I really. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: It’s funny. Is it because you get that with dentists as well? [00:53:25] You get you could, you could kind of tell the, the, the signature of that dentist [00:53:30] in his, in his composite sometimes.

Simon Caxton: Yeah. And you can tell as well like if they’re left and right handed, especially [00:53:35] if they’re prepping a whole arch because all the preps face one direction. [00:53:40] So yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, yeah. But let’s, [00:53:45] let’s talk about you’re kind of at the forefront of things. Right. You’re trying to, you know, be [00:53:50] very digital, very private, very aesthetic. Tell me about things that [00:53:55] being at the forefront has obviously its, its benefits. But sometimes a new [00:54:00] thing comes along and you’re pushing the boundaries and you try something [00:54:05] and it might not necessarily work out because it’s a new thing. Right? You [00:54:10] know, improvement is, by its nature, two steps forward, one step back, isn’t it? You sort of tell [00:54:15] me about times where that’s happened to you and where it’s bit you, you know, like where it’s, I don’t know, some, some [00:54:20] company came out with an amazing new idea. And then later on you found out they’re all breaking [00:54:25] or something like that. A story like that would help me.

Simon Caxton: Uh, so we had [00:54:30] a lot of problems with there was, there was a stage a few years back where there was a [00:54:35] material, uh, peak, uh, um, peak material. It’s like a [00:54:40] composite, like a resin. So people were using it to do full arch sort [00:54:45] of restorations and bonding composite to it, especially for like all fours. And we [00:54:50] did a couple ourself. But what happens is that the peak material was [00:54:55] quite flexible, even though it’s very, very strong, it’s quite flexible. But the composite [00:55:00] that was being bonded to it.

Payman Langroudi: Wasn’t a different.

Simon Caxton: Flex. Yeah. So [00:55:05] you were getting cracking. Um, and because you would bond like venture [00:55:10] teeth to it and they’d pop off. So we had a few things like that [00:55:15] that we, we, we did a couple of big cases that we had some failures with. [00:55:20]

Payman Langroudi: Was it a couple, was it like a couple of hundred?

Simon Caxton: No, because we didn’t really do lots [00:55:25] of those type of cases. Uh, but when they come out they look brilliant. And the thought behind [00:55:30] them is like, oh, you’re right. Yeah, we’re going to do that. We’re going to do it all this way now. And then they [00:55:35] started coming back and we was having problems with them. And it’s like, we’ve got to redo and like [00:55:40] redo our own costs as well because I. Um, is just [00:55:45] said earlier, like we like to do things how we want to do them, and we kind of gone down [00:55:50] that route and said, oh yeah, it’ll be fine. It wasn’t fine. Um, so [00:55:55] yeah, but sometimes, as you say, you have to take two steps forwards, go one step back. [00:56:00] And we learned from that. And it’s like we went back to how we used to do them. That [00:56:05] we tried it and didn’t work. I know it’s or have you been.

Payman Langroudi: Sometimes an early adopter on something?

Simon Caxton: I [00:56:10] lost share time and things like that.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, but like maybe if you maybe been an early [00:56:15] adopter on something, bought a piece of equipment for hundreds of thousands, it turned out to be a turkey. Has that happened? [00:56:20]

Simon Caxton: Uh. No, we haven’t done that. Luckily, [00:56:25] we did buy one of the a couple of the early printers that came out. Um, [00:56:30] and we didn’t get very good results with those. So no, I [00:56:35] think we’ve from our side of it just owning our own lab. We’ve [00:56:40] not done that. So thankfully.

Payman Langroudi: Okay. Well we do we do like to discuss [00:56:45] mistakes on this pod. So tell me a mistake you’ve made then as a technician that [00:56:50] other technicians can learn from.

Simon Caxton: I was trying to think about this and and a lot of our mistakes [00:56:55] don’t don’t see the light of day. So we the dentist. I mean, we [00:57:00] dentists will get things that have gone wrong. I mean, I’ve built up a [00:57:05] small case in completely the wrong shade and sent it out. Uh, just because [00:57:10] I was busy didn’t really notice. I’ve got to get it done. I’ve got to get it. Get it [00:57:15] gone. Um, it’s being fitted tomorrow. Uh, I’ve done that. So, as I always [00:57:20] say to people, always read the ticket. And so I’m guilty of that. [00:57:25] I’ve fired a full arch of veneers on the wrong program [00:57:30] in the furnace and melted everything.

Payman Langroudi: Oh.

Simon Caxton: I’d like [00:57:35] that again. The night before that, that, just due to go out, sent a [00:57:40] rush case of a patient that was getting married to the wrong practice. [00:57:45] So it’s always.

Payman Langroudi: It’s always the ones you’re trying to help out.

Simon Caxton: And [00:57:50] so she was getting married. Uh, had to be there on this certain time and [00:57:55] whatever. Finished up the case up, put it on the side. And the person doing [00:58:00] the post put the wrong post label on it and sent it somewhere else. And so, [00:58:05] I mean, mistakes happen. Uh, I know that I’m not blaming them for that. It was just one of them things, but [00:58:10] it just happens to be that one that had to be there on that day.

Payman Langroudi: So what about [00:58:15] what about, like, um, like a business? What would you have done differently in the business?

Simon Caxton: Well [00:58:20] done differently.

Payman Langroudi: Uh, would you have grown quicker earlier, something like that, or at. [00:58:25]

Simon Caxton: The start, we always said we didn’t want to grow too big, and we wanted to try and keep it small. [00:58:30] And I think that the mistake from there was we [00:58:35] didn’t take on enough people and we tried to do too much. And that was [00:58:40] about, I would say, a big mistake because it had a big effect on me [00:58:45] and I couldn’t cope with it to the point that I wanted to walk away [00:58:50] as and really. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Anxiety.

Simon Caxton: Yeah. And overwhelmed. [00:58:55] And yeah, it was, it was bad. It was, I was, [00:59:00] I was really bad. It was like I, I think it’s because they’re trying to control too much [00:59:05] and trying to do too much and not trusting people to, to, to do other things. [00:59:10] And we didn’t get someone doing admin work for [00:59:15] about 4 or 5 years, maybe more. So we were trying to juggle that as well as [00:59:20] doing that like bench work as well. So.

Payman Langroudi: As [00:59:25] he would have not done that earlier.

Simon Caxton: Yeah, I think we should have, um, got more people in earlier. Um, [00:59:30] not necessarily to to grow bigger, but just to make life easier.

Payman Langroudi: Make [00:59:35] life easier?

Simon Caxton: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: I mean, you said you said you you still stay at the lab till seven at [00:59:40] night.

Simon Caxton: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: It’s just I’ve noticed that with labs as well, labs do late nights. [00:59:45] So why is that?

Simon Caxton: I think it’s just the nature of the job. [00:59:50] I when I started deadlines. Yeah, deadlines. And when I started, one [00:59:55] of the first things that someone said to me was, this is not a 9 to 5 job. You you will. [01:00:00] Be here late. You will work weekends and a lot of people [01:00:05] did that, I think it. I think the deadlines are the. The [01:00:10] biggest thing, and especially running your own lab. And your name is above the door. [01:00:15] You’ve got to spend. Why do I spend a lot of time doing a case? [01:00:20] And you want it to be right because. You’re only as good as your [01:00:25] last case. If it’s not right, then people are not going to send you work. And there’s always that fear [01:00:30] of especially for me, there was always that fear of people not to send any more work in. So [01:00:35] but I know plenty of technicians. That go through [01:00:40] these stages of working late nights. And so I [01:00:45] think the latest I’ve been in the lab is 2:00 in the morning and then go [01:00:50] home and then back in at like 5 or 6:00 [01:00:55] and then do it all again. And I know lots of yeah.

Payman Langroudi: As a business owner, you kind [01:01:00] of think, all right, there are going to be times where the business just needs you completely. But [01:01:05] how do you persuade, you know, your other techs, the guys, the employees [01:01:10] to stay late? Do you pay extra? What do you do? Or is it just known? It’s known if there’s a deadline [01:01:15] everyone has to chip in. How does it work? Yeah, I think I mean.

Simon Caxton: I think it goes [01:01:20] to the individual as well. Um, and I think it’s the same with any industry, not just Dental laboratory. [01:01:25] Uh, laboratories is you get people that are conscientious [01:01:30] and will chip in and help some. You have to ask some just do it. [01:01:35] We’ve always said that if something needs to get done, we don’t expect you to stay and do it [01:01:40] for nothing. We will pay over time, but we got to a point where [01:01:45] we knew we were doing too much, and we didn’t want people to miss out on home [01:01:50] life and stuff as well. So we don’t we don’t make people stay. [01:01:55] I think if we really need need them to, we will, we will, we’ll ask. [01:02:00] But we understand if they can’t or they don’t want to, we pay them to [01:02:05] do a job from 9 to 5. And I think now going [01:02:10] forward, we we just need to get more people in if it gets too busy, [01:02:15] rather than expecting to put extra workloads onto other people. I mean, I’ve [01:02:20] done, I think like 27 days straight in the lab when we started [01:02:25] off like late, early, early mornings, late nights.

Simon Caxton: And [01:02:30] you can’t do that. And I wouldn’t want to expect that. And I don’t expect other people to [01:02:35] do that. So because it had a big effect on me and yeah, I, [01:02:40] one of the a guy that used to work with us just started up his own lab. And [01:02:45] those labs, you go through stages, it’s like feast or famine. You’ll have no work, and [01:02:50] then you’ll be absolutely snowed under. And you want to please those people. So you want to get [01:02:55] all the work that’s come in, you want to do because you haven’t had any and you don’t want to upset anybody. So you just [01:03:00] do it. And I think sometimes it can be. Detrimental to the [01:03:05] to what you’re trying to achieve because, yeah, you’re not doing your best. Like, [01:03:10] I wouldn’t want my tape made by someone who’s been up since 5:00 [01:03:15] in the morning and finishing my work at 1:00 the next morning. Yeah. [01:03:20] So you’ve got to take that into consideration as well. Um, but [01:03:25] I think, yeah, there’s there’s lots of labs, uh, technicians that do work weekends still and [01:03:30] do work late.

Payman Langroudi: It’s in the culture, isn’t it? It’s in the culture of technicians, I’ve noticed. Yeah, I.

Simon Caxton: Think in [01:03:35] the older technicians as well. I think that’s just because the way not so much the younger ones now, [01:03:40] maybe because they’ve realised, like the older ones have realised [01:03:45] what’s and don’t want others to go through it like I have.

Payman Langroudi: So Simon, when you sold [01:03:50] this business, is there a period of time where you have to stay in it?

Simon Caxton: Uh, [01:03:55] there is, yeah. Um, but I’m not looking to go anywhere. [01:04:00] And I’m not just saying that I’m not looking to go anywhere anytime soon. You’re happy? Yeah. I’m happy doing what I do. [01:04:05] I made it.

Payman Langroudi: So in a way, you kind of took some money off the table. All the money off the table. [01:04:10] And now you’re an employee there. Is that how it works? Yeah.

Simon Caxton: That’s it. Yeah. So, um.

Payman Langroudi: Oh, amazing. [01:04:15] So what was your feeling on the day that you signed it away? Was it like pride? Was it relief? [01:04:20] Was it elation? Was it emptiness? Like a lot of people say they [01:04:25] feel empty when they sell their business. How did you feel? Probably a bit of all of those things.

Simon Caxton: I didn’t feel empty. [01:04:30] I felt excited because I feel. Yeah. And. That. [01:04:35] I mean, I felt pride as well because I’ve, I’ve not just me, but Lee as [01:04:40] well. We’ve built up this business that somebody else wants. So it’s got it’s got value for someone. But [01:04:45] yeah. Yeah, it did feel like we were given a little bit of ourselves [01:04:50] away because we’d built up this, this business, and we’ve put a lot of our heart [01:04:55] and soul into it over the last 15 years. But. I was excited because [01:05:00] we’re now part of this group, especially in the UK. There’s four labs in the in the group [01:05:05] and we’re almost like a bit of a Start-Up because we’re, we’re getting we’re starting [01:05:10] up the UK arm of the European. So we’re finding our feet [01:05:15] with that, and we’ve got processes that we need to put in place and systems that we need to put [01:05:20] in place. And it it gave us a bit of a, um, new lease of life, really. [01:05:25] I think we’ve come a bit stale doing our same [01:05:30] thing every day, turning up, making our cases and going home. And you say, why [01:05:35] I was still here till seven because I, I get in at eight. I go home at [01:05:40] seven. That’s my day.

Payman Langroudi: That’s what you.

Simon Caxton: Do. Yeah. And that’s what I’ve done for the last [01:05:45] ten, 15 years.

Payman Langroudi: So did you go and buy something, go crazy by and buy [01:05:50] a fast car or something? Did you. I mean, did you enjoy it?

Simon Caxton: No, [01:05:55] I’ve got a I’ve got a phone. I’ve got a fast car. Um.

Payman Langroudi: What [01:06:00] did you do? I mean, did you take more holidays or. You’re just working just as hard? [01:06:05]

Payman Langroudi: Um.

Simon Caxton: Nothing’s really changed yet. I’m just carrying on the same. [01:06:10] When did you sell it?

Payman Langroudi: When did you sell it? December. Oh, I see, it’s very new.

Simon Caxton: Yeah. [01:06:15]

Payman Langroudi: So it’s very new. All right. I’m gonna. So. Yeah. Call me when. Call me when you get the, you know, [01:06:20] flat in Miami.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. I’m gonna.

Simon Caxton: Spend it all.

Payman Langroudi: On, uh.

Simon Caxton: Women cars and.

Payman Langroudi: Drink [01:06:25] and.

Simon Caxton: The rest I’m gonna waste.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, exactly. [01:06:30] Alex Higgins. Yeah. George Fest, I think, said that. How was it? [01:06:35] Was it was it?

Payman Langroudi: So, listen, man, um, it’s a lovely sort [01:06:40] of opening into this, this area of Dental, Tex. That I wanted to go into. Your [01:06:45] desire to be the best. Yeah, but you must be right. The two of you must have decided. [01:06:50] Yeah, that you’re gonna. You’re gonna position this, this lab at the [01:06:55] the position that you’ve positioned it right, which is very sort of high end aesthetic. [01:07:00] Yeah. At what? At what point did that do you feel like a flip happened where, you know, you [01:07:05] said you said you weren’t interested in A levels. You got into NHS labs. [01:07:10] And at what point was it that you decided, oh God, I’m going to be the best at something? Was that always within [01:07:15] you?

Simon Caxton: That’s within me, I think, as just everything I do. Really? [01:07:20] Yeah. So, I mean, I wouldn’t say I’m the best technician by a long shot. I, [01:07:25] I can.

Payman Langroudi: Do it, but you’re going to.

Payman Langroudi: Try. Yeah, I’m.

Payman Langroudi: Going to try.

Simon Caxton: I’m going to try to be the best I can. I’m, I [01:07:30] can do a good case. I can do some nice cases I can do, I can do some shockers [01:07:35] and like anybody else. So, um, there’s some fantastic technicians out there. There really is. And there’s [01:07:40] some real artists. And I still look at their work, and especially now with social media on [01:07:45] Instagram and things like that. You see these cases and I look at that all the time and think, I want [01:07:50] to do that. That’s where I want to be. And I’m still pushing to get up to those cases. But [01:07:55] I started playing golf a few years back and [01:08:00] I practised every day. Every single day I would be at the driving range because I wanted to get better and better and [01:08:05] better. Uh, I bought my my now wife an engagement ring. I learned all [01:08:10] there was to learn about diamonds, the different polarities, the different cuts. I’ve done all [01:08:15] this research on them and everything like that. I go into, like, massive [01:08:20] detail. Um, and then I get bored of it and I move on to the next thing I don’t. Maybe [01:08:25] that is some kind of ADHD thing, I don’t know, but, um, but as [01:08:30] far as I’m concerned, that’s just me. Uh.

Payman Langroudi: So what are the hobbies of yours?

Simon Caxton: I [01:08:35] play rugby, I still play rugby. Um.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Simon Caxton: So that’s quite a good release for [01:08:40] me, especially if you’ve had a. That’s how stressful week at work. [01:08:45] I just imagine a team of 15 dentists in front of me and I can run [01:08:50] them over.

Payman Langroudi: Flatten them.

Simon Caxton: People often ask me, [01:08:55] why are you so aggressive on the rugby pitch?

Payman Langroudi: I’ve got a question for you, buddy. [01:09:00] As far as like other countries, which one? Which ones do you rate as far as their [01:09:05] technicians? Because. Or am I wrong on this? Am I looking at it in the wrong way? Because. [01:09:10] Because I had some German technicians, man. And the work fitted like the occlusion and [01:09:15] the fit was amazing.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Simon Caxton: And yeah, German technicians. But [01:09:20] it’s like with German cars and engineering. Yeah, they’re so precise. [01:09:25] And I think their way, their education system is as well like is [01:09:30] is great. And to own a lab you have to be a master dental technician. [01:09:35] You can’t open up a lab unless you’ve got this master dental technician status. [01:09:40] Yeah. So.

Payman Langroudi: Um.

Simon Caxton: There. Worked fantastic. [01:09:45]

Payman Langroudi: Where else? Um, Italy. Brazil? Yeah, Italy, Italy and.

Simon Caxton: Brazil have got some fantastic technicians. [01:09:50] I think every country has got really good technicians. Um, I mean, the Japanese [01:09:55] as well, they’re known for, for their work and I would say probably [01:10:00] like in terms of like ceramic work and you’re probably looking at like Japan. [01:10:05] Italy. Yeah. Brazil. But inside [01:10:10] every country’s got their great ones. So.

Payman Langroudi: And who of of the sort of [01:10:15] big famous or not famous for that matter. Who are your, like, heroes? Like who are the people [01:10:20] you look up to so far as technicians?

Simon Caxton: Gaspar Guerra For me, I’ve [01:10:25] been on about 4 or 5 of his courses, and I was lucky enough to spend a [01:10:30] week in his lab in Barcelona a few years back, just just with him and [01:10:35] two other technicians. Who else is there as like Oliver Bricks? [01:10:40] There’s guy that is an Argentinian technician who I went on a course with this year, Mariano [01:10:45] Maurizi. Fantastic work. I mean, I say I’ve [01:10:50] seen so many of them and some of them twice. Three times even, just [01:10:55] because I don’t think I learned enough from them the first time. Um, but [01:11:00] can you.

Payman Langroudi: Explain it to me? Like like if I go on a dentist course. Yeah, it might be something about composite [01:11:05] bonding for the sake of the argument. Yeah. Um, it might be the anteriority. What kind of courses? Like how how [01:11:10] detailed does it go? Like, what kind, of course do you go on? So what are you learning on that course.

Simon Caxton: So most of them are [01:11:15] ceramic layering courses. And there’s only so many ways you can [01:11:20] layer a crown. But they each will have their own sort of technique. [01:11:25] And I’ve been on sort of show taking courses and how to understand [01:11:30] the different opacities of the ceramics and, and the different translucency, where [01:11:35] to apply them. So each one has their own sort of little spin on it [01:11:40] and their own technique. And some are with one manufacturer work [01:11:45] with one manufacturer’s ceramic, others will work with another one and another one, [01:11:50] and you just take bits from each one and and pick something up, like layering [01:11:55] ceramic gum work as well and learning like that’s only [01:12:00] really probably 5 or 6 different colours of pink, but it’s [01:12:05] the way they use them and where they put them that makes it look so lifelike. [01:12:10]

Payman Langroudi: And I just we don’t appreciate us.

Payman Langroudi: We don’t appreciate sometimes that with with your [01:12:15] work, between the actual layering and the final piece, there’s a there’s a [01:12:20] change in dimension in the teeth. Right?

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Simon Caxton: So with the ceramic you have to build it up bigger, [01:12:25] uh, to start with because it will shrink.

Payman Langroudi: It’s weird. But yeah.

Simon Caxton: So if [01:12:30] you get an effect in the wrong place and it shrinks down, yeah, you’ve got to cut it out [01:12:35] or start again. It’s really hard.

Payman Langroudi: What’s the percentage of shrink?

Payman Langroudi: They used to.

Simon Caxton: Be quite [01:12:40] big, but it’s it’s not so much now. So if I might over build a [01:12:45] central by a millimetre in length and it will shrink down a millimetre. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: So [01:12:50] and you just have a feel for how much it’s going to shrink with that particular material.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Simon Caxton: You do. You get [01:12:55] used to the material you use. So I all I use all ivoclar ceramics and [01:13:00] I have them for quite a few years now. So I’m kind of used to how they react. [01:13:05] And I know what’s going to happen. But they might pick up another [01:13:10] ceramic and it might shrink more, or it might have more opacity [01:13:15] so than the other dentine. So they’re all different and it’s just getting [01:13:20] used to the one you use. Um. You can have some really good results, [01:13:25] like one technician might get a really good result with one ceramic, and another technician might get [01:13:30] a completely different result with that ceramic.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. What works in your hands right.

Payman Langroudi: So [01:13:35] but.

Simon Caxton: Yeah, most of my courses have been ceramic courses. I’ve done CAD courses and [01:13:40] implant courses and but overall the courses I’ve ever done and I used to go [01:13:45] to like the Bacb conferences and um, like the DTA or the dental technology [01:13:50] shows. And I used to go and sit in the dentist’s lectures [01:13:55] because I wanted to understand what they were doing.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, yeah, I wanted.

Simon Caxton: To [01:14:00] know the bit before I get it, what they’re doing. And if I can understand that, then I’ve got that [01:14:05] bit more understanding. On where the problems could lie and [01:14:10] what their thinking is behind things. But I very rarely see dentists on that [01:14:15] technician’s courses or in technicians lectures.

Payman Langroudi: The ones who go are the really top [01:14:20] ones. Oh yeah, oh yeah, I’ve noticed. Yeah, definitely. And then you get [01:14:25] that wonderful master race of, of human who’s like started out as a technician and then [01:14:30] become a dentist.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. Like coach which.

Payman Langroudi: Coachman? I, um, [01:14:35] uh, Neil Gerrard was one in the UK. Yeah, but it’s [01:14:40] a very unique position, isn’t it? It’s a unique. You must know loads like you must know several. Right.

Payman Langroudi: Um, [01:14:45] well not.

Simon Caxton: Really.

Payman Langroudi: There’s not, you know, there’s [01:14:50] not many.

Simon Caxton: That have gone from technician to dentist. Um, I tried, I got talked out of [01:14:55] it. I that was one of the things I wanted to do early on is like, oh, maybe I will go on and become a dentist and, and [01:15:00] that now you can you’ll be better off because it’s going to take you so many [01:15:05] years. And I was like, well, maybe, maybe not then, but maybe.

Payman Langroudi: And you [01:15:10] must be fully aware of, like this tension between technician and dentist when it comes to [01:15:15] in a way to make your life easier. He just needs to drill more, doesn’t he? [01:15:20] Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, yeah, a.

Payman Langroudi: Dentist, but he doesn’t want to drill. He doesn’t want a drill, right. Because [01:15:25] he’s trying to be super minimal. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: Millimetre and a technicians millimetre a completely different. [01:15:30]

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. But but there is, there must be this like sweet spot, right. Isn’t it, [01:15:35] that there’s an amount of drilling that that would help both of you, the dentist [01:15:40] and the technician.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. You’re very, very rarely.

Simon Caxton: Find it that sweet spot.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, [01:15:45] yeah, yeah, yeah. But but also like, in the last ten, 15 years, you must have noticed people getting more [01:15:50] and more and more conservative. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: It’s come harder.

Payman Langroudi: It makes your life harder, right?

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Simon Caxton: Especially [01:15:55] so that’s where these contact lens veneers have sort of been coming back in as well because [01:16:00] you can make them a lot thinner. Again, they’re only right for certain situations. [01:16:05] But yeah, definitely people have become more conservative. Um, I think they’re more [01:16:10] scared of litigation and things like that. Um.

Payman Langroudi: So it’s [01:16:15] just the teaching and it’s like cutting enamels become like really bad thing to do nowadays, you know, [01:16:20] like it’s, it’s it’s everyone’s just, you know, I do a lot with the younger dentists and they [01:16:25] just don’t want to cut enamel, you know, at all. No. Um, whereas, [01:16:30] you know, back in, back in the day, people. Do you remember the whole Rosenthal [01:16:35] wave as that came through?

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Simon Caxton: So, um, I kind of.

Payman Langroudi: What stage were you at when that [01:16:40] happened?

Simon Caxton: I just started working with Rob, and then he went on the course, [01:16:45] and he even went over to one of the labs in New York to learn how they were doing it. And so. [01:16:50] Well, I mean, we were doing loads of cases when that first started, I didn’t start, [01:16:55] I was still doing sort of diagnostic waxing at that stage, but I was I was waxing [01:17:00] up probably three cases a day of those and then moved on to [01:17:05] the ceramic side of it. Um, and that was a lot of feldspathic veneers. [01:17:10] So it’s kind of gone full circle again now. But yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, yeah.

Simon Caxton: We [01:17:15] saw some, uh, pretty aggressive preps in those things.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah [01:17:20] absolutely man. Well it’s been a massive pleasure. I’m going to end it with our usual [01:17:25] questions okay.

Simon Caxton: I’ve been thinking long and hard.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. [01:17:30]

Payman Langroudi: Fantasy dinner party. Three guests. Dead or alive.

Payman Langroudi: Who would you have? [01:17:35]

Simon Caxton: So my first one, without a doubt, would be Rik Mayall, the comedian.

Payman Langroudi: Amazing. [01:17:40] I absolutely the young ones. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: I love the young ones growing up, big fan of [01:17:45] like bottom and that sense of humour. And when [01:17:50] he died I was absolutely gutted. I was I’ve never met the guy, [01:17:55] only seen him on TV, but it left a big hole. Um, for me. [01:18:00]

Payman Langroudi: I didn’t know he was dead, man.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Simon Caxton: Yeah, about 15 years ago. I think it was quite [01:18:05] a while back. You’re kidding. No. Sorry to break that to you, Payman.

Payman Langroudi: Sorry. On air. On air. [01:18:10] I’m going to.

Payman Langroudi: Grieve right now.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Simon Caxton: So, um. I still watch a lot of [01:18:15] the reruns of bottom and, um, the young ones and things like that. [01:18:20]

Payman Langroudi: What was that? What was.

Payman Langroudi: That political thing he was in was.

Payman Langroudi: Brilliant. Bastard.

Payman Langroudi: Bastard.

Payman Langroudi: Bastard. [01:18:25] Yeah.

Simon Caxton: And he could make me laugh a bit like Rowan Atkinson. Like [01:18:30] just his facial expressions. And I think someone like him [01:18:35] at a dinner party would really brighten things up. Absolutely. So I [01:18:40] think for entertainment value.

Payman Langroudi: That’s a.

Payman Langroudi: Goodie. Rik Mayall.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. Um. [01:18:45]

Simon Caxton: And I like people that tell stories and say like, interesting [01:18:50] people. So my second one would be Richard Attenborough. So [01:18:55] sorry, not Richard Edwards, sir David Attenborough. David.

Payman Langroudi: David Attenborough. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: Just [01:19:00] because of what he’s seen in a lifetime and what he’s achieved. I mean, all [01:19:05] the plays, all the nature documentaries and all those things that not [01:19:10] many people get to see in real life. And he’s been there recording them and [01:19:15] all these different animals and. Bit like tribes [01:19:20] and whatever that you’ve seen throughout the world, I think you’d have a good few stories [01:19:25] to tell. I think he’d be a good after dinner speaker to sit back with a glass of port or [01:19:30] a nice whisky and just listen to.

Payman Langroudi: I mean, you might be [01:19:35] the most, the most, the most popular Brit right now, right.

Payman Langroudi: He I think so, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: 1997 [01:19:40] the you know, I reckon if, if, God [01:19:45] forbid anything, Amsterdam is going to be like a state funeral.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, and rightly. [01:19:50]

Simon Caxton: So, and.

Payman Langroudi: Rightly.

Payman Langroudi: So. Yeah. Rightly so. Well rightly so. Who’s [01:19:55] your third?

Payman Langroudi: Oh no, I.

Simon Caxton: Struggled with this one, but. I’ll go. Gordon [01:20:00] Ramsay.

Payman Langroudi: Oh, really? Yeah. So I need someone.

Simon Caxton: To cook as well, so I [01:20:05] think.

Payman Langroudi: I think I.

Simon Caxton: Think you’d be quite good, but I just think because [01:20:10] I’ve listened, I’ve read his books and.

Payman Langroudi: He’s fun. He is fun.

Payman Langroudi: He’s I think.

Simon Caxton: He’s got a good sense of.

Payman Langroudi: Humour, but. [01:20:15]

Simon Caxton: I think he’s I mean, he’s a good businessman. So I think I could learn a thing or two off of him. [01:20:20] And I think with chefs and, and technicians, I think some of it’s slightly similar, as [01:20:25] I said earlier, like it’s their name above the door sometimes.

Payman Langroudi: Behind the scenes as well.

Simon Caxton: They have to check [01:20:30] everything. And we were a bit like that as well as like a lead technician. You’re [01:20:35] kind of.

Payman Langroudi: Guide in all these.

Payman Langroudi: Making sure everything’s.

Payman Langroudi: Right. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: And then you’re checking that [01:20:40] final dish or case before it goes out. And I think [01:20:45] I’ve seen him on TV and he can be quite harsh, [01:20:50] but sometimes I think he’s harsh but fair. And then when people do something right, he’s full of praise [01:20:55] for them. And that’s where I’d like to be, and that’s how I’d like people to be. If it was my kids [01:21:00] working for someone like that, I think that would be. It’d be hard, but fair, I think.

Payman Langroudi: So [01:21:05] I think.

Payman Langroudi: He’s normally right isn’t he?

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. So I think.

Payman Langroudi: That’s the thing.

Simon Caxton: I could learn a lot [01:21:10] from him. I think I could still be entertained by him and well fed as well. So, uh.

Payman Langroudi: It’s [01:21:15] a different kind of dinner party where the guest is doing the cooking, but. All right, there you go. Yeah, I’ll give you that. The [01:21:20] final question. It’s a deathbed question. Okay. [01:21:25] On your deathbed, surrounded by your loved ones. Gotta [01:21:30] give him three pieces of advice. What would that be?

Simon Caxton: First one would be. Don’t [01:21:35] work too hard. Like make time for your family. Like I, [01:21:40] I did something unlike you. You mean I did something that I said I would never do, [01:21:45] especially with two young kids. I spend more time at the lab than I did at home. Um. [01:21:50] Which I really, really regret. Yeah. So spend [01:21:55] more time with your family and just don’t work so hard. Work smart, not hard. [01:22:00]

Payman Langroudi: How old are they now? Like 17?

Payman Langroudi: 18? Yeah. 17.

Simon Caxton: 117 next week. And the other [01:22:05] one’s 15. So, uh.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. Yeah. So I know the feeling.

Payman Langroudi: You suddenly you suddenly [01:22:10] realise they’re about to go, right.

Payman Langroudi: That’s it. Yeah, yeah.

Simon Caxton: So that’ll be my first part. [01:22:15] Travel more. See the world. Don’t don’t get pinned down to one [01:22:20] spot. I like going on nice holidays and. Same places. [01:22:25] I don’t like to lay around on the beach too much. I want to see what’s there. I like going [01:22:30] to somewhere different and experience the culture and the the food. [01:22:35]

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Just go do some of your favourite places.

Payman Langroudi: You go. Um.

Simon Caxton: New [01:22:40] York is probably one of my favourite.

Payman Langroudi: I love New York. Yeah. Um, do [01:22:45] you.

Payman Langroudi: Know people there?

Payman Langroudi: No, I just went there.

Simon Caxton: Um, we went there a couple of years ago with the kids, and [01:22:50] they loved it. We had a great, probably one of our best holidays. Like family holidays. It was only there five days, [01:22:55] but it’s one that’s stuck in everybody’s mind. I like different [01:23:00] places in Europe, so I love Barcelona.

Payman Langroudi: Um, yeah.

Simon Caxton: That’s really nice. Which which [01:23:05] is quite nice as that’s where chorus headquarters are. So gets.

Payman Langroudi: Uh.

Simon Caxton: Hopefully [01:23:10] get to go there a bit more. Thailand. Love Thailand.

Payman Langroudi: I love Thailand and [01:23:15] Asia.

Simon Caxton: We’re going we’re going back this year. We’re going to Vietnam this year. So.

Payman Langroudi: Well [01:23:20] it’s lovely to travel right. But I if I, if it was me I’d extend on top of that [01:23:25] piece of advice travel young as well.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Before you’ve made your mind [01:23:30] up about everything.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah definitely.

Payman Langroudi: Although although maybe you’re saying your mind is still open and you’re, [01:23:35] you know, you know, there are that some people are like that, but, you know, I don’t know, man. 115 [01:23:40] star hotel in Thailand. So it’s similar to another one in wherever. Yeah. And [01:23:45] I’m not saying I want to go to five star hotel but but I also don’t want a backpack [01:23:50] and things anymore. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Whereas whereas when, when you were in that backpack where [01:23:55] you’re meeting and you’re open to everyone and everything, it’s gold. It’s proper gold. Young [01:24:00] travel.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. So I did.

Simon Caxton: I travelled around Australia for uh, a few months when [01:24:05] I was.

Payman Langroudi: Um.

Payman Langroudi: How was that.

Payman Langroudi: Amazing. Yeah, it was great.

Simon Caxton: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Um.

Simon Caxton: And [01:24:10] I went with my now wife. So that’s one way to make or break a relationship [01:24:15] is to live in each other’s pockets for 24, seven for a few [01:24:20] months.

Payman Langroudi: Um, yeah.

Simon Caxton: So it definitely made it, but I was. Yeah, only [01:24:25] 22, 23 when we did that. So as you say yeah [01:24:30] I agree. Travel young. Um, my daughter’s already said to me, I want to do a gap year. And I’m like, yeah, [01:24:35] do it. Like.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, yeah. I’m saying the same to my son. Yeah, I’m saying the same. [01:24:40] All right. So don’t work too hard.

Payman Langroudi: More. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: And [01:24:45] what’s the third one?

Payman Langroudi: Just just, uh.

Simon Caxton: I’ve [01:24:50] been. I’ve thought long and hard about this one and I couldn’t get the third one. But maybe [01:24:55] just try and be the best you can at whatever you decide to do. That’s [01:25:00] what I’ve tried to do. Just tried to do my best. You’re not going to please [01:25:05] everybody all the time, but. As long as you’re happy. And. Yeah. [01:25:10] Don’t don’t take things to heart. I mean, I do know I have done I you [01:25:15] spend all this time on something and if it don’t go right, I’m, I’m, I’m too hard [01:25:20] on myself. I, I just need to chill out more. So. Yeah. Maybe just. It [01:25:25] feels like I was telling my kids that. Tell them just to chill out more.

Payman Langroudi: But [01:25:30] you know, it’s a funny thing because, you know, that thing they say to you, I bet you’re in meetings, [01:25:35] these sort of corporate meetings with these people now. Yeah, yeah. Where it’s it’s almost like what [01:25:40] got you here isn’t going to get you to the next step. It’s a different skill that’s going to get you [01:25:45] to the next step. Yeah. And but you know that idea of your [01:25:50] biggest strength being your biggest weakness, sort of like let’s say you’re a massive [01:25:55] perfectionist. Well, as a as a dental technician, that’s super important. I want my technician to be a massive [01:26:00] perfectionist. And yet that perfectionism is also the [01:26:05] thing that brings you down. The slightest thing doesn’t work out, and it makes you stress [01:26:10] or you get anxiety. You know what I mean? Yeah, or it could be anything. You’re super [01:26:15] kind. But then, you know, kindness sounds like such a brilliant thing. How could it [01:26:20] possibly go wrong? But then maybe you don’t like confrontation and you can’t fire anyone. Yeah. You know, like [01:26:25] things like that. Yeah. It’s super interesting. It’s been a massive pleasure, man. I’ve really enjoyed [01:26:30] it. Thank you so much for doing this.

Simon Caxton: Yeah I hope to see more technicians on here. So I’ve been a big. [01:26:35]

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Well as I say I do plan it I do plan it. I’ve got another one for sure. And [01:26:40] another one who’s who I’ve promised I will. Excellent.

Payman Langroudi: So yeah, I’ve been a.

Simon Caxton: Long time listener and, [01:26:45] uh, I’ve always said there’s never any technicians on it. It’s like.

Payman Langroudi: I [01:26:50] was. I was aware of it.

Payman Langroudi: I was aware of it, but.

Payman Langroudi: Uh.

Payman Langroudi: But. Yeah. Thanks. Thanks [01:26:55] a lot for coming on, buddy. I really enjoyed that very much.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. No, I enjoyed it, too.

Simon Caxton: Thank you for having me.

Intro Voice: This [01:27:00] is Dental Leaders, the podcast [01:27:05] where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your [01:27:10] hosts. Payman Langroudi and Prav [01:27:15] Solanki.

Prav Solanki: Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this far, you must [01:27:20] have listened to the whole thing. And just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking [01:27:25] through and listening to what we’ve had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming [01:27:30] you got some value out of it.

Payman Langroudi: If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And [01:27:35] if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it too. Thank [01:27:40] you so so, so much for listening. Thanks.

Prav Solanki: And don’t forget our six star rating.

 

This week’s episode reaches spots other podcasts miss as Payman sits down with dentist-turned-inventor Michael Alatsaris.

Michael shares his journey from a dissatisfied clinician and practice owner to a fulfilled product designer and entrepreneur, discussing the highs and lows of the painstaking process of bringing an innovative new toothbrush to market.

Enjoy!

 

In This Episode

00:02:30 – Choosing dentistry

00:06:40 – Practice purchase

00:16:25 – Challenges of practice ownership

00:22:25 – Exit

00:27:00 – Product design

00:30:50 – Problem-solution

00:38:25 – ErgoProx

00:44:00 – Prototyping and tooling

00:51:10 – Going to market

00:56:15 – Execution Vs ideation

01:03:40 – Challenging the status quo

01:05:35 – Blackbox thinking

01:08:10 – Marketing and trajectory

01:09:09 – Fantasy dinner party 

01:12:02 – Last days and legacy

 

About Michael Alatsaris

Former dental practice owner Michael Alatsaris is the inventor of the ErgoProx toothbrush for cleaning mesial and distal surfaces next to spacing.

Speaker1: If I had acknowledged that by the age of 11 or 12 that, you know, this is what I must do [00:00:05] as an adult and ignore these, you know, classic, you know, astronaut, airline [00:00:10] pilot, doctor, dentist things, you know, just feel, sense and feel. [00:00:15] But what you keep thinking about, what you keep applying your attention to, [00:00:20] what you keep testing and experimenting with. That’s probably. But you [00:00:25] know, as a 12 year old, I can’t really blame myself. But that that was that was where the biggest mistakes started beginning. [00:00:30] And I ended up in this road, this academic pathway, doing this kind of quintessential [00:00:35] professional pathway. So those that’s probably the biggest mistake. But I think then once I was [00:00:40] into it and properly miserable and practice ownership. You’re [00:00:45] really in a rut though, because when you’re so consumed by it, you can’t really see [00:00:50] options. But if somehow I could have found the belief that there are options, [00:00:55] I would have broken away sooner and not consumed the energy and time that I did. [00:01:00]

Speaker2: This [00:01:05] is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get [00:01:10] to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your [00:01:15] hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav [00:01:20] Solanki.

Speaker3: It gives me great pleasure to welcome Michael [00:01:25] Lazzari’s onto the podcast. Um. Michael is a dentist that I was introduced to 2 [00:01:30] or 3 years ago. Uh, when he was starting to develop a new [00:01:35] toothbrush. Um, and, uh, he’s got a very interesting story. Uh, someone who’s been a practice owner [00:01:40] who then stopped to do this kind of work with products. Someone’s [00:01:45] got a real passion for product design. Lovely to have you, Michael.

Speaker1: Good morning. Payman. [00:01:50] It’s a pleasure and an honour.

Speaker3: Where are you right now?

Speaker1: In my office in Edinburgh. Just [00:01:55] ready to chip away at this big project that you know about, but. Yeah, just at home. [00:02:00] Home office. That’s nice.

Speaker3: So, Michael, are you Scottish? Born and bred.

Speaker1: I [00:02:05] was born in Scotland. My dad’s Greek. I very much feel half Greek. [00:02:10] Uh, so guess I’m a bit mixed up like that, but half Greek, half Scottish. So that’s the. [00:02:15] That’s always been the Scotland. Yeah. Grew up here. Spent a lot of time in Greece [00:02:20] whenever I can. It’s Greek. So kind of strong roots there. And, uh. [00:02:25] Yeah. Back in Greece, whenever we can go next week. That’ll be great.

Speaker3: And [00:02:30] you studied dentistry in Glasgow, did you?

Speaker1: Yeah. That’s right. Um, 1998. [00:02:35] Started there. Qualified 2003.

Speaker3: What made you become a dentist? Why? Dentistry. [00:02:40]

Speaker1: Well, ah, I think I think I wanted to become [00:02:45] every profession that was under the sun. Lawyer, accountant, doctor. [00:02:50] I looked at it all really seriously. And, you know, for at least six months, I wanted to do each [00:02:55] of those. And eventually I kind of plumped for dentistry because it was, like, the [00:03:00] best of a bad bunch. Yeah. But essentially under sort of, I think, [00:03:05] parental pressure. Um, ultimately, um, I [00:03:10] think my dad just perhaps had a limited idea of what was [00:03:15] possible within other fields as far as career progression, you know, financial stability, [00:03:20] and could only envisage me becoming one of these quintessential [00:03:25] professions professionals. So that was the one I [00:03:30] went for. It seemed practical, very scientific. Um, [00:03:35] a lot of autonomy. I could see that you could get on with your own sort of little [00:03:40] practice enterprise, whatever. Um, pretty quickly after graduating. [00:03:45] So that was a big thing, and that was it. I just kind of got on with it. But I do remember my first [00:03:50] day at university. I thought, what the f have I done? Me too. And [00:03:55] then sexually, you know.

Speaker3: Was that dissection?

Speaker1: It was actually [00:04:00] it was just the first day of lecturing. First year I thought, why am I here? But I don’t know. This sense of [00:04:05] responsibility just kept me. Going and [00:04:10] before you know it, five years have passed and so did you.

Speaker3: Struggle with the course. [00:04:15]

Speaker1: I struggled with areas that I just had no interest in, like microbiology. [00:04:20] And, um, you know, anatomy is amazing, but I [00:04:25] just couldn’t I wasn’t motivated enough to. So I struggled through the first 1 [00:04:30] or 2 years of academia that I knew would not directly make [00:04:35] me a great dentist, so I struggled with apparent irrelevance [00:04:40] of those things. Um, scraped through first year, scraped through second year. [00:04:45] But once it became practical and really, you know, the engineering of [00:04:50] of dentistry, um, and using my hands, making, just making those [00:04:55] amazing things come to life. Um, restorations and everything. That’s when [00:05:00] I really sort of started tuning in and, you know, got into it.

Speaker3: And [00:05:05] did you had you grown up in Edinburgh or in Glasgow or somewhere else?

Speaker1: Just just say Glasgow. [00:05:10] Yeah.

Speaker3: So didn’t you think, hey, you know, leave, leave home a bit for university. Why [00:05:15] did you stay where you were.

Speaker1: Yes. It’s interesting. On my Ucas application form [00:05:20] from school, it was the first two lines where I was Glasgow Dentistry. Dundee [00:05:25] Dentistry. And then it was Glasgow Electronic Engineering. Glasgow [00:05:30] electronic and Avionic engineering. I just wanted to stay at home. You [00:05:35] know, it’s just I was just too comfortable. It’s funny my parents [00:05:40] moved out from or I didn’t move out. My parents moved out when I was 24. They [00:05:45] just went to Greece for like the next ten, 20 years. Uh huh. Um, and then I realised, [00:05:50] ah, why am I here? Uh, I could work anywhere. So [00:05:55] yeah, I took a job in Dundee, which was exotic for me because it was more than 20 miles [00:06:00] away. And, uh, but then that was that was really good for me, actually. [00:06:05] That kind of opened my mind that I could just work anywhere. Yeah, it was a bit of a home boy at that point. [00:06:10] Um, bit too comfortable, perhaps, but. Yeah.

Speaker3: And tell us about your Dental career, your first few [00:06:15] jobs. How did you get on?

Speaker1: Yeah. I mean, you know, the show, the opportunity to be an show, [00:06:20] which I had a few I had a few show positions was just incredible, [00:06:25] you know, a training job and you’re being paid and the atmosphere is just is light. [00:06:30] But it’s, you know, it’s so immersive as well working beside specialists. What, [00:06:35] what a what a privilege. And that was I had sensed [00:06:40] that, you know, coming out with a BDS. It wasn’t it wasn’t adequate, it wasn’t enough. [00:06:45] But it was a great foundation. But I knew I had to be more [00:06:50] prepared to practice than what the BDS gave me. So I pursued those show jobs. And then [00:06:55] after after that, it was, you know, getting into private practice as soon as possible. [00:07:00] Um, because that had been my vision. I could see the, the NHS, [00:07:05] uh, business model wouldn’t support what we had learned at university even. [00:07:10] And, and furthermore, what I was to learn as a, as an show which [00:07:15] was basically practising in line with the evidence, the science, what the science was telling us to do [00:07:20] that had. No, no. Um. I didn’t have any [00:07:25] belief in the government’s approach to how I was to apply the science, [00:07:30] so I needed that autonomy ultimately, and give myself that [00:07:35] foundation and then look for the autonomy to apply it.

Speaker3: To which year are we talking now? [00:07:40]

Speaker1: So that was, um, when into private practice in 2007, [00:07:45] I think. So just, you know, three years after qualifying, [00:07:50] I didn’t buy the practice at that point, but I just I phoned around all [00:07:55] the practises in Edinburgh just asking if they had a job. And a couple did have private associate [00:08:00] jobs and got into one. And then that led me to the next associate job. Um, [00:08:05] and the principle in that job, he offered me the practice. [00:08:10] It was very early on in the job was like six weeks, I think they said, I want you to take [00:08:15] over the practice. I was like, let’s go for it.

Speaker3: Six weeks in.

Speaker1: Yeah. It [00:08:20] was just it was great. It was a nice small team. Just everything [00:08:25] just clicked. Um, it was, he was. I could tell he was a bit more senior. And I thought, [00:08:30] yeah, maybe in five, ten years he’ll want to retire. This is this is a possible opportunity [00:08:35] in the future as an associate, I could take it on from him. I had thought of that when I met him. If he was a really [00:08:40] young principal, I thought there’s no real unless it would be partnership. I wasn’t keen on that. [00:08:45] I wanted to be the sole owner and I thought, yeah, he’s kind of old enough, but [00:08:50] I may be able to succeed him. And uh, but yeah, right enough. I didn’t realise he was [00:08:55] planning to retire so suddenly. He was 55. Um, and that was it? Yeah. Just [00:09:00] took that over. And it was January 2008. It was. Did you [00:09:05] have the money already?

Speaker3: Did you have you had some savings or how did that side of it.

Speaker1: At that time [00:09:10] banks were throwing money at you. So. Oh that’s right. That was not.

Speaker3: 100%, 110% mortgages. [00:09:15] Like.

Speaker1: Yeah, yeah. It was I remember him saying, do you want, do you want any more. You know, we had agreed on [00:09:20] the sums like is that all you need. And I was like, okay, stick another 20 on, you know, just in case. And [00:09:25] I remember actually paying them that back like just a few months in, I thought, I don’t [00:09:30] need that. Um, it was. Yeah. It’s very different nowadays isn’t it.

Speaker3: And you were, you were very [00:09:35] young. But can you remember what was going through your head as you were buying this practice? Were you thinking this [00:09:40] potential to change it, or were you just thinking it’s running like clockwork, [00:09:45] so I’ll just take it over. What was going through your head?

Speaker1: I really appreciated what they had there already [00:09:50] and it was all paper based. It was very analogue. It was, but it worked [00:09:55] sweetly. The patients were happy. There was a long established practice. 40 years, I think. Very [00:10:00] dedicated. Normal, pleasant. A patience [00:10:05] and same to same for the team. You know, long established [00:10:10] loyal team. Just a really sweet, healthy place to be. And [00:10:15] on that basis, I plan to change nothing for at least six [00:10:20] months. Just find my feet. I’m sure there’s a lot for me to learn and integrate into, uh, [00:10:25] embrace what’s there, embrace what’s working and see where to take it from [00:10:30] there. And actually, after that, it really wasn’t much to change about [00:10:35] the practice. As such, it was more just to continue developing myself as a dentist [00:10:40] and learn from my on going experiences and get better and better. [00:10:45] So I was very much a value add type rather than volume. But volume [00:10:50] never really appealed to me in dentistry, so it was just constant. This journey of value add, [00:10:55] you know, and upskilling all the time. Um, and [00:11:00] that was the approach. And in the end, you know, it probably [00:11:05] served me so far, you know, served me for 11 years. But that’s [00:11:10] that’s another story as to how I reached my limit with that, you know. But that was that was my approach in the beginning. [00:11:15]

Speaker3: So what kind of dentist were you becoming? What was what kind of work were you doing?

Speaker1: I [00:11:20] did, um, I think the first few years are really focussed on being great [00:11:25] at being general. Yeah. I really valued, you know, doing dentistry [00:11:30] that most people needed, but doing it extremely well. So just being really proud of [00:11:35] my, my handle, you know, my restorative work. Yeah. And being great at what [00:11:40] maintaining percent of people needed, which is what general dentistry was. And so [00:11:45] that was, that was that was my focus in the first few years. And it was actually [00:11:50] in maybe fourth or fifth year, maybe that I started looking at courses [00:11:55] and CPD requirements. I thought, I actually am going to this next CPD [00:12:00] cycle. I’ve got nothing to show. Um, I’ve just been reflecting mostly [00:12:05] until then and, you know, just making my work better and better under my own steam type of thing. [00:12:10] But then I get into the courses and implants, um, or so, [00:12:15] um, that type of thing. Um, I never really get into the cosmetic [00:12:20] as a core cosmetic work as a core. Everything I [00:12:25] did, I wanted to achieve a cosmetic result, but the cosmetic side didn’t really ever [00:12:30] draw me. I was very much about function and health, uh, that [00:12:35] type of thing, and making it look nice when I’ve done it. But not cosmetic [00:12:40] as I Corps. But everything else I did kind of, um, have an interest in [00:12:45] enough to get into it.

Speaker1: But I must say though, that with the implants I had. Actually [00:12:50] previously decided never to get into it, but by [00:12:55] this point, I’d become so miserable and lost in practice [00:13:00] that I thought if I need to do something. I was in such a quandary, [00:13:05] which I can go into, um. But basically I was so lost and miserable I [00:13:10] thought, I need to do something. So I threw myself at the Strowman uh, course at the I.T [00:13:15] course, which changed my life, um, personally [00:13:20] and professionally, and breathed out a bit of life back into [00:13:25] the practice and to myself as a principle. And actually, maybe it helped [00:13:30] it survive because it was another big value add. The practice wasn’t growing in numbers, [00:13:35] it was just very, very static and stable. But I knew that wasn’t future proof enough. [00:13:40] So again, it was a next stage of sort of value add, but it was through the implant course that I met my wife, [00:13:45] through a friend that I’d made on the implant course, and meeting on these other great people [00:13:50] on the course and getting myself exposed to that community, because I had become just too [00:13:55] isolated in practice prior to then as well. And so that course just [00:14:00] helped so much.

Speaker3: But it wasn’t enough. So go on, tell me why. [00:14:05] Why were you so lost?

Speaker1: Essentially, I working [00:14:10] directly with the public and the nature of employment law [00:14:15] in Britain had me quite disillusioned because of 1 or 2 undesirable characters [00:14:20] that I had working for me along the way. Um, but essentially, you [00:14:25] know, chatting to 15 different members of the public each day was exhausting for me. Yeah, [00:14:30] I loved the analysis and strategy and the technical work [00:14:35] of the industry. Um, but the chat I would rather get into deep and meaningful [00:14:40] with three people every day about talk about the deepest subjects, [00:14:45] rather than chit chat with 15 or 20 people. That was exhausting for me. So [00:14:50] perhaps if I’d managed to cut down to say, 1 or 2 days a week, it would have been healthier. [00:14:55] I was also terrible at delegation, so by design, I’m just going to get exposed [00:15:00] to. You know, NGOs that just pull me, tear me apart [00:15:05] from all, all sides, you know. So that was that was, you [00:15:10] know, probably the summary of why it was a toxic place for me, a toxic situation. [00:15:15] Ultimately, um, when you say employment, say.

Speaker3: You mean you mean you wanted to [00:15:20] fire someone and you couldn’t like that sort of thing?

Speaker1: Yeah. I mean, it’s, um, I [00:15:25] because because of this was the wrong environment for me ultimately, even though it [00:15:30] was going extremely well on paper and clinically, it was just fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. [00:15:35] But for me personally, it was really not not right. Which [00:15:40] meant that as my energy was consumed and I was distracted, it meant I wasn’t a [00:15:45] great leader in that environment. Um, the team knew what to do. They [00:15:50] were so responsible, um, but meant I wasn’t a great leader. Which also meant that [00:15:55] if 1 or 2 unsavoury characters crept into the team over the years, I didn’t deal with them. [00:16:00] Well enough. I just wasn’t able or willing [00:16:05] to deal with them correctly. The team were great though. I mean, we kind of dealt with them as a team, [00:16:10] and it’s funny to see that acting out. Um, team are great. [00:16:15] Yeah, it’s it’s, um, the employment law in [00:16:20] Britain. I felt put some employers like myself at [00:16:25] risk to, to these people ultimately who I’m talking about, they didn’t do any [00:16:30] long term harm to the practice or patients or to me. It’s just hard at the time to deal [00:16:35] with, though. So.

Speaker3: But did you know, did you not think that, you know, that [00:16:40] is a business problem rather than a dentistry problem?

Speaker1: Yeah. I mean, it’s [00:16:45] I think it was a me problem. I think I was the problem there because I was just in the wrong environment, [00:16:50] and I just had no reserves to deal with this character. [00:16:55] It’s as simple as that. And I know what I would do now, but it took me two [00:17:00] years to. Get them out. Um, they’re very toxic. And [00:17:05] the team, um, and I just. I just had nothing. I had nothing left. My [00:17:10] focus was on my responsibilities to the patient. My technical skills [00:17:15] and serving the patient. And, you know, keeping the rest of that team [00:17:20] happy and keeping that peaceful, happy place. But driving [00:17:25] the practice, I just didn’t have enough interest in it to [00:17:30] drive it.

Speaker3: It’s interesting, isn’t it? Like, what is it about your job or one’s [00:17:35] job that drives us? Right? And in dentistry, I mean, [00:17:40] personally, I was the opposite of you. I didn’t like the Meccano, didn’t like the [00:17:45] putting bits together, and even the treatment planning piece didn’t like it. Always worried [00:17:50] I was doing the wrong thing and that sort of thing. Um, but I enjoyed the human [00:17:55] side of it. And I hear what you’re saying about the, you know, it’s a bit too [00:18:00] surface. Um, you can’t get into it deep and meaningful. But somehow I felt like I was, [00:18:05] I was, I was, but you know what drives us? That other people are driven by the staff management [00:18:10] bit, other people are driven by now in your new project, the the [00:18:15] marketing and design and all of that. Um, but now [00:18:20] that you’re out of it, do you not recognise dentistry as, um, better [00:18:25] than you thought it was when you were in it? Because I certainly did when I, when I stopped practising, [00:18:30] um, I realised that it’s, it’s actually I mean, it’s a hard job, [00:18:35] but anyone can do it was the way I was thinking.

Speaker1: Right? Um, [00:18:40] I mean, I do appreciate everything I got out of it. I knew along the way [00:18:45] with every challenge that I was going to learn something, every, every brutal [00:18:50] challenge that dentistry brings you. I just, you know. Got my head [00:18:55] down and dealt with it and learned and conquered it. And there was there was [00:19:00] so much that was great about it. And I, and I still describe it as an amazing profession. I really do. [00:19:05] Um, I have so much appreciation for it. And and yes, I could go back [00:19:10] and probably enjoy an associate job for a day or two. It [00:19:15] doesn’t appeal to me just now, and I kind of don’t need to. But yeah, there’s there is a lot that I [00:19:20] that I look back on and I do appreciate and I was appreciating those things at the [00:19:25] time, but it is so demanding as a practice owner, a small practice owner, [00:19:30] you have to love it. You just have to love it. Yeah. And that’s [00:19:35] that’s all it was. That’s all it was missing. I just didn’t love it. And that can be enough [00:19:40] to send some people over the edge. And it almost sent me over the edge. So yeah, [00:19:45] the 90% or 80% that I liked was was amazing stuff. But [00:19:50] you also need that 20%, let’s say, and that such a demanding [00:19:55] environment and that 20% that I missed was just the passion and [00:20:00] that to be in that environment. So yeah, I do have big appreciation for it.

Speaker3: Do you remember [00:20:05] then thinking my way out of this is to sell this practice? Was that a moment that [00:20:10] you decided to do that?

Speaker1: It was a very, [00:20:15] very emotional event to realise that that [00:20:20] has to happen. And it was with my wife, the support of my wife, who, incidentally, is a dentist as well. [00:20:25] Was she working.

Speaker3: In the same practice?

Speaker1: She did a little bit, yeah. Uh, [00:20:30] she’s an orthodontist, and but it was together. She’s very, very [00:20:35] spiritual and in touch with, you know. All [00:20:40] of that and we just. I just realised that I have to go. I have to I [00:20:45] have to sell this. And the kind of the exit strategy began and [00:20:50] I realised also there was a halfway house of. And this seems so basic [00:20:55] to everybody who’s listening, but to get an associate, because I was single handed [00:21:00] with a therapist, a dental therapist, and I had had [00:21:05] my fingers burnt with a few associates before and, and had gone [00:21:10] single handed after that for a good five years. And I thought, [00:21:15] I need to readdress this kind of associate model and how can [00:21:20] I make it work? And I came up with this whole structure that, you know, especially [00:21:25] the the remuneration structure sort of tapered, um, remuneration [00:21:30] structure, which I don’t know how. Sliding. Sliding scale. Yeah. [00:21:35] Sliding scale. Yeah. Um, so I worked really hard on that sliding scale structure. [00:21:40] And got an associate and I thought, okay, if [00:21:45] if I can get a great associate, I could actually drop down to a day, a week. And [00:21:50] this might actually be healthy for me. And equally, if. I’m not [00:21:55] entirely happy with the associate, but they’re good enough. Then I might just. They [00:22:00] might make it easier to sell the practice as well.

Speaker1: The fact that the associates didn’t say 90% of [00:22:05] the work. And in the end, I wasn’t entirely [00:22:10] happy with what was going on. It was a it was a good associate, but just [00:22:15] not quite how I wanted it to be. And that did make it easier to sell. [00:22:20] And then I sold. And that was it was a [00:22:25] very, very easy sell because I had just fine tuned this [00:22:30] practice to, you know, everything was working so slick. [00:22:35] It was just such a transparent practice to [00:22:40] assess as a purchase and had been so fine tuned. And [00:22:45] systems and the team. It was just a lovely package to pass [00:22:50] on, something that was very proud of and something I knew that whoever took [00:22:55] it on, they weren’t going to get burnt with anything that had left lingering, not dealt with, [00:23:00] whether it was, you know, toxic stuff or broken systems or that type [00:23:05] of thing. It was just a nice package to pass on. And so thankfully. That [00:23:10] made it a very smooth sail because I couldn’t I wouldn’t have coped with a sail [00:23:15] that took 2 or 3 years. I know that happens to people. Um, I wouldn’t [00:23:20] have I don’t know what would have happened to me, but I had nothing left at that point. And did [00:23:25] you have a plan?

Speaker3: Did you have a plan for what you were going to do after? Or was it like I went out first and [00:23:30] I want to then decide, yeah.

Speaker1: And this is the this is the thing as well. I had through it, [00:23:35] through it maybe, maybe since a teenager I had lots of ideas for products [00:23:40] and reinvent and redesigning things. And this [00:23:45] growing list that I’d been keeping since I was a teenager, there must have been, you know, there’s probably [00:23:50] originally 100 products and it scored a 40, and I was now left with 50 or 60 products on [00:23:55] this list. And I’m seeing some of these products going appear in the market. Others [00:24:00] had actually come up with it, and I see it actually become a success. I’m like, oh, I better score that one off. That’s somebody [00:24:05] else ended up doing that. And to continually see these ideas come [00:24:10] and the possibility for success and bringing a product to market was [00:24:15] this kind of burning passion in the background the whole time. And [00:24:20] I thought, there’s I need to give one of these a try. I [00:24:25] also had discovered that my previous passion of [00:24:30] becoming an airline pilot as a child was actually very feasible with [00:24:35] today’s, uh, affordable and flexible modular training pathways. So [00:24:40] I thought I could train as an airline pilot, but also have some [00:24:45] products developing on the side. And I had understood the the model of licensing [00:24:50] where you come up with IP, a design and you. Two, though to [00:24:55] accompany, and they take on the rights to the IP in return for a royalty. So I thought, [00:25:00] I can churn out these ideas and be an airline pilot and also start [00:25:05] a family. So that all kind of lined up. And [00:25:10] so that was the plan to start all of the above. And [00:25:15] and I did I did start over. Um, and also to get into investing [00:25:20] and learn a bit more about that. And so actually property was an interest. [00:25:25]

Speaker1: I had a couple of rental flats that give me a taste of things, but I’d [00:25:30] also learned that there were so many ways within property to to do well. So [00:25:35] the other plan that came up after I sold was to get into house building [00:25:40] with my dad. So I was training to be a pilot. I was [00:25:45] writing these patents for products. We had already had a first child, second one was on the way, and [00:25:50] I was also starting the business with my dad to start to build houses. And then Covid happened [00:25:55] and basically wiped out the property game [00:26:00] and the aviation industry. And by then I was getting [00:26:05] on for 40 and I had planned, I had decided that if [00:26:10] I’m going to become a become a pilot, I need to do this by the time I’m 40, because [00:26:15] it’s such a gruelling, physically demanding lifestyle. That, [00:26:20] combined with family and everything else, that was going to be my deadline and then Covid [00:26:25] basically. Destroyed that deadline by, it would need another 3 or 4 years then [00:26:30] with the unknown that it presented. So I gave up on the aviation idea, [00:26:35] gave up on the property, um, business. That was for six months until that. [00:26:40] Thankfully, we didn’t start digging because I don’t know what would have happened. But [00:26:45] yeah, the supply issues with materials and things in the building industry, [00:26:50] um, was the was the thing that threw the whole business plan. And [00:26:55] just the shift change in how people use property affected the [00:27:00] whole strategy. So, um, yeah, so I just focussed on products and [00:27:05] family and uh, yeah, the rest is kind of can [00:27:10] talk more about that if you like, but lots of product ideas. But I’d say focus on the one which was [00:27:15] the toothbrush, ergo prox toothbrush.

Speaker3: I’d like to get to a good prox, but [00:27:20] I would like to know some of the other ones. But what was one? What was one that you thought up when you were [00:27:25] 17 and then someone else brought to market?

Speaker1: Or the idea just to think [00:27:30] another day that the idea of a sort of CCTV system within a car. I [00:27:35] think I was maybe 16 or 17. And now everybody has these, you know, dash cams [00:27:40] and it’s like the technology is so cheap. And another one was, uh [00:27:45] oh, I had have you ever seen these old LCD alarm clocks where the LCD [00:27:50] sits on a glass pane, so it’s completely see through, but the LCD numbers are on it. And [00:27:55] I thought if this could be enlarged into a massive window, you could have like [00:28:00] a window that can go pick at the flick of a switch. And then. I [00:28:05] think it was maybe a year.

Speaker3: That exists, isn’t it?

Speaker1: It [00:28:10] does. Yeah. And then it came out, you know, like five, ten years later I actually came out. I think it was like dental [00:28:15] surgery in Glasgow. I really high end one. And they, they have this surgery [00:28:20] and it’s, you know, maybe 5 or 6 big panes of glass and that flick of a switch, it just becomes this white opaque. [00:28:25]

Speaker3: Yeah. I think attic attic practice at that.

Speaker1: Yeah. Yeah yeah.

Speaker3: And [00:28:30] Chris all centres got that as well. Um but don’t you think [00:28:35] dude. Yeah. That, you know, the execution is much more important than idea [00:28:40] anyway.

Speaker1: Um, I mean, yeah, it has to. That’s that’s the stage for that now [00:28:45] with the business.

Speaker3: And but you know, like, you know what I mean. We’ve we’ve all had ideas haven’t we all had ideas. [00:28:50] Ideas. Yeah. Is, is I know what you mean though about that being [00:28:55] the driver for you saying, God damn it, I’m going to execute this time. Yeah. Because [00:29:00] I’ve felt that feeling too, you know, that, you know, this is the thing that pushes you into actually doing [00:29:05] it is when you see someone else executing on your your idea. Right? Yeah. [00:29:10]

Speaker1: It’s, uh, and it was thing is, it was giving myself that chance to execute because [00:29:15] I was so swamped and density that had all these ideas and couldn’t execute. [00:29:20] And now I love I love the design engineering. So engineering [00:29:25] an idea to become, to be able to become a physical reality and also to become manufacturable [00:29:30] and at scale, not just manufacturable, but at scale as well. [00:29:35] So designing the machines, the tools that allow that object to come to life is [00:29:40] great. So that’s the that’s the physical execution. And then there’s the execution of the business. And always being [00:29:45] having been entrepreneurial all my life without actually. Giving [00:29:50] it enough credit to be honest along the way. But now I’m doing that. It’s I can now now [00:29:55] execute in the business, making a business out of it, which is just as exciting to me.

Speaker3: So [00:30:00] okay, let’s let’s get to Ergo Proxy. When was the first [00:30:05] time you thought that there’s a problem? Let’s describe the problem first. The problem is [00:30:10] missing teeth. The teeth next to the abutment, teeth next to the missing teeth, and [00:30:15] how clean you can keep those and, you know, the general public, how they can [00:30:20] angle their brushes and so forth. Is that right? Is that what we’re talking about?

Speaker1: Absolutely. So ten years [00:30:25] ago now actually, that I realised in practice that we were not able, over [00:30:30] decades of attrition with these patients seeing a hygienist. But we’re not able to coach these [00:30:35] clever, keen able patients. To [00:30:40] clean these sites. So I thought, let’s do a study on my own patients. So I just had [00:30:45] two columns and a bit of paper beside my desk. I didn’t even label the columns. My staff had no idea what I was [00:30:50] writing down. I just started like creating these stats for what was going on. And I found [00:30:55] that in this private practice, 95% of people with a missing tooth [00:31:00] could not clean all of the plaque from all of the teeth adjacent [00:31:05] to this edentulous site.

Speaker3: Are you talking about the ones with removable dentures? [00:31:10] The ones with a gap?

Speaker1: The ones anyone who’s lost a tooth other than a wisdom tooth. [00:31:15] So they’ve lost one two, seven, one, two, five six however many. I [00:31:20] counted all the sites. Just surfaces next to the Dental space, [00:31:25] and 95% of them could not clean all of the sites next to [00:31:30] all of their edentulous spaces, so they might have managed to clean.

Speaker3: A bit of it. You know.

Speaker1: Four out of the [00:31:35] five sites that were next to the initial space. But there was one that they just couldn’t. Yeah, yeah, yeah. [00:31:40] And so it was named and they might not have disease there. Fair enough. But you get [00:31:45] you get the path to and I thought this is massive. This is an ergonomic issue. We cannot [00:31:50] coach these people. I had a patient who had missing uppers and lower [00:31:55] left five present round to lower right four. Uh, sorry. It was [00:32:00] a three was a 4 to 3. So lower left, four to lower right. Three. The four I had just [00:32:05] crowned because of caries. And she’s still getting plaque at the distal. [00:32:10] Now with her dentures out, she has full access with any [00:32:15] old toothbrush to clean the back of that four to clean the distal of that four. And she [00:32:20] simply couldn’t in her mind’s eye, get her hand round at the correct angle consistently [00:32:25] every day to remove that plaque. And I said, you’re going to get caries here [00:32:30] because you’re still not cleaning there. And she’s basically burst into tears. [00:32:35] She knows that she’s about to lose. She might lose this critical tooth. It’s just [00:32:40] that helps to support the occlusion for our upper denture and something [00:32:45] to brace against for the lower one. This is a critical anchor tooth in your mouth. And [00:32:50] but she’s she’s perilous. I thought enough is enough that this this their toothbrush [00:32:55] architecture needs completely redesigned to deal with this. And [00:33:00] that was that was the that was the moment. I realise something has to be done [00:33:05] and. Yeah, and I thought if it’s 95% of my private patients, then what is it. What’s [00:33:10] it like in the general population. Mhm.

Speaker3: Yeah. And so you must have looked at research [00:33:15] now is there work out there confirming this.

Speaker1: Yeah I mean [00:33:20] the I think the partial denture case is, is, is brilliant because [00:33:25] um, these people, these people are at an even higher risk of this domino [00:33:30] effect of disease. And they are statistically, [00:33:35] they feel disempowered with their oral hygiene. They statistically feel out [00:33:40] of control. They statistically are not clear on what their [00:33:45] oral hygiene regime is, should be. And that that [00:33:50] that he traced that back to their experience in the surgery with the hygienist. The [00:33:55] hygienist is having to make up for the current toothbrushes are having to describe [00:34:00] and prescribe and coach a regime. Once you’re coaching somebody [00:34:05] beyond 30s how to clean a site, it’s probably not going to [00:34:10] work in the long term for that patient. If it needs that much tuition, you’re [00:34:15] entering the realms of spatial awareness, manual dexterity, motivation, [00:34:20] forming good habits for the rest of their life. And [00:34:25] you’re just you’re up against it. So it’s been unfair, [00:34:30] but what choice have we had? But it’s unfair to expect a patient to to take [00:34:35] on such a surgical technique essentially. So basically statistically [00:34:40] this is a serious issue. And I reached out to, I think, 150 hygienists and [00:34:45] therapists personally and engaged in dialogue with all of them about this problem. And [00:34:50] every single one was pulling their hair out with us. I even had hygienist saying, [00:34:55] I don’t know what to do about these areas. I just prescribe single tufted brush. [00:35:00] But no, it doesn’t work.

Speaker1: Or a bent toothbrush, which doesn’t work either. [00:35:05] So they’re actually telling me we’re prescribing something that doesn’t work, which is [00:35:10] a horrible position to be in. It sets them up for disappointment. The patient [00:35:15] comes back to me today what’s basically being patronised. You’re not cleaning. [00:35:20] They’re even though we understood and we told you and you agreed it’s not their fault, [00:35:25] it’s the tool. And so as I recognise the issue there and [00:35:30] it’s global. So yeah, that’s, you know, just through writing the patent, I did the [00:35:35] research and the prior art, which is basically all of the existing toothbrush designs. [00:35:40] And, and it has never been addressed. And the funny thing here [00:35:45] is, you know, I thought, am I reinventing the toothbrush here? Is this when I say, what am I doing here? [00:35:50] Why has this never been invented in the hundreds of years that we’ve been extracting teeth? [00:35:55] And here it is. The thing is, when the tooth is lost, we think space [00:36:00] has been created. Therefore, we should be able to clean the adjacent surfaces. Yeah. [00:36:05] And that’s it. Because there’s space. Because the hygienist can see [00:36:10] it. We believe the patient should also be able to see it or reach it. And [00:36:15] that’s it. But the angle required is impossible with [00:36:20] current toothbrushes and also the size of the toothbrush heads. But it’s all about the angle. Um, [00:36:25] so yeah, it’s a global issue.

Speaker3: Quickly describe it [00:36:30] for someone who’s listening. Kind of to me, looks like a closet, but [00:36:35] with the brushes.

Speaker1: Like a wishbone, sort of wishbone. Yeah. It’s like, almost [00:36:40] like a wishbone structure at the end of a handle. Yeah. And suspended between the legs of the [00:36:45] wishbone is a double sided brush head. Yeah. The bristles are [00:36:50] angled slightly towards the gingival margin. So it’s got the bass technique built [00:36:55] in and it’s very forgiving. And because of that you can just [00:37:00] use any brushing action. Push pull left right up and down. It’s so efficient [00:37:05] at applying pressure at the bristle tips to exactly [00:37:10] where it’s needed on a single tooth. Just because [00:37:15] of the positioning, because of the architecture, the layout.

Speaker3: And the curve. The curve of [00:37:20] the filaments. Right.

Speaker1: Yeah. So the the. Yeah, the curve of the head, it’s [00:37:25] um, it’s curved on two planes, uh, the two relevant planes in that position [00:37:30] and also deforms under under excess pressure. [00:37:35]

Speaker3: And they’re not filaments. They’re. What is it? Silicone.

Speaker1: It’s elastomer. [00:37:40] Yeah. And, you know, if it was nylon on a rigid base, which [00:37:45] is what nylon, the nylon bristles would need, it would actually be. This [00:37:50] is so efficient at directing the bristles where they need to go that the nylon structure would actually [00:37:55] be traumatic for tissues. So we had to de de risk de distress [00:38:00] the bristle tips. It’s so effective at brushing their. And, [00:38:05] you know, a lot of a lot of brush designs, even, you know, a Philips Sonicare [00:38:10] brush head. There’s a lot built into that that bristles set to account for inefficiency [00:38:15] with the positioning of the brush head. You know, long ones, short ones. It’s kind of covering [00:38:20] all covering all eventualities. But this brush head is positioned [00:38:25] so precisely that we had to basically de-stress the [00:38:30] the contact points, the contact between the bristle tips and the tooth. So [00:38:35] hence um, ferm elastomer, but a deformable head and [00:38:40] also curved to distribute the load.

Speaker3: I mean, ergo proxicom [00:38:45] if you want to look at a picture of it, I’m looking at it right now. Is the is the brush head piece replaceable. [00:38:50] Is that and the handles is the same. Is that what it is?

Speaker1: Different colour at the moment. At the moment it’s not replaceable [00:38:55] as a whole. Other level of engineering that will come in the future, but it’s really [00:39:00] easy to snip that head off and the handle is fully recyclable. So [00:39:05] for every ergo proxy toothbrush is 97% recyclable material and [00:39:10] you know, we can easily move to compostable plastics and things later as well, [00:39:15] you know. But yeah, just normal domestic scissors. Cut the head off and recycle the handle. [00:39:20]

Speaker3: So look, obviously I’m involved in product design, right. So I [00:39:25] appreciate how much work has gone into that. And a lot of people wouldn’t appreciate [00:39:30] it. But, um, I, it makes me think of, uh, with our latest version [00:39:35] of enlightened, we decided to change the tray case, uh, and, [00:39:40] and we didn’t want it to be plastic. We wanted it to be metal. And having [00:39:45] having been through this process many times before myself, I did not want to design [00:39:50] it ourselves. I wanted just to buy it off the shelf somewhere. Someone, you know, OEM stick [00:39:55] my name on it, but we couldn’t find one. Could not find one. Um, so [00:40:00] all it is? Dude, I don’t know if you’ve seen it. All it is is a case. Like, that’s all it [00:40:05] is. It’s aluminium round. Looks like a flying saucer, let’s say. Yeah. Uh, the [00:40:10] number of iterations that we had to go through for it. And [00:40:15] by the way, it’s still not right. It’s never right, is it? Um, I wanted it to open with one hand or whatever. [00:40:20] And, you know, sticking a hinge in there became a cost issue. Uh, just a whole [00:40:25] lot of problems. Yeah. Um, so, yeah.

Speaker1: It’s very involved, [00:40:30] isn’t it? Yeah, it is engineering. A lot of eyeballing, engineering, a lot of, uh, kind of sensing, [00:40:35] like, and density where you kind of just need to judge, you know, with your senses, through [00:40:40] experience about how to bring that tool together or bring those two pieces together. [00:40:45]

Speaker3: And then the cost of tooling I found, you know, just surprising, [00:40:50] surprisingly high. Um, so let’s go [00:40:55] through the process. Okay. You realise this was a problem. You started making some drawings, I guess [00:41:00] some 3D drawings after that. Well, the first thing.

Speaker1: I did was I got some modelling [00:41:05] clay. Yeah, and just mocked it up into shape. That felt right. [00:41:10] Uh, did a couple of iterations of that and felt I had enough to start doing [00:41:15] 3D drawings. I got somebody to do the drawing, just told them where to put the curves [00:41:20] and what angles and things, and then got that 3D printed, and [00:41:25] from then it was reiterations of 3D printed models.

Speaker3: So [00:41:30] maybe 3D printing makes it a lot easier, doesn’t it?

Speaker1: Yeah, yeah. [00:41:35] And um, because your main die can be fantastic, but once you get it in [00:41:40] your hand, you really can feel it and sense what the market will perceive it like, the size [00:41:45] of it, or how somebody would want to hold it. And you can even just pass it to somebody and see how [00:41:50] how they manage it in their hands. How many, how many.

Speaker3: Iterations did you go through before [00:41:55] getting to this?

Speaker1: Raw prototypes, probably [00:42:00] 10 to 15, however. Within within the [00:42:05] design process. And there must have been. There must have been another [00:42:10] sort of. 1020. Iterations to [00:42:15] tweak. And that’s before that’s before tooling started. And then when [00:42:20] you have the tool made, the tool then needs redesigned and [00:42:25] tweaked. So there were another 5 or 6 iterations in the tool itself, [00:42:30] which that in its in its own consumed six months, I think 6 to [00:42:35] 9 months. Those reiterations just within the tool. So you think you have this product [00:42:40] and yes, on on in A3D print, it’s perfect. But [00:42:45] then it needs to be manufacturable at scale and the tool needs to be fine tuned to produce that. [00:42:50] So that was that was really interesting as well. I think a lot of people might have been really frustrated by that process. [00:42:55] It took me a year longer than I had planned for, but it was technical. [00:43:00] It was, you know, even the a three engineers involved along the way putting their opinion [00:43:05] in and the tool maker, at one point, he actually wasn’t sure if it was even going to be possible, but [00:43:10] I just felt I knew what I needed these bristles to do and [00:43:15] therefore what the tool needed to make. And I [00:43:20] think he was actually he wasn’t used to dealing with things that this [00:43:25] such small dimension, but I was very familiar with dealing with fractions, tiny fractions [00:43:30] of a millimetre through implant dentistry and everything. So I felt completely at home [00:43:35] there. So I was able to help him, you know, make decisions on [00:43:40] the tool. I felt I knew what the material was going to do once it was injected under tons [00:43:45] of pressure, and how it would flow and reach those cavities within the tool, [00:43:50] and how it would all bond together and that molten state and then produce [00:43:55] the brush that I need. So that was that was a an amazing [00:44:00] process.

Speaker3: But I guess you wouldn’t have even gotten into this process before you’d written the patent, right? [00:44:05]

Speaker1: Correct. Yeah.

Speaker3: So, so so you wrote the patent, you checked [00:44:10] if the if it had been designed before you, I don’t know, you hire a patent [00:44:15] attorney or whatever.

Speaker1: Yeah. How much, how much.

Speaker3: How much does it cost you patent wise to get to [00:44:20] that point? Not much. Not too much. Um.

Speaker1: Well. Just [00:44:25] to just to quickly add because you mentioned there about not considering the manufacturing. But as I was writing [00:44:30] the patent, I had considered how this would be manufactured as I was writing the patent, because I’d always [00:44:35] been interested in how things were manufactured. So I just thought, if this is like a two piece [00:44:40] opening tool or injection moulding tool, it needs to be able to come out. Yeah. And [00:44:45] on that one dimension ideally. But yeah, the patent process I had kind of learned [00:44:50] through some tuition I had on, on patent licensing how [00:44:55] to write a very basic, basic patent draft, which is really cheap. You can file [00:45:00] one for £70 and. Had. By then I had written a few [00:45:05] patent applications, such a good idea of what was technically required. And [00:45:10] I knew ultimately, the more I could put on paper and describe clearly, the less work my patent [00:45:15] attorney would need to do. Yeah, so I am not even sure how much I’ve spent [00:45:20] on the patent attorney up until now on this product. Um, but it’s it’s [00:45:25] probably it’s probably it must be over. It must be over 10,000 [00:45:30] by now. And it’s probably not necessary to go that far. But my [00:45:35] applications are global. So as US, Europe and China. So there’s a bit [00:45:40] more involved.

Speaker3: So this is now. This is now to get it to the patent pending stage. [00:45:45]

Speaker1: So a patent pending can start with £70, and you file your own draft document [00:45:50] under your own steam. If you’re really clear technically about what your innovation is, why it’s innovative and [00:45:55] include lots of drawings, you can have a patent pending with £70. And for one year you’ve [00:46:00] got this grace period to look at the commercial viability of it. You can start looking at what’s [00:46:05] possible. You can even present it to companies if you just want to go down the licensing route. Um, but [00:46:10] you can basically explore the whole venture and with a huge degree of protection because you’ve got [00:46:15] that filed document. But within that year, you need to start making your decision [00:46:20] and then raise it to the next level of filing, at which point you want to [00:46:25] really drill down and articulate in the legally and [00:46:30] legal terminology what your innovation is within that document. And that’s where a patent attorney [00:46:35] can help. So my first draft for this patent was like 10,000 words long. And [00:46:40] my patent. A patent attorney. Added another 3000 words, I think. [00:46:45]

Speaker3: Is that it? I mean, I always understood the full cost of patenting in all [00:46:50] those different regions was into the hundreds of thousands. Is that incorrect?

Speaker1: I don’t think it’s going to come [00:46:55] to that. So it’s the number of communications that you need [00:47:00] to have with the patent office. Will affect the amount you have to spend [00:47:05] on getting it to grant. So if you and your patent attorney can be [00:47:10] clear and efficient as possible, then it will reduce the number of exchanges between your patent attorney [00:47:15] and the the the patent office. And, you [00:47:20] know, for example, once it’s approved in Europe, it’s then maybe [00:47:25] it then gets assigned to whichever countries within Europe that you want it to be sitting [00:47:30] in. So I think for like 5 or 6 biggest countries, it’s then maybe 7 [00:47:35] or £8000 to have it assigned to those countries. But the legwork prior [00:47:40] to that is really kind of how long is a piece of string. And if you can be clear and [00:47:45] efficient with your patent attorney, you can really minimise those costs. I think it [00:47:50] does come down to complexity of the product as well. A toothbrush is essentially pretty simple. [00:47:55] Yeah. Um, you’d be surprised at how complex the patent [00:48:00] is for a simple object. So my advice would be to stick to a simple product if [00:48:05] somebody wants to go down this road, but something that’s far more engineered and complex. [00:48:10] And so it must be into, as you said, you know, over £100,000.

Speaker3: So the conversations, [00:48:15] the conversations with the hygienists made you think, yeah, they’re enthusiastic. [00:48:20] They know the problem I’m talking about. So there is a market here. And [00:48:25] did you feel like that was enough to say, I’m going for this? And or [00:48:30] was there was there had you talked to any other companies regarding, um, licensing? [00:48:35] I had this is where the real, real risk and cost starts now doesn’t [00:48:40] it? At this point in the, in the cycle.

Speaker1: Front load the risk. [00:48:45] I’ve tried to, you know, through speaking to the profession and through speaking to companies as well, [00:48:50] but mostly the profession. When I had a unanimous response from the profession [00:48:55] about number one, but the seriousness of the problem and number two, [00:49:00] about the solution that I was presenting to them, it was it was such [00:49:05] a it was a no brainer. You know, there was simply no doubt from anyone [00:49:10] of the 150 of them. And that was just as resounding, [00:49:15] you know, proof of product market fit. And yes, [00:49:20] it was it was very much on that basis, along with other serious factors like [00:49:25] commercial viability of it, you know, how cheaply can this be produced and [00:49:30] will it actually work? And just with the material science from, from uni, [00:49:35] from, from dentistry, I knew that we could get the performance out of the materials. Uh, [00:49:40] the rough idea of how my manufactured with a simple kind of sliding [00:49:45] mechanism with a tool rather than extra. You know, uh, [00:49:50] cause they call it, um, other aspects of the tool that would make [00:49:55] for a much more complex machine and development process. So [00:50:00] yeah, it was proof of the product market fit. Um, the materials they knew the materials could [00:50:05] perform and that it could be manufactured at scale and be accessible, [00:50:10] accessible to the masses.

Speaker1: It wasn’t some wild, you know, £200 [00:50:15] electric toothbrush or something that was, you know, £5 and it [00:50:20] works and can transform people’s oral health overnight. So I think that was [00:50:25] as much evidence as anybody could ever gather. And and yes, then it came down [00:50:30] to whether companies would take it on under licence. And these behemoths, you know, they move pretty [00:50:35] slowly. And because this seemed like a niche product to them, it [00:50:40] felt like too much of a punt to them. And they were like, they loved it. But they’re like, yeah, but [00:50:45] no thanks. We’re we’re just not sure enough about this. And I could sense they didn’t have [00:50:50] that clinical insight, that real world insight, seeing how a patient holds [00:50:55] a toothbrush, how that the mind’s eye of a patient works. You know, that member [00:51:00] of the public for this situation, it was completely new to them. And [00:51:05] it was on that basis I decided. Well, I’m just going to dip myself. [00:51:10] A had committed to just licensing out IP, but because [00:51:15] I like the manufacturing and because having spoken to the companies and understanding their position, [00:51:20] it just encouraged me more. How many did you get on with it?

Speaker3: How many did you speak to?

Speaker1: 30, [00:51:25] maybe.

Speaker3: 30. Toothbrush type manufacturers? Yeah. [00:51:30] And how did you how did you go about getting their details and how did you approach them?

Speaker1: Linkedin. Linkedin. [00:51:35] And you know, the biggest ones like Unilever and Colgate, they have open innovation [00:51:40] portals. So you submit your product idea [00:51:45] and they you know, they respond. So I think, you know, top five big [00:51:50] players, they they have open innovation portals. But otherwise you’re reaching out personally to people [00:51:55] through LinkedIn.

Speaker3: So you’re going on LinkedIn finding out who’s the CEO of, I don’t know, the TP [00:52:00] or whatever. And and then or somebody in.

Speaker1: Yeah, somebody in [00:52:05] marketing or in R&D. Yeah.

Speaker3: And then sending them a message saying I’ve got [00:52:10] this new product for like go on step by step. What happened?

Speaker1: Okay. I mean, you [00:52:15] know, they’re obviously busy people and I don’t know how many pitches they get every day and things. But just [00:52:20] to introduce that, I might be able to add value to their range [00:52:25] and if they might be willing to look at what I have, and, [00:52:30] you know, I might have needed to reach out to ten people within the same company to get a response. [00:52:35] And it wasn’t necessarily under the Arima, or they just weren’t willing [00:52:40] to respond, whatever. Um, you just have to respect that. So it’s just perseverance [00:52:45] and, you know, trying to reach out to the right people, the relevant people. But [00:52:50] I originally thought it would always need to be sort of R&D people to reach out to because they’re at [00:52:55] the product development end. But often it’s the marketing people because they [00:53:00] are the ones that, you know, they they sell it, they know what the market likes, and they [00:53:05] can feed back the business potential to their boss for for considering this innovation [00:53:10] to add to the range. So it can be it can be surprising people that. You [00:53:15] need to speak to.

Speaker3: Yeah, it’s interesting, isn’t it? So someone listening to this might [00:53:20] be thinking. I’ve not. I haven’t got this in me because I haven’t got the engineering [00:53:25] mind to think about these things. Yeah, but [00:53:30] I think the I think you and I both know, right, that the tapestry that goes [00:53:35] into a successful product, one aspect is engineering and design. Yeah. [00:53:40] But then another aspect is marketing and another aspect is funding. [00:53:45] And you could be any of these guys, you know, your particular interest could be marketing, let’s say. [00:53:50] Yeah. And then absolutely. And then you go to a product designer who’s got someone like Michael sitting there [00:53:55] who likes putting things together and, and and so on. So did it not [00:54:00] put you off that all these big companies didn’t want to know? Did you not think, well, what makes [00:54:05] me think I can do it?

Speaker1: I could understand their position, and I was very much approached it [00:54:10] from wanting to understand their position. And having had having been coached on licensing [00:54:15] to big companies, I had some insight and [00:54:20] I knew what kind of holds them back and how they, you know, they might have a budget [00:54:25] allocation and, you know, a pipeline of projects that, you know, they [00:54:30] like it, but this would be a kind of year two in their pipeline. And [00:54:35] I didn’t want to wait a year or two to see if it fits in their pipeline. So [00:54:40] I could sense the lack of agility within those companies. Yeah. And [00:54:45] also their never ending pursuit of what I would call as a dentist. [00:54:50] Quite gimmicky designs. Of toothbrush. And when I say game, [00:54:55] I mean it’s just it’s just an aesthetic reiteration of the same function and [00:55:00] that it bores me and it excites me, you know? So [00:55:05] I like functional development and I love building beauty into Israel. [00:55:10] Absolutely. But I could see them just changing the visual design all the time and [00:55:15] understood what their business model was to largely stick with what works. And [00:55:20] this is a whole new. Toothbrush. It works on a whole new way, [00:55:25] and I could sense it was just too much of a leap for them to truly measure and understand, [00:55:30] and a sense they didn’t have that broad kind of [00:55:35] understanding of. Just the patient, the member of the public and how they would [00:55:40] how they would respond to this and also how the hygienist would respond to it. [00:55:45] You know, I don’t know how closely they they work with hygienists. I’m sure they have some [00:55:50] in their development, um, departments and things. But I felt I just understood [00:55:55] it from all these angles that the product market fit was just so clear to me.

Speaker3: And, you know, dude, [00:56:00] it might be that a lot of times the product market fit comes in a few years time when when this [00:56:05] problem becomes more obvious and, you know, however much you’re responsible for making this problem [00:56:10] more obvious. But it’s interesting that as a, as a profession, [00:56:15] this issue isn’t really emphasised in our training. Yeah. And so you’re you’re [00:56:20] having to tell dentists hygienists that this is a problem. What [00:56:25] about the communication direct to consumer. Have you have you looked at that. And [00:56:30] and does that have you had any traction there or have you found it easier or harder than [00:56:35] talking to a professional?

Speaker1: It’s, uh it’s interesting. They they are [00:56:40] worried about these teeth. They’ve just lost the tooth, so they’re highly motivated. Somebody [00:56:45] has lost a tooth. They’re on a whole other psychological mindset now about their teeth. [00:56:50] If they’ve developed a finite, you know, outlook for their dentition [00:56:55] and they don’t want to lose more. So highly motivated. And they do [00:57:00] worry about the teeth next to the partial dentures like all the time. And [00:57:05] when once this is in their hand and they put it there at that site, they just get [00:57:10] it, they just get it. And they suddenly feel empowered. They feel in control now [00:57:15] of this area. They suddenly feel not too bad about having a partial denture there. [00:57:20] They I tell them that your denture is actually a wonderful piece of engineering. [00:57:25] It’s been made for your mouth. It does work. You don’t need to lose the teeth next [00:57:30] to it. You can control your oral health completely. And this [00:57:35] is the missing piece. You’ve got your electric toothbrush for everywhere else. Maybe a water flosser for in between [00:57:40] your teeth. And this is for those sites. There are three distinct mechanical [00:57:45] ways of cleaning your mouth reliably every day, so they really get it. Um, [00:57:50] and yeah, so that’s, that’s actually the basis of a big sort of TikTok, [00:57:55] uh, campaign we’re about to launch.

Speaker1: And because it’s so you’re speaking [00:58:00] to them directly and they’ll be sort of live events and things on TikTok [00:58:05] and they’re, you know, they’re sitting at home, they’re not distracted. They’re [00:58:10] they know their problem. They see the solution, they get it. And it’s [00:58:15] just so direct. I’m really looking forward to that part of it. Um, at the moment, interestingly, although [00:58:20] all the hygienists love it and they rave about it, there’s so much friction [00:58:25] to getting this product into their patients hands. You know, their principal needs to agree to stock [00:58:30] the brush and transpose. You know, they don’t want to clutter up reception area more [00:58:35] with more products. And they’re like, yeah, but okay, it’s a £5 toothbrush. And [00:58:40] like, what’s the point of stocking this? And but yeah, we agree it does the job. Can you not just [00:58:45] recommend it to patients. But then if you just recommend it to the patient then patient needs to remember you need [00:58:50] to go home. You need to look it up and then they might lose interest. Yeah. There’s all these layers of [00:58:55] uh obstacles to the patient.

Speaker3: From from from the hygienist. It does need demonstrating. [00:59:00] You know, that’s that’s the important point of hygiene. Shows the guy what to do. [00:59:05] And, you know, before you said £5 price point three accessible, [00:59:10] you know, but from a from a business perspective, it makes it much harder [00:59:15] because cost of acquisition of a new customer has to be below £5. You know, I mean, you [00:59:20] can look at lifetime value and all that, but it has to be way below because of your margins and all that. [00:59:25] What do you what do you sell the package to a practice? I mean, do you sell them a package of [00:59:30] a number of them or how does that work?

Speaker1: Yeah, I mean, sell 20 packs, you know, about [00:59:35] £3 each. Um, so, you know, they can sell it for, you know, [00:59:40] places in London sell it for over £10. Oh, really? Um, yeah. But I mean, [00:59:45] there’s places that they only want to sell it for £4. £4.50. Uh, you know, [00:59:50] they’ll cover their costs and they provide a service to their patient. The patient can access what [00:59:55] they need. And the reality is, most people that need this, you [01:00:00] know, they maybe cannot afford, you know, another £30 [01:00:05] device in their bathroom to use every day. And £5 suddenly empowers them. [01:00:10] Um, you get three months use out of it. That’s, um, [01:00:15] I want I really want the masses to have this in their hands. The masses need it, [01:00:20] and they should have it. So it’s on that basis that I wanted to make it [01:00:25] manufacturable at scale and cheaply and yet perform clinically in anybody’s hands. [01:00:30] And yet on top of that, you could build a business around, you know, a £10 price point, make it more [01:00:35] glittery and fancy shiny, you know? Yeah, all of those things, you know, you can always add that later. [01:00:40] But my focus was, how do I get this to the masses? Because the masses need it.

Speaker3: So [01:00:45] what’s your advice to. Yeah, I mean, loads of dentists have ideas [01:00:50] about different things they can do. Outside of dentistry. [01:00:55] I mean, and, you know, both me and you are kind of still in dentistry, aren’t we? I mean, we’re not we’re not practising, [01:01:00] but we’re in dentistry. Um, let’s let’s say I come across [01:01:05] so many dentists who want to do toothpaste and mouthwash and toothbrushes. And [01:01:10] what’s your advice? What’s your advice? The the pitfalls. What should [01:01:15] they do?

Speaker1: So a year to find somebody who wants to get out of the industry, and [01:01:20] not.

Speaker3: Necessarily someone who wants to do a thing like like, you know, in a way, I’d call you an inventor. [01:01:25] Yeah. Um, and by the way, there’s I say there’s another era. Some people [01:01:30] make people think they have to come up with something completely new to do a new business. And [01:01:35] that’s not necessarily true. You could you could have re-engineered the toothbrush right into a [01:01:40] better TP brush and not have to, you know, explain a whole new thing to people, [01:01:45] for instance, for the sake of the argument. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker1: And you know, you’re right. I mean, within [01:01:50] everything around you there are, there are, there are assumptions built into [01:01:55] every object. And, you know, things that we’ve taken for granted that are limitations [01:02:00] to everything you touch and hold and what you’re holding and using might have been [01:02:05] engineered 15 years ago and the market might have changed. The market interest [01:02:10] might have changed, materials might have changed, manufacturing processes might have changed. [01:02:15] So if they have a if they have an urge for a fresh approach to something, you [01:02:20] know, if they can, if they can do a bit of market research, if enough people enough [01:02:25] other people share that, you know, passion and urge for that change, [01:02:30] then, you know, they could get on with it. They could pursue it. This [01:02:35] don’t take it for granted that the way we do things, it needs to stay that way. I, [01:02:40] by nature have always questioned the status quo. Everything, every, every [01:02:45] how, every y, every y. Why is it the way it is? And I’ve always questioned [01:02:50] that just out of interest. This is a bit of a nuisance to people, because I kind of go in and [01:02:55] kind of meddle with things and reconfigure things and like, but [01:03:00] and I say, but is this not easier now? Is this I’ve just made your life easier. Oh yeah. Okay. [01:03:05] And you didn’t realise they had been just trying to adapt the whole time [01:03:10] and accepting this limited tool and a tool. It could be a tool, [01:03:15] it could be a toy, it could be any household object. It could be anything we use every [01:03:20] day. So yeah, it’s I do I do encourage people to scratch that itch if they [01:03:25] have that interest in design or creativity.

Speaker3: It’s [01:03:30] so true. What you said that really resonates for me is that the assumptions [01:03:35] the product relied on may be out of date, but they [01:03:40] may be. They may be completely random. You know, I’ve been trying to get my head [01:03:45] around particularly. I mean, you’re looking at sort of objects, right? I’ve been trying to get my head around chemistry. [01:03:50] Right. The chemistry. Why is the chemistry of this like that? And I [01:03:55] was talking to a couple of professors, you know, like leaders in [01:04:00] the field, many, many formulators chemists at, at contract manufacturers, [01:04:05] many, many dentists, competitors are trying to find out why. [01:04:10] Why is this thing like. And no one can tell me no one. Yeah, yeah. [01:04:15]

Speaker1: Yeah I love that I love that.

Speaker3: Yeah yeah yeah, yeah. Um, and you know it’s like a where [01:04:20] time question, right. Why one hour. Why not all night type thing. Yeah. Is it toxicity. Is [01:04:25] it. You know, what is it. What’s the it. It looks to me now that it just [01:04:30] was just a convention someone decided on in the 70s. Yeah, [01:04:35] yeah. And that’s it. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, I love it.

Speaker1: And that excites [01:04:40] me so much. It’s such a an inspiration that. Because you think what else [01:04:45] can be invented, you know, and are we reinventing the wheel here? And it’s like, it’s not that [01:04:50] dramatic. There’s, you know, there’s always scope and I always will be.

Speaker3: Tell [01:04:55] me about things you would have done differently, mistakes you made.

Speaker1: Yeah. [01:05:00] Uh, I think my interest in product design, [01:05:05] you know, it’s my life now and business. So product design and business was with me from [01:05:10] very early on in my childhood, and. As [01:05:15] I dunno, is it my fault? Should I have communicated it more? Those were. Those were the fire in my belly. [01:05:20] And if I had acknowledged that by the age of 11 or 12 that, [01:05:25] you know, this is what I must do as an adult and ignore these, you know, classic, [01:05:30] you know, astronaut, airline pilot, doctor, dentist things, you [01:05:35] know, just feel sense and feel what what you keep thinking about, what [01:05:40] you keep applying your attention to, what you keep testing and experimenting [01:05:45] with. That’s probably. But you know, as a 12 year old, I can’t really blame myself. [01:05:50] But that that was that was where the biggest mistake started beginning. And I ended up in this road, [01:05:55] this academic pathway and this kind of quintessential professional pathway. Um, so [01:06:00] those that’s probably the biggest mistake. Um, but I think then once, once I was into [01:06:05] it and properly miserable and practice ownership. But [01:06:10] it’s kind of it’s a hard it’s a really you’re really in a rut though, because when you’re so [01:06:15] consumed by it, you can’t really see options. But if, if somehow I could have. [01:06:20] And the belief that there are options. I would have broken away sooner [01:06:25] and not consumed the energy and time that I did. Those [01:06:30] are the two probably the biggest aspects of my life that, you know, you [01:06:35] might call a mistake, you know?

Speaker3: We’ll do this. And I’m really impressed by [01:06:40] how far you’ve come since the last time me and you spoke. Um, I’m [01:06:45] excited about the TikTok. I’m interested to see who these denture wearers are on TikTok. But [01:06:50] I know why you’re doing it. I know why you’re doing it. I’m also doing. We [01:06:55] need to compare notes on that. Yeah.

Speaker1: That’s an interesting [01:07:00] idea. Yeah. It’s just it’s a young audience at the moment with TikTok, but it is expanding. They [01:07:05] have to take.

Speaker3: Over all the time myself. But I don’t know about you. Yeah, all the time. [01:07:10]

Speaker1: You know that the word on the street is it’s gonna, you know, take market share from Amazon for [01:07:15] for people’s purchasing habits because the TikTok shop, you know, and and [01:07:20] the Amazon experiences to go on to the Amazon website is such a bland experience. And you’ve basically [01:07:25] already made your choice and you’re just kind of looking, flicking like these 2D pictures. [01:07:30] It’s like, so I don’t like using Amazon. It’s I reckon.

Speaker3: So Amazon is also going [01:07:35] to turn more like TikTok though. Yeah, they’ll they’ll have a social feed on the side of Amazon. Yeah. Good [01:07:40] good. You know what I love about TikTok? How with one push of a button on your phone, the [01:07:45] things arriving in your, you know, it’s like it’s even more frictionless than than Apple Pay. I’ve bought things [01:07:50] on it by mistake. Oh, just there it is. Done. Yeah. I [01:07:55] mean.

Speaker1: It’s amazing and it’s immersive. And, you know, people are there. They’re making choices based [01:08:00] on their their their emotion, their the experience being [01:08:05] on, you know, watching and being on the app. They’re [01:08:10] shopping based on an experience. First wear an app and you go to Amazon. You’re shopping based on [01:08:15] a logical choice, which is boring, you know? So it’s like that’s the [01:08:20] way forward.

Speaker3: Tommy, what do you need now? Do you need you know, I guess you need customers. Do [01:08:25] you need do you need investors?

Speaker1: I think we’re okay just now for funds. And, [01:08:30] you know, the TikTok thing is really I’m really excited about that. And it is the perfect [01:08:35] type of product for TikTok for that type of platform. Yeah. So yeah, we’ll just see how it goes [01:08:40] and hopefully it can just continue to be self-funded, you know?

Speaker3: So if someone if someone [01:08:45] wants to get in touch they go through the same website.

Speaker1: Yeah. There’s a contact [01:08:50] form in there. I’d be happy to speak to anybody and, you know, happy to speak to any dentists who, who love [01:08:55] product design and have ideas about that and different options for them within that, [01:09:00] um, realistic risk free options to get an idea into the market. [01:09:05] It doesn’t need to be a massive, risky venture. Yeah.

Speaker3: Amazing. [01:09:10] We’ve come to the end of our time. Let’s let’s get through the final questions, buddy. Yeah. [01:09:15] Fantasy dinner party. Three guests. Dead or alive? Yes. [01:09:20]

Speaker1: Party. Yeah. I think you know, the whole product [01:09:25] and entrepreneurship is my life now. And I totally am immersed in it. [01:09:30] And I’ve been reborn. And so it’d be related to that. I think, you know, James Dyson [01:09:35] and how he has built his empire on redesigning [01:09:40] objects that we have taken for granted in life and found new layers of innovation [01:09:45] and redeployment of current technology into these [01:09:50] stunning and ergonomic, amazing inventions, [01:09:55] and to just to just get an insight. And he seems so peaceful and happy within his life [01:10:00] and path, and where he’s brought his passion and [01:10:05] his skills and that would be cool. Um, also, I think maybe [01:10:10] David Gilmour from Pink Floyd, he, um, you know, I’ve [01:10:15] been a fan of Pink Floyd since I was like 7 or 8. And again, [01:10:20] his his philosophy in life and combining that with his musical talent [01:10:25] to bring us a product which nourishes endlessly [01:10:30] and. Has been such a huge influence to me. Um, [01:10:35] and it’s just, just seems like a great guy to. To hang out with. [01:10:40] Um, so to have him as well. And and also this 1st May surprise you. [01:10:45] This relates to basically having somebody close. To [01:10:50] bounce ideas from who’s maybe a few steps ahead of me, but not so [01:10:55] far ahead. That is legendary, but still massive influence. And it would be [01:11:00] you Payman me. Yeah. So take this [01:11:05] as a as an official invitation. You’re welcome to dinner anytime. And you’re doing [01:11:10] what I want to do. You’re launching amazing products into the market. Is highly respected [01:11:15] figure and, you know, great products that work and making [01:11:20] a real difference to people. Um, you’ve got that kind of tenacious, you know, never [01:11:25] ending pursuit for development and improvement. And, you know, you’re you’re kind [01:11:30] of you’re you’re doing what I want to do. You’re nice guy. And it would just be [01:11:35] great.

Speaker3: Did not expect you to waste a vote on me.

Speaker1: I was I.

Speaker3: Was trying to second guess you. I [01:11:40] was like, Ellen’s coming. Ellen’s coming. Ellen’s coming.

Speaker1: You’re [01:11:45] welcome. Anytime. But yeah.

Speaker3: Yeah, I love, love to do. [01:11:50] And same. Same with you in London, my buddy. Same with you in London. You must come to London once in a while, right?

Speaker1: Yeah, [01:11:55] yeah, I do try to get down, um, just a bit mad. Still here, but. Yeah, maybe [01:12:00] over the summer or into autumn.

Speaker3: Final. Final question. It’s a [01:12:05] deathbed one. On your deathbed, surrounded by your loved ones. You [01:12:10] can give them three pieces of advice. What would they be?

Speaker1: Three [01:12:15] pieces of advice for my loved ones. I think. First one I think [01:12:20] would be. Once. Once you’ve got your attitude sorted [01:12:25] and sorted yourself as a person and you’ve become [01:12:30] a hard working type, whether it’s at school age or even in adulthood. [01:12:35] Once that’s established, follow your passion. And [01:12:40] I know everybody barks on about this in the internet. Like follow your passion, follow your dreams. Get [01:12:45] get your get your shit together first, right as a person. Once [01:12:50] you know that you’re committed to being responsible to serving society, [01:12:55] you have a. Cleanouts should your just. [01:13:00] Just do what you want. Do what you want if you’re going to work hard. Three [01:13:05] one, and I didn’t do that early enough. I should have done that 30 [01:13:10] years ago when I was in my early teens. Yeah. So yeah. Um, [01:13:15] that’s the first one. I think the other one is in life, [01:13:20] in relationships, in business, and a service as a service provider. [01:13:25] Uh, know your audience? Have [01:13:30] an undying and undeniable interest in the person [01:13:35] in front of you. For this contact, [01:13:40] this relationship, this engagement, this service provision under that. No, no. Your [01:13:45] audience, um, whether it’s, you know, dental treatment, whether it’s in conversation, [01:13:50] um. They have a background, they have a, you know, preconception [01:13:55] of things.

Speaker1: They have their own nature, their own needs. And [01:14:00] now that was that was very powerful for me through dentistry and [01:14:05] in business and relationships. That’s the second one. Um, [01:14:10] and the third one. I’ve just written down [01:14:15] here, come in in a crisis. And it’s it’s [01:14:20] when, when life happens, when when shit happens and [01:14:25] you’re on your knees and the the calmness, the the the. [01:14:30] You know the belief in those moments. That [01:14:35] as a way and to stay calm. Through that process [01:14:40] to to to to not add. Emotion [01:14:45] onto what is already a really, really hard situation. If you can stay calm in those [01:14:50] crises and have the belief, the authentic voice [01:14:55] that comes. The that pulls you out [01:15:00] the light. I call it the light and the light that comes [01:15:05] in those dark moments. It comes. It will come and [01:15:10] believe in it. And as you’re falling into the crisis, that [01:15:15] light will appear. And as you’re falling, it doesn’t, it doesn’t doesn’t feel [01:15:20] like that will ever come. And some people never make it out of that, bless them, [01:15:25] you know. But. Crisis happens in life and. But the light comes if [01:15:30] you’re calm and you wait for it and you believe in it. So that’s the other. That would be the third [01:15:35] bit of advice.

Speaker3: Very lovely man. A bit like when you say crisis, you’re not talking [01:15:40] about the lingual side of that tooth falling off, right?

Speaker1: Yeah.

Speaker3: Light [01:15:45] will come. Yeah. Thank you so much for doing [01:15:50] this, buddy. I think I feel like I need to catch up with you again in a couple of years time, see where Ergo Proxy [01:15:55] has gone. And even more exciting, what other products you’ve you’ve come out with and [01:16:00] what other things you’ve turned turned your hand to. But really super impressed that you told me [01:16:05] what you were going to do a couple of years ago, whenever it was. Was it a couple of years ago? It was. It was Covid.

Speaker1: Yeah, I think yeah. [01:16:10] Two years ago. Yeah.

Speaker3: And then at least and then you’ve gone ahead and done it exactly as you said. And [01:16:15] now I wish you the best my buddy. It’s really, really impressive. Well done buddy.

Speaker1: Thank you so much and [01:16:20] thanks for the opportunity. And um, yeah, great to speak to you, buddy. And, uh, I hope to catch up with you in London [01:16:25] someday.

Speaker2: This is Dental Leaders, the [01:16:30] podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. [01:16:35] Your hosts. Payman Langroudi [01:16:40] and Prav Solanki.

Speaker4: Thanks for listening, guys. If [01:16:45] you got this far, you must have listened to the whole thing. And just a huge thank you both from me and pay [01:16:50] for actually sticking through and listening to what we’ve had to say and what our guest has had to say, because [01:16:55] I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

Speaker3: If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. [01:17:00] And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value [01:17:05] out of it too. Thank you so so, so much for listening. Thanks.

Speaker4: And don’t forget our six star rating.

 

Mind Movers brings things home this week as Rhona has a heart-to-heart with her father, Dr Alex Eskander, a renowned obstetrician and gynaecologist. 

Dr Eskander shares his inspiring journey from Egypt to the UK, his experiences as a junior doctor in the NHS, and his transition to private practice. 

The conversation delves into important topics such as the importance of egg freezing, increasing rates of fertility issues, the psychological impact of infertility, and the option of adoption. 

Enjoy!

 

In This Episode

00:01:45 – Backstory

00:05:50 – Journey to the UK and medical training

00:23:40 – NHS experience

00:35:30 – A love story

00:54:40 – Return to the UK

01:08:05 – Private practice

01:11:40 – Egg freezing and ovarian reserve

01:16:25 – Fertility and IVF

01:29:10 – Societal pressures

01:36:30 – Adoption

01:42:15 – Male infertility

01:44:25 – Dr. Iskander’s experience with prostate cancer

01:48:15 – Advice for younger self

 

About Dr Alex Eskander

Dr Alex Eskander is an obstetrician, gynaecologist and assisted conception consultant. He is the co-director of The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy and founder of the Gynae Centre, London.

Speaker1: I think the most important thing in life is to have to develop an ambition. You [00:00:05] can’t say I’m studying this because and [00:00:10] I don’t know what I’m going to do at the end. I think it’s always better to set up a goal and [00:00:15] then you work towards this goal.

Speaker2: This is mind [00:00:20] movers. Moving the conversation forward on mental health [00:00:25] and optimisation for dental professionals. Your hosts [00:00:30] Rhona Eskander and Payman Langroudi. Hi [00:00:35] everyone. Welcome to another episode of Mind Movers Season two. Today [00:00:40] I am bringing my dad, Doctor Alex Iskandar, which makes me so happy because [00:00:45] he literally is my hero. And you know, Payman asked me. He said, what’s [00:00:50] the angle? And I said, you know, my dad is an incredible because his story of he always downplays it, like [00:00:55] typically from someone that comes from the Middle East. But his story is incredible how he came to the UK, [00:01:00] how he created what he created, harnessed the right kind of values [00:01:05] in me and my sister, who’s ended up working really hard. And on top of that, he’s one of the top [00:01:10] gynaecologists in the UK, which is true. And what’s amazing is any time I post [00:01:15] him a whole load of people on my Instagram, go, he’s my gynaecologist, you know, and [00:01:20] they say, always the most wonderful things about you. Oh, my father also [00:01:25] is the person that told me to do egg freezing. I think way before it was topical, there [00:01:30] was a lot of taboo, and he’d been talking about it a long before people had started doing it. And [00:01:35] I think it’s a really great way for people who are listening to this podcast [00:01:40] to really understand the implications for female health and why that’s beneficial. So welcome, daddy.

Speaker1: Hi. [00:01:45] Thank you. Welcome to you. Thank you for having me on your shows.

Speaker2: Amazing. Okay, [00:01:50] dad. So I want people to hear your story about how you came to the UK from Egypt. [00:01:55]

Speaker1: Okay, so back in the 60s, [00:02:00] uh, when I went to medical school in 1963. [00:02:05] I immediately knew after the third or fourth [00:02:10] year that I wanted to be an obstetrician gynaecologist. Actually, it’s just the [00:02:15] first moment I delivered a baby. I just felt [00:02:20] joy and happiness and I thought I did a great job. In fact, just the [00:02:25] baby came out and I just held the baby. But it was just a great experience. And, [00:02:30] um, and from then onwards, I just planned to be a gynaecologist. And [00:02:35] in the 60s and still until today, [00:02:40] uh, being a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists [00:02:45] in the UK has always been a big name, you know, to be a member of that college, very distinguished. [00:02:50] And so it’s been my ambition and ambition of a lot of people in [00:02:55] Egypt, and I’m sure around the world and I’m sure until today. So it was more famous than the American [00:03:00] board at that time. So I planned my journey that I’m [00:03:05] going to leave at the end of my first year year internship. To [00:03:10] go to UK to study for the membership and train [00:03:15] because again, the British training, English training at that time was one of the best. [00:03:20] Okay. So, uh, the last year of my [00:03:25] internship, last year in university, an internship was not an easy year because [00:03:30] during my working hours, I had to obtain the approval of [00:03:35] my work where I was working, the approval of the army [00:03:40] to let me go because I was supposed to be going to the Army for the regular, [00:03:45] uh, um.

Speaker3: Uh, military service.

Speaker1: Military [00:03:50] service.

Speaker2: So that was normal in Egypt. I didn’t even know that today.

Speaker1: Until today. Do you know that? But [00:03:55] only yes. So at 18, you are supposed to go to.

Speaker2: So everyone does.

Speaker1: It. Everyone one does [00:04:00] it. Even Doctor George did it. Wow. So you’re only exempted if you’re the only son. I [00:04:05] was the only son. But it was, uh, still temporary because [00:04:10] my mother could have had another another boy. And therefore, both of us have to go. [00:04:15] But. So how.

Speaker3: Old? How old were you when you decided that was. [00:04:20]

Speaker1: I was about 23 at that time. So when [00:04:25] I was in that position, uh, so I actually went, I said I wanted [00:04:30] a final, uh, exemption from the military because I was [00:04:35] the only son, and my mother had a strict to me. Now, funny enough, I went to the. So [00:04:40] I went to the army officer and I said, listen, but, you know, my mother had her womb out, so [00:04:45] she’s not going to have any more children, so you don’t have to worry. He said, I’ve never had that [00:04:50] that heard of that before, doctor. So we still have to make it temporary. It was [00:04:55] the most difficult period of my internship for [00:05:00] three months trying to obtain a a visa. We had exit visa [00:05:05] at that time. So you have to have the government to sign to say you can go out of the country, which [00:05:10] I hated, and it’s no longer the case. However, anyway, I managed with [00:05:15] difficulty and who I was.

Speaker2: How did you get your plane ticket to England?

Speaker1: Well, actually my [00:05:20] my mother was very clever, so I was engaged to a girl whom she didn’t like, [00:05:25] funny enough. And, uh, and but I liked [00:05:30] her. And I said, you know, it doesn’t matter if you don’t like her. I like her. So she knew the only [00:05:35] way to get me out was a one way ticket to pursue my dream in the UK. [00:05:40] And who could refuse a ticket to the UK to study and to [00:05:45] see the Beatles country? The happy you’ve never.

Speaker3: Been before.

Speaker1: Never been?

Speaker3: And what were your [00:05:50] initial reaction when you when you got the what excitement?

Speaker1: I mean, I was only 22, [00:05:55] 23 when she said, and London.

Speaker3: In the 60s was the centre of the world. Right?

Speaker1: No, no, I mean, not many [00:06:00] people travelled like that nowadays. I mean, it was, you know, fantastic to travel. And I also [00:06:05] had my best friend here already. So I’m going to join him as well. And I’m going to work in, [00:06:10] uh, in uh, British hospitals. And the NHS was a great institution, [00:06:15] really to train. So everybody aspired to go and train in [00:06:20] the UK. So here we are. I took the flight, I landed, [00:06:25] uh, stayed with my friend, and the sooner or later, 2 to 3 months [00:06:30] later, I took my first post in Lincoln.

Speaker2: Lincoln, can you do I know, [00:06:35] and.

Speaker1: I wanted to stay in London. Really? Did you.

Speaker2: Cry?

Speaker1: No I didn’t, I was excited to [00:06:40] see the countryside. Everybody talked about the countryside of England, but I was disappointed. [00:06:45] Why? Why? Number one? I took a train, [00:06:50] a very cold train from King’s Cross to Newark, [00:06:55] I remember. And when I arrived, number one, the train [00:07:00] that I had actually was not luxurious as the train we had in Egypt. So [00:07:05] in Egypt we had a Hungarian kind of train, which was really like a bullet [00:07:10] train nowadays. But the train I had from King’s Cross was really like [00:07:15] a steam train from the past. I was really disappointed. And anyway, I [00:07:20] got to Newark, small station, empty and cold. It [00:07:25] was cold. It was the month of December.

Speaker2: And you were in summer clothes, [00:07:30] I assume? Well, of.

Speaker1: Course I didn’t have heavy clothes. It took me years to accept [00:07:35] that this country needs a heavy coat. So I had a light coat. And anyway, it was a [00:07:40] very small train to take me from Newark to Lincoln. And when I got to Lincoln, [00:07:45] it was dark. It was lonely. There was nobody there at 930. I [00:07:50] remember in Egypt it’s a 24 hour party. You had people open all [00:07:55] the time. So I was very disappointed. Anyway, I landed [00:08:00] in a good health hospital eventually.

Speaker2: How were you funding medical school?

Speaker1: Medical [00:08:05] school in Egypt was free. But when.

Speaker2: You got to the UK, that.

Speaker1: Was [00:08:10] all. I came to the UK with. You’re not allowed to take more than 30 sterling pounds [00:08:15] £30 in his pocket.

Speaker2: That’s it.

Speaker1: 30 but 30, you know. Remember at that time the [00:08:20] the salary of a doctor was about £106 per month, but [00:08:25] still £30 was not much. So I had to work in London in the first two months I [00:08:30] waiter, I did no first you didn’t know that. First [00:08:35] I did kitchen porter.

Speaker2: Was the.

Speaker4: Kitchen kitchen.

Speaker1: Wash wash wash.

Speaker3: Washing [00:08:40] up the dishes.

Speaker2: Spaghetti house no.

Speaker1: Well it was the one behind I think it [00:08:45] was. It was spaghetti house.

Speaker4: Spaghetti house. Yeah.

Speaker1: Because the chef was [00:08:50] a friend of mine and he said, do you want to come? Just temporary. And I thought dishwashers, [00:08:55] you know, plates and spoons and probably have a machine as well. But in fact, [00:09:00] no. When you work as a kitchen porter, junior kitchen porter, remember [00:09:05] the other one who was there before you goes to the washing machine or dishwasher [00:09:10] and you go to the big, big saucepans. You are [00:09:15] talking about big saucepans. You have you need a ladder to to wipe it inside. Did [00:09:20] you.

Speaker3: Already speak English, French, Arabic, some.

Speaker1: English, Arabic of course, but some English, [00:09:25] which I was a better communicator than anybody who didn’t know English. So I could communicate [00:09:30] and I could speak good English. Actually, relatively speaking, I [00:09:35] now I will articulate it that you think that I understand English. So I managed to get by [00:09:40] very well. Anyway, I resigned, I walked out after two hours. I couldn’t do [00:09:45] that. And then I enlisted in a cleaner, uh, agency shop. So. [00:09:50] And I did some cleaning shop. I enjoyed that, actually. The dad.

Speaker2: Loves it. He’s like.

Speaker4: Quiet. I’m [00:09:55] a clean.

Speaker1: Person. He likes.

Speaker4: It. He loves.

Speaker1: Well, I’m. I’m a Boy scout. I was a boy Scout. Really? So [00:10:00] I mean, that helped me a lot to understand many things in life anyway. And [00:10:05] from there I progressed into a waiter at, uh, Texas Pancake House, [00:10:10] which was good. And I saved some money on top of the £30. I think I managed [00:10:15] to get it up to 100, 120 in in a couple of months. It was not too bad with the tips. [00:10:20] And, uh, we encouraged the people who didn’t pay tips to pay tips by [00:10:25] singing to them after the service in French sometimes, or [00:10:30] in Spanish. There was a lovely Spanish boy with me anyway, so. But [00:10:35] I was so pleased. I really appreciated the medical degree then. I [00:10:40] really, really appreciate it. So when you do those other things, you know, and I strongly [00:10:45] recommend everybody to have a degree because a degree really separates you from [00:10:50] the big, big mass. Yes, I disagree okay.

Speaker2: So I’m going to disagree with you now obviously, [00:10:55] like growing up my instilled values and Payman, you can share your thoughts with your own children. [00:11:00] It was instilled you have to go to university. As my mum and dad always said, a degree is worth [00:11:05] its weight in gold. However, as time has gone on and I’ve told you this, I [00:11:10] have met plenty of people who are more successful than people with degrees, especially [00:11:15] in the business world, and some of them that have elevated more. And they would argue that [00:11:20] a degrees are useless and a waste of time. So I think it depends on the person and what they want to do. If you [00:11:25] want to be a doctor, a dentist, a lawyer, etc., then of course it matters what degree [00:11:30] that you do. But I think now people can be entrepreneurial, online and very smart and [00:11:35] very successful without having degrees, I’d say.

Speaker3: I’d say education is less important than it [00:11:40] was back in, in in your day. I remember my, my dad said his degree from [00:11:45] Belfast was like a ticket to printing money back home. Yeah. You know, so it’s that [00:11:50] it’s no longer like that.

Speaker2: Yeah, but what if your children.

Speaker3: Said they didn’t? But with the kids, I almost [00:11:55] see university as like a a holiday or something. Yeah. Like something you should. [00:12:00] Something they should be looking forward to. So if, if they decide they don’t want to go, [00:12:05] I’d say they’re missing out on something like a.

Speaker2: Life experience.

Speaker3: The actual experience of it. And I know your your, your [00:12:10] college wasn’t as fun as mine. I, we had that episode. Yeah, but but [00:12:15] nonetheless, I’d say they’re missing out on just the experience of it. [00:12:20] But I think you’re right that, you know, okay, you could give three years to I agree something else. [00:12:25]

Speaker1: I agree, but I also disagree. Just tell me, what are the percentage [00:12:30] of people without a degree who can be something without [00:12:35] without going to university? Just a figure, just a figure in a hundred person who [00:12:40] are already around us? How many?

Speaker2: What do you think?

Speaker1: Percentage? Uh. [00:12:45]

Speaker3: I mean, okay. Yeah, a lower, a lower, [00:12:50] a lower percentage.

Speaker1: Is 1%, uh, too little or too.

Speaker3: Much? No. Too little, too little. [00:12:55] Yeah. That’s really. Yeah. You can be super successful without a degree. You can more than 1%. [00:13:00]

Speaker1: Yeah.

Speaker3: Oh, yeah. And you can be super unsuccessful with it.

Speaker1: I agree, I think. Listen, so [00:13:05] I’ve.

Speaker2: Actually googled it. Yeah. So it says based on the findings from Entrepreneur.com. [00:13:10] Those who become highly successful without an education appear [00:13:15] to be roughly 6%. So I don’t know.

Speaker1: That’s still 94% [00:13:20] who can make it. And among the entrepreneurs? Well, no, no.

Speaker2: But listen to [00:13:25] this. The percentage of jobs this is from Harvard Business Review. The percentage of jobs requiring [00:13:30] a college degree fell from 51% in 2070 [00:13:35] to 44% in 2021. So most some people now are not requiring [00:13:40] degrees.

Speaker4: Now.

Speaker1: In my days.

Speaker3: No no no, that’s right, that’s right.

Speaker2: That’s what he’s.

Speaker1: Saying. In my [00:13:45] days it was different. Okay, so I agree I was a frustrated entrepreneur. [00:13:50] I could have gone into business straight away after secondary school. [00:13:55] Now secondary school is definitely.

Speaker3: What did your dad do?

Speaker1: Well, he was a civil servant. He was [00:14:00] not really ambitious. He was happy with and he wanted to have a pension. And there are many [00:14:05] people, I think the majority of people want a stable job and a salary. Not [00:14:10] everybody is an entrepreneur. I’m not sure whether you know, whether you can [00:14:15] apply that to everyone. But, you know, if you have an entrepreneurial skills, such [00:14:20] as Zuckerberg, for example. I mean, he knew he had a talent or Richard.

Speaker2: Branson. [00:14:25]

Speaker1: Whatever. You know, those are people who recognise themselves and got frustrated with education. [00:14:30] I got frustrated with education initially because I was an entrepreneur. [00:14:35] But how many business, how many business people succeed? How many end [00:14:40] that also, I.

Speaker2: Think also, but the thing is, is that the school and education system is extremely flawed because [00:14:45] it’s like one fits all kind of model and also but listen like, you know, as well. For example, [00:14:50] when I was young at school, I struggled academically. I’m not talking about Queens when I worked really [00:14:55] hard and etc. but I struggled academically and teachers didn’t help, you [00:15:00] know, my strengths. They would focus on my weaknesses. For example, like, I’m lucky because Queens College, [00:15:05] which was a school that I went to, it was more designed for like the creative type of person, which then [00:15:10] I could thrive in that environment better. But like for example, the education system, like Richard [00:15:15] Branson, is he, um, dyslexic or. Yeah, he’s dyslexic, you know, so he physically [00:15:20] struggled to read and write, for example. But his skills he have obviously he’s an [00:15:25] intelligent person in a different way.

Speaker3: I think it comes to. Do you do you have any sort of feelings of [00:15:30] you might not have become a dentist if you if you weren’t groomed to become a dentist. And, and do you [00:15:35] think that you would be something, something else. Well that you’d rather be.

Speaker2: Well, my dad knows the story [00:15:40] already. I mean, I was always good at drama and English literature. Do you remember? I was really good at [00:15:45] that. And some of my English teachers even said, why don’t you go to university and study English? Do you remember [00:15:50] the teacher saying this? And they said, Go to Oxford? Miss Kalia said that, go, go, [00:15:55] here we go. Look, it sounds like that. And my dad said, listen, don’t waste your time. [00:16:00] Do do the dentistry and you can always do English later.

Speaker4: Whatever you want to do. Yeah, but listen. [00:16:05]

Speaker1: But you had a flair for dentistry.

Speaker4: Of course I wanted.

Speaker2: To be a dentist since I was.

Speaker1: 12. Yeah. I mean, you know, at nine we visited [00:16:10] my cousin in LA who was a successful dentist, and I loved it. And she looked [00:16:15] she loved it because, you know, she had a nice house and in Santa Monica in LA. And [00:16:20] she immediately said, dad, I want to be a dentist.

Speaker3: And what kind of a kid was she?

Speaker4: Fiona? [00:16:25]

Speaker1: She was a strong kid. She was. She knew what she wanted. Handful from [00:16:30] three years old. She would really. She has a strong mind. [00:16:35] That’s what I want. Wow. She she shout at me. So once I was shouting at her mom and [00:16:40] she was only a baby then she was maybe one year plus. She shouted back at me. [00:16:45] She said like that? She couldn’t say shout back, but she [00:16:50] just made a noise to say that she didn’t like what I said. She she’s all been been always [00:16:55] been strong, always been ambitious as well. I think the most important thing in life is [00:17:00] to have to develop an ambition. You can’t say I’m studying this because [00:17:05] and I don’t know what I’m going to do at the end. I think it’s always [00:17:10] better to set up a goal and then you work towards this goal about the education system. [00:17:15] What I think I would have liked if I, if I would have [00:17:20] known that I want to be a doctor at the age of 13, 14. [00:17:25] I would rather have made that choice at that age. And there is a specialised [00:17:30] school from then. I entered medical school then because everything I [00:17:35] studied then from advanced maths to advanced chemistry, [00:17:40] I mean, you need the basics, but you don’t need the advanced one. You know, I forgot all about it. Most [00:17:45] of us forgot.

Speaker2: But people say, for example, that the things like the education system is extremely outdated [00:17:50] and I would I would agree as well. They agree. They said they don’t teach you anything about taxes. They don’t teach [00:17:55] you anything about fertility. Correct. Yet they teach you Pythagoras theorem. You know what I mean? Like, and [00:18:00] it’s like, when have we ever used it?

Speaker1: They concentrate on the basics. And I think there is a reason for that very important [00:18:05] reason, actually. You have to understand that they want you to be a researcher and. [00:18:10] Advance your speciality. They don’t want everybody just to open a clinic and just [00:18:15] really carry on with what they’re doing.

Speaker2: But I’m talking about even like primary school and secondary school as well. Like there’s [00:18:20] such a disconnect. Like for example, people don’t have a basic understanding, including dentists about [00:18:25] accounting, for example, taxes, things like this. We don’t know. You know what I mean? You’re meant to learn. [00:18:30] And actually if you those are important life skills and extremely helpful. Now [00:18:35] I want to talk to you, dad, a little bit about your time as a junior doctor. [00:18:40] As we know, junior doctors now, for the first time in many years, are speaking out [00:18:45] about their experiences. Nhs dentistry is also in a [00:18:50] huge crisis. I haven’t talked to you about it. As you know, I worked for many years on the NHS. Ten years. My dad [00:18:55] made it very, very clear to me. He said you do your time on the NHS by the way, you know, and you know, a lot of dentists don’t do that. He said to [00:19:00] me, you do your time on there. That’s what he said.

Speaker4: And we all have. We all have to do. A [00:19:05] lot of people don’t. It’s a fantastic.

Speaker3: I didn’t.

Speaker2: See he didn’t.

Speaker4: Really. Yeah, yeah. [00:19:10]

Speaker2: So, so.

Speaker4: But it may.

Speaker1: Be different in dentistry.

Speaker2: Why didn’t.

Speaker4: You.

Speaker3: Because [00:19:15] I didn’t want a third party in between me and the patient.

Speaker1: But did you train before [00:19:20] you came here? Sorry.

Speaker4: Were you born here?

Speaker3: Yeah, I trained here, I trained here.

Speaker1: So you trained. [00:19:25]

Speaker3: I trained here.

Speaker2: But he didn’t have to work on the NHS.

Speaker4: He did his training.

Speaker1: But you trained the NHS. You mean just one year. [00:19:30] So like.

Speaker2: He’s saying.

Speaker3: Oh, I did the one year. The.

Speaker1: The only one year.

Speaker3: Yeah, yeah I did, I [00:19:35] did university here and then one year that you have to do. Yes.

Speaker1: But I think you can do that with dentistry [00:19:40] that. But you can’t do it with medicine because you need them. You need the experience.

Speaker4: I [00:19:45] would.

Speaker2: Say. And I you know, people might think that I’m quite bold saying this, but I would say arguably [00:19:50] sometimes working in systems like that can actually de-skill you. Because I did [00:19:55] I did so many years using materials that the budget allowed for [00:20:00] on the NHS system. So for example, like the silver fillings and all this stuff that I actually [00:20:05] didn’t learn how to do, like the white fillings and things like that. So actually my skills are much less than my [00:20:10] colleagues that started doing that work. Of course, you can do that kind of work within the health care system. [00:20:15] It’s just more limited. You know.

Speaker3: People, young dentists ask me all the time, what should I do? [00:20:20] Yeah. And, and our young doctors probably asking you the same question, what should I do? And the [00:20:25] normal advice is do three four years on the NHS, learn [00:20:30] your skill sort of thing, try lots of different things, see what you like, [00:20:35] then start going into those things that you like. But my advice is kind of opposite. [00:20:40] My my advice is, uh, don’t stay in, you know, pick something, pick something, anything. [00:20:45] Yeah, get good at something. And, uh, don’t go into NHS at all because. Because [00:20:50] the standards are low on the NHS. Um, as far as materials, time that you’re given [00:20:55] and so forth, in dentistry, it’s not the same.

Speaker1: I agree. Well, no, no, even in medicine, [00:21:00] let me tell you also that I did general training for [00:21:05] an average of five years until I got my membership. Yeah. [00:21:10] During those five years of training, which I value very much, I worked so hard. I [00:21:15] did a lot of operations which made me a competent gynaecologist more than the today’s [00:21:20] gynaecologist. Sorry, today’s gynaecologist, but you don’t do enough training really like [00:21:25] what we did. But again, is that required? People then specialise. So [00:21:30] we didn’t have subspecialization then. So I had to start [00:21:35] thinking about Subspecialized Subspecializing. So I [00:21:40] actually started to develop some interest in 1973. During [00:21:45] my NHS years I developed an interest in ultrasound. Ultrasound was very [00:21:50] early then. You could only see blips, you couldn’t see a picture. Oh, and we used big [00:21:55] machines. Then from there we. And then I finished my membership in 1977. [00:22:00] So I started 72. Five years was the average. And then I’m again [00:22:05] I thought, I’m qualified. I thought I’m just done and now I want to go out on [00:22:10] my own to practice. Would would have been wrong. Why? In the following two years, [00:22:15] I’ve also learned additional surgical experience. I’ve also started [00:22:20] to do real ultrasound, and then two years later I thought, well, that’s [00:22:25] it, I have enough now. I can’t face the world alone. But I decided to take advanced [00:22:30] three years in research at King’s College and then learn more about [00:22:35] ultra.

Speaker2: Was that based on the recommendation of your consultants? No. Okay, [00:22:40] so you did that. He became.

Speaker4: An expert.

Speaker1: I did that because I wanted.

Speaker2: To become an expert.

Speaker1: Well, I was planning [00:22:45] to go back home and have a lot of experience, like what you did here, but you did [00:22:50] that privately. So I did it in the NHS because there was nothing private. You had to work with the top people [00:22:55] like Stuart Campbell that I worked with in ultrasound. And then eventually when I really [00:23:00] left the NHS, NHS and resigned completely in 1984 [00:23:05] and then I went to the Middle East, I still developed. I worked in institutions where I had to teach. [00:23:10] Myself fertility. So I became multitask. The [00:23:15] problem because I pursued a career which allows in myself. I took it myself [00:23:20] like you. Now that today’s doctors subspecialize [00:23:25] five years after. And if you work in the NHS, [00:23:30] you only work in one subject. They don’t want you to be multitask anymore. So [00:23:35] my time is different from this time and that’s the NHS and you know.

Speaker2: But let’s [00:23:40] talk a little bit about your junior doctor experience because as I said to you, I don’t you know, you qualified [00:23:45] so many years ago and I think the situation has somewhat got worse for junior [00:23:50] doctors. And we’re living, you know, Gen Z in the millennials, they’re much more outspoken. [00:23:55] But do you think?

Speaker3: Yeah, I think that’s the thing. I don’t think the situation has got worse. The situation was [00:24:00] very hard for junior doctors.

Speaker2: So what like what kind of things is it wasn’t easier.

Speaker1: It was harder.

Speaker4: Yeah. [00:24:05]

Speaker3: They should do more work.

Speaker4: Let me.

Speaker2: Talk us through the kind of things that.

Speaker4: Happened to tell you.

Speaker1: Then. So I, you know, my [00:24:10] initial years as a senior House officer was I had to be on call one [00:24:15] and two and sometimes wanting to talk in obstetrics, you’re up all night. [00:24:20] And when my colleague one, one, one of my colleagues went off, he couldn’t find [00:24:25] the locum. They said, do you mind to cover 1 in 1? Being a young [00:24:30] hero, I did it for 15 days straight. They said, we will pay you. [00:24:35] But then, in fact, I wasn’t paid because they said, we can’t find how to pay you because you’re [00:24:40] only you’re not allowed to do overtime. And I accept it then because I was grateful [00:24:45] for the system teaching me.

Speaker2: This is such an interesting point because for me now, [00:24:50] and I want you to chime in as well, a lot of people, they say that the new generation [00:24:55] don’t want to work as hard. They very much say, this is the hours I want to do. They come to job interviews [00:25:00] now and they actually say so this even I’ve seen it within my own clinic, whether it’s dentist, [00:25:05] auxiliary stuff, they decide what hours they want to work. They also very much [00:25:10] prioritise their lifestyle because they don’t want to be burnt out, they don’t want to be tired, [00:25:15] etc. and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing because people are a good thing. [00:25:20] See, my dad’s doing this right. And I think because also I am the kind of person that, you know, [00:25:25] my first NHS practice, I was on £8.75 a UDA. Some of my friends [00:25:30] were on way more, but I just accepted it and if they wanted me to do overtime, I accepted it. And if [00:25:35] they wanted me to do Saturdays, I accepted it. Do you see what I mean? Whereas now people would argue.

Speaker3: The thing [00:25:40] is, it doesn’t go with running a super efficient business to have people who [00:25:45] are only in one day, a week or two days a week, especially in the mixed practices. Right? And so I [00:25:50] know loads of principles of mixed practices when when a young dentist comes and says, I want to do three [00:25:55] days a week and they do, you know, now and self-care and whatever, they don’t like that. [00:26:00] Yeah, but.

Speaker1: We couldn’t do that in our time.

Speaker3: Yeah, yeah. But but but now I couldn’t have.

Speaker4: What do you think about it. I couldn’t, [00:26:05] I.

Speaker1: Couldn’t have driving lessons even really to commit because I finished, you know, later [00:26:10] than, you know, the time. And many times I said, you know, do you mind if I go because I have a driving lesson, [00:26:15] but, you know, you’re doing surgery at 630, 7:00, so we had to stay. But do you.

Speaker2: Think it’s better [00:26:20] now that people, including medical. I think.

Speaker4: It’s better.

Speaker1: I would I would like to be a [00:26:25] junior doctor now. However, the system was much more forgiving. The people [00:26:30] were lovely. There was no complaints. Then. If things went wrong, you say, oh, don’t [00:26:35] worry doctor, things sometimes go wrong. So we had a culture of forgiveness and.

Speaker4: The GMC. [00:26:40]

Speaker1: Around. I like that culture better then.

Speaker2: Was the GMC around then?

Speaker4: Of course.

Speaker1: Oh absolutely. [00:26:45] Around.

Speaker2: And but was it less of a complaint culture with the.

Speaker1: Less of a complaint?

Speaker3: I think.

Speaker4: They [00:26:50] appreciated.

Speaker1: Doctors more.

Speaker3: Guyanese get sued more than all other doctors, don’t they?

Speaker1: One of the highest.

Speaker3: One of the highest [00:26:55] really more.

Speaker2: Than plastics.

Speaker3: Because it’s kids involved, right. So when something goes wrong, people want to [00:27:00] find they.

Speaker1: Are in the first three, you know, worst.

Speaker4: Subs. That’s why you gave up obstetrics. [00:27:05]

Speaker1: Absolutely. So your insurance I would have had to pay 100,000 back in 1999 [00:27:10] per year. Nowadays. Now nowadays they pay 200, 250,000. [00:27:15] And that’s to do it. Well that’s why, that’s why if you want to have a baby [00:27:20] privately now, they will put you. They would want you to put down payment at the Portland [00:27:25] of 30,000 before you enter the hospital.

Speaker2: Okay. So my question [00:27:30] for you this and obviously you don’t have to answer. It’s too difficult. But did you ever have an incident where a baby died [00:27:35] when you delivered the baby.

Speaker4: Yes of course.

Speaker2: How did that impact you?

Speaker4: I’ve had.

Speaker1: Incidents. When [00:27:40] a baby died, I had an incident, said the time when a mother died also. Yeah. So? [00:27:45] So the first one was devastating. Of course. It’s just terrible. I had to go on holiday the following [00:27:50] day. I couldn’t face it. Big young and she had severe preeclampsia, [00:27:55] so that must have happened 1974. So [00:28:00] I was about maybe 26 really young and it affected me. [00:28:05] But you had the support. The family also consoled you. You did every, uh every. You [00:28:10] think you could? You know, I had to do one day a hysterectomy in the world because she was bleeding to, [00:28:15] you know, she had she had conditions, which she didn’t. We did not recognise the placenta [00:28:20] accreta. She she also died. And a baby has died from [00:28:25] a very easy delivery. Very, very easy delivery. And then [00:28:30] after three days, he just died. And then, uh, when the [00:28:35] coroner did the autopsy, there was a bit of blood in the in the brain. You [00:28:40] would think it’s traumatic because, you know, because the delivery was traumatic, but the delivery [00:28:45] wasn’t traumatic. And then when I asked the the coroner’s, you know, how often [00:28:50] do you see blood in the brain in a straight in in babies in general, you know, delivered [00:28:55] it’s not uncommon. So but again, you feel guilty all the time.

Speaker4: But we [00:29:00] feel.

Speaker2: Guilty as dentists like. Well, you know, Payman works with one of the top dentists in the UK. [00:29:05] And like, I know how it feels like we’ll have like, sleepless nights over a margin. Do you know what I mean? On a tooth. Do you see [00:29:10] what I mean? Like it’s like, we’ll think about it and think about it or, you know, a shade match or something like that. But then [00:29:15] you hear this, you know what?

Speaker1: It’s normal. It will be unusual not to get upset. We get upset [00:29:20] even when we have a complaint. Where did I where did I go wrong?

Speaker4: So.

Speaker2: But was it those [00:29:25] events that you said I want to stop OBS? Or was it more the complaints side of things that made you want to stop obstetrics? [00:29:30]

Speaker4: No, no.

Speaker1: No, I loved obstetrics all the way. It was age. I was past 50 by [00:29:35] then. I knew I couldn’t carry any longer getting up during the night. You actually sleep on [00:29:40] edge, you know, half asleep, half. You’re waiting for a call, you know? And to be [00:29:45] honest, at that time, I decided that I’m going to stay with my patients in the hospital [00:29:50] if I had a private obstetrics until she’s delivered. So I looked after her because I couldn’t wait [00:29:55] to go to to bed and then wake up again and wake up. So imagine how many nights like [00:30:00] that. So I gave it up and for the insurance as well. And I decided to become only gynaecologist [00:30:05] then.

Speaker3: So, doctor, tell me about when you made the decision to leave the NHS. [00:30:10]

Speaker2: This is, this is so interesting by the way. Also I want to before he [00:30:15] talks about the decision to leave the NHS. I want to like rewind a little bit because people are very interested in my [00:30:20] childhood. I got trolled the other day on TikTok. I didn’t tell you all you, but basically someone [00:30:25] said this woman is lying about her success because her father is a multi-millionaire gynaecologist [00:30:30] who paid for everything and bought her her clinic and everything in it. [00:30:35] Can we just have it on her? Did you buy me my clinic at all?

Speaker4: Exactly. [00:30:40]

Speaker2: And no.

Speaker4: Are you a mona?

Speaker1: Iskander did everything herself. [00:30:45] Trust me. Rhona Eskander. She works three three years [00:30:50] in the NHS. Not three.

Speaker2: Years. I did eight.

Speaker4: Years.

Speaker1: Well, whatever. In the first three years in the NHS [00:30:55] she where she worked, she was earning 42,000 [00:31:00] a year. And I’m saying it really in front of everybody. [00:31:05] She came after three years said, she said dad, I managed to save £80,000 [00:31:10] because I want to buy a flat.

Speaker4: In three [00:31:15] years.

Speaker1: And trust me, in these three years I.

Speaker4: Didn’t do anything I saved.

Speaker1: I [00:31:20] did not help her rent for rent. I couldn’t help her for anything.

Speaker2: I [00:31:25] only university, that’s what I say. You paid for my education? Yes.

Speaker4: In school. [00:31:30]

Speaker2: Yes, etc. but then after university I was done right. I saved everything. [00:31:35]

Speaker4: Myself.

Speaker1: Cheers. And I’m not a multi-millionaire at all.

Speaker4: There we go.

Speaker1: I told I couldn’t [00:31:40] afford to be honest. I had one policy, always with them since she was very young, her or [00:31:45] her sister. I gave you a pocket money from day. From the two years [00:31:50] of age I think I gave them. I give them a weekly pocket money. And I said, well, it’s up to you to [00:31:55] save or to spend it or spend it. It doesn’t really matter. But they’ve learned the value of money [00:32:00] from a.

Speaker4: Young age since I was three and.

Speaker1: And then during education, [00:32:05] then they got used to that pocket money. It was a trick to also [00:32:10] bargain with education. If you don’t do your homework, there’s no pocket money this week. I’m terribly sorry. [00:32:15] So did you.

Speaker3: Work as well?

Speaker4: No, no.

Speaker2: Because for me, just.

Speaker3: Saved. You were a good saver.

Speaker2: No, I was good. [00:32:20] Say, I was a really good saver. Remember, I don’t drink. So when people were spending loads of money on drinking, I think I [00:32:25] saved a lot of money on on no alcohol because I just don’t drink. I think that also [00:32:30] the other thing is like you said, like I remember I was only 2 or 3, but I really remember it. Dad sat me down, just [00:32:35] had bath time, and he goes, I’m going to give you something called pocket money. You’re going to get one dinner [00:32:40] because we lived in Bahrain, by the way, at this.

Speaker4: Point, equivalent to £2.

Speaker2: And then um, so my [00:32:45] dad went to the Middle East. It’s quite interesting because I want him to tell you why he went to the Middle East and how his experience, [00:32:50] that’s when he met my mum. But even more interestingly, is when we came back to the UK, [00:32:55] there was huge financial struggle because I remember we went to Asda and [00:33:00] we weren’t allowed to buy, we weren’t allowed to buy normal coke, Coca Cola because I.

Speaker1: Only bought Asda. [00:33:05]

Speaker4: Cola.

Speaker2: Coke because we couldn’t afford it. So I think that’s quite interesting.

Speaker3: I think the. Decision [00:33:10] needs to be had. Yeah, that if you were a multi-millionaire. Yeah. And there are plenty [00:33:15] of people who are multimillionaires whose kid might be a dentist. Yeah. Yeah, that that still [00:33:20] doesn’t mean there’s anything less about your, you know, your your achievement [00:33:25] of what you’ve managed to do. Yeah. Whether or not there was money [00:33:30] at at the beginning or not or not, the achievement is its own achievement. [00:33:35] Yeah.

Speaker1: Oh, absolutely.

Speaker3: So so, you know, I can understand if someone said your [00:33:40] dad’s multimillionaire and that’s not true.

Speaker4: Yeah.

Speaker3: Not true. You want to set that record straight? Yeah. [00:33:45] But if my dad was a multi-millionaire and he helped me start enlightened. Great. [00:33:50] Yeah, yeah, the last 23 years of ups and downs and all of that, [00:33:55] you know, my own work or whatever. But the person who started out rich or [00:34:00] started out poor, shouldn’t you? It makes no difference. We all have our life struggles to get through. [00:34:05] Yeah. And, you know, even the poorest person in the UK isn’t one of the [00:34:10] richest people on the world global scale. Yeah. So, you know, it depends on how you’re [00:34:15] also.

Speaker1: Also how many millionaires children have made it. A lot of them [00:34:20] are failures as well.

Speaker4: It’s more difficult. Many many, many.

Speaker3: Many can never [00:34:25] get their own achievements recognised.

Speaker1: But trust me, I just [00:34:30] I didn’t. I only paid for education. Her mother paid her also for her private schooling.

Speaker2: Let’s go [00:34:35] a little bit into that. So why did you move to the Middle East. So you’re working in the UK? You were.

Speaker4: 30.

Speaker1: I was multitask [00:34:40] and really I knew now by then I knew I had a lot of experience. I had [00:34:45] colposcopy behind my wings, I had ultrasound experience, all advanced. I had [00:34:50] advanced keyhole surgery. And you’re talking about 1984. Not nowadays. [00:34:55] Um, and then, you know, I had some fertility experience. But [00:35:00] to be honest, by 84 I was so tired and and also the competition [00:35:05] was different. When you applied for consultant jobs, you know, there was another [00:35:10] hundred applicants with you as well to apply and you had to really be [00:35:15] shortlisted. And I was shortlisted a few times, but I couldn’t just go through the bottleneck [00:35:20] one more time and I said, I just need a break. And everybody was having fun. [00:35:25] It was a party in the Middle East. And also I went.

Speaker2: But also, can you, can you be honest that there [00:35:30] were too many women in the UK and you couldn’t settle down?

Speaker1: I couldn’t say no, not not because of too [00:35:35] many women. I couldn’t settle with the person that I wanted to be.

Speaker4: With too much.

Speaker2: Choice.

Speaker1: Maybe [00:35:40] it’s the London is distracting.

Speaker4: Distracting London.

Speaker1: London [00:35:45] is distracting and I tell you so. There are not many loving relationships. There are [00:35:50] many, many people.

Speaker4: And well, it.

Speaker1: Still is. A lot of people find it difficult [00:35:55] to find a loving relationship so you can be friendly.

Speaker4: Do you feel that a.

Speaker2: Lot of women talk to you about that in the clinic? [00:36:00] Like there’s a lot of women.

Speaker4: Who tell me.

Speaker1: Exactly that you can have sex and a lot of sex in London, [00:36:05] but you can’t have too much love. Many love.

Speaker2: Why do you think that is?

Speaker1: I think this [00:36:10] is the way people are, you know, people are just more focussed on their career now. They’re not [00:36:15] really ready to have a family until later in life. And that’s when we talk about egg [00:36:20] freezing. It’s a fact most people don’t have children in [00:36:25] my clinic by the age of 33, to be fair, maybe 35 [00:36:30] even.

Speaker2: But but my question for you is is not so much that part, but why do you think they say they struggle [00:36:35] to find a decent partner?

Speaker3: Bruno, do you agree that these days getting married for [00:36:40] a man is a lot less interesting than it was?

Speaker1: And that’s that’s [00:36:45] also that’s also a point. Yes. He’s got many choices and he doesn’t have to commit herself [00:36:50] himself. But also, I think men get worried about litigation. [00:36:55] The law stands more with women than men. It’s against men. Yeah. [00:37:00]

Speaker3: It’s maybe the worst thing.

Speaker1: That can happen. They are at a disadvantage.

Speaker2: It’s funny, my fiance said the other day, [00:37:05] it’s going to make you laugh. He was getting so stressed about the civil ceremony and I was [00:37:10] like, don’t stress. I was like, just, it’s fine. Like, we’re going to get the date when we get the date. And he goes, you don’t understand. [00:37:15] If the papers aren’t signed, I’ll have no rights to the baby. And I was like, oh, okay. I was [00:37:20] like, I would never do that to you. I would never do that to him. Like, we have such a strong relationship. But I think, [00:37:25] like men subconsciously do worry and like, of course one of my best friends. Would you would.

Speaker3: You sign [00:37:30] a what’s a prenup, a.

Speaker2: Prenup? I wouldn’t mind a prenup. You know, I was listening to [00:37:35] a really amazing podcast. I’m going to send it to you, Lex Friedman and James Sexton. Have you listened to it? No, it [00:37:40] is phenomenal. The podcast basically is, um, the biggest [00:37:45] divorce lawyer in America. And he talks about everything. He talks about everything. So [00:37:50] in this podcast he basically talks about Prenups and everything like that. He goes, everyone [00:37:55] gets so upset about prenup. Oh, do they love me because it is just an insurance [00:38:00] policy. He goes, I tell you this, even he goes, even the people that you see, all the celebrities that pretend they [00:38:05] haven’t had a prenup, he goes 90% have had a prenup. And then he goes on to say. One [00:38:10] of the most interesting things about the prenup is, is that a lot of [00:38:15] people are obsessed with putting an infidelity clause. So whether it’s either party, they [00:38:20] say the prenup will only apply if there’s no infidelity. Right? But he says if you put an infidelity [00:38:25] clause, it just makes it more interesting for the lawyers because he discourages them. Because what [00:38:30] defines infidelity? Texting someone, even if they say, oh, look, here’s the hotel [00:38:35] room. He was in the hotel with the room. How can you prove something happened? Do you see what I mean? So it becomes very difficult [00:38:40] to prove what what is actually. And you start getting into the nitty gritty. But would you.

Speaker3: Worry? So [00:38:45] if your fiance, you know, pulled out a piece of paper and said, I wouldn’t.

Speaker2: Worry, I.

Speaker3: Wouldn’t worry, you’d be.

Speaker2: Cut? I think [00:38:50] that’s because I’m not financially driven when it comes to my choice [00:38:55] of partner, like as like, and I think the same goes his way, like with me and him and again, like, but. [00:39:00]

Speaker3: I’ve had friends. I’ve had friends where I’ve said to them, I’ve recommended, hey, you know, get a prenup. And, [00:39:05] and they say.

Speaker1: Does it work?

Speaker3: I can’t even bring it up.

Speaker1: But does it work?

Speaker2: Yeah. Well, according to [00:39:10] Rolanda.

Speaker3: Does a prenup work? Yes. Well, I don’t know the law in the UK. Yeah, but. But they can’t [00:39:15] even bring it up with their with their fiance because bringing it up brings an argument, brings in an [00:39:20] argument.

Speaker2: That has a friend. I’m not going to mention her name, but the daughter called off the wedding [00:39:25] because the guy wanted a prenup, remember? You know, I’m talking about she called off the wedding. Yes, she called it [00:39:30] off.

Speaker1: He was American. She was English. And, um, she called off the wedding [00:39:35] and has to withdraw all the invitations. You have to think about which I think, you know, I [00:39:40] think you know.

Speaker3: You know what? No, no.

Speaker1: But but I think it was fair from the guy. He had a lot of wealth [00:39:45] and she didn’t have any wealth. It’s fine to to no prenup.

Speaker4: But I’ve.

Speaker2: Had. [00:39:50] Can I be completely transparent with you? Sure. My clinic is my clinic. I’ve worked so damn hard for that [00:39:55] clinic. No matter who I marry, I still want my clinic to be my clinic. What we build together thereafter [00:40:00] during the wedding.

Speaker4: Exactly.

Speaker2: Also what he has got. [00:40:05] I don’t expect to just take that for what he has worked for, for hard, for prior to me. Do you understand [00:40:10] what I’m saying? Us together is a different thing. But, you know, like immediately, as you know, in a separation, [00:40:15] they get 50% of everything, including what you had before. So I think it’s like you have these discussions [00:40:20] and as you know, it’s a bit like getting into disputes with business partners. It’s much easier to have [00:40:25] the conversations when you love each other and care about each other, like like doing a shareholders agreement, for example. The beginning. [00:40:30]

Speaker4: Set the boundaries. What you’ve done.

Speaker1: Before is yours. It’s very.

Speaker2: Nice. I mean, that’s what I believe.

Speaker1: A friend [00:40:35] of mine whom you know very well is going through a divorce at the moment. Really? Her [00:40:40] lawyers, her lawyers, they wanted they want him to declare what [00:40:45] he had inherited from his parents. So going after his parents [00:40:50] properties as well, who died?

Speaker3: Lawyers, lawyers love to get the money right. And wherever, wherever the money [00:40:55] is exactly they will go after.

Speaker1: They will just want to know. And they will. They will have a go. They will have [00:41:00] a go.

Speaker4: Yeah. So so I’m.

Speaker1: Sorry, I have to write my property to [00:41:05] the doc charity.

Speaker4: No. Okay.

Speaker2: So but okay. So dad. So [00:41:10] anyway, so you were there. But this made me laugh so much. He actually really wanted to get married at 38. And [00:41:15] he decided because.

Speaker1: 37.

Speaker4: There was no.

Speaker2: There was no. Can you believe I’m going to be 37 on Wednesday? [00:41:20]

Speaker3: Congratulations.

Speaker2: So depressed.

Speaker4: I know old.

Speaker1: Or no, if you don’t [00:41:25] say it, nobody will know. But it doesn’t really matter.

Speaker4: People still think I’m young. He just told 10,000 people. Yes.

Speaker2: Yes, [00:41:30] 10,000 people. Listen to this podcast. Anyway, listen. So the one, the other thing [00:41:35] that I wanted to say to you was, is, um, now my age thing. Yeah. So he wants he [00:41:40] said there was no Tinder. There was no, he said that he put out an advert on the Yellow Pages describing [00:41:45] a secretary that he wanted, but basically his perfect woman.

Speaker1: Well, when I didn’t [00:41:50] really find the one I really, really want, I said, but why don’t you interview [00:41:55] people? But not for marriage, but as a secretary. So I plan [00:42:00] to take up a suite in the Hilton Cairo and and, [00:42:05] you know, at that time and I was close now in Saudi Arabia, I was close to Cairo and, [00:42:10] and I planned to have a secretary with all the specification of what [00:42:15] I want. And in fact, a lot of it applies to my wife. So she has [00:42:20] to speak.

Speaker4: She manifested her, she.

Speaker1: Has to speak Arabic and as well as English, French [00:42:25] as well will be an advantage. Uh, American University of Cairo educated [00:42:30] my mum.

Speaker4: Yeah.

Speaker2: Lebanon.

Speaker4: Yeah, yeah.

Speaker1: And then in fact. But I [00:42:35] met my wife without the advert. And just before that I met my wife. And it was an interesting [00:42:40] point because I was going to advertise for a secretary and I was going to choose one of them then to be [00:42:45] my wife. But it didn’t happen. I didn’t have to go through that. But it was a fun. [00:42:50] That was your.

Speaker4: Version of a fun.

Speaker1: Experience to go.

Speaker4: Through it. How was how was.

Speaker2: Saudi [00:42:55] when you went? Because he was in Saudi then in the 80s.

Speaker4: Then how was it?

Speaker1: Saudi was very primitive and very [00:43:00] Islamic. You know, there were it’s all Wahhabis and they had their own rules. Yeah. And [00:43:05] but I.

Speaker4: Worked I.

Speaker1: Worked in the American. Yes. In the, in the. Arabian [00:43:10] American oil company called Aramco, and Aramco had a [00:43:15] walled village of 60,000 people from all from the States, from, [00:43:20] uh, the whole Arab world, from England, from Canada as well. So I lived [00:43:25] among a foreign international community, and the hospital was advanced so I could use [00:43:30] all the skills. We had ultrasounds, we had colposcopy, we had everything. So I was happy there. Is that.

Speaker3: Where you [00:43:35] met.

Speaker1: Rodney? That’s where I met my wife. Yeah. My wife. I saw her in the streets [00:43:40] of, uh, Hobart, which is just outside Aramco. And I said, My [00:43:45] God, this is my woman.

Speaker4: Can you imagine? She loved to.

Speaker1: Hear [00:43:50] that on broadcast. I really said it. And I just fell in love with her. Just walking the streets [00:43:55] with a modest cover. She looked incredible.

Speaker2: Bright green eyes.

Speaker1: Yeah. Three days later, [00:44:00] I met her in the hospital, and I just sat close to her so [00:44:05] she can notice me in the dining room. And then I went to. I moved on to [00:44:10] a coma to a friend who happened to. She knew as well. She also came for me as [00:44:15] well on that table because she also.

Speaker4: Uh, admired me. So it was.

Speaker1: And, [00:44:20] you know, which is great. You know, I love it when a woman. My advice to women, if you like a man, [00:44:25] go for him. You know, because men are generally men, men are generally [00:44:30] shy, and they love the woman who chooses them as well.

Speaker4: But, you know, but.

Speaker2: It’s interesting that [00:44:35] you say that because I have a friend of mine, you know, my best friend, her new boyfriend chased [00:44:40] her and he said he finds it a complete turn off when a woman [00:44:45] approaches him or when a woman, he finds it a turn off because he likes to feel alpha and macho and like [00:44:50] he’s done the choosing. But having said that, do you know. Sorry, dad, I’m going to.

Speaker3: Break a Russian.

Speaker2: No, he’s not. [00:44:55] He’s not Russian at all. Um, but he’s he’s he’s he’s pretty modern, but isn’t like, he just [00:45:00] doesn’t like that. The other thing is, my sister. You probably know this well, my [00:45:05] sister, if she likes someone, she makes it known. She will even give her phone number on a piece of paper.

Speaker1: Yeah, yeah, [00:45:10] but.

Speaker2: And it’s worked out for her perfectly.

Speaker1: But it’s not. It’s not for a one night stand. That’s [00:45:15] wrong. It’s really. There has to be an attraction and a love and a relationship. [00:45:20]

Speaker4: But do you not think.

Speaker2: Men like.

Speaker3: What’s wrong with the one night stand?

Speaker4: What’s wrong?

Speaker1: Everything wrong?

Speaker2: Don’t [00:45:25] say that on a podcast.

Speaker4: No, no, no, it’s wrong, it’s wrong.

Speaker1: There’s no really. A [00:45:30] sexual relationship is fantastic within a loving relationship.

Speaker4: But some people [00:45:35] like.

Speaker1: No emotions and love. Well, it’s just an attraction. It’s just beauty. And to be honest, [00:45:40] it’s all the same. If there is no love, it’s all the same.

Speaker2: But the thing is, some people might say that [00:45:45] they enjoy one night stands because they feel empowered and that they feel that they are [00:45:50] they are in their sexual element. I don’t know, I’ve never had it’s not me. So I don’t know.

Speaker1: It’s not [00:45:55] me. I mean, as I said, I’m.

Speaker4: Just one time.

Speaker2: It’s personal choice, I.

Speaker4: Think, which I.

Speaker1: Don’t, I well, from my experience [00:46:00] I did never enjoyed it really hard. I’m sorry for all the girls that I had to be with.

Speaker4: But [00:46:05] really, well, you know.

Speaker1: There was some attraction, of course, but I had [00:46:10] to really develop some attraction and understanding and some love, some love which.

Speaker4: You [00:46:15] make the same.

Speaker2: As in like I feel that to really like someone it has to always be emotional connection. [00:46:20] Yes. Emotional connection.

Speaker4: But that’s that’s the case for women.

Speaker1: Women always need and I’m. [00:46:25]

Speaker2: Not sure anymore. What do you think?

Speaker3: No, I think I think that traditionally that was the case. I think there [00:46:30] is something about women that leads them that way. Different. Yeah. Yeah. Women and men are different. Yes. [00:46:35] But I know plenty of men who say exactly what you said. Yes, yes. And I know plenty of women who [00:46:40] are up for lots of one. Yes. Correct. You know.

Speaker1: Because they don’t want to be committed. And it’s a good thing.

Speaker3: I feel like it’s [00:46:45] a good thing.

Speaker1: But I was a romantic guy when I was young in the NHS, and I tried to fall in [00:46:50] love many times. The girls didn’t like it. Oh, you’re too serious. Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. So I, you know, I.

Speaker4: Gave [00:46:55] up eventually.

Speaker2: I think nowadays also women do complain that they want to have a really loving, emotionally [00:47:00] available person, but then they always classically go for like the guy that isn’t that, [00:47:05] you know, and then they start complaining, you know, there is something to blame. And I definitely went through a period where I [00:47:10] realised I was the common denominator in my bad situations, because I was choosing the wrong [00:47:15] man subconsciously. I remember like, um, choosing the wrong men subconsciously. And actually [00:47:20] I looked at it and I was like, you know what? Like, my parents are like the beacon of like, healthiness. [00:47:25] And my partner now who was emotionally unavailable. But there was a change there [00:47:30] definitely like reflects more of, you know what I have grown up with, doctor.

Speaker3: You’ve been married [00:47:35] how many years?

Speaker1: Oh, 1985, 1985. [00:47:40] So coming close to 40 years, I think 38.

Speaker4: Years. [00:47:45] You still love her.

Speaker2: As much as you did.

Speaker4: Back then? Just as.

Speaker3: Much. But what’s the secret?

Speaker1: And, you know, my wife also just [00:47:50] loves. What’s the.

Speaker3: Secret? Because. Because, you know, 40 years is a long time. And so [00:47:55] in constant forgiveness.

Speaker1: Do we do we pick her? We pick her all [00:48:00] the time. Somebody said, and I said all the time. But you know what? Because there is [00:48:05] love. We forget really and forgive within. Now I [00:48:10] am 24, 48 hours, but I used to be 14, 15 days of sulking [00:48:15] as well in the past. But my wife five minutes. Yeah, five minutes. [00:48:20] And I can feel and you know, what do.

Speaker2: You think as well? Because mum used to tell me as well, like in the early stages of your relationship, [00:48:25] that one thing that was difficult for her, which you might not know about, is there were women constantly [00:48:30] trying also to deter your attention away from her. And there was like, you know what [00:48:35] women get like, I know, I know. And mum mum found that difficult. But what do you think that also within that relationship [00:48:40] because a lot of people like a mistake that happens is they get so comfortable in relationships [00:48:45] that they do start to cheat on their partner or they lose interest because, as you know, relationships [00:48:50] go for different stages from the two year to the five year to the ten year. So why? What do you think? Also [00:48:55] held you together? My mum’s a bit.

Speaker4: Of a I.

Speaker1: Mean, I have a theory which not many women are [00:49:00] going are going to agree about. Really, I have a feeling that men [00:49:05] are hypersexual in general. They just really more [00:49:10] sexually easily aroused and attracted, and [00:49:15] they’re very vulnerable and weak because of that. Until they get into their 40s [00:49:20] and 50s and sometimes even carry on, they are just vulnerable women, [00:49:25] you know, they’re emotionally more emotionally driven. So they’re not. But I mean, a lot of women will disagree. [00:49:30]

Speaker3: Well, on an evolutionary level, you know, a woman cannot [00:49:35] be as careless as a man, correct. Because you know, the consequences are correct. [00:49:40] A child.

Speaker4: You know, many.

Speaker1: Many men really don’t care whether you they don’t know whether they [00:49:45] can make you pregnant or the night. Very few are responsible.

Speaker2: Very few, of course, very.

Speaker4: Few.

Speaker1: Only [00:49:50] the women have to be responsible. It’s not fair.

Speaker2: Okay, so tell us your point then.

Speaker1: So my [00:49:55] point is that so men will be easily attracted to [00:50:00] women.

Speaker4: Then how did.

Speaker1: Because they are inherently like that. Women are not. They’re more emotionally [00:50:05] driven. Unless they feel that they become less attractive. [00:50:10] They become egotistic. They want the attraction, they want to know they’re desired as well. [00:50:15] And that happens to women after a long, boring message and where everything became just really [00:50:20] a routine. I think the secret. Of a loving relationship is [00:50:25] to forgive the men more, and [00:50:30] the man has to forgive the woman. But it’s always very difficult. And men usually don’t forgive very [00:50:35] much, but they have to forgive. So it’s a matter of forgiveness, even if there was infidelity. [00:50:40]

Speaker2: So this is so interesting.

Speaker4: Interesting, because.

Speaker3: You and Shivani spoke about this.

Speaker4: Because.

Speaker1: Because the long, loving relationship [00:50:45] should concre that.

Speaker2: So one thing that I would say to you is, is again, in the James Sexton [00:50:50] podcast, which you should definitely listen to, the first question that’s asked by clients when [00:50:55] they find out about infidelity, the men ask, did you have sex with [00:51:00] him? Yes. The women asks, do you love her? So that’s the first question. Correct. So when a woman finds [00:51:05] out her husband cheated is do you love her? When a men finds out his wife has cheated, he says, did you have sex with him? And it’s quite [00:51:10] interesting to see that like psychology of different. Correct. You know, when it comes to [00:51:15] that, because you can see then where the importance lies.

Speaker3: It’s such an unfair question. You’re not even married yet. But if it did [00:51:20] happen to you.

Speaker2: Oh, here we go.

Speaker3: Yeah. Would you have hard and fast rules or would you [00:51:25] take your dad’s advice?

Speaker2: I think that I wouldn’t have hard and fast rules and I would probably get annihilated. [00:51:30] Shivani would definitely annihilate me for this. But I think that, like hearing stories from [00:51:35] my dad also about the patients that he gets in his clinic, there’s complications, [00:51:40] right? Like my dad might diagnose, for example, a sexually transmitted disease, [00:51:45] and the partner’s like. But I don’t get it. How could I have got a disease? I’ve only been with my partner. And then there’s like these [00:51:50] difficulties, etc., and he talks about like the nuances of relationships. My honest [00:51:55] answer would be is, I don’t know until I’m in that situation and I think we pass too much judgement. [00:52:00]

Speaker3: But I think, look, you draw a hard line at infidelity. Infidelity can be psychological. [00:52:05] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker2: Thinking about someone.

Speaker3: Yeah. Well, listen, someone.

Speaker4: For a week, but.

Speaker1: You know. But if [00:52:10] he’s in love, that’s it. Fine. You can go with her if you are in love. But [00:52:15] if it was only a matter of sexual encounter one night stand and I was wrong, [00:52:20] quite honestly, I wouldn’t destroy my marriage for that. You know.

Speaker2: I think it really depends on the situation [00:52:25] that you’re in. And as you said, if it happens, like multiple times and. Yeah. And the difficulty is I mean, [00:52:30] I talked about Esther Perel. Have you ever listened to her? Oh, she’s brilliant. She’s again a psychologist [00:52:35] and she does a lot. She’s French. So obviously very you know, she’s very open, [00:52:40] open to infidelity. But Esther Perel talks about infidelity, and she [00:52:45] also talks about how a lot of couples try to come back from it. But she says the biggest [00:52:50] judgement, what’s interesting because she goes into different types. But what’s interesting is, is that [00:52:55] back in the day, as you know, both of your generation, your generation and your generation, you’re not as old as [00:53:00] my dad. But still people, if people got, um, cheated [00:53:05] on people would judge you for [00:53:10] leaving. That’s what they would say. But nowadays people judge [00:53:15] you for staying. And I thought that was an interesting point, because what she’s saying is that, like people.

Speaker4: You mean if [00:53:20] you.

Speaker1: Forgive and stay in the relationship.

Speaker4: Nowadays? Yes.

Speaker3: Nowadays people blame.

Speaker2: In the past.

Speaker4: They [00:53:25] will judge.

Speaker2: Yes. But in the past they.

Speaker1: Judge you as being a nice person.

Speaker4: Or a fool. What a.

Speaker2: Stigma. And even when [00:53:30] I was growing up, having people that had divorced parents was such a stigma. Oh my God, not anymore. [00:53:35]

Speaker3: Yeah.

Speaker2: Not anymore. You know what I mean?

Speaker1: They’re not totally happy children as well.

Speaker2: There are no I [00:53:40] think it depends, dad, because there’s a lot of co-parenting. There’s a lot of healthy conversations, [00:53:45] you know, like the life has changed, etc..

Speaker3: Do you know anyone who has an open relationship?

Speaker2: Polyamorous [00:53:50] relationship? No. Do you get clients with polyamorous relationships?

Speaker3: It’s very it’s very much more common these days. [00:53:55]

Speaker2: Yeah. It is.

Speaker1: Polyamorous means.

Speaker2: Like say for example, it’s consensual like so say [00:54:00] say like.

Speaker1: So like husband share to husband.

Speaker4: But then couples your couples.

Speaker2: But you might go [00:54:05] to sex parties together. You might have.

Speaker3: You don’t have to. You agree that you don’t have to.

Speaker2: You agree [00:54:10] that it’s not complete monogamy, but you still come home together.

Speaker4: Of course. Of course I’ve had I’ve had.

Speaker1: One, one [00:54:15] that I know. And she said she was much happier. They’re both much happier than before, [00:54:20] you know. Interesting. Their marriage was really on a verge of a Break-Up. Now they are very close and they [00:54:25] really enjoy the company of that.

Speaker2: Because they still come home to each other and love each other, I think. I mean, [00:54:30] that’s a whole different topic, but quickly I want to get over like, so then you were in Saudi because I want [00:54:35] to go back onto that topic. You were in Saudi, then you decided to come back to the UK. For what reason?

Speaker4: Yes, [00:54:40] just.

Speaker1: To, but just I want to add one point. There are two cultures now about what we’ve just said [00:54:45] there. So I have people from the Gulf. Okay. [00:54:50] I’m because I see them more. Okay. And they have.

Speaker4: In London.

Speaker1: In London [00:54:55] and they have a loving relationship. They are intellectuals and [00:55:00] middle above middle class. And they come sometimes. I [00:55:05] mean, I hope I don’t offend obviously that come. They know their husband [00:55:10] cheats, they know and they forgive them completely. And sometimes they come for.

Speaker4: But [00:55:15] you don’t think they come for an.

Speaker1: Std screen because they want to make sure he hasn’t passed the strain. [00:55:20] Totally forgiven. Are they happy? So happy.

Speaker4: They [00:55:25] do, you know.

Speaker2: Think that’s like a cultural thing? Cultural thing. It’s a cultural.

Speaker4: Thing. So we go.

Speaker1: Back to culture. Yes, yes. But here [00:55:30] it would not be acceptable. They cut off the relationship. But to me ask [00:55:35] me, I have the two in front of me who’s happy, who’s more happy? The Saudi who did [00:55:40] not break a relationship and she accepts it as men are men doctors.

Speaker4: You don’t know if she’s. [00:55:45]

Speaker2: Very happy, actually.

Speaker4: Happy.

Speaker1: I know they are very happy because they’ve been a long time with me. I know. [00:55:50]

Speaker4: Okay, fine now.

Speaker1: So let’s now to Saudi. What made me come back?

Speaker2: Yeah. So you wanted us to grow [00:55:55] up in a more democratic society as two girls?

Speaker1: Yes, yes. I mean, this is a very important [00:56:00] point and a message to everybody who is outside their homeland. It doesn’t have to be England. But [00:56:05] I’m going to say home is home. Home is where you grow. Home is [00:56:10] where you can make your wealth and your future. So if you decide to stay longer [00:56:15] as an expatriate, and I’ve seen a lot of examples like that, you have to find out [00:56:20] where you’re going to educate your children. And most of the time, your children are going [00:56:25] to leave you and go into a private boarding school in, in England [00:56:30] or in America. And, and if you decide to educate [00:56:35] them, for example, in Dubai, sooner or later you or them have to leave. And if [00:56:40] you decide to stay, well, it’s not easy. Dubai is not their homeland. They don’t have a [00:56:45] Dubai or Emirati passport. I actually mainly left even [00:56:50] that though that I had a license to practice in Dubai. I left because of the children’s [00:56:55] future. I only really this is and this was the most important and most successful [00:57:00] decision I made from my life. Because they remain to be British, [00:57:05] I wanted them to adapt to the British culture and I wanted them [00:57:10] to make their future here, and I’m happy about that decision.

Speaker2: So when we came to London, [00:57:15] I remember us struggling a lot financially. I just remember that we couldn’t. Yes, as I said, afford [00:57:20] normal coke. We would go to Asda. I wasn’t allowed to buy like anything expensive [00:57:25] etc. and remember mum crying all the time and I remember being dragged around train stations [00:57:30] and like having to see my dad.

Speaker4: And now this is.

Speaker1: This is despite full employment, [00:57:35] the.

Speaker4: Nhs.

Speaker2: Why did we have such little money?

Speaker1: It’s just not enough. It’s not little money. [00:57:40] The salary isn’t enough. We are doctors are not well paid, I have to say. [00:57:45] And.

Speaker4: But this was worse back then.

Speaker1: Well, even now, I think, to be honest, [00:57:50] you know, you know, people do struggle. They have a regular job, regular salary, but they work very hard and [00:57:55] it’s never been enough.

Speaker2: And also my mum wasn’t working at the time. So what happened was, well.

Speaker1: Even [00:58:00] when she worked, she had to pay all her salary and even more in [00:58:05] for your private schooling.

Speaker2: So basically what happened was, is that my dad got offered by his friend a house [00:58:10] in Swiss Cottage and my dad said, okay, fine, we’ll go and like move in there. Mum couldn’t work [00:58:15] at the time because her degree wasn’t valid in the UK. She went to King’s College to see if she could like, revoke her degree. [00:58:20] And she was like, this is a joke. Like as in like the tray because she went, she’s a Berkeley graduate, [00:58:25] my mum. So my dad was like slogging it out to California. Yeah. My mum. Yeah. She has. [00:58:30]

Speaker1: A master’s degree from Berkeley in.

Speaker4: Nutrition. Yeah.

Speaker2: So then basically my dad ended up like working [00:58:35] really hard. Then we went to go visit the state schools and never forget around like Swiss cottage in that area. [00:58:40] Horrendous. Remember. And they were literally like people like like knifepoint. Like in the playground. [00:58:45] Well awful.

Speaker4: Yeah actually no no.

Speaker1: No, it’s not fair. We don’t know really. But you know, I [00:58:50] just said, listen, we can’t afford a private school.

Speaker2: Yeah. But we went and like, my [00:58:55] mum took one look and was like, this is not I’m not sending the kids here. It was really rough back then. It’s not like [00:59:00] it is now.

Speaker1: Rona, when I spoke to the administrator, she said, are you joking? You [00:59:05] want them to come this year? There’s a waiting list of about 2 to 3 years. You have to put your name down. [00:59:10] Yeah. And I said what I thought, you know, but, you know, inner London school is [00:59:15] inner London like any, like, inner New York like any other place. So that’s why people go and live.

Speaker3: We came [00:59:20] mid-year because of the revolution. Yeah. Iran. Yeah. No one would take us except.

Speaker1: Yes, [00:59:25] yes.

Speaker4: Catholic, but it’s still the same.

Speaker2: The Catholic school took us.

Speaker4: Yeah. They don’t listen. I mean, at.

Speaker1: The end, you know, Netanyahu [00:59:30] did go to Camden School for girls.

Speaker4: But, you know, so.

Speaker2: This is the interesting thing. So then what [00:59:35] happened was my mum was like, right, I can’t do this. So she got a job in retail. Was the Marie Claire at the time, her [00:59:40] first job.

Speaker4: A number of loads.

Speaker2: Of sales and.

Speaker4: Became a manager.

Speaker2: Every single bit of money [00:59:45] she got, she took, she put us to go to private school. The really. Thing was [00:59:50] though, is that like, this is so typical, they couldn’t afford to buy the uniform. You know how expensive private school uniform is, right? [00:59:55] So we had to buy it.

Speaker4: From the so expensive, so.

Speaker2: Expensive. We had to buy it from the charity [01:00:00] of the school basically. And then I got bullied from like the school kids [01:00:05] for having.

Speaker4: I don’t know.

Speaker2: Because they had like little holes in them and.

Speaker4: Stuff like that. So sorry [01:00:10] daddy. Don’t be.

Speaker2: Silly. But the point is that drove me because I so wanted [01:00:15] the kids and the parents of those kids to accept me, to see what I mean. So I was like, I’m going to make sure [01:00:20] that I work really hard and we’re not going to get to where, like, we can work really hard. But also my dad, [01:00:25] as I said, he wasn’t home much because he was doing all these shifts.

Speaker1: I was in tears all the time. You don’t know that [01:00:30] I was depressed and I was in tears. I just couldn’t believe it. Is that what I really aspire [01:00:35] to be? Honestly, a doctor with a membership and all this training I did [01:00:40] and I, you know, I just can’t. I haven’t got enough money. I mean, never mind holidays. [01:00:45] We had we had we had three stars and four stars. Holiday eventually you know, but [01:00:50] even the food I had to memorise how much everything on the shelf [01:00:55] at Asda, not even Waitrose, was a dream. You know, I couldn’t go to Waitrose, you know. [01:01:00] Anyway, so, you know, I had to. We struggled, but it was worth it [01:01:05] because it’s your home country. And I must admit, you know, I love this country. I think it gave me a lot [01:01:10] of strings. You know, the people are wonderful here.

Speaker2: But Payman obviously similarly. I mean, he came to the [01:01:15] UK a lot younger, but he came from where were you born? Revolution.

Speaker4: Iran. During the revolution.

Speaker1: Yeah. [01:01:20] Yeah. So you agree with me? This is a very welcoming country with a big heart.

Speaker3: Yeah, [01:01:25] yeah, I think I think the compared to a lot of Europe for instance. Yes. [01:01:30] People here are much more open, although, you know, these days.

Speaker4: There was but.

Speaker1: However [01:01:35] there was racism, there’s no doubt about it. You know, there was racism at the time. But nowadays [01:01:40] really, I think the younger generation are I mean, the whole country has made a U-turn better than many other [01:01:45] countries, you know, and my advice as well, they expect you to develop your own economy [01:01:50] as a person. In other words, you can’t just go to a British institution and get a top [01:01:55] job because, you know, the local also has worked very hard to reach that job. So I’ve learned that [01:02:00] at a later stage, as long as you look for yourself and become an entrepreneur and [01:02:05] add to the country, you’re fine. But if you want to find a job in a top position and you were [01:02:10] born abroad, it’s not fair for the locals.

Speaker3: I was at, um. You agree? Yeah, [01:02:15] I was at my. I think it’s changed a lot now. So I was I was on a collective in San Francisco. Yes. [01:02:20] And the dean of the university would take all the elective people to lunch. [01:02:25] And the dean was black and gay because it was South [01:02:30] San Francisco, right? Yes. And I remember and this was 94, 95, it was, you know, not [01:02:35] that many years ago. I remember thinking, there’s no way the dean of our dental school could [01:02:40] have been black or gay. Yeah, because it was it was a simple, you know, white man, [01:02:45] the, the kind of person. And but these days things have changed. Things have changed. [01:02:50] Interesting. And for the better. In that respect, I’d say.

Speaker2: So I wanted to say [01:02:55] so now that’s that. But obviously Payman wanted to get into that question. How did you end up in private [01:03:00] practice, and do you want to tell them about the shampoo business?

Speaker4: Yes.

Speaker1: I mean, at the end of the day, I [01:03:05] couldn’t go on and on like that. And because I have already left the system, the [01:03:10] medical system and moved abroad, nobody in the NHS was going to give me [01:03:15] a permanent post in London especially. That’s where I wanted to be. Can you.

Speaker2: Imagine? It’s like [01:03:20] a ladder. It’s like a little community.

Speaker4: Yes.

Speaker1: I mean, obviously those who stayed in the system, they were more [01:03:25] worthy of a permanent job and I wouldn’t have got a job in London. So I decided I’m [01:03:30] just going to give it another six months.

Speaker4: How old were you?

Speaker1: Uh, well, no, actually before that. [01:03:35] So. So at that time, I was about maybe 48, 49 and but but [01:03:40] I said, okay, the best way to be in the NHS and the money isn’t enough is to [01:03:45] try to develop your entrepreneurial skills and find [01:03:50] other business to do at the time when you’re off. And when was I off? I was off [01:03:55] from 6 p.m. till 8 a.m. the following day, every day, and I, I [01:04:00] was off 1 in 3 weekends at the time. So I said, well, I’m going to use that to just build another [01:04:05] business, get people to work and I can get extra money. All what I wanted really was another 20 [01:04:10] £30,000 on the side just to to keep our life going. So [01:04:15] I thought I went to a lot of, uh, exhibitions in [01:04:20] Olympia, in, in Wembley to get some ideas. And I decided since [01:04:25] I am a gynaecologist, I’m going to develop a cosmetic business for women. [01:04:30] So I went to a lab, but we developed our type of shampoo and conditioners [01:04:35] and all that, and I spent about a good six months going forwards and backwards to [01:04:40] a lab in Colchester. And as I went to the the now that the product [01:04:45] is finished now we’ve decided about everything. It’s a lot of hard work I. Tell your in business, [01:04:50] girls and boys and girls is not easy in business because you are competing [01:04:55] with big, big company, which I didn’t accept. I thought I will do even better [01:05:00] than them. Don’t be a fool.

Speaker2: We’ve all been there, right?

Speaker1: Don’t be a fool. Really. You’re not going to do better than [01:05:05] people who’ve been in the business for years, like Lancome and, you know, and all that. So. [01:05:10] And I went with the chequebook in my jacket to pay [01:05:15] the first consignment of 10,000 bottles. And [01:05:20] to my good luck, you will not believe it. The factory was closed by [01:05:25] Her Majesty’s order only. Really? That weekend they started to close it and. [01:05:30] And then they came running to me. They said, oh, don’t worry, we’ll find another lab. I said, when you find it, I pay. [01:05:35] I escaped just really by the hair. [01:05:40] By what? The expression.

Speaker3: By hair.

Speaker1: Yeah. Yeah, by. Just by. By. Anyway, [01:05:45] I escaped. However, I decided to give up the shampoo [01:05:50] then, and I was very lucky. And then I decided to look at other businesses. I said food, [01:05:55] and at that time, soups.

Speaker2: Do you remember that one? Was it Covent Garden soup? They [01:06:00] used to have the shops.

Speaker4: Yeah, soups.

Speaker1: Were coming up. But in fact I was really only the second [01:06:05] person in the country to think of soups as fast food. And I thought, I’m going to [01:06:10] squeeze in between McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken and [01:06:15] I’m going to make people eat healthy. Well, I didn’t realise that people don’t eat healthy. People [01:06:20] wants to feel full. That’s why I can thank you. Fried chicken and McDonald’s succeed [01:06:25] with due respect to the post institutions. And I developed the soups. And then [01:06:30] he said to me, no. And then I decided this time to take the advice [01:06:35] of a business consultant. And that is my advice to anybody who is listening before you [01:06:40] start a business and you agree. Rona.

Speaker4: Business consultant.

Speaker2: This [01:06:45] is what I said to you like Prav has been so invaluable. Like it’s so funny because Rolando, [01:06:50] my accountant, she’s like, so I don’t understand. She was like, it’s a business consultant, someone [01:06:55] that you call for, like a shoulder to cry. And I was like, well, he is my shoulders crying. I was like, but he’s also strategic. He’s [01:07:00] been through things like, do you know what I mean? I think it’s like invaluable. But I also advocate coaches [01:07:05] and all this. I had a love coach for my relationship, you know what I mean? I’ve had I [01:07:10] believe in yeah I love coach amazing. She was.

Speaker4: Brilliant.

Speaker1: You did very well with this [01:07:15] advice. So I went actually to a business consultant, not because I had the money to pay for a business [01:07:20] consultant for, for, uh, for uh, ten sessions. Actually, [01:07:25] the Labour government, the Labour government at that time offered [01:07:30] business advice for free for any project which is going to be turned over, over 100,000. [01:07:35] And of course, my soup business was going to turn over 100,000 because I [01:07:40] planned to have it all over the world. So I went to his my business plan and funnily [01:07:45] enough, also, I made the guy the business consultant, to sign a secrecy agreement. That’s how [01:07:50] much I believed in the soups. Anyway, he signed and then I gave him the idea [01:07:55] and then we kept working out the figures. The figures were terrible. After [01:08:00] the six sessions, he told me, you have 60% [01:08:05] chance that you will close after one year completely and [01:08:10] lose your capital of 100,000 initially of the equipments, the other 40%. [01:08:15] You only have 10% chance to make £60,000 a year, 10% [01:08:20] and the other 30%. My chances were to make £40,000 [01:08:25] a year at best, providing I work. I have experience at [01:08:30] a fast food restaurant like McDonald’s, me and my wife for six months, and then [01:08:35] I have to be prepared to work the first year plus of us minimum [01:08:40] 12 hours a day behind the counters for the business to take off. [01:08:45] And then he said, what about medicine? Are you have you lost [01:08:50] your license or anything? I said, not at all. I just wanted this on the side. She said, well, let’s [01:08:55] talk about medicine. And then he actually developed the whole idea that with [01:09:00] my skills I could open my own. Were you.

Speaker2: Scared to open on your.

Speaker4: Own? Very scared. Why do you think. [01:09:05]

Speaker2: Private practice scared you? Because I know that scares a lot of dentists.

Speaker1: Well, you know, listen, listen, I had commitments. [01:09:10] I had 4 or 5000 expenses coming out of of my. Or [01:09:15] actually, it wasn’t four and five star. It was about 3000 a month between mortgage, [01:09:20] you know, um, schooling, whatever expenses I had. And I said, where am I going to get this [01:09:25] regular salary? Regular salary really ties you up and you lose a lot of opportunity, [01:09:30] I have to say. So. And and obviously also a little bit of the NHS pension, it’s [01:09:35] fine. But then eventually I took up his idea. He designed [01:09:40] the logo for me. He actually gave me a strategy as well. I said I’m [01:09:45] going to give it six months and if it doesn’t work, I’m going to go back to the Middle East. Doctor with [01:09:50] within three months. Within three months, I [01:09:55] was earning more than what I was earning.

Speaker4: In private practice.

Speaker1: In private practice. Wow. [01:10:00] Three months.

Speaker2: But what how was how were you spreading the word at that time? Were you doing Google then or not there [01:10:05] yet?

Speaker4: There was no Google then.

Speaker1: There was only the Yellow Pages. And you have to wait your turn because it’s only [01:10:10] published once a year. And if you just missed it, bad luck. We used we used the [01:10:15] usual business strategies, you know, flyers into people’s homes, for example.

Speaker3: And was it fertility? [01:10:20]

Speaker4: No specific gynae? No, this was gynae.

Speaker1: It was a one stop gynaecological centre. [01:10:25] It still is because of the skills I had. You can have the ultrasound at the same time. [01:10:30] You can have blood tests almost at the same time. You know, we are we are a unique [01:10:35] clinic. Really, to be honest, you don’t have to to come back for follow ups. We give the results [01:10:40] by email. I don’t bring people back and we do the ultrasound at the same time. If [01:10:45] you need a colposcopy, you have it at the same time. So we were attractive and obviously the price [01:10:50] was less than most private hospitals. And also [01:10:55] the services were better than a lot. You have to have a best selling point. You can’t really have a [01:11:00] business successful without a better selling point. That’s what makes business more advanced. [01:11:05] And then I went to partnership because the only thing was missing is an IVF clinic. So I went [01:11:10] to partnership with my. How old are you colleague Doctor Gorgi? Yes, we opened in 2004, [01:11:15] but but we’ve been talking since 2002, so I was only about 50, [01:11:20] 52, 53.

Speaker2: But see how late dad started his private practice. [01:11:25]

Speaker1: So it’s never too late.

Speaker4: It’s never too late.

Speaker1: And I’m 77 and I don’t intend [01:11:30] to stop really completely, but obviously reduced my my sessions a little bit.

Speaker4: Yeah. [01:11:35]

Speaker2: So I want to talk a little bit about obviously fertility. So now you said the [01:11:40] average age of women having children in your clinic is 33 to 35 years.

Speaker4: Old in [01:11:45] this country.

Speaker2: In this country. Now, talk to me, first of all, from a biological perspective, [01:11:50] totally like factually, scientifically, what happens [01:11:55] to women’s fertility when they hit 30? Yes. And above. [01:12:00]

Speaker1: So women, when they reach adulthood, say 13, 14, [01:12:05] they have about a quarter of a million follicle and follicle contains [01:12:10] immature eggs inside, and only one of them come out each [01:12:15] month. So, you know, you do the math yourself. So by the time you reach 20, [01:12:20] you know, you had some reductions. And and the rate of reduction is very slow [01:12:25] until about 30. And then the curve starts to become steeper. [01:12:30] So you lose more eggs as the ovaries get older. I’m not talking about [01:12:35] women getting older now because the women are much younger now at an older age. [01:12:40] So you might feel young because you’re going to the gym and you’re keeping the heart and you’re keeping everything going. But [01:12:45] the ovary hasn’t got hasn’t evolved really to accustom to that. So [01:12:50] at 30 you lose more eggs between 30 and 35, then [01:12:55] 20 to 30. And after 35 the curve even becomes more [01:13:00] steeper. So between 35 and 40. Sorry, and I told you that [01:13:05] before 30. But it doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant, but you just lose, you know, more [01:13:10] eggs, they just die. They just become atrophied. But you still have eggs.

Speaker2: Can anyone do anything [01:13:15] to improve their egg quality and quantity later on in life? Can you do anything [01:13:20] or is it just the usual stuff like good diet, la la la?

Speaker1: No, nothing. Even diet? I cannot [01:13:25] tell you. The ovary.

Speaker4: Has it, so there’s no studies to.

Speaker1: Show its own cycles. No.

Speaker2: What about stress [01:13:30] though? Because we’ve there’s been a massive there has been studies to show [01:13:35] that a stress in general. Not like let’s talk about whatever.

Speaker4: Makes you age.

Speaker2: No. But also [01:13:40] stress has an implication on people’s ability to get pregnant. You know, some people say the moment [01:13:45] I. Stop stressing about it, I fell pregnant, do you see.

Speaker4: What I mean? Ah, but.

Speaker1: That’s. You’re talking about ovulation, [01:13:50] not ovarian ageing. Okay. Yes. Stress can affect a monthly ovulation. [01:13:55] You can have irregular periods due to stress because you’re not ovulating on a regular basis. So let’s [01:14:00] be clear. In order to to to have a regular period you have to have an egg coming [01:14:05] out, you know, in the middle of the month. So ovulation can be affected by stress but not ovarian ageing. [01:14:10] So when you reach there’s another complicating factor. So by the time you reach [01:14:15] 35 the egg quality and what I mean [01:14:20] by equality, you know, in order for the eggs to fertilise and make a human beings, you [01:14:25] know, you have 23 pairs of chromosomes. So these [01:14:30] 23 pairs have to split to become 23 single. So [01:14:35] when they unite with the man’s sperm’s also 23 singles, you make [01:14:40] 23 pairs a human being which is a mix of data. Mom. However, [01:14:45] when you when the ovarian ovary ages from 35 [01:14:50] onwards, that splitting of the chromosomes is not perfect. So [01:14:55] some chromosomes, especially 21, chromosome 18, chromosome 13, they [01:15:00] just stick, they continue to stick together. And you end up having one egg with [01:15:05] 24 chromosomes and one egg with 22 either [01:15:10] of them. When they unite with the with the partners or husband, [01:15:15] you end up with a 145 chromosome and 147 chromosome. [01:15:20] Both of them are abnormalities are abnormal children interesting.

Speaker2: Do you have statistics [01:15:25] on how many people nowadays are undergoing fertility treatment [01:15:30] within the UK? Do you know any stats like as in like how many people are having either IVF or egg [01:15:35] freezing or anything?

Speaker4: Not in my head.

Speaker1: Yes, I must say.

Speaker4: Egg.

Speaker3: Sorry, I decided enough. Egg [01:15:40] freezing is where you’re fertile. You’re going to save some eggs because you want to have kids later.

Speaker2: So let [01:15:45] me. So let me.

Speaker3: Ivf is not fertile, but you’re trying so.

Speaker2: So dad can go into this further. [01:15:50] But basically, when I was 32, he said to me, you’ve not had kids yet. You better think [01:15:55] about freezing your eggs. So he had a frank conversation. He said, because the the, um, quality [01:16:00] and quantity of your eggs is better early on than later on because a lot of women, they try to [01:16:05] freeze their eggs, as far as I know, 38, 39 and they can get like four eggs, right? Isn’t they [01:16:10] don’t get many at all, depending on each case. But the earlier you do it, from what I understand, [01:16:15] the better the outcome could be. So when I froze my eggs I found [01:16:20] it a very stressful experience. Like to be honest, Doctor George, who is my dad’s business [01:16:25] partner, he’s brilliant. He gets really high success rates. That’s why I like refer a lot of people, but [01:16:30] it’s a really emotional experience. The hormones, the hormones. I mean, [01:16:35] ask my dad. I was in tears, you know, the daily.

Speaker3: Injections.

Speaker2: Daily injections, and that was okay. But [01:16:40] for me, it was like they removed the eggs under sedation. They got 19 [01:16:45] eggs, 19 healthy eggs in one go. That was pretty good, you know.

Speaker4: Very good. Yeah.

Speaker2: And, [01:16:50] um, they’re they’re now in the bank. They are there. But you know what’s also hilarious, [01:16:55] which you again, can explain. You get charged for storage as a woman. No, but apparently [01:17:00] sperm doesn’t get charged for storage. Is that true?

Speaker1: No. If you want.

Speaker4: You know, listen. [01:17:05]

Speaker1: Storage needs a building, needs a freezer and needs people to monitor it. You have [01:17:10] to pay.

Speaker4: Yeah, so.

Speaker2: You have to pay the.

Speaker4: Storage. Of course.

Speaker3: Everything you have to pay for storage. Yes. [01:17:15]

Speaker2: Fine, fine. I’m spreading fake.

Speaker4: News.

Speaker1: Why why why store it then? If you don’t have a building.

Speaker4: Where would you store? [01:17:20]

Speaker2: And then IVF is when people have a problem conceiving a child. But [01:17:25] I think there’s loads of different problems that can happen. And again, dad can shed a light on it that people. [01:17:30] So there’s people that can get an embryo can be formed, but it doesn’t stick. So they get [01:17:35] miscarriages and there’s people that actually can’t get pregnant. So what’s your thoughts on that. [01:17:40] Like why are these numbers increasing?

Speaker1: I want to have a full stop. And then I come back.

Speaker4: Toilet. [01:17:45] Yeah sure.

Speaker1: Toilet and water as well.

Speaker4: Yeah okay okay. [01:17:50]

Speaker1: This is a normal tap.

Speaker5: No no no [01:17:55] don’t go to toilet. You [01:18:25] want something to go?

Speaker2: I’m all right. Thank you. He’s [01:18:30] so cute, isn’t he?

Speaker5: He’s sharp.

Speaker2: Can you believe he’s almost [01:18:35] 80?

Speaker5: He’s stronger than my mom.

Speaker3: Who’s 77.

Speaker2: Think [01:19:40] this is a really interesting one [01:19:45] because it’s quite it will give people quite a lot of facts as well. Because [01:19:50] so stressed, man, I got to get on with it and have a baby what, 37 now on Wednesday. [01:19:55] Yeah I know.

Speaker6: I’d like to go into. [01:20:00]

Speaker3: What would it mean to you if you didn’t? If you.

Speaker6: If you couldn’t have kids?

Speaker2: I [01:20:05] think I’ll talk to you about that openly.

Speaker5: Yeah.

Speaker2: Were you young? 28. About when? [01:20:10] Your kids.

Speaker5: How is it going so far?

Speaker2: It’s amazing. We just had. You’re so sharp and so amazing. [01:20:15]

Speaker1: And and I speak with a better accent. The one you keep mocking [01:20:20] me about.

Speaker2: I love your Egyptian, but can I just say, um. Do you. Are [01:20:25] you enjoying it?

Speaker4: Yes.

Speaker1: I mean, I enjoy it more when I see it. That’s excellent. I love [01:20:30] it, you know, it’s a memory as well.

Speaker2: Yeah, it is really good. But the [01:20:35] thing is, like, there’s also really interesting, like doctors and stuff doing all these podcasts. And [01:20:40] there’s one I told you, the gynae geek, she’s become very big now.

Speaker4: Because because. [01:20:45]

Speaker1: Of the podcasts.

Speaker2: And all the Instagram, you know how you said you trained her?

Speaker1: What’s her [01:20:50] name?

Speaker4: How [01:20:55] much you.

Speaker1: Have to pay for that session.

Speaker2: No payment. Does it for me for free.

Speaker4: Wow. [01:21:00]

Speaker2: Because we collaborate together.

Speaker1: But but generally speaking.

Speaker4: You know, there’s only 32.

Speaker1: Hours. How much you [01:21:05] cost.

Speaker2: What? To produce it. Yeah, I don’t know. You can ask.

Speaker1: Him. Yeah, but, [01:21:10] you know, I have Jessica’s husband who does it very cheap for me. 200. But, [01:21:15] you know, I can’t do it because I’m. I’m mainly doing terminations [01:21:20] now, you know.

Speaker2: Um, we have about [01:21:25] like half an hour, by the way. So we’ve got a few things to wrap up, but I want to. Uh Payman. This is [01:21:30] I don’t know.

Speaker4: This is I want to talk.

Speaker1: About, you know, egg, uh, ovarian reserve. It’s very [01:21:35] important. And also about the importance of egg freezing. Yeah. Okay. So we [01:21:40] we still. It’s carrying on. Yeah. Okay. So I really want to make a very important [01:21:45] point okay. So we already explained that the number of egg or [01:21:50] follicles contains immature eggs decreases every [01:21:55] year. Every year. So slowly until the age of 30 a little [01:22:00] bit steeper, 30 to 35 more steep from 35 to [01:22:05] 40 and from 40 onwards even worse. So by the time you reach the menopause, [01:22:10] there are hardly any, any eggs. So we call that egg attrition. [01:22:15] So everybody assumes I will be okay at 30, [01:22:20] 30, one, 32. I’m still okay, okay until 35. It’s [01:22:25] not true. But I don’t want to scare you. I have seen ovaries which [01:22:30] hardly contains any eggs or contain eggs equivalent [01:22:35] to the age of 38, and I’ve seen it at 25 years of age.

Speaker4: Wow. [01:22:40]

Speaker1: And as a result of seeing it. And that’s not only just by ultrasound. [01:22:45] Also there’s a blood test to monitor it called anti-mullerian hormone.

Speaker4: It’s AMH, [01:22:50] AMH mine was quite low.

Speaker2: That’s what Gorgui told me.

Speaker1: Well yours was borderline. It’s 12 was [01:22:55] okay still you know but but under ten and under 60 is worse. Um, so [01:23:00] my recommendation is that before you reach such a decision to delay your [01:23:05] pregnancy, have an ultrasound at the age check at the age of 25 [01:23:10] to check your ovarian reserve. And if it’s a lot and it’s fine and it’s absolutely normal, [01:23:15] I think you can leave it then safely at perhaps until 2830 [01:23:20] before you have another. But I strongly recommend from 30 to [01:23:25] 40 every year you monitor your ovarian reserve, just like an ovarian [01:23:30] health by ultrasound where we can where we observe [01:23:35] and count the number of eggs, as well as anti-mullerian hormones. And as long as they [01:23:40] are healthy, then you’re okay to wait. But once they start going down, then you [01:23:45] can seriously think, am I going to have a baby? Am I? Am I in a position to have [01:23:50] a baby? Or shall I freeze my eggs? Now? The advantage [01:23:55] of freezing your eggs early at a younger age is because the quality is [01:24:00] much better. So having 19 eggs at the age of [01:24:05] 35. Is not the same as having 19 [01:24:10] eggs at the age of 25, for example, because some of the eggs are [01:24:15] bound to be unhealthy, poor quality, and they may not fertilise. But [01:24:20] that’s fine. But 19 is better. Not only that, if you leave it until 35, the [01:24:25] number of follicles will be less. The number of eggs retrieved really for freezing [01:24:30] will be less. The quality will be less. So you can see you can see my point. So that’s [01:24:35] my advice as far as ovarian reserve. Just to summarise, an [01:24:40] ultrasound scan at 25, just to know that you are always following the normal care and [01:24:45] then 30 and from 30 onwards once a year, unless you decide to have a baby already. [01:24:50]

Speaker2: Do you know what is interesting actually? So there is a dentist. Lovely, lovely [01:24:55] one you know as well. And his wife was so grateful to me when I spoke openly [01:25:00] about my egg freezing. People weren’t talking about it that much online. I went out and was like, guys, I’ve just done this. And everyone was like, whoa! [01:25:05] And the reason was because they tried to have a baby when she was 32. They couldn’t. [01:25:10] And when they went to the doctor, she had early onset menopause. [01:25:15] Yeah, yeah. And then they got two eggs from her and [01:25:20] luckily one implanted and they had one. They are very lucky. One child and she only has one child at [01:25:25] 32.

Speaker3: I’m very interested to learn. Okay. We had the scientific side there. [01:25:30] But from a woman, the sort of the social side of numbers. [01:25:35] Now the question of the.

Speaker1: Ball is in your court now the.

Speaker3: The question of [01:25:40] what? How would it feel if someone told you you can’t have children? Number one, um, number [01:25:45] two, the process going through the process. And you said you said you had stress [01:25:50] or hormonal issues and then from yourself, you must have had to break it to people [01:25:55] that you can’t have children a million, a million times.

Speaker1: I never say that. Well, it’s a [01:26:00] wrong statement. Sure, sure.

Speaker4: Because I was going to ask that.

Speaker2: Why is it wrong statement?

Speaker4: Wrong statement?

Speaker1: Because we know [01:26:05] of sporadic rare pregnancies which happen even two years after the menopause. [01:26:10] Really? And the Family Planning Association is the oldest.

Speaker2: Recommend Gordon Ramsay’s wife, [01:26:15] huh? Gordon Ramsay’s wife got naturally pregnant at 47.

Speaker3: What’s the oldest pregnancy you know of?

Speaker1: As [01:26:20] I’ve seen at 47 and 48? 48 and spontaneous.

Speaker2: But [01:26:25] can I ask you something, though? Um. Do women. It must be a very difficult conversation. [01:26:30] Do they get offended in the clinic? If you advise them to think about having a kid soon, do they get offended? [01:26:35]

Speaker1: I had a complaint. I had a complaint. When I mentioned to somebody [01:26:40] I noticed the low ovarian reserve and I said, everything looks normal, but the number of eggs [01:26:45] is small. I mean, I’m obliged to tell her it’s a finding which I have to write. And, [01:26:50] uh, and, you know, if if you are really in a position [01:26:55] to have pregnancy, I think you should perhaps get on with it or monitor [01:27:00] to the future. But people really hear half of the words they triggered.

Speaker4: Yeah, but so [01:27:05] be complaint.

Speaker1: And by a famous journalist as well. Her, uh, her mother in law [01:27:10] is a famous journalist, I’ll tell you off the record after that, who achieved. But it’s just [01:27:15] it was terrible for me because here I tried to convey the facts, but [01:27:20] people get upset from the facts. And not only that, they complain, they make a complaint. So I had to spend [01:27:25] time to reply and explain.

Speaker2: Yeah, I think it’s like a really difficult one because I [01:27:30] think, like you said, more and more women, they want to delay having a child because [01:27:35] they are more career focussed. Also, I think that women have hired their standards from what [01:27:40] they expect from a man as well, because they bring a lot more to the table. Now they’re like, I [01:27:45] want to date someone that’s X, Y and Z. And then that all like delays the process. Now, [01:27:50] I think ideally, if I’m completely honest with you, I would have had a child by now. Already [01:27:55] I put like an onus onto my career, but also I’ve always been like a serial [01:28:00] monogamous. Do you see what I mean? And for whatever reason in the past, the relationship hasn’t [01:28:05] worked out in that way. And I was a very late bloomer, like my dad will tell you. Like, [01:28:10] as in like I was very focussed on, like my studies always had friends and stuff.

Speaker3: So you couldn’t have children. Yeah. [01:28:15] What would that mean?

Speaker2: I think there’s loads of options now and I’ve already like discussed this with my partner. Like if [01:28:20] I couldn’t have children now, naturally I’d number one try to use my eggs. If I couldn’t use my eggs, [01:28:25] then I’d go through IVF. If I couldn’t go through IVF, I’d consider a surrogate. I would even say that. Do you see [01:28:30] what I mean? You know. So, yes, but you know.

Speaker1: But some women, and to be honest, I think you may be one of them. [01:28:35] You’re not really, really hot about having a child. You just says this.

Speaker4: Because you’re [01:28:40] a career.

Speaker1: But you’re a career woman. You’re you have already married your career [01:28:45] and you’re enjoying it. You’re having a happy life. Is it important nowadays to have a child?

Speaker2: Yes. But [01:28:50] I think more so to you.

Speaker4: Yeah. Because this individual.

Speaker5: Makes a.

Speaker3: Very good point. Yeah.

Speaker4: An individual [01:28:55] it’s not.

Speaker3: All you had.

Speaker1: Nowadays.

Speaker4: Is motherhood. Yeah, yeah. So I went and.

Speaker3: Then someone said you [01:29:00] can’t have a child. Yeah. That would your purpose in life.

Speaker4: Yeah.

Speaker2: I mean I mean I had a.

Speaker4: Friend no longer.

Speaker1: The purpose [01:29:05] of life, you.

Speaker2: Know. Yeah, but. No, but. So now that I’m turning 37, I think I’m really [01:29:10] stressed about the fact that I haven’t had a child because I think that I would feel very upset. [01:29:15] This is like a personal thing I think I feel. Don’t worry, dad, you’ll be a granddad.

Speaker4: No.

Speaker2: It’s [01:29:20] like I think that. No, I would feel, I would feel I think it’s. But, you know, like two [01:29:25] of the girls, the message me saying oh, I’ve booked with Doctor Gorgui, one of them is a doctor. [01:29:30] She’s a doctor herself. And she was like messaging me. She was like, oh, I’ve got such bad depression at the moment because [01:29:35] I can’t find a partner and I’m doing all these like, night shifts.

Speaker4: And it.

Speaker2: Needn’t be tough.

Speaker4: It is. No, [01:29:40] it.

Speaker1: Needn’t be like that, to be honest. It is a life without children as well.

Speaker2: My dad always said to me [01:29:45] when I used to, because what happened to me was, is I went to university. I met someone when I was 22 years [01:29:50] old. We were together till I was 27. I thought I was going to get married to him. [01:29:55] My parents thought I was going to get married to him. And in my mind, because of the narrative which we’ve talked about, [01:30:00] I was like, oh, it’s cool. I’m not 30 yet, so I’m not off the shelf. We broke up. [01:30:05] Then I went into like, right, I have to try and find someone before I’m 30. Then I went [01:30:10] for like some of the wrong people, these alpha male narcissists. And then my dad turned around to me and he said, do you know [01:30:15] what? He goes better to be alone than with the wrong person.

Speaker5: Yeah, yeah. This look, this fear of.

Speaker3: Being left [01:30:20] on the shelf. Yeah.

Speaker5: Yeah, exactly.

Speaker3: It’s a funny one because I [01:30:25] come across some, some, you know, like just out of dental school now, out [01:30:30] looking for their husband, like people. I mean, is that how how real is that fear of being left [01:30:35] on the shelf?

Speaker2: I think it’s so real. But even like some of my closest friends, they got into depression because [01:30:40] they weren’t, like getting married or proposed to by 30 and they got into depression. But [01:30:45] I just think like 30, as I told you. However, when I said this online as well, people, men, [01:30:50] the Andrew Tate lovers were like, oh, of course no man wants a woman who’s 30. Her [01:30:55] run through rate is like massive, which is like hilarious because as we’ve just said, the [01:31:00] Gen Z girls arguably are way more like sexually empowered. Do you know what I mean?

Speaker3: Someone trying to get a [01:31:05] rise.

Speaker2: Out of you. Yeah, but I think I think like, I think it’s I think it’s very real. But I think it’s interesting, [01:31:10] dad, do a lot of people also women in your office express anxiety about [01:31:15] not finding the right partner?

Speaker4: Yes.

Speaker2: And having kids?

Speaker4: Not a lot.

Speaker1: But not as much as [01:31:20] it used to be. But you know, ten years ago was more common. I don’t see it often now.

Speaker4: Why [01:31:25] do you think somebody would?

Speaker3: Some someone doesn’t have a partner comes freezes their eggs.

Speaker2: No not necessarily. He’ll [01:31:30] see someone for a gynaecologist generally and then they’ll express he’s saying ten years [01:31:35] ago I’m really sad I don’t have anyone. Why do you think that’s reduced now?

Speaker1: Because a lot [01:31:40] of more women are career oriented.

Speaker2: So now they don’t care.

Speaker1: They tell me at 32 they come. [01:31:45] I just can’t have a child. Now. I’ve just really I’m just about to start to, [01:31:50] to to get a good job and, you know, be promoted company.

Speaker3: If you had a child at 30. [01:31:55]

Speaker1: Yeah.

Speaker4: And I’ve seen.

Speaker3: That for the last seven years would have happened do you.

Speaker2: Think? [01:32:00] I think I always think that I could balance it. I don’t know, maybe I’m being maybe you can, maybe you can. Yeah, [01:32:05] but look, look.

Speaker3: You wouldn’t be dispersed.

Speaker2: Look at some amazing people. Like within like [01:32:10] the dental and medical community. Look at Yusra, for example. Like she’s got like three kids. Do you see? I mean, and her own [01:32:15] clinic and her own. Do you see what I mean? There are women out there that do it.

Speaker3: It’s possible. I’m just saying you would not be the same [01:32:20] person at all. Yeah. Um, and okay, maybe a bit controversial. I don’t think you’d [01:32:25] be as successful as you’ve been. Really? When you’ve got a child, you’ve got a child to look after.

Speaker1: The problem in [01:32:30] this country is child care. Yeah, but. If you are. And that’s one [01:32:35] of the reasons we chose to have children in the Middle East, because you can easily have child care, child care, [01:32:40] drivers.

Speaker3: Nannies, gardeners, cooks for a.

Speaker1: Small fee.

Speaker2: So I want [01:32:45] to ask you, right. Like it was interesting because I’ve had a couple of patients in recently, about 32, 33. And [01:32:50] I say to them, any medical changes a lot now, I would say two out of five of my clients [01:32:55] are doing IVF at the moment when I check their medical history. And I said, they [01:33:00] said, it’s really weird. The doctor actually can’t find anything wrong. I menstruate, my husband, we [01:33:05] try having sex during ovulation. Um, we’ve been trying for two years. I can’t get pregnant. [01:33:10] And she goes, I’m doing my second round of IVF. So what I’m trying to say to you is something must be [01:33:15] going on beyond biological circumstances.

Speaker1: I don’t understand it yet. We call it idiopathic. [01:33:20] There are obviously reasons which are. That’s why I think.

Speaker4: Undergoing.

Speaker1: Research and immunology. [01:33:25] You know, Doctor Gorg is very hot on finding immune reasons. And there are [01:33:30] some mixed feelings in the society about immune immune problems [01:33:35] being a reason for infertility. He’s one of the very few in this country, in in London [01:33:40] who looks into these reasons. And he brings success when [01:33:45] somebody’s had ten failed IVF. Mhm. So there are some immune reasons but yet [01:33:50] it has to be proven as well in bigger studies and all that. There are some studies which shows it’s [01:33:55] yes, it improves fertility rate. There are some studies which say no it doesn’t.

Speaker3: I’m not sure [01:34:00] there’s more stress now than there was before.

Speaker4: No, no.

Speaker1: No, it’s not stress, stress.

Speaker5: Pollution.

Speaker3: Maybe, [01:34:05] you know, maybe processed foods or whatever that is, sleep or whatever. Um, [01:34:10] would you adopt.

Speaker2: So I think.

Speaker4: Excellent.

Speaker1: Excellent consideration [01:34:15] to adopt.

Speaker2: So it was interesting because I was having oh I have to bring Bianca on the podcast. Bianca is my best [01:34:20] friend. She told my dad that he was closest when we were 12 years old because she she wanted [01:34:25] to go when we were 13. She wanted to go to a rave in Kings Cross when Kings Cross was when I was 13. So you remember [01:34:30] Kings cross was like, we went to a place called Bagley’s and my dad dressed, dressed like little like. Yeah, [01:34:35] Bagley’s like dressed in these little mini skirts. And my dad was like, you are not getting out of this car. So she’s like, [01:34:40] Doctor Iskander, stop being cast. You know, classes. Imagine just because it was Kings Cross. [01:34:45]

Speaker3: Kings cross.

Speaker4: Was an.

Speaker1: Empty bed.

Speaker4: Land. Yeah.

Speaker5: A dodgy area with.

Speaker1: Drugs [01:34:50] and, you know, and we.

Speaker4: Were sex workers.

Speaker2: So anyway, Bianca is so [01:34:55] opinionated and she has made the conscious decision. She had said, I do not [01:35:00] want to have children. She made that from a young age. You know, I haven’t told you this about her. Like she just didn’t want [01:35:05] to. She wouldn’t mind me saying this. She’s an incredible psychotherapist. She was a journalist working in the Middle [01:35:10] East, has worked for loads of different places. He loves her lots, like she’s like a second daughter. But [01:35:15] interestingly, her sister had IVF with a donor [01:35:20] at 44. So she went to Greece. She got [01:35:25] a donor, chose a very handsome Dutch man. Whatever got implanted had the baby completely [01:35:30] healthy, fine. Second time round. She’s 46. [01:35:35] She couldn’t. The IVF didn’t work. So now she’s going to be adopting a child. Now, [01:35:40] I was having this conversation with Bianca and she turned around to me and she said, I think it was her partner that said, which I thought was a really interesting [01:35:45] point. He goes, human beings have such an obsession with passing on their [01:35:50] DNA and having a genetic.

Speaker4: Yes, of.

Speaker2: Course. And he goes, but it’s a weird obsession. And he gave an example [01:35:55] of his friends that tried to have a child for maybe ten years. [01:36:00] Couldn’t they got a surrogate? The surrogate had twins. [01:36:05] One of the babies had meningitis early and now is in a wheelchair. And [01:36:10] he said that their whole life has been dedicated to the child in the wheelchair. And he said, but their [01:36:15] obsession with trying to, like, fight the biology.

Speaker4: Yes.

Speaker2: Also was like hampered [01:36:20] them in the end. Does that make sense? But you could argue, obviously, that it’s been very fulfilling their life as [01:36:25] a result. You could argue it both ways. But the point is it’s a.

Speaker1: Very important point.

Speaker2: Yeah, it’s a very important point. But I don’t think I [01:36:30] necessarily want a child for my genetic DNA. I don’t even think about that. I [01:36:35] don’t want to lose the surname Iskander. I told you, because then after you, it’s gone. So I want to be Doctor Iskander. But [01:36:40] in terms of like for me, having a child is more about like that bond and [01:36:45] like having a human being that’s like you’re like someone you bring up [01:36:50] and someone that you look after and nourish. And yeah, I think that, you know, you could adopt. If I adopted, [01:36:55] though, I think I’d want someone that’s like a child that’s maybe really like opposite to me, as in like a completely [01:37:00] different, like culture and ethnicity. Like, I don’t know why I don’t know, I really don’t know. [01:37:05] I think I don’t know why. It’s just something that I was like, you know, like sometimes I meet children [01:37:10] that have been adopted and I don’t know, I just feel like you.

Speaker3: Insomuch as you don’t want it to be a secret [01:37:15] at all. You want it to be out.

Speaker2: Of out in the out in the open. Exactly. And people just know. But not [01:37:20] to get like not for people to give me praise or anything, but I’d want it to be.

Speaker3: I don’t want it to be a thing.

Speaker2: To be a thing [01:37:25] to hide. Correct.

Speaker3: How interesting.

Speaker2: How would you feel about adoption? Grandchildren? [01:37:30]

Speaker1: How do you know that your DNA is. Are half from me and half. Well, how do you know? [01:37:35] From me and your mom?

Speaker4: How do you mean?

Speaker2: I’ve been cheating on mum.

Speaker4: I mean, that’s how.

Speaker1: Does [01:37:40] anybody know what’s inside you? I mean, a child whom you actually [01:37:45] bring up from a young age is your child.

Speaker4: Yeah.

Speaker1: Does [01:37:50] anybody take a test from him and say, oh, I want to see who you are? [01:37:55] I mean, really, you don’t see. Well, I know.

Speaker3: I know several men who who say [01:38:00] they wouldn’t adopt.

Speaker1: Um, yeah. But I think, you know. But think about it. Really?

Speaker3: Yeah. No, I. [01:38:05]

Speaker1: Agree with you. Brought up a child so young and I agree with you. Adopted your environment and everything. What does [01:38:10] it matter about the DNA? I agree with.

Speaker3: You. I agree with you. But there is there’s an element of.

Speaker1: I know there.

Speaker3: Is. [01:38:15] Having kids is so hard anyway. Yes, yes. Having your own child is such a massive look. [01:38:20]

Speaker2: I think this is such a huge topic because also, for example, daddy, we had, um, someone who I’m seeing tomorrow, [01:38:25] we had an incredible man called, uh, John Lancaster on the podcast. He was born with Treacher Collins syndrome. [01:38:30] Do you know about Treacher Collins? No. So you have you’re born with certain features, [01:38:35] so you don’t have cheekbones, you don’t have ear bones, and you look very distinct. And [01:38:40] his parents didn’t know at the time because I don’t think the technology was available. So when he was born, they [01:38:45] gave him up for adoption two days later. And on the adoption paper, they wrote that the parents were horrified [01:38:50] by the child’s face. Imagine he saw that he grew up to be one of the most beautiful, kind, [01:38:55] incredible human beings in the world like us. Payman incredibly successful. He did a documentary. [01:39:00] He tried to find his parents when he reached 30 because he thought maybe they were young. They didn’t understand. He [01:39:05] tried to reconnect. They still didn’t want to have anything to do with him. However, the love that he [01:39:10] has and the bond that he has with his adopted mother is unbelievable.

Speaker4: Exactly.

Speaker2: And he considers [01:39:15] it to be his mother. Yeah. And I think.

Speaker1: Why did he have to worry about his, uh.

Speaker2: And [01:39:20] I think he’s. But he’s okay with it now.

Speaker4: I know he.

Speaker2: Is okay with it now, but I think, like the [01:39:25] point is, is that we all it is that love and bond. [01:39:30] But then on the other side of the spectrum, I have certain friends that have now [01:39:35] because we’re older, they meet people and they get into relationships. And the guy already has kids. [01:39:40] Yeah. Two kids, three kids. Yeah. It’s tough. Would you do tough? I’m [01:39:45] not sure. It really depends. And I always say, like, complicated. It’s complicated because [01:39:50] certain friends of mine, like, I’ve gone from living my best single life. I love this human. But [01:39:55] we have to now pick up the kids. We can’t go on holiday. It’s a lot to take on someone else’s. [01:40:00]

Speaker4: It is a lot. It is a lot. Yeah.

Speaker2: But then, is there a difference between taking on someone’s child, [01:40:05] as you said, where you’re being a step parent rather than when you’re a doctor? Do you see what I mean?

Speaker4: There [01:40:10] is there is a difference. There is a difference.

Speaker2: You see what I mean? Because you could argue.

Speaker4: That’s a massive.

Speaker2: Difference, because you could [01:40:15] argue being a step parent wasn’t necessarily choice, whereas an adoption is complete choice. [01:40:20] Does that make sense? Yes. Okay. We’re running out of time.

Speaker4: Just before we leave that point. [01:40:25]

Speaker1: Some people can accept an abnormal child and some people cannot. [01:40:30] It’s fine. I think both of them are correct. And to give it to a foster parents [01:40:35] who actually are happy to have a down syndrome baby is better than growing with two parents [01:40:40] who cannot physically look after a down syndrome. What do you think? They are both [01:40:45] just different. Kind of.

Speaker3: It’s an important question because now you can screen for down syndrome and you can you [01:40:50] can abort the kid, right? Yeah. And but then you also see.

Speaker2: Some beautiful down syndrome children. Yes [01:40:55] yes yes yes yes.

Speaker1: But some people cannot accept it.

Speaker3: It’s fine. I’ve had the situation where someone asking [01:41:00] me for advice. What should I do? Yeah, yeah. And and we have in Iran [01:41:05] I know of two down syndrome, uh, kids like in our, in our circle, [01:41:10] in our, in my direct community. And you’re right in that they’re [01:41:15] loving and so on. But the one thing that I was trying to impress on this person was that, [01:41:20] you know, it’s a once you’re gone, you have to worry about this kid. Yeah. So [01:41:25] understand that you could you can give your whole life to this kid. But but then once you’re finished, [01:41:30] once you’re gone, you there’s that worry of who looks after the kid now, which [01:41:35] a lot of people have with any child with a.

Speaker1: In Iran it’s a problem. But here the institutions [01:41:40] and the country looks after them very well still, and they are integrated into [01:41:45] society now. But you’re right, they are at a disadvantage. But it doesn’t mean I mean she.

Speaker3: Decided to abort [01:41:50] and, and, uh, you know, understandably difficult decision. It’s a difficult.

Speaker4: Decision. And [01:41:55] such a difficult decision. It is a difficult decision.

Speaker2: Um, I want to ask something else on the men, because I feel like this is not [01:42:00] talked about. A couple of my friends also had IVF, and it was turned out it was actually the man’s sperm. How common is it [01:42:05] for it to also be the man’s sperm? So she couldn’t get pregnant because there was something. The man was.

Speaker3: Infertile.

Speaker2: Yeah. So [01:42:10] it’s he’s not infertile, but there was nothing wrong with the motility or something like that.

Speaker1: I mean, it says it’s [01:42:15] a manufacture. The factory in the testes, which doesn’t function very well, doesn’t bring them. [01:42:20]

Speaker4: Are we seeing.

Speaker2: That it is also something that is being talked about. So men can also experience problems? [01:42:25]

Speaker4: Of course. Yes.

Speaker1: 15% of fertility problems are because of the men.

Speaker4: We know that. [01:42:30]

Speaker1: So it’s 1 in 6. It’s fine. And men in this country accepts it very well, [01:42:35] do they?

Speaker2: So do you feel so? I mean, as a man. And both of you can tell me [01:42:40] if you were told or that you had problems, your sperm as well.

Speaker1: Wouldn’t [01:42:45] have bothered me, and I would have been quite happy to have a sperm donor.

Speaker2: So is that the only [01:42:50] option? If you have sperm problems, or can you then or do then they do IVF.

Speaker1: It depends on the problem. [01:42:55] So some of them have problem in the whole formation. There is not one normal sperm. [01:43:00] The percentage of abnormal sperms in an ejaculate. [01:43:05] Just guess. Tell me what is? How many normal sperms in a normal ejaculate percentage? [01:43:10]

Speaker3: Abnormal.

Speaker1: Abnormal or abnormal? Normal. Let’s say normal. [01:43:15] How many do you expect to be normal?

Speaker3: 80%.

Speaker1: And you just [01:43:20] give a give a guess.

Speaker2: I’m just going to go with you 70.

Speaker1: Only 4% [01:43:25] are normal.

Speaker3: Oh. In a normal ejaculate.

Speaker1: In a normal ejaculate. Is that right? That’s the count. [01:43:30] 4 to 5%. Wow. 95% lack a head. [01:43:35] Lack a tail. No, absolutely. They can’t swim. Absolutely. That’s why they come out [01:43:40] in millions. And those ones don’t reach the egg because they can’t swim. So. [01:43:45] But 4% they manage. They are you know, the winner. You start the race for the [01:43:50] best sperm. From then from that time of ejaculation the best one will reach the egg. [01:43:55]

Speaker2: How would you feel if you were told that something was wrong with your sperm, and that was affecting [01:44:00] your ability to have a child? Yeah. How would you have reacted?

Speaker5: Uh, I.

Speaker3: Think at the time I’d be okay with [01:44:05] it, really. Not now, having had kids and so on. Now, in retrospect, it would would [01:44:10] be something more difficult. But I think at the time I would have either thought of [01:44:15] something a donor or, or I was actually, I’m actually up for people who say, [01:44:20] I don’t want children.

Speaker2: Well, Bianca’s one of them, I told you.

Speaker4: But listen.

Speaker1: I would have been very upset [01:44:25] if I didn’t have you. Yeah, imagine.

Speaker4: Imagine. But listen. [01:44:30] Imagine.

Speaker2: But I think, like, my dad’s incredible because he’s always been very open. [01:44:35] Um, my dad also had prostate cancer when he was, um. How old were you, daddy, when you had that [01:44:40] happened? Worst time of my life. It’s like I blocked.

Speaker4: It, you know, it’s.

Speaker1: In the early 60s, actually.

Speaker4: But it’s actually [01:44:45] 64, 65.

Speaker2: Um, it was, um, the prostate cancer. [01:44:50]

Speaker1: He early. It was early. It was precancerous, really.

Speaker4: Daddy was.

Speaker2: Type. It was stage two, [01:44:55] I remember. So this is how they get over it. You know, my mom was the same. Um, but [01:45:00] he said a lot of men are in denial about prostate cancer. It’s actually as [01:45:05] common I read somewhere as diabetes for men. It’s very, very common cancer. Yeah. [01:45:10] And a lot of men are in denial because the prostate is so, like, linked to, you know, [01:45:15] like manly hood or whatever. Virility. Yeah.

Speaker3: A lot of men don’t visit the doctor. [01:45:20] Yeah.

Speaker2: They don’t, and they ignore it.

Speaker1: Terrible about their health. We are just we don’t check as women. [01:45:25] And that’s why I decided to become a gynaecologist.

Speaker2: And, um. Yeah, [01:45:30] my dad actually, like, was very, like, open as in, like it didn’t ruin his life. He was like, this is what’s [01:45:35] happened to me. He had the surgery and you know, you got on with it. You got on with [01:45:40] it because you you just felt. And a lot of men won’t have the surgery, by the way, for their prostate. Because obviously, when this was going [01:45:45] on, a lot of men refused to have it.

Speaker1: Because, yes, I know because of the complications. Yeah.

Speaker2: You know, and. [01:45:50]

Speaker3: Doctor, do you know in if you’re looking at the psychology of, of fertility. [01:45:55]

Speaker1: Psychology.

Speaker3: Psychology.

Speaker5: Psychology.

Speaker3: That we have in cosmetic [01:46:00] dentistry, we’ve got there’s a, there’s a type of patient that’s like a body dysmorphic system. Yeah. [01:46:05] That that is looking for the cosmetic dentistry. But the.

Speaker5: Cosmetic a lot.

Speaker1: Of women will consider [01:46:10] it failure. Yeah. That they can’t have a child.

Speaker3: Yeah. Really.

Speaker1: So you have to be so sympathetic. [01:46:15] Empathetic, rather and supportive. Really? Yeah. And also never [01:46:20] lose hope. Never use the word that you. And it’s really, truly you can’t lose hope. Some [01:46:25] people even go and have IVF one, two, three cycles. It doesn’t succeed. [01:46:30] A year later they become pregnant.

Speaker4: Naturally.

Speaker1: Yeah, yeah. So really never give up hope at any, [01:46:35] any time.

Speaker3: What about what about the body dysmorphic syndrome person will [01:46:40] will will be blaming their, in this case their teeth for their happiness. [01:46:45] And whatever you do to their teeth, they’re not going to be happy. Yeah. Is there an equivalent [01:46:50] in fertility. Is that like someone who’s given the name to their pain, the fact they can’t have children and and is going [01:46:55] after it in as bad in a sort of crazy.

Speaker5: Way, they.

Speaker1: Get disappointed, that’s [01:47:00] all. And then nowadays they think of options of egg donation. So egg donation [01:47:05] is available now and a lot of people accept it. Just like sperm donation as well. Do a [01:47:10] lot in this country, obviously different cultures. You know, if you go for example, to the [01:47:15] to my Egyptian world or to the Gulf world, they would they would be very [01:47:20] upset. You’d be the man would be insulted in his masculinity and the woman in her femininity because that’s [01:47:25] their role. But as they become educated now, and I think they become.

Speaker4: Less one of. [01:47:30]

Speaker2: My beauticians who’s Iranian, who I’d been seeing for like 12 years, she sadly [01:47:35] could never get pregnant, and her husband became very abusive. Um, and [01:47:40] then she he ended up divorcing her because she never had children. But then later on, when tests were done, it turned out that [01:47:45] she doesn’t have a womb.

Speaker3: Yeah, doesn’t have a womb.

Speaker2: It’s never a womb in Iranian [01:47:50] culture. She was totally shamed for not being able to have children. But she was born. She was one of. Where she’s actually born.

Speaker4: Without [01:47:55] a womb. It’s not fair. She never had.

Speaker2: A period in her life. Yeah, right. We could go on for hours. We need to, [01:48:00] like, um, have you back on. I want to end the podcast because you’re always like my words [01:48:05] of wisdom. What’s one piece of advice that you would give to someone? Or what’s [01:48:10] the one piece of advice you could give your younger self, knowing what you know now?

Speaker1: My [01:48:15] younger self, myself.

Speaker2: So imagine you see now, Doctor Alex Iskandar [01:48:20] when he’s 20 years old, what would you tell him knowing what you know now about.

Speaker1: Yes, yes, [01:48:25] I think and I’ve told you that several times, stay focussed [01:48:30] as an early age. There’s nothing called. Oh, I’m just going to study this and then I’m going to find [01:48:35] out what I’m going to do. Focus. Decide what you want to do in life and work hard to [01:48:40] achieve your goal. And you must have a goal. If you don’t have a goal, then really [01:48:45] you could. You could waste a lot of years. So you must have a goal. You may be disappointed [01:48:50] you don’t reach your goal, but that will take you to other goals. You could reach as well on the [01:48:55] side, but you must have a goal and ambition in life. No ambitions means you [01:49:00] just become static and you leave it up to the world and to the circumstances [01:49:05] of the world. That’s my number one advice. Goal number two, you have to be [01:49:10] flexible in life at any stage. Had I not been flexible, I would [01:49:15] never have been successful. So my practice moved from one section of the things [01:49:20] I know to another section to the third section. I have modified it many times, pivoted [01:49:25] and same same with same in life in general. You just have to adapt.

Speaker1: So [01:49:30] if you can’t afford a certain a certain type of luxury, you just [01:49:35] have to downsize and then move upwards when you know, I’m sure you agree with that. If [01:49:40] you’re not flexible, you suffer as well. And I know people who had to even they [01:49:45] lost their house and they lived in government. I don’t want to say council, [01:49:50] but they lived in government houses. And then they made it again and they bought another property that [01:49:55] is life. As long as you keep going and you have and look after your health, I think. And I love [01:50:00] the young generation nowadays. They are so healthy all over the world. They go to [01:50:05] the gym. My generation, it was smoke and drinks [01:50:10] and style because we were marketed heavily by Hollywood. Yeah, so I could never [01:50:15] understand. They had a glass of whisky all the time. That’s why I drank whisky to keep in style. [01:50:20] Similarly with Marlboro and cans and a see through surgery. Do you remember nowadays [01:50:25] it’s actually a stigma and bravo for the government and the culture that [01:50:30] it has changed our perception of all these bad things. They are amazing. The new generation. [01:50:35]

Speaker5: On that.

Speaker3: Subject, I know, I know loads of 18 to 25 [01:50:40] year olds who don’t drink. Yeah, it’s a massive thing.

Speaker4: I know a lot of them.

Speaker3: And we went we went with with [01:50:45] one of them. Yeah, this guy was older but but he asked at the pub it was a pub. Normal pub said [01:50:50] what alcohol free lagers do you have. And they had six. Yeah. Not just one.

Speaker5: Six, [01:50:55] six.

Speaker3: Different types of alcohol free beer. Amazing.

Speaker4: Yeah.

Speaker1: Amazing. It’s become a thing. Health [01:51:00] is very important.

Speaker4: Yeah. I mean.

Speaker2: My dad can vouch for me. I’ve not been drinking.

Speaker4: Ever.

Speaker1: Ever. But [01:51:05] only because you’re lucky. You never liked it. Really? I mean, I tried to introduce [01:51:10] you in order. In order to become normal in a society, but, you know, [01:51:15] you are normal without drinks as well, you know?

Speaker2: Okay. Thank you so much, daddy.

Speaker4: It’s been a pleasure. It’s been [01:51:20] a real honour.

Speaker3: Thank you so much.

Speaker4: Thank you, thank you. Thanks for having me. All right. Thank you.

 

Selvaraj Balaji shares his journey from growing up in rural South India to the UK, where he is now a successful implant dentist at the helm of a small group of practices and implant training academy.

Selvaraj discusses the challenges of getting started in the UK,  the philosophy behind his  Academy of Soft and Hard Tissue Augmentation (ASHA) Club UK for advanced implant training and finding a healthy work-life balance.

Enjoy!

 

In This Episode

0:02:05: Backstory

00:04:00: Moving to the UK

00:24:00: Surgery to general practice

00:35:22: From VT to implantology

00:41:12: Practice purchase, management and growth

01:01:22: Family life

01:06:14: Teaching and ASHA

01:16:36: Blackbox thinking

01:19:17: Talent, mentorship and training

01:25:24: Ambition and plans

01:27:36: Last days and legacy

01:28:40: Fantasy dinner party

 

About Selvaraj Balaji

Implant dentist Selvaraj Balaji owns Buckinghamshire-based The Gallery and Meadow Walk dental clinics. He is also the founder of the Academy of Soft and Hard Tissue Augmentation (ASHA) Club UK for advanced implant training.

Speaker1: I pick 1 or 2 the best ones and I train them [00:00:05] personally. I go to their practice and they come to me, so I add them as my faculty member [00:00:10] in Dasha. So it’s just not me. So I want [00:00:15] others to be there. So so far we have three faculty members since I started [00:00:20] the course, so I train them to the level I feel they’re comfortable so [00:00:25] they can go and do things for others teach, teach.

Speaker2: Mentor, [00:00:30] that sort of thing. Yes.

Speaker1: Yes, that’s the way we do in our [00:00:35] shop because I don’t want to be just me, me, me, me. It’s not that we want [00:00:40] to have a group of clinicians who can go around the country and expand their skills [00:00:45] and teach them.

Speaker3: This [00:00:50] is Dental Leaders. The podcast where [00:00:55] you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your [00:01:00] hosts Payman Langroudi and [00:01:05] Prav Solanki.

Speaker2: It gives me great pleasure to introduce [00:01:10] Doctor Balaji to the Dental Leaders podcast. Um, believe [00:01:15] it or not, Doctor Balaji has sort of popped up in my feed several times [00:01:20] as a basically in my mind, an implant educator even. I [00:01:25] think a few months ago we were both running courses in the same venue, [00:01:30] but we didn’t cross paths. Um, we were at, um, I think it was at the Heathrow, [00:01:35] um, skyline. Yeah. The Sheraton Skyline [00:01:40] Hotel. Right. I think I was speaking there on it might have been the old Bob day [00:01:45] with Jaz Gulati, and I think you were running a course at the time, but but we didn’t get to cross [00:01:50] paths. So I think we’ve crossed paths numerous times on social media.

Speaker1: Exactly.

Speaker2: Yeah. [00:01:55] I’ve had numerous people pointing me in your direction. Get him on the podcast. [00:02:00] He’s got a great story. Yeah. Um, so I want to I want to hear what this story is all [00:02:05] about. Doctor Balaji, um, I know you as, um, uh, an educator, [00:02:10] so founder of, um. I believe it’s the Asha Academy. The academy of soft and hard [00:02:15] tissue augmentation, which I’m sure will go into a little bit later. And you’re also a practice owner, [00:02:20] is that right?

Speaker1: That’s right. Bob.

Speaker2: So, Balaji, the way I like to sort [00:02:25] of go into these podcasts is, is to really start with your backstory, [00:02:30] where you grew up, what your childhood was like. Um, so just take [00:02:35] me, take me through your backstory and your earliest sort of childhood memories.

Speaker1: Thank [00:02:40] you. Bob. First of all, I’d like to start with thanking you for my the invitation. It’s a great opportunity [00:02:45] for me to share my story. And, you know, colleagues like, uh, like [00:02:50] my colleague, like you. Uh, yeah. My story started. I was born in a very, [00:02:55] very small village in South India where [00:03:00] this particular the village when my brother and myself, my brother is older than me, three [00:03:05] years older than me. So when my parents had my brother, there was [00:03:10] there were no decent school in that village. So my [00:03:15] parents and few other parents joined together and they started a school [00:03:20] for their own kids, hiring a teacher, local teachers and stuff. So that’s how [00:03:25] I started. And then I went followed him in to the similar same school, primary school. [00:03:30] And it was the only English medium school in the whole, uh, area. So [00:03:35] and that school grew up into a very popular school, and that’s different story. So [00:03:40] my education started like that. Then I went to a secondary school, [00:03:45] which is like around 20 miles away from the village where I was born. So [00:03:50] we had to travel by bicycle. That’s the mode of transport. We had [00:03:55] to reach there every day by sort of thing. So when I [00:04:00] finished my secondary school and, um, my brother was already in medical school in, [00:04:05] in the city in Chennai, uh, like it’s called now. [00:04:10] And I followed him to a dental school not far from him. So [00:04:15] when I finished dentistry and I was wanted to do more and I want to learn [00:04:20] more, and the opportunity came and again followed my brother again. He came to UK [00:04:25] first, then I followed him. And when I came to United Kingdom, [00:04:30] where I was not able to stay to practice into dental practice, [00:04:35] so I had to do hospital job as as house of house [00:04:40] officer, senior house officer in, uh, oral surgery or maxillofacial surgery [00:04:45] department for nearly six years. So that’s how it started.

Speaker2: Okay, Balaji, I [00:04:50] want to take you straight back to the school that you, um, that your family started, right? [00:04:55] Um, and you went to the school. I just want to get an insight into. What was that like? How many kids [00:05:00] in that school, you know, how far was it from home and just generally what your upbringing was [00:05:05] like? Parents just give us a flavour of what it was like to be a child in that, in [00:05:10] that small village, local community and your upbringing.

Speaker1: Yeah. [00:05:15] I mean, just two of us, me and my brother. Uh, so my parents were very supportive. [00:05:20] My dad was a businessman, but he always wanted to be educated. We [00:05:25] were educated to have a good job and, uh, in India. But he was not able to [00:05:30] be educated because of reasons like no schooling and no support. So he always [00:05:35] told us that, look, education is important. So he pushed us [00:05:40] and he started a school, as I said, with few of the parents, and we didn’t have many. [00:05:45] My class was only six students, uh, like we were four guys and two [00:05:50] girls. It’s a very, very small and in the evenings and we go [00:05:55] to each other’s house and study together and, um, and then there was no electricity like we [00:06:00] had electricity. Women, but mostly they are, you know, the evening just just just goes [00:06:05] off and power electricity.

Speaker2: Would just turn off in the evening.

Speaker1: Turn off [00:06:10] in the evening, like 2 or 2 hours or something every day. So I remember my brother and I, we were studying [00:06:15] in a small like a candle and sitting next to each other, and we’ve been just studying. And [00:06:20] then we because of the candle, we attract all the flies and insects [00:06:25] and stuff. But those are the memories you get back, you know? Uh, but my parents are always [00:06:30] been very, very supportive. They never let, let us do work or do any other job [00:06:35] like side jobs and stuff, like, uh, nothing. We just. You study. That’s all we need to do as a [00:06:40] parent. We are here to support you. Uh, and I’m very thankful for that.

Speaker2: It’s really interesting. [00:06:45] Right? Um, you know, even my parents, my, my well, my father [00:06:50] always pushed education, right? So, um, you know, my, my, my dad didn’t go [00:06:55] to university. And, you know, in this in, in the UK here, you know, worked [00:07:00] in factories, drove taxis and the shop and the one thing, the one message, the [00:07:05] overriding message was, um, look, son, the reason I’m working so hard is so [00:07:10] that you don’t have to do what I do, right. And I want a better life for you. And the overarching [00:07:15] the overarching philosophy was, um, education, education, [00:07:20] education. Right? It was it was all about that. And funny you say that, [00:07:25] that what they gave you was the freedom to say, look, you focus on education. We’ll [00:07:30] look after everything else around you. Right? You don’t need to work. Yeah. Um, [00:07:35] and funnily enough, you know, dad always gave me and my brother that that head space [00:07:40] in that room for education. Although we did work in the family business in the family shop. [00:07:45] Um, yeah. The one thing that he wouldn’t let us do is go out and get another job [00:07:50] or anything like that, or actually playing out and having fun with your mates and stuff, which we did quite a bit of. [00:07:55] Right. That wasn’t a priority. There was this strict overriding wasn’t, [00:08:00] you know, it was never said, but it was always sort of implied that the spend your [00:08:05] time studying. Right. And that’s where the direction what was that like from, from from your [00:08:10] folks. Right. In terms of the did you feel it as like a pressure? Did you feel it as [00:08:15] actually do you know what? I’m breaking the cycle here, and me and my brother are going to go out and [00:08:20] do something different and make dad proud or mum proud or whatever. What was going [00:08:25] on in your mind as a young kid back then?

Speaker1: The thing was, I never felt any [00:08:30] pressure, uh, or uh, any anything from anyone from my parents or anything [00:08:35] because they always, uh, explain to my brother and myself that, look, [00:08:40] you know, this is what we do, and we want you to be like, you know, the [00:08:45] next level and doing better in your life. And so that always pushed us in [00:08:50] a positive way. And I wanted to achieve something for myself and my [00:08:55] family. And moreover, I want to do something for the kids who may [00:09:00] be less fortunate than me, who doesn’t have parents, who [00:09:05] have, uh, you know, money or anything to push them. So that’s how I always my [00:09:10] back of my mind that my parents could start a school for their kids. And, [00:09:15] uh, I would like to do something, if not to the school, at least education [00:09:20] pass my skills to somebody else. So that’s how it started. Yeah. [00:09:25]

Speaker2: And so you do you do primary school, you go to a secondary school in a different town. [00:09:30] Or how like, how far away was that from, from where you grew up.

Speaker1: On [00:09:35] 15km from where I, uh, where my home [00:09:40] to their school. And the two. Only two ways you can go there is by a bus or [00:09:45] a or your own mode of transport. The one mode of transport is what we had was a bicycle. Because [00:09:50] there’s a bus. Sometimes it’s not reliable. Those days it comes in one day, doesn’t come next day. [00:09:55] So we just we just ride the bike as a friend and like a group of guys and [00:10:00] riding bike. It was fun.

Speaker2: Uh, yeah. I bet that was part and parcel [00:10:05] of the enjoyment, right? I remember as a kid growing up and playing around on BMX and stuff like [00:10:10] that and hanging out with my mates. Um, and so I guess there was much, as much [00:10:15] fun to be had on the way to and the way back from school as um, that’s school, right? [00:10:20] Um, and so you, you go to school and funnily enough, [00:10:25] I, um, I interviewed Devang Patel, who runs the Full Mouth Reconstruction Academy. [00:10:30] Right. And, you know, he told me some stories about, like, when he, um, got into [00:10:35] school there and then got into university there that he [00:10:40] was fortunate to have come from, um, parents who had some money. Right? Yeah. What [00:10:45] was the. Just just talk me through your process. Right. So you do the school thing, you sit some exams. [00:10:50] How do you get into dental school? In, in in India. And where did you where [00:10:55] did you go to dental school.

Speaker1: Right. The the process in India is similar to, uh, UK [00:11:00] educational system. You finished your secondary school, then you apply you. [00:11:05] It depends on the amount, the score, the mark you score in this secondary school. [00:11:10] Uh, similar to a level or GCSE here. Um, then you will be [00:11:15] doing another exam which is the we call entrance exam. So you go to school [00:11:20] again to the top mark in that. So then you they’ll be divided [00:11:25] into like the top creme of students. They go to medical [00:11:30] school. Yeah. Then the second thing comes to the dental uh school. [00:11:35] And then the third goes to veterinary or agricultural or engineering and stuff. So [00:11:40] I was offered a place in the medical school. And then I did go into medical school, [00:11:45] uh, for.

Speaker2: Where you went to medical school.

Speaker1: Yes, but I didn’t last for more than two, six [00:11:50] months. I didn’t like it. I didn’t enjoy.

Speaker2: So your brother, your brother went to medical [00:11:55] school, right? He older than you, I assume? Yes.

Speaker1: He’s three years older than me.

Speaker2: So your [00:12:00] brother was three years into the medical school system when you joined the medical school? That’s right. [00:12:05] You did it for six months?

Speaker1: Yes. I didn’t enjoy it. For [00:12:10] whatever reason, I. I didn’t like it. So then there’s a school, not the [00:12:15] building next to it. Like a few hundred yards. Next to it was a dental school building. Then I [00:12:20] went there to look at it, and then I had a friend who is three years older [00:12:25] than me, my in fact, my brother’s friend, he was doing dentistry and I started following [00:12:30] him, and I, I just loved it, the practical side of it and then the all [00:12:35] the stuff which really interested. So I opted out of the medical school. I went to the dental [00:12:40] school after that.

Speaker2: And was that as simple as just sort of saying, hey, [00:12:45] I’m not enjoying this anymore. Can I transfer to your course? What did you have to start from the beginning again [00:12:50] is something obviously at the beginning, like a lot of the curriculum is the same, right? Physiology, [00:12:55] pharmacology, anatomy, embryology, all that sort of stuff. Right?

Speaker1: The [00:13:00] year one is the same for both medical school and dental school, and even even year two almost [00:13:05] similar like you do medicine and all these things, a little bit of it. But from year three [00:13:10] it changes. Yes. So could you.

Speaker2: Easily transfer across?

Speaker1: No, [00:13:15] no, it’s not at all because it’s very, very hard. But I was lucky enough that that we had a [00:13:20] space that came available in dental school. The guy or a girl who was pulled out [00:13:25] to go into different things. So and then I had opportunity to that.

Speaker2: And so [00:13:30] you jumped into that spot basically, and then. Yes. And so, so did you start six [00:13:35] months into the dental school course, so to speak, you almost like swapped over or yes [00:13:40] or no?

Speaker1: I started again from the beginning. From the beginning, yes. The [00:13:45] year after.

Speaker2: The year after. Okay. So you took a year out and year after. And then what? [00:13:50] How did you explain this to your parents? Were they cool with this? I mean, I [00:13:55] guess you weren’t you weren’t dropping out to do something completely different, right? So. Yeah, but [00:14:00] but but how how did they take this? What did you say to them?

Speaker1: I mean, I just said, tell [00:14:05] them, look, this is what I want to do, and I like to do, but my dad, my dad was quite little bit, you know, [00:14:10] I can I could see that he was disappointed because he wanted both the son to want to be [00:14:15] a doctor and all those things. But, uh, but he didn’t say to me and he was very, very [00:14:20] supportive and said, look, okay, as long as you want to do what you want to do, then [00:14:25] yeah, that’s what happened. And they were very, very helpful.

Speaker2: Perfect. And then [00:14:30] so what was dental school like? Um, where you were, what was the name of the dental [00:14:35] school, by the way?

Speaker1: It’s called Madras Dental School, basically [00:14:40] the name of the city, Madras Dental School. And it was it [00:14:45] was I mean, I had a fun because I, because when I went [00:14:50] in until secondary school, uh, we had to work so hard, you know, no [00:14:55] day off is seven days a week. 24 by seven. You studied study, study. And [00:15:00] under the candlelight. Under the candlelight was from my mom and dad looking over you. But [00:15:05] when I left home, this is miles and miles away. So it’s the first two years, [00:15:10] as we all do, the best time of my life. University. And, uh, it’s kind [00:15:15] of fun. We had, uh, everything. Then my second, third year came and the reality [00:15:20] struck. Look, I got to do some very cool down that come down just to get [00:15:25] out of the school. Otherwise I’ll be here for another six, seven years. So. But it was fun. [00:15:30] Very good fun.

Speaker2: And so what was that like? So you went from obviously being [00:15:35] under the watchful eye of your parents to being free, so to speak. Yeah. What was what was [00:15:40] the fun stuff? What, what how would you describe those early days at university? [00:15:45]

Speaker1: The for me, uh, the most important thing is I love meeting [00:15:50] people and I can talk to strangers. My mom was [00:15:55] like that. My mom could speak to anyone on the street or anywhere she goes. And [00:16:00] I can do that, so I’m. I can make friends easily. I can, [00:16:05] you know, that’s what I enjoyed about it. Because in village and the village I come from is very [00:16:10] small. And then people I’ve known them from my all the time. But [00:16:15] when I went to this school, there are people all over from all over from India. India is a massive country, you know that. [00:16:20] Yeah. So different language, different culture, different, uh, everything. So [00:16:25] when you meet people like that, I love that. And second, my passion about travelling. [00:16:30] So I travelled with my friends. I had opportunity to go and see almost [00:16:35] everybody’s house, everybody’s village out of town, city, that part of the [00:16:40] Dental school or my university time I enjoyed. Wonderful. Even though. [00:16:45] Yeah. So I’m so sorry. But yeah, even though you didn’t party [00:16:50] that much those days, but, you know, that sort of thing. But we had a good [00:16:55] friendship. Yeah.

Speaker2: And so, um, what sort of student were you? Were you were [00:17:00] you sort of top of the class? We obviously you’re teaching now, right. Were you were you were the [00:17:05] equivalent of a grade A student or were you somewhere middle of the road or did you were you one of these guys [00:17:10] who right at the end, you just crammed, pulled out all the stops and did what you had to do to pass your exams? [00:17:15]

Speaker1: I maybe realised I’m always work, uh, on the last minute, [00:17:20] the I, I do well under pressure. That’s me. [00:17:25]

Speaker2: You know, funnily enough, I um so this last minute thing. Right. So if I’m and a [00:17:30] few of my friends who know me well, right, will will say if I’m giving a lecture tomorrow. [00:17:35] Yeah. Usually what I’ll do, I’ll be doing my slide prep if I’m doing it in the afternoon, [00:17:40] or I’ll be doing my slide prep in the morning, maybe right up until like an hour before. Right? [00:17:45] And I say, why the hell do you put this pressure on yourself? Like, why don’t you do [00:17:50] weeks? Because because I’ve got the time and I could do right. And I’ve got, I’ve got two, uh, two [00:17:55] answers to that question. One of them is my best ideas come when I’m under pressure. Yeah. [00:18:00] My best ideas come when I’m under pressure, right? Also, [00:18:05] always tell my friends this. If you leave it till the last minute, it only takes a minute. [00:18:10]

Speaker1: Yes, yes. No, I agree totally, because I always do [00:18:15] the last minute. Because I get more ideas and more, uh, my brain works better. [00:18:20] It’s like. Exactly. If you give me a week before I can, I tried, don’t get me wrong, I because [00:18:25] I try to do week before, but my mind will be thinking so many other things. [00:18:30] I can’t concentrate on that particular work.

Speaker2: That point you’ll have other last minute things [00:18:35] to do, right that the week before, right? Something else that’s high priority maybe in [00:18:40] the practice or whatever. Right. So definitely yeah, it’s shifting priorities. [00:18:45] Um, and then so as you go through dental school, um, you get you get your [00:18:50] dental degree, had your brother already come to the UK? Yes. [00:18:55] Before you.

Speaker1: He. That’s right. Yes. And he came to UK, [00:19:00] uh, three, two, two years before me. Yeah.

Speaker2: And was it always your plan as [00:19:05] well to, to to move to the UK, or were you thinking of staying in India. What [00:19:10] was your plan back then?

Speaker1: Like my plan I think to be honest, I’m a more of [00:19:15] a grafter. And, uh, I don’t I do plan a little bit, but I [00:19:20] don’t have many plans, like, I want to achieve this sort of guy. So when my [00:19:25] brother came to UK, my plan was to stay in, uh, India, to look [00:19:30] after my parents and stay there and do things. Then, uh, my, [00:19:35] my brother said, look, why don’t you come to UK, just have a look, see, feel how you feel [00:19:40] and what you want to do. Then I said, my parents said, okay, go. Go with him and if you [00:19:45] don’t like it, you can come back. And they knew. My parents knew that if I don’t like something, I won’t [00:19:50] do it. So and came here and then I straightaway got [00:19:55] into a hospital. Uh, observer job. Justin. Yeah.

Speaker2: So [00:20:00] so quick question around that. So when when your brother and your parents said, hey, go to the UK and [00:20:05] check it out. Was that you coming on holiday or was that you coming to apply for a job and [00:20:10] try a job here in the UK? What was the guys that you were that you were coming to [00:20:15] the UK and where in the UK did you land by the way?

Speaker1: Yeah, it was a uh what? [00:20:20] It’s a holiday visa. It’s a tourist visa. Okay. Yeah, yeah. I came as a tourist visa as [00:20:25] a holiday for six months and then landed in Heathrow in November, actually, uh, in [00:20:30] 1997. So my brother came and picked me up. And first time in the fall, [00:20:35] that’s what my first trip in my flight, I never flew before.

Speaker2: That was your first [00:20:40] flight ever.

Speaker1: First flight ever. So. And I, uh, it was amazing. Uh, [00:20:45] the memories and so I. Yeah. And my brother picked me up [00:20:50] from the airport, and I, he peop I mean, guys who comes [00:20:55] from India those days even baby now they, we all ended up in East Ham in London, [00:21:00] the East London where we all go there. And then that’s where we, [00:21:05] you know, we start our, uh, life, um, like, uh. Yeah. So [00:21:10] then my brother used to work there at that point in, uh, Cornwall, in [00:21:15] Truro. So next day we travelled to Truro and I stayed [00:21:20] with him, and, uh, I had a. Yeah, that’s that’s how I started.

Speaker2: So [00:21:25] cast your mind back to the point where your flight landed here [00:21:30] in Heathrow. Right? And then you step off that plane. What was that like for you? Was [00:21:35] it was there a big culture shock? Were you. Obviously you were taking everything in first time [00:21:40] in another country, right? Uh, what what what was what was that like? And [00:21:45] difference in culture or whatever they call it, the culture shock or whatever. What [00:21:50] did that feel like coming from where you’d where you’d come and used to that environment coming here [00:21:55] to UK. What are the biggest differences to you?

Speaker1: I was excited to be in UK, [00:22:00] but the one thing I was like, no, I was a bit, uh, surprised was because I watched [00:22:05] movies of English movies, like American movies and English movies. But always I thought, [00:22:10] there’ll be skyscrapers in London. So when I landed down and I was looking around, [00:22:15] I asked my brother, God, there’s no big buildings in London. He said, no, it’s not like America. [00:22:20] It’s not like New York that I remember very well. And then, uh, then [00:22:25] the culture shock wise. Yeah, I missed food. I still even [00:22:30] now I do. And, uh, I missed my parents because and, um, I haven’t left [00:22:35] India for until I was left and came to UK, so [00:22:40] that was a shock. But because, um, my brother was here, I felt [00:22:45] a bit more homely. And he was very supportive. Uh, so. Yeah, that’s how. And [00:22:50] were you.

Speaker2: Living with your brother at the time? In the early days, yes.

Speaker1: Yes. I was living with [00:22:55] him for nearly eight, six months and the same. And [00:23:00] so you.

Speaker2: Land here, you’re on a holiday visa. And then. And then [00:23:05] how do you go about getting your first job? And at what point did you think, hey, I’m going to be a dentist [00:23:10] in the UK now, how did that come about?

Speaker1: So what happened was by when I [00:23:15] was staying with my brother and I started writing to a few, um, [00:23:20] hospitals. There was, uh, to go and observe for like a, uh, observership [00:23:25] or assistantship. So you don’t get paid, but you just go and watch. So work experience sort [00:23:30] of thing. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So, uh, I had a reply from, uh, lovely, [00:23:35] uh, consultant, uh, filled guest, uh, from Bristol Royal Infirmary. [00:23:40] He was a consultant. He was such a lovely man. He was the only one called me [00:23:45] and said, look, come here and watch what we’re doing. So I [00:23:50] went there and I stayed in Bristol, uh, in the hospital for two weeks. And I [00:23:55] went to the theatre every day with him. He was doing like, um, uh, all the [00:24:00] cancer works and neck dissection, that sort of work. And that made [00:24:05] me feel, wow, I want to be one of that. Inspired you to be a surgeon? I want [00:24:10] to do it. And then that’s that’s how. And then I asked him, look, I want to stay here for longer. [00:24:15] Do you have any job coming up? And, uh, because I was [00:24:20] not educated in this country, he said, look, there may not be a job coming up in Royal Infirmary [00:24:25] because the dental school attached to it, but I will help you to find a job. So [00:24:30] then I stayed there for another six months as a work experience, [00:24:35] unpaid job during every fall and training day, in [00:24:40] and out of doing as normal job or house officer does every day. [00:24:45]

Speaker2: So just. I just want to I’m just trying to wrap my head around, like, back [00:24:50] in 1997. Yeah, I think I got my first email address [00:24:55] in 1997. Right. I started university then. Right. So it’s so [00:25:00] I remember it really well. So back then when you wrote to Phil Guest, was it a handwritten [00:25:05] letter? Was it an email? How did you communicate with him?

Speaker1: Yeah, no, it was uh, [00:25:10] like a computer. And you know, those floppy disks, you know, you have. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, [00:25:15] yeah. Do you remember that? Yes. So I had my CV and, uh, letter, uh, um, uh, handwritten [00:25:20] letter, but CV was typed in from the computer, so it’s a post [00:25:25] it to him. Uh, you posted a letter to him. Post a letter to him? Yes.

Speaker2: Yeah, yeah. [00:25:30]

Speaker1: And so then how did you.

Speaker2: Hear back from him? He. He rang you or he wrote back to you.

Speaker1: He [00:25:35] wrote back to me because I didn’t have a phone or no mobile phone those days, as you know. And so [00:25:40] I didn’t have a phone because I was staying with my brother in a hospital accommodation. So he wrote back to me. [00:25:45]

Speaker2: And how amazing, right? The, you know, you you post a [00:25:50] letter out and then this guy posts a letter back to you. And that’s the beginning [00:25:55] of your your career, right? That’s right. Your letter not landed or got lost [00:26:00] in the post or whatever. Right. You wouldn’t have thought about it again. Right? It’s really interesting that. [00:26:05]

Speaker1: That was the only reply I had for, uh, I maybe I posted 30 to 40 [00:26:10] letters and that was the only person who replied back to me. So.

Speaker2: Yeah. [00:26:15] Wow. And so he said, right, I’m gonna I’m gonna try [00:26:20] and find you a job. Right? He said, I can’t guarantee you what job, but I’ll find you a job. What was that [00:26:25] job? And what happened next?

Speaker1: Then, uh, I had opportunity [00:26:30] to I mean, he that he rang the consultant, uh, in Southampton [00:26:35] at that point, uh, Salisbury. Southampton. And then I, he said, go and [00:26:40] see him. If any job comes, you may get it. So I travelled, uh, I mean, I went there [00:26:45] to meet the, uh, Mr. Floyd, I think, remember, in Salisbury Capital. And that was my [00:26:50] first job. He said, yes, there’s a job coming in two months and, uh, come [00:26:55] and start working as a house officer. So as a junior doctor in a maxillofacial [00:27:00] surgery.

Speaker2: So what was there, was there any kind of academic stuff [00:27:05] that you had to get out of the way to be able to register? Like what [00:27:10] was the what was the process there for you? You have your dental degree from India. [00:27:15] You come here, you’ve been shadowing, not getting paid. Was there some [00:27:20] kind of conversion exam or tests for, uh.

Speaker1: But with [00:27:25] the, uh, temporary registration, it’s called, you know, you can’t practice [00:27:30] under, uh, without supervision, which means you can’t do House of the job in hospital [00:27:35] under supervision with the temporary registration. But that was the.

Speaker2: Basis [00:27:40] of your first.

Speaker1: Job. That’s the. That’s the basic of the first job. Yes.

Speaker2: Okay. So then what happened [00:27:45] then? You did that first job. How long were you in that job for?

Speaker1: I left that job. Every [00:27:50] job, uh, changes every six months. So I was there for six months. Then I went to Southampton, [00:27:55] uh, for six months. Then I worked, like, every six months. I moved away, [00:28:00] uh, to different hospitals, to Glasgow, to Nottingham, everywhere, all [00:28:05] over the country.

Speaker2: Just hopping from job to job every six months. Similar job in Max [00:28:10] FACs doing sort of under this temporary registration. What sort of work were you doing back [00:28:15] then under supervision? What was your day to day and what sort of hours were you doing.

Speaker1: Those [00:28:20] days was really, uh, I enjoyed purely because there were only 3 or [00:28:25] 4 shows, a senior house officers in each department and depend on which [00:28:30] department you go. Um, particularly I can remember I worked in near Liverpool, uh, [00:28:35] in Wirral, where we had, uh, the trauma was so much [00:28:40] okay, whatever reason. And then as a. Surgeon. I mean, [00:28:45] uh, dentist and maxillofacial dentist. You get to see fixing [00:28:50] fractured mandible, fixing maxilla or wisdom tooth extraction every day. [00:28:55] Wisdom tooth extraction was like a day to day, uh, bread and butter for us. Like 4 [00:29:00] or 5 a day, like shelling peas.

Speaker2: Right? Just super.

Speaker1: Easy. Exactly. Yeah. Super [00:29:05] easy. Like, do that sort of thing. And then sometime you get road traffic accident, you’re [00:29:10] working with your registrar, you know, fixing broken bones. So you get a lot of surgical exposures. [00:29:15] And then the hours of working was in a morning, you start at 8:00. [00:29:20] But if the busy unit starts at seven, we go on the ward rounds and everything, [00:29:25] and then you go and start your clinics or helping, um, consultant [00:29:30] in the theatre, which will be until five, six, sometimes 7:00 in the evening, [00:29:35] then weekends. It used to be 1 in 3 young girls every [00:29:40] week and every other sort of thing you do. You start on Friday night [00:29:45] and you finish on Saturday morning. You start and you finish on Monday morning. [00:29:50] So it’s continuous straight through on call, straight through those days. Yes, [00:29:55] straight through Saturday morning to Monday morning.

Speaker2: Did you get a couple of hours sleep [00:30:00] in the in the doctor’s mess or something like that in between?

Speaker1: Exactly. Yeah. You sleep in the doctor’s mess [00:30:05] and then you just go and they call you any facial lacerations or broken bone [00:30:10] or anything they call you and anything to do with face. Um, so you [00:30:15] have that all the time.

Speaker2: So you really got thrown into the deep end right in [00:30:20] your first job. Six every six months, jumping from hospital to hospital, city to city, town [00:30:25] to town, being exposed to doing these long hours, being woken up. And [00:30:30] you know, whether it’s from Saturday to Monday morning or whatever, right? You really got your. That’s [00:30:35] right. I have a feeling you got your 10,000 hours in really, really quickly. Exactly. [00:30:40] In those early days, right?

Speaker1: Yes. But the good thing was it’s like a family [00:30:45] bug, you know, when you are, uh, working in a hospital, you like, for example, weekends, you [00:30:50] literally you are a accident emergency department all the time. So [00:30:55] there will be you make friends from different, uh, specialities orthopaedic surgeons [00:31:00] or ophthalmic to everyone’s there as well, waiting for their cases to be treated. [00:31:05] So you it’s like a family and. Yeah, [00:31:10] that’s how you and the nurses and radiographers and stuff. Yeah.

Speaker2: And [00:31:15] so at what point did your did your registration [00:31:20] stroke career move from being under temporary registration or supervised [00:31:25] registration, whatever that’s called, to being a fully licensed hey, I can [00:31:30] do my own thing now. When did that happen?

Speaker1: Yeah, well what [00:31:35] happened? You can have a temporary registration for maximum four years. So. [00:31:40] But the four year came sort of thing. And again, last minute, like I said, I was like having [00:31:45] fun working, you know, enjoying it. Then at the time came, look, I have to do something [00:31:50] if I have to stay in this country, if not, I can’t do it. So the other option I had was I [00:31:55] because I want to do the Max Maxillofacial surgery. I thought going back to medical [00:32:00] school in UK where I left in India, I started again because you [00:32:05] got to be doubly qualified to become a max price consultant. So I played for [00:32:10] Nottingham University and then the Leeds and then Nottingham City [00:32:15] accepted sort of thing. And then I found out I had to pay £25,000 [00:32:20] a year for five years for as a fee, because overseas candidates [00:32:25] just for the job, just to go into medical school. Oh. [00:32:30]

Speaker2: I see, I got you. Yeah. Understood. Yeah. Right. Yeah.

Speaker1: So [00:32:35] then I didn’t have that money to go into medical school. So I told my consultant who was very helpful, [00:32:40] and I said, look, I can’t do it. So then I did, uh, what exam, [00:32:45] which is the IQ point and all these things. I passed the exam and before [00:32:50] I passed it, I was wanted to do something to get the permanent registration [00:32:55] in the GDC, which allows me to work unsupervised [00:33:00] in, let’s say, in a dental practice or whatever it is. So [00:33:05] I did my LDS RCS one year program in Glasgow Dental School. [00:33:10] Um, that was 2004, I believe. Uh, is [00:33:15] that a.

Speaker2: Full is that a full time thing, or were you able to work and earn money at the same.

Speaker1: Time? No, no, no, it [00:33:20] was a full time course. So I went back to student life again in Glasgow. Uh, for [00:33:25] a year I did my LDS RCS. By the time I finished LDS year, I got [00:33:30] my LDS year and I finished my two MFT and MVT DS, uh, [00:33:35] one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh’s Royal College. Then [00:33:40] I got my IQ at the same time. So eventually when I came out of [00:33:45] that, by the time I was eligible to work in a dental practice as [00:33:50] unsupervised. So that’s open. Mind the whole thing.

Speaker2: So how long did that how [00:33:55] long did that piece take from you sort of saying, okay, I’ve been jumping from hospital job to [00:34:00] hospital job every six months for four years. My time’s run out now. I could go here, [00:34:05] but it’s 125 grand. I’ve got this other option, which is. Which is to [00:34:10] go for this mfds, um, option. And then you were in full time education [00:34:15] back as a student, I take it, not earning any money, but just sort of getting by [00:34:20] on savings, I guess. Yes.

Speaker1: That’s right. Yes. Whatever leftover I had. Yeah. After [00:34:25] spending years.

Speaker2: And then, uh, how long did that take before you had [00:34:30] your license?

Speaker1: Took me 16 months. Because there is 12 months of my, [00:34:35] uh, course education. The exam I passed, then I had my registration [00:34:40] came out two months after that. Then I started applying for a jobs. [00:34:45] And again, I want to go back into hospital. So even at that point, I didn’t know whether [00:34:50] should I go into Dental sort of practices or go into hospital. So [00:34:55] I went back into hospital as a staff grade in Stoke on Trent for [00:35:00] three months. Um, but I didn’t like it because I couldn’t see any [00:35:05] progress of my career. I know I will stay as a staff grader rest [00:35:10] of my life. So then I changed my mind and I came to, [00:35:15] uh, dentistry. And I did my vocational training, uh, in North [00:35:20] Wales at that point.

Speaker2: So what did you do? Did you have to apply for a bunch of jobs for [00:35:25] the vet or. Yes.

Speaker1: Yes. Uh, at that point there’s, uh, it came up, [00:35:30] uh, in Wales, uh, the area. So I applied for it and I got [00:35:35] selected in North Wales, and I did a vet for a year. So to get [00:35:40] my number.

Speaker2: So. So at this point I’m thinking, look, if I’ve just [00:35:45] employed you as my vet, right? And then there’s the other guys who are [00:35:50] coming out of dental school. You’ve got so much more experience, right? You’ve put [00:35:55] people’s faces back together. You’re pulling wisdom teeth out like it’s, um, you know, [00:36:00] putting your socks on. Do you know what I mean? Like, you’ve got all this ton of experience. What [00:36:05] was that like in that practice, and what was that like for your trainer? Um, [00:36:10] did you find it easy at that point, or were you were you learning completely new tricks that were outside [00:36:15] of hospital medicine now? Right. The totally different way of looking at patients. The journey taught [00:36:20] me through that.

Speaker1: Wow. That’s a really good question because when I went to VAT, you’re right. And I had so much [00:36:25] skills in surgical side, but I didn’t know how to do crown prep. I didn’t know [00:36:30] how to do, let’s say, root canal treatment. I didn’t know how to do a maybe class two fillings [00:36:35] because I lost touch in general dentistry for nearly six years. Yeah. So [00:36:40] and I went back and I learned the whole skills again. And the person I like [00:36:45] to mention the name here is, uh, Nigel Jones. Uh, he’s amazing guy. He’s a, uh, advisor [00:36:50] those days in Wales, in Abergavenny. He was so good. And [00:36:55] and so I approached him every time I had a block and said, look, I don’t know what to do. [00:37:00] So he said, look, turn over. These are the instruments you use. These are the amalgam fillings, how you do. [00:37:05] And um, so it was another learning back, going back to dental [00:37:10] school and learning those skills again.

Speaker2: You know, it [00:37:15] feels to me you’re going back and forth and back like it’s not the traditional straight line approach. Right? [00:37:20] Is the, you know, you come here and you’re going six months to six [00:37:25] months, but you’re putting people’s faces together, right? You’re pulling out wisdom. You’re doing all this [00:37:30] complex surgical stuff that people do like years after they’ve graduated. Right. And [00:37:35] but but then you’re going back to dental school and saying, right, I’m going to learn how to prep this crown. [00:37:40] I’m going to learn how to do a root canal. I’m going to learn how to do basic dentistry now. Right. So you’ve got it’s almost [00:37:45] like you take a step forward, take a step back, forward, back, and all the rest of it. Um, what [00:37:50] do you think that did for your overall sort of skill set and grounding in dentistry? It’s completely non-traditional [00:37:55] in the approach that most definitely most UK dentists would take. Right.

Speaker1: Exactly. [00:38:00] I mean, the one thing in life I learned as a career as a person is, [00:38:05] uh, every time something, uh, the difficulty faced and [00:38:10] you may step back and in your life. But what it gives me is it [00:38:15] gives me the character, you know, it gives me build me as a person. That’s [00:38:20] what I learned from that, you know, it’s a job. It’s a job. But what as a person, [00:38:25] what you can do as a human, the character building everything is a character building. [00:38:30] That’s how it is 100%.

Speaker2: And so so you go, you [00:38:35] you’ve got that sort of first job, you do your VTE, what [00:38:40] happens next?

Speaker1: So when I did a VAT and I could because [00:38:45] my, my again my trainer um in in where I work he was [00:38:50] very helpful. And he said, look, we have to refer all the wisdom to the hospital [00:38:55] and the waiting list is like six months or can you, can we do a [00:39:00] work here? I said, so I started doing all the wisdom tooth and a little bit of, uh, [00:39:05] difficult extraction work and everything, and the towards the end of my, uh, [00:39:10] my VAT and I approached my trainer and said, look, I like to do implants, I like to do [00:39:15] some surgical work. So he said, okay, he gave me a in, uh, sort of day [00:39:20] off towards the end of the VAT to go and do an implant course, which is the Hill. Tatum. [00:39:25] Uh, great guy, my first mentor of my life career [00:39:30] in, uh, Harley Street in London, where I started my implant career [00:39:35] and did my first course with Hill Tatum, where I learned the placing implants and sinus [00:39:40] graft and that sort of thing. Then I stayed in the same practice for three [00:39:45] years following my vet and, uh, doing start doing [00:39:50] implants and private dentistry slowly. Yeah.

Speaker2: And so did the implant [00:39:55] side of things just come naturally to you because of your years of like, four [00:40:00] years of, like, surgical grounding, right?

Speaker1: That’s [00:40:05] right. Yeah.

Speaker2: Do you think that was naturally the career that you were going to choose anyway because [00:40:10] of that, that grounding or.

Speaker1: No, not really. Then I went to [00:40:15] I studied in Florida, uh, in, uh, Peter Pete Dawson, uh, occlusion, [00:40:20] you know, occlusion. Yeah. Uh, occlusion, occlusion and all these things. And I before [00:40:25] he retired completely. So I travelled to Florida, Tampa, where [00:40:30] his, uh, his, his academy was. And then I travelled six months to [00:40:35] Florida every month. I was there for six, seven days trying to learn, you [00:40:40] know, occlusion and veneer or aesthetic dentistry and stuff. [00:40:45] And I enjoyed it. Uh, but same time I was doing implants on a little bit on [00:40:50] the side, but naturally I my skills are more [00:40:55] into surgery. So I slowly and then moved on to different techniques and different. Yeah, that’s what [00:41:00] it. So I tried, I tried orthodontics as well and did every bit of dentistry.

Speaker2: Yeah, [00:41:05] you had a bit of a crack at everything before settling on to.

Speaker1: Exactly to find what? Yeah, what [00:41:10] I enjoy and doing to.

Speaker2: To find what was right for you. And so [00:41:15] that’s like, how did you go from there to [00:41:20] what was the journey from there to becoming a practice owner?

Speaker1: Yes. Um, I [00:41:25] worked in Wales with that same practice for three years, and I worked in another practice in Colwyn [00:41:30] Bay for another, uh, part time, two part time job. Then [00:41:35] when I started doing implants, uh, that point, after 2 or 3 years, [00:41:40] I started seeing complications, like project or failures and my own job [00:41:45] and my own work, and I wanted to learn or I want to find an answer [00:41:50] for it, why this is happening? How can I improve it? Then what [00:41:55] happened was then I tried to do more courses, sort of travelling there [00:42:00] as associate, I can’t. I didn’t have freedom of choosing how many days [00:42:05] I can take time off or I instrument wise or that sort of thing. And so [00:42:10] I started looking for a practices where I can buy. In North [00:42:15] Wales Chester area. Because I’m from India, I don’t have any [00:42:20] plan to stay anywhere in UK. Right? Hop job to every six months to Glasgow, [00:42:25] to Southampton.

Speaker2: You’ve done the rounds right? You’ve been everywhere. So you’re not locked down [00:42:30] to a location.

Speaker1: Exactly. So I took him up and I said, look, this [00:42:35] is what I’m going to do. So I’m going to travel around and find the dream, uh, practice. [00:42:40] So I travelled everywhere and I went for a, you know, I like [00:42:45] buying a practice. I looked at so many practices. Then I found this place in Buckingham. Buckingham [00:42:50] is a very small town in Buckinghamshire, which I never knew this [00:42:55] place existed until I came to this place. So I found this place, and, [00:43:00] um, this place, the gallery dental implant centre is not. [00:43:05] Didn’t exist before I bought it. The dentist who had this practice [00:43:10] in different building, totally different building. He was doing two days of dentistry, that’s all. [00:43:15] He was just right running it down. And he. [00:43:20] I met him and said, no, I’m that practice was in a big eight house, coach [00:43:25] house, like eight room coach house, very old, uh, house. [00:43:30] So he said, I sold the house already to somebody else. The business is there, [00:43:35] and these are the patients you have. You want to buy it off me? I said, okay, [00:43:40] fine. And I took the business.

Speaker2: How did this come about? Was there [00:43:45] a broker involved? How did you know this guy? How did you approach him?

Speaker1: It [00:43:50] wasn’t a big, um. So I, um, practice [00:43:55] for sale. So I just came, and then I met him. And apparently nobody wanted to buy [00:44:00] this practice because he sold the building, and he just got the goodwill. So I [00:44:05] ended up. Yeah. So I ended up buying the goodwill. And, uh, he [00:44:10] pointed out this building where we are sitting right now. Look, there’s the empty building there. [00:44:15] Yeah, you can lease it and you can start the practice there. And this is your goodwill. [00:44:20] And I bought it. I bought it for us. Yeah.

Speaker2: How far from [00:44:25] the big courthouse building was the building you’re sitting right now?

Speaker1: It’s like a 200 [00:44:30] yards. Not far.

Speaker2: Okay, so not far. Um. And what how much [00:44:35] did you buy the goodwill of the practice for back then? What were the numbers back then?

Speaker1: I [00:44:40] mean, I didn’t even look into numbers, to be honest. Yeah, I’m not a number guy.

Speaker2: Yeah, [00:44:45] yeah.

Speaker1: When I paid, uh, yeah.

Speaker2: Out of curiosity, what did [00:44:50] you pay for the goodwill back then of the practice?

Speaker1: £80,000? Because [00:44:55] there were 80 grand. But they only had he had maybe 150 [00:45:00] patients in total.

Speaker2: And so what was going through your mind? I need to buy a practice. [00:45:05] There’s a building over there, and I take. It was an empty building. Didn’t have a chair in [00:45:10] it or anything like that, right? No. So you had to start from scratch there. I’m assuming you had to invest some money [00:45:15] into that, right?

Speaker1: Yes. That’s right. And that’s another big story. And then he pointed [00:45:20] to this building and I leased the building, and he [00:45:25] introduced the builder or the Dental thing guy. It’s [00:45:30] not a big company, very small company, something like that. And, uh, he started [00:45:35] on the guy who did the building. He said, oh, I will finish in six weeks for you. Um, you [00:45:40] can move straight away. Fine. Give me the whole money. And [00:45:45] I was naive enough to give not to give for money. But I gave him half of the money, and three days later, [00:45:50] he went into administration. Oh, crikey. [00:45:55] Yeah I saw I.

Speaker2: Just that just just humour [00:46:00] me on the numbers. Right. You’ve paid 80 grand for some goodwill. Um, on a practice [00:46:05] that. Was that still operating in the old coach house building or that shut [00:46:10] down.

Speaker1: No, that’s I don’t.

Speaker2: Okay, so you now got you’ve now got these this [00:46:15] goodwill of these patients who’ve got nowhere to go. Yep. Because there’s no practice. [00:46:20] You lease a building.

Speaker1: Yep.

Speaker2: You pay a builder. What what [00:46:25] did you pay this guy?

Speaker1: I paid him a 60,000. You paid this guy.

Speaker2: 60 [00:46:30] grand, right? So you’re now 140 grand in?

Speaker1: Yes.

Speaker2: Do [00:46:35] you have goodwill that’s deteriorating by the day? Because these patients have got nowhere to go, so they’re [00:46:40] probably finding another dentist, right?

Speaker1: That’s right, that’s right.

Speaker2: And you’ve got an empty. You’ve got an empty [00:46:45] building that you need to put a dental practice in. Right.

Speaker1: That’s right. Plus [00:46:50] the next plus the staff. Because the staff, the staff came. Oh shit. [00:46:55] Because yeah, you got to you got to take the staff with two, three rules. So I had one receptionist [00:47:00] and two nurse with me. All right.

Speaker2: So you’re paying their wages during [00:47:05] this time?

Speaker1: Yes, I have to. Yeah. So we were in this [00:47:10] building, new building with the boxes of 2 or 3 boxes full of the old paper [00:47:15] notes. Paper notes, of course. Yeah, yeah. Uh, and our phone number, we had the same phone number, [00:47:20] so there’s a phone and connected to the thing. Like you said, all the patients are ringing and [00:47:25] what’s happening and all this stuff. So what happened was, uh, there’s a practice [00:47:30] another 100 yards from where we are now. I called Meadowlark Dental Practice. [00:47:35] He was a lovely, lovely, uh, dentist. So I approached him and say, look, can [00:47:40] I hire you a room? Uh, one room at least two days a week just [00:47:45] to service my patients. And he said yes. So I hired [00:47:50] the room per two days per week, just treating the existing patients for [00:47:55] 3 to 4 months. And then I found another builder and I [00:48:00] paid the rest of the money and. The Gallery and Dental Implant Centre [00:48:05] was born at that point.

Speaker2: So how long did that take?

Speaker1: It took kind of the two [00:48:10] months to do it. Two months? Three. Yeah. So three, four months in total. I was like. [00:48:15]

Speaker2: But but in the meantime, you were paying this other guy to rent a surgery [00:48:20] or two or whatever to.

Speaker1: That’s right.

Speaker2: Keep the goodwill alive.

Speaker1: Yes. [00:48:25] That’s right. That’s what I did.

Speaker2: Excellent. And, um. So [00:48:30] now you’ve got, you’ve got you’ve got the practice. What was it back then and what is it today. What’s [00:48:35] happened to that practice in that time?

Speaker1: When we start, when we start working [00:48:40] in this practice, I had again a two days of dentistry. That’s it. Nothing else. We didn’t have enough patients more than [00:48:45] that. So, uh, I just, uh, started working still, [00:48:50] I kept my job in Wales, so I used to travel every Sunday night, work there [00:48:55] Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. And I came down here, I worked, I worked on [00:49:00] Thursday and Friday, and I slept in this same building every, uh, when [00:49:05] I’m here because I used to, uh, have a house in Chester. That’s where I lived with my [00:49:10] family. So I used to sleep in this, uh, building, uh, when I’m here, [00:49:15] and I still. I got that, uh, Ikea couch, uh, as in my practice [00:49:20] where I used to sleep. And so. When.

Speaker2: When. So. Sorry. So when when you were working in, [00:49:25] in the practice, you’d you’d just sleep in the practice. Yeah. Yes. On the.

Speaker1: Couch. Practice on the couch. [00:49:30] Yes.

Speaker2: On the couch. Um, yeah. And then when would you go back home? [00:49:35]

Speaker1: So I go. I finished here on, uh, Friday, Thursday, [00:49:40] Friday. And I go home on Saturday in Chester. So I walk there on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. [00:49:45] I come back on Thursday, Friday. So, so two, three, three nights I slept here in [00:49:50] this place. And the practice I used to rent a room and I [00:49:55] purchased this practice six years ago now. So it’s through the practice of mine now here [00:50:00] in. Oh, so you went you.

Speaker2: Bought Meadow Walk Dental practice.

Speaker1: In the end? Yes, at the end. Six years [00:50:05] ago. Yes. That’s right. Yeah.

Speaker2: Isn’t that a lovely story?

Speaker1: It [00:50:10] is, it is? Yeah. I didn’t think back. Would I do it again? Maybe not. I wouldn’t do it, but [00:50:15] I it worked out, you know, it worked out well for me.

Speaker2: I think there’s a lot of things definitely [00:50:20] in business that we would all. Not do looking back [00:50:25] with the knowledge we have today. Exactly. But it shapes who we are today [00:50:30] as well. Right at the.

Speaker1: Very well. Well, said, Sir Paul.

Speaker2: The the [00:50:35] sleeping on the couch. Yeah, the the renting the room in the practice [00:50:40] and the. Yes. Paying the builder and him running off, you know, going [00:50:45] into administration three days later or whatever. Right. You clearly you would have made those mistakes again. [00:50:50] Right. But it’s those big mistakes that you become more cautious. You learn. You learn [00:50:55] from them. Right? You get burnt. Um, and you evolve as a business owner. Right? [00:51:00] So so you’ve got the two practices, you’ve got metal work and you’ve got the gallery. [00:51:05] So what are they? What are they like today? If you if you were to sort of describe them as in how [00:51:10] many surgeries are they busy, what type of dentistry are you doing across the practices. [00:51:15]

Speaker1: The gallery. Dental. Yeah. And the gallery is [00:51:20] purely to do with the surgical side eye implants, bone graft, soft tissue grafting and that sort [00:51:25] of thing. And we’ve got a hygienist room in two, only two rooms in the gallery. So [00:51:30] my plan was to expand this practice, but the [00:51:35] Meadows came on the market, so I bought it. So there we have five surgeries [00:51:40] and then we have four others, three associates and then part time associate. [00:51:45] And we got two hygienists there. So there we do all the day [00:51:50] to day dentistry, Invisalign, uh, all the facial regeneration, [00:51:55] that sort of thing. Gallery is purely to do with the surgical side of the thing. I’m [00:52:00] busy. I work four days a week. Monday is my admin day, but rest of the [00:52:05] time I do surgeries every day in and out and booked up for another 3 [00:52:10] to 4 months.

Speaker2: Wonderful. And and so in terms of the, [00:52:15] um, being a being a practice owner right now, a business owner, it seems [00:52:20] like the gallery is like your home where you’re doing your surgical stuff. That’s [00:52:25] right. Four days a week or whatever. Right. And it almost feels it almost feels to me. You’ve got this [00:52:30] other medical dental practice where there’s all sorts of other non implant related stuff going on [00:52:35] that takes care of itself. Are you have you got really good management team in place. How do [00:52:40] you run that business. Do you, do you do you do you get involved in the day to day of that.

Speaker1: No I’m [00:52:45] I’m not good in admin admin things. To be honest with you. I’m a surgeon. Like I do [00:52:50] like surgery I do, I’m a clinician. Yeah. So I got I’m so lucky that I got a fantastic [00:52:55] team. I got a business manager and Jenny and I got a clinical manager [00:53:00] who runs the look of the staff rota and payment and payroll and everything. And [00:53:05] I got two treatment coordinators, Bella and Emily. They look after all the [00:53:10] patient side of the journey. We got three receptionists between the two practices [00:53:15] and we got like nine, 11 nurses between the two practices. [00:53:20]

Speaker2: And you have team members that hop between the two practices. Are they close [00:53:25] enough for that to happen? Yeah.

Speaker1: Very close. Like yeah very very close. Like a the cactus. [00:53:30] Right. So the the swap between us I go there sometimes if you have a joint [00:53:35] consultation with my other colleagues because we got endodontist, we got a periodontist as [00:53:40] well in the other practice. So every new patient or whoever is seeing like [00:53:45] a multi-specialty thing, we do work together.

Speaker2: And I take it you’re [00:53:50] not travelling all that. You’ve relocated your home closer to the practice? Yeah.

Speaker1: Right now I [00:53:55] live near Oxford, so it’s not for 20 minutes, right?

Speaker2: Okay. Okay, [00:54:00] fine. And what what would you say the biggest challenges have been in growing those businesses [00:54:05] to. You’ve got you’re in a position where I think a lot of people would love to be in [00:54:10] where you’re doing four days a week, the type of dentistry you love doing day in and day [00:54:15] out. You’ve also got a business that’s kind of running itself very hands off. [00:54:20] What were the challenges in getting there?

Speaker1: The challenges was like, first [00:54:25] of all, because I didn’t have any support. And in [00:54:30] UK, as a mum, dad or whoever it is, apart from brothers. So financial challenges [00:54:35] was a big thing for me. Everything I had to, you know, financially, I have to go to the [00:54:40] bank and get the loan repayment. Second thing is the [00:54:45] like every business has got like building the business as a patient base, you know, [00:54:50] so gaining the trust because the Buckingham is a very, very small town. It’s not a [00:54:55] big city. So getting the trust from the patient was to start [00:55:00] with it was challenging. But now, you know, they are in a really good [00:55:05] position where we are. And then other thing is the for me, this [00:55:10] is my one thing is the communication of uh to my staff, our colleagues. [00:55:15] That’s the a lot of dentists I think I can talk for myself is, [00:55:20] uh, I have a vision, but I didn’t communicate that vision to my team, [00:55:25] so that sort of thing I’m learning. I’m slowly. I’m still. I’m learning [00:55:30] that to communicate with them such a way that they understand what I want or [00:55:35] what I need as a team, we need most of the time. It’s, uh. I always [00:55:40] happy to blame others. Oh, this didn’t happen because that doesn’t big thing. [00:55:45] But now I realise that is.

Speaker2: You know, it’s so true that that [00:55:50] that thing of, you know, in my mind. In your mind, probably the same thing, right? [00:55:55] That you give a team member a task or you ask them to do something, [00:56:00] but you assume that what you ask them to do and the outcome, they’ve [00:56:05] they’ve worked the bit out in the middle. Right. But you’ve never told them. You’ve never told them the [00:56:10] middle bit. Right? Yes. But you assume somehow by osmosis, they’ve picked that [00:56:15] up, the piece in the middle and they can go away and do it right, a bit like a [00:56:20] bit like somebody might assume that you’ve been to dental school and you’ve been putting people’s faces together, [00:56:25] so you’ll be able to do a crown prep in your sleep. Right?

Speaker1: But exactly. You’re right.

Speaker2: But but [00:56:30] you don’t. Right. And and often as a, as a business owner and a leader, [00:56:35] you I’ve often made that mistake as well, where I just expect a team member [00:56:40] to do things. And I think, do you know what? The only reason they’re making mistakes, the only reason they screwed [00:56:45] up. Yeah. Is my screw up. Right. Exactly.

Speaker1: Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker2: Because [00:56:50] either I’ve not delivered that message correctly or I’ve not given them the training or [00:56:55] spell everything out in a way that they can now fly with their own wings. Right. And that’s right. I [00:57:00] really believe that that, that whatever mistakes our team members make [00:57:05] and some of them, okay, they’ll make the mistakes by themselves. We all make mistakes, right? Of course, often the. [00:57:10]

Speaker1: Thing.

Speaker2: With with those expectations, sometimes we’ve got to look inwards and think, well, have I delivered [00:57:15] what I’m supposed to do on on the training or the delegation and that side of things?

Speaker1: That’s [00:57:20] very true. Yeah for.

Speaker2: Sure. Right. And it’s very easy to when you’re running a business [00:57:25] to point the finger and blame, you know, it’s um, very, very easy. But [00:57:30] as I, as I’m standing here, one thing, my daughter, my eldest daughter says to me, never [00:57:35] point like that. Because when you point, there’s three fingers pointing back at you, right? Uh. [00:57:40]

Speaker1: That’s true.

Speaker2: I learned it.

Speaker1: From my daughter as well. You learned that from you? Exactly. [00:57:45] My daughter says the same thing. Daddy, you know what? You don’t say things, but you expect [00:57:50] things, and you don’t do this. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker2: Yeah yeah, yeah. So, yeah. So [00:57:55] the challenge is in getting your team to. And I guess you’re still, you’re still coming across those challenges [00:58:00] right. As a business every day. Every every day. Yeah.

Speaker1: Yeah. But it’s getting [00:58:05] better I’m getting better I think.

Speaker2: And then in just in terms of like the patient journey, [00:58:10] how have you created that I guess, [00:58:15] um, demand or whatever it is, that brand that [00:58:20] patients come to you and you’re busy four days a week surgically, you’ve got months [00:58:25] ahead. So what that means to me is the patients don’t want to go anywhere else, right? They just want you. [00:58:30] Right? So they’ll wait for you. Yeah. So. So you went from [00:58:35] buying the practice for 80 grand, not having enough patients, not being busy to being [00:58:40] booked months in advance. Obviously it wasn’t an overnight success, but what was the journey in creating [00:58:45] that demand such that patients will wait months? And you’re super busy. And I’m [00:58:50] assuming, you know, your fee structure is appropriate as well for your skill set.

Speaker1: Yes, yes. [00:58:55] The thing I learned from a few of my mentors is like what I would [00:59:00] say, uh. My first. The next boss, he [00:59:05] said, told me this tone when I started working with him. Look, you worked [00:59:10] in the hospital, right? You see patient today. You won’t see them next day or the week after. They won’t [00:59:15] come back to you. But in practice, particularly in private practices, whatever [00:59:20] you do, you are the one fixing it, right? So when you do first [00:59:25] time, do it right. Okay. So yeah, don’t cut corners in [00:59:30] cost wise or work wise because if you do it wrong, they come back to you after a month or a week or a [00:59:35] year. You fix your own fault, more stress, more [00:59:40] money and more problems and then you lose trust. So do it. [00:59:45] First best, best job. First time. Yeah. Then I have my [00:59:50] own little saying. Tell me if I treat my dad coming to my practice or my brother [00:59:55] come to my practice, I have a treatment done just exactly same way I [01:00:00] treat everybody walking through the door in the surgery. And that’s the ethos. All of our I tell [01:00:05] this almost every day to my associates, my ministers, my receptionist, [01:00:10] treat every single patient as your relative or your brother or sister. No [01:00:15] difference. That’s the what we did. And we do still we do. And [01:00:20] that’s I think I believe that’s what helped us to grow where we are now.

Speaker2: It’s [01:00:25] really interesting, isn’t it, that you have this one overriding value. [01:00:30] Yeah. Which is look, every patient that walks through [01:00:35] that door is my niece, nephew, uncle, auntie, brother, sister, whatever. Right. [01:00:40] Exactly. And we want to deliver. We want to deliver the experience and the treatment so that and you don’t need to say any [01:00:45] more, right? Because that handles and covers everything, right? Everything.

Speaker1: Everything. Exactly. [01:00:50] Yeah. Be nice to them when I don’t. Yeah. That’s right. Yeah.

Speaker2: So you know, if [01:00:55] and when you take businesses that are very heavily value driven, [01:01:00] everything else falls into place. That’s right.

Speaker1: That’s true. That’s [01:01:05] the one thing my dad always told me I we went from when we were kids. Don’t follow [01:01:10] money, right. Do the right thing. Let money follows you. Yeah. [01:01:15] That’s always we’ve been told and that’s what we do. Um, I’d like [01:01:20] to.

Speaker2: So, Balaji, I want to. I want to touch upon the teaching. Um, [01:01:25] but before I do that, there’s. There’s one little thing that came in the midst of all this story, [01:01:30] and that’s family, right? Um, so so you’ve already mentioned, [01:01:35] you know, your daughter and my daughter tell us the same stories, right? So. That’s right. Tell [01:01:40] me how that all came about. Right. Because in between you landing in in Heathrow [01:01:45] and jumping from job to job for six months, voluntary under under and [01:01:50] paid under, um, under supervision and then going and doing your full time. At what point [01:01:55] did you, um, get married, have kids and have time to fit [01:02:00] this in? What point in the story did that all fit in?

Speaker1: Yeah, I met, uh, Heidi, [01:02:05] my my wife, uh, she’s Heidi, she’s half German, half English. Uh, I met her in [01:02:10] a senior house officer when working in, uh, Nottingham. Mansfield rotation. [01:02:15] And, uh, 2002, I met, [01:02:20] uh, no, 2001. We met. Then we got married in 2003. [01:02:25] Uh, August. And, um, then she [01:02:30] she.

Speaker2: She a dentist or a or.

Speaker1: No, she was, uh, and she works in the hospital [01:02:35] as an occupational health adviser. So I said, like, you know, when you’re in hospital, [01:02:40] you’re a sick family. You meet people, you meet things. So that’s how I met. And you make friends and that.

Speaker2: And that’s how [01:02:45] you, uh, that’s how you met led to.

Speaker1: That’s right. So you married in 2003, and, [01:02:50] uh, it’s still married together. And we have a daughter, Sienna. Uh, she [01:02:55] was born in 2012. We had a late child because of my job moving. And I [01:03:00] always wanted to be make sure I got to be available for them. So. Sienna is 12 years old [01:03:05] now. She’s studying in Oxford. Uh, in Scots in school. So. Yeah, [01:03:10] that’s my family.

Speaker2: And so, um, any challenges in terms of, [01:03:15] um, just in and amongst this, um, the work life balance side of things, being a husband, [01:03:20] being a father, um, balancing all of that, how how does that [01:03:25] play on you and how do you see that actually from from your perspective.

Speaker1: To be honest, [01:03:30] um, I for me, all the difficulties I’ve been through or all the struggle [01:03:35] I’ve been through or go through, the most difficult bit is the relationship, [01:03:40] particularly when you’re working this much, travelling this much, and, uh, all [01:03:45] these things and you even hide is very understanding. You know, I am almost away [01:03:50] every other week somewhere. Um, so she’s very understanding again. [01:03:55] Same thing I was trying telling you about the staff and me. Communication. That’s very [01:04:00] important, you know? Doesn’t matter. Work or a family life. That communication [01:04:05] is what’s going to keep you going. It’s. It’s not easy. I don’t want to sit [01:04:10] here and lie and say, oh, I like me. She’s amazing. I’m amazing. I have we all [01:04:15] have that struggle. But, um, it’s it’s but we’ve got she’s [01:04:20] understanding. I try to communicate as much I can and, uh, but [01:04:25] most importantly, my daughter now she’s 12 and she’s saying, daddy, you are out. Daddy, [01:04:30] why didn’t you do this? So when I’m at home and, uh, my phone will be taken [01:04:35] off from me and then be hidden somewhere by my daughter, so. That’s beautiful. Exactly. [01:04:40] He says keep the phone, keep it away. But we have good, good time together. We go holidays [01:04:45] quite a lot. Uh, at least six weeks. Seven weeks a year. I take time off [01:04:50] to be with the family. So trying my best, let me say.

Speaker2: Yeah, my [01:04:55] youngest is is very much like that. And, um, you know, always talking about [01:05:00] why do you work so hard, um, why are you working this weekend, all [01:05:05] these sort of questions. Right. The, the one question that hit me the [01:05:10] hardest because we went through this, I think I probably mentioned it on this show before. Right. Um, [01:05:15] which is we always go through this thing. Why do you work so hard? Yeah. [01:05:20] And part of it is, you know, try and describe it to them. That part and parcel of it is, is [01:05:25] for me, right. There’s no getting away from that. The challenge, the drive like [01:05:30] I am work and work is me, right. But take me away from work or work. There [01:05:35] is no Prav left. Right. Um, I truly believe that that is part of parcel [01:05:40] of who makes Prav or who makes me up. And I’m sure that’s the same for you, right? [01:05:45] But aside from that, it’s, um. Money [01:05:50] right there. Is that as well. Right. So that’s that’s the story [01:05:55] you tell your kids, right? It’s the story I tell my kids. And so my daughter, my daughter [01:06:00] once said to me, probably about a year ago now, said to me, this she goes. And bearing in mind my youngest, she’s [01:06:05] seven now. So when she was six, she said to me, daddy, um, can you stop working [01:06:10] until we’re poor again?

Speaker1: Yeah.

Speaker2: And that hit me [01:06:15] like a ton of bricks, right? Because it was a bit like, actually, this is why you’re working. I want you to [01:06:20] stop working till we run out of money. But while we’re running out of money, we [01:06:25] need to be with me. Exactly. That’s exactly. That’s the message. So. It’s [01:06:30] a constant back and forth. Right. So okay so in and amongst this you’re managing [01:06:35] work life balance. At what point did you say okay I [01:06:40] own one practice I own two practices. Um, you know I’ve had these jobs. Everything’s [01:06:45] going really well. I know I’m going to do I’m going to start teaching. How did that come [01:06:50] about?

Speaker1: Okay. Um, what happened from it comes from my [01:06:55] childhood days. Because, um, the education is always important. As my parents mentioned to you, I, [01:07:00] we talked about it. What happened when I started doing implants? [01:07:05] Uh, and I started coming across, uh, complications. Failures [01:07:10] of my own work. Of your own work. So, yeah, my own work. And then I didn’t know how to fix it. [01:07:15] And as I told you, I want to treat everyone as a family member. But if I can’t fix the problem [01:07:20] that that my ethos is completely going wrong. So I start like, exploring [01:07:25] the ways to learn to. Hence, I went to Tampa in Florida [01:07:30] to learn occlusion. Then I found, uh. So I should learn [01:07:35] a bit more about Implantology then. So I went to Germany. Prof. Cori. Uh, [01:07:40] in Augsburg, in Germany. I went there for four months. Every month [01:07:45] there are for three, four days of, uh, module. Each module went [01:07:50] and learned the techniques from the him, came back and I started [01:07:55] working on the technique for, uh, 4 or 5 years. Then still, there are some [01:08:00] more complications or things which I want to learn, which didn’t work in my hands. So then I [01:08:05] travelled to, uh, Budapest in Hungary is to an open six months [01:08:10] of training there. Every every time. But every time I [01:08:15] went there, I learned. Or whenever I start travelling to Europe, I always [01:08:20] found or heard that, oh, you’re from UK or England? The dentistry [01:08:25] is not as good as any part of the world or Europe or [01:08:30] America.

Speaker1: I start getting sick of hearing, hearing this, that we [01:08:35] are second to, uh, our neighbouring countries. So I [01:08:40] told myself, okay, I’m going to develop my skills and then I’m going to take these skills [01:08:45] back to my UK and then maybe share that and then start teaching. [01:08:50] So 20, 2014. Uh, I was thinking about it. Then [01:08:55] I finished my course with Estonia Open and he called me and said, Balaji, [01:09:00] I think you should run a course in in London. I thought he was joking [01:09:05] and I didn’t take it serious. So I went back for next year and said, oh, have you planned anything for the [01:09:10] course? I said, no, I said I was still at that point I was thinking, you know, he called me and said [01:09:15] you should because you got skills and you, why don’t you do it? [01:09:20] So. So every time I was travelling, I was thinking about it in the airport while I’m waiting in the airport [01:09:25] or whatever I was doing. I was thinking for the academy names, [01:09:30] different things, combination of different, uh, letters and that. So I came up [01:09:35] with Asha because, uh, Asha is like Indian name Hope, but it stands for, as you said, [01:09:40] Academy of Soft and Hard Tissue Augmentation. So this just came popped in [01:09:45] my head like a, you know, like a bulb moment. So that’s how I started [01:09:50] the, uh, academy in 2017. I started actually. Yeah.

Speaker2: Just. [01:09:55] Wow. And so tell me about the first course you ran. How did that go? The [01:10:00] first course. How many delegates?

Speaker1: Uh, when I started my first course, I. Okay. [01:10:05] That’s another story. Nobody wanted to know me, particularly the companies. None of the companies were supportive [01:10:10] because I’m new. New to the blog. Who is this guy who’s coming and talking about these techniques? Who [01:10:15] nobody does in in UK? So everywhere I went they [01:10:20] just no, no no no. So then one of the company [01:10:25] said, okay, we’ll do it for you. And this is a similar story. History with [01:10:30] the sort of thing. So I said okay. They said they’ll organise it and [01:10:35] then they start organising it. So advertised it. So I had only two people [01:10:40] booked in at that point. So month before the course the company [01:10:45] withdrew the support. They said look, you’ve got only two guys booked in, we can’t support you. [01:10:50] So they took over the whole thing off. But they, uh, reserved the [01:10:55] uh, venue in near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. So they said, [01:11:00] okay, you pay the deposit. They are not giving the money back. So either you run the course [01:11:05] or you do whatever you want. So then I rang all my friends [01:11:10] who I knew and they said, look guys, you come free, you come free. If you want to pay me a little bit of [01:11:15] money for this fine half price, whatever, just want to get somebody. So we had a few. [01:11:20]

Speaker2: Mates, mainly your mates in two, two paying people.

Speaker1: Two paying people that [01:11:25] are still mates. So in total I had eight people in the first course. So that’s [01:11:30] how we started. But I had yeah, that’s my first course. Then, [01:11:35] uh, yeah. Now we are. We are now. Yeah.

Speaker2: So you run that course. [01:11:40] You’ve got two paying people, six of your friends who’ve come on for [01:11:45] something or nothing. Whatever. Figured it out between you, between yourselves. [01:11:50] Then. Then what happens next? And how have you got to the point where you’re running this academy? And [01:11:55] tell me about the courses that you run today. What you’re actually teaching. What what’s [01:12:00] your thing? You know, are they coming in to see you to learn about how to place implants? [01:12:05] Is it beginners? Is it advanced level? Is it everything in between? What is it that you’re actually [01:12:10] teaching today, and how did you go from the once again, two people [01:12:15] on the course, just my mates to where you are today. Yeah.

Speaker1: So. Right. My [01:12:20] course is basically as names two stands for I did a bit of market research in. [01:12:25] We have so many basic implant calls to place implants, how to place implants. [01:12:30] And that’s what I learned from, uh, Tatum. [01:12:35] And then my journey was like, after that, what’s going to do? What’s going [01:12:40] to happen? So that bit was the one we were like, uh, I found that in [01:12:45] here. We don’t didn’t do much. So all this course I did with Germany and Budapest, [01:12:50] and now I’m studying in Italy with Professor Zuccoli. All this knowledge as I’m [01:12:55] combining the different techniques and different skills in my course teaching [01:13:00] people, like I would say it’s a moderate to advanced course. It’s not for [01:13:05] a big beginners. If somebody has placed implant like let’s say 30, 40 implants or [01:13:10] 50 implants, then they want to take their skills to the next level to get it predictable [01:13:15] results. It’s not placing implants in my opinion. You know, we all can do implants, [01:13:20] but how predictable the results going to be. So my [01:13:25] aim is to if I place the implants like any work, it should last minimum ten [01:13:30] years. If it doesn’t last minimum ten years. So that sort of thing. So you’re talking about bone [01:13:35] grafting around it. You’re talking about soft tissue grafting around it. So my course is purely [01:13:40] with the bone and soft tissue graft are all implants from moderate to [01:13:45] severe these days I’m more busy not only from patients [01:13:50] from Buckingham. I get patients from all over the country, plus I get patients from Germany and [01:13:55] and, uh, few places as well referred to us because [01:14:00] the more and more patients I’m seeing now is patients who had implants placed or who had failures. [01:14:05] So we are treating them to gain more bone, more soft [01:14:10] tissue and redo the implant surgery, that sort of thing. So, so yeah. [01:14:15]

Speaker2: So in terms of the failures, um. These [01:14:20] implants that have been placed that shouldn’t have been placed because there wasn’t enough bone? Or [01:14:25] are these ones that have just naturally just, just just failed over a long [01:14:30] period of time? All the stuff that basically was too advanced to [01:14:35] have been done by whoever did it, and now they’ve come to you to fix that. And how much [01:14:40] of your time are you spending fixing other people’s stuff versus doing your own stuff from the beginning? [01:14:45]

Speaker1: 60% of my patients are fixing other people’s stuff now, [01:14:50] currently. 40% is my own stuff from my patients [01:14:55] base and the two practices and the local area. The reason because the failure [01:15:00] happens is implants are made, are meant to fail. It’s not given [01:15:05] by God. If you believe in that nature, it’s man made material. Every man [01:15:10] made material does fail. That’s when it’s going to fail. Is the question now [01:15:15] or in ten years time or 20 years time? Okay, so what as a human we can do [01:15:20] is to just, you know, prolong and get it, give them a longer time period. [01:15:25]

Speaker2: Understood? Yeah. And so what? What [01:15:30] is going to make an implant less. Longer?

Speaker1: A [01:15:35] diagnosis from start beginning. You know, like you said, does the patient implant [01:15:40] or does if you’re doing implants, what why need it and diagnosing the right [01:15:45] patient and right treatment plan then placing implants. This comes lost. [01:15:50] Then you need to know what where we are placing does. The implant is going to surrounded by [01:15:55] bone which is very important. And then when you have a bone you [01:16:00] need to have a good keratinised mucosa, thick keratinised mucosa around the crown [01:16:05] of the implant. Otherwise it’s like, you know, it’s like a periodontitis. You get implantitis once [01:16:10] you get the inflammation around the collar of the implant, if you don’t have more [01:16:15] than two millimetres of thick mucosa, then it reaches to the bone and the bone crest goes down. [01:16:20] And once the bone crest goes down, the implant exposed, then it’s a failure. So [01:16:25] that’s the basic of it, uh, giving a good base for [01:16:30] the implant and bone and a soft tissue around it, which prolongs the life, basically. [01:16:35]

Speaker2: So you spend a lot of your time fixing [01:16:40] other people’s failures? Yeah. Um, most of the time, yes. What would you say your biggest [01:16:45] clinical mistake has been to date? If you can pick one [01:16:50] big mistake that you made where either when you were in the mouth or afterwards [01:16:55] where you thought, shit, I shouldn’t have done that, or I could have done [01:17:00] this better or whatever. When did that happen in your career and what was the story? [01:17:05]

Speaker1: There are several, uh, mistakes still happens that, uh, the mistakes [01:17:10] always just happened. Complications happens to everyone. And for me, in my life, [01:17:15] even now, I get complications. And if I say I don’t get complications or failure, I’m lying [01:17:20] to you. Sitting here, my biggest one was the, uh. Then they start beginning [01:17:25] of the implant career. I, uh, doing implants. And the lady I still [01:17:30] remember, uh, had a full mouth implant based placement, which I did. [01:17:35] Everything was fine. But my manage her expectations, patients [01:17:40] expectations was too high, which I didn’t understand that. So I was doing [01:17:45] thinking, oh, I’m going to do it. I’ll do this implant. I’ll give her teeth. But I didn’t manage [01:17:50] the patient expectation, which means I didn’t communicate again, back to the same thing [01:17:55] of the patient. And I didn’t understand what patient wanted, but I gave whatever I thought was [01:18:00] right. But I was, uh, lost sleep over that for a long time because [01:18:05] I was sued for that. I had to give the money back and all those things. Yet [01:18:10] that was my one of the biggest mistake and a learning curve, I would say.

Speaker2: But [01:18:15] what actually happened? What did it failed or.

Speaker1: No, clinically it was [01:18:20] fine. Implant placement was fine. Uh, the bridge was fine, but the [01:18:25] patient didn’t like anything I did. Aesthetically, aesthetically, [01:18:30] and because she had a functional spine, [01:18:35] the, the the pink porcelain was there and she didn’t like the pink porcelain [01:18:40] or I didn’t want to have any of those. I want to have natural looking teeth, you know, all these things [01:18:45] and, um, so many things and just, just. And then that was the [01:18:50] mistake. I, I would say I made without not understanding what patient wanted [01:18:55] their expectations.

Speaker2: Yeah.

Speaker1: Expectations. That’s right. Yeah. That’s what the only thing [01:19:00] I can. But there are some surgical failures happen. But I thank goodness I know now how to fix [01:19:05] it if it happens. Uh, so I don’t really worry about [01:19:10] it. So I go back and do it again for them most of the time. So [01:19:15] which was okay.

Speaker2: And, um, in the delegates [01:19:20] that you have taught over the years, right. Those ones who come to you, they’re pretty [01:19:25] far. Well, I shouldn’t say far along in their implant career, but you said they you know, they’ve got to be at [01:19:30] the stage where they’ve they’ve stuck in, you know, 50, 60 implants or whatever there or thereabouts to then [01:19:35] take advantage of what you’re going to teach them. Mhm. Um. Can [01:19:40] you spot the the winners? Can you spot the [01:19:45] the ones who are really, really good clinically, [01:19:50] surgically? And what is that thing? If you were to bottle it up and say, [01:19:55] this person is a great surgeon, right? Whether it’s the bone, [01:20:00] the soft tissue, the implant placement, whatever it is, if you were to bottle up those ingredients into a formula, [01:20:05] what would that be? Being a teacher, are they certain things that you can spot [01:20:10] that straight away. You see a student, you meet them. You talk to them before [01:20:15] even seeing what they do with their hands, you know? Yeah, this person’s definitely the guy, right? I [01:20:20] can do that with Tecos. Right. So I can have a five minute conversation with a TCO. [01:20:25] Doesn’t have to be without about a patient. And I know this. This one can convert like crazy, [01:20:30] right? What’s your equivalent of that in the implant soft tissue bone [01:20:35] world.

Speaker1: Like I said skills is secondary because I don’t see them the skills when they come [01:20:40] in. But the way the approach of that person who is with me and, uh, they [01:20:45] are happy to accept what they’ve done wrong and then they happy to they [01:20:50] are there to learn. And then when they are there and I can see them [01:20:55] asking the way, the question they ask me, the way they admit that, oh, okay, I’ve been doing this for years. [01:21:00] I’m going to change it. Or like they are open mindedly saying, okay, I’m going to try [01:21:05] this technique. Rather than sit. I get delegates sitting there and say, oh, I do [01:21:10] this, why should I change? And this is not a light way of telling. [01:21:15] I have been doing this has been working. I said, look, every technique works as long as you [01:21:20] do it right. So the delegates who come to the, uh, college comes to the [01:21:25] courses. I. Now, what I do is to say that in every [01:21:30] module I pick 1 or 2 the best ones, and [01:21:35] I train them personally. I go to their practice and they come to me, so I add them [01:21:40] as my faculty member in the Asha. So it’s just not me. So [01:21:45] I want others to be there. So so far we have three faculty members [01:21:50] since I started the course, so I train them to the level I feel they’re comfortable [01:21:55] so they can go and do things for others teach, teach. [01:22:00]

Speaker2: Mentor.

Speaker1: That sort of thing. Yes, yes, that’s the way [01:22:05] we do in Asha, because I don’t want to be just me, me, me, me. It’s not that [01:22:10] we want to have a group of clinicians who can go the country and expand [01:22:15] their skills and teach them. Yeah.

Speaker2: So do you spend much of your time travelling around and operating in other [01:22:20] people’s practices now or.

Speaker1: Yeah. Well, again, another, uh, thing we [01:22:25] have in Asha, uh, Academy is because the skills are the which we [01:22:30] are teaching. It’s not two day or four day learning, uh, techniques. It’s a [01:22:35] really advanced technique we use. So I can another thing from my own [01:22:40] story. I went to Germany and I went to, uh, Budapest. Every time [01:22:45] I came back to the UK and start looking at the patient, I don’t know what I’m going to do because [01:22:50] it’s nobody there to hold your hand. So what we did my [01:22:55] I met a good friend from Germany. So we told each other, look, I [01:23:00] come to Germany. When you’re operating, don’t pay me anything. I’ll just come. I’ll help you. You come to [01:23:05] UK when I upgrade. So we just. What we did for nearly a year. He came every time. Flew to [01:23:10] the UK. I went to Germany. We worked together. Every single cases. So [01:23:15] what we do now in Asia is to. We committed to this. Whoever attends [01:23:20] the course, we go and mentor them in their practice first. [01:23:25] Like, you know, they can call me. We charge them a nominal fees. Nothing [01:23:30] like major fixed cost will come to your practice. We’ll do [01:23:35] you mentoring as long as you need us. Your, uh, our help until you feel comfortable [01:23:40] to do it yourself.

Speaker2: So. So if I’m a delegate and I invest in your course. [01:23:45] Yeah. And I come on your. How many days is your course?

Speaker1: Uh, four days. [01:23:50] Two. Two modules. Two, two days. Okay, so I come in.

Speaker2: So I invest [01:23:55] in your course. I do four days with you, and then [01:24:00] I want you in my practice to help me and mentor me. You will [01:24:05] do that.

Speaker1: That’s what we do. That’s our commitment to committed to every single delegates [01:24:10] in our group.

Speaker2: And is there enough of you to go around to do that for all your delegates? [01:24:15] No.

Speaker1: That’s why I’m starting this faculty. You mean like the faculty members now? [01:24:20] So it’s. I can’t do my way everywhere. So what I would do is, like, the other [01:24:25] three faculty members can go and do that.

Speaker2: Understood? Understood. So they they [01:24:30] go and do the the equivalent of. Now answer me this, answer me this. [01:24:35] If I came on your course, I’m not interested in the other three I want you. Right? [01:24:40] Yeah. Just like. Yes. Just like your patients want the principal dentists, right? [01:24:45] And you say, hey, go and see my associate. He’s better at crowns or whatever. Right. But I’m [01:24:50] coming on your course. You’re the founder of the Asha course, right? You’ve been doing it for years. I don’t want [01:24:55] the other three guys don’t care how good they are, I want you. Do you have that problem?

Speaker1: I, [01:25:00] I do, yes, I do, but I that at the moment. Yes, uh, I do, but [01:25:05] I do go there if I have to. But they have to wait if patient happy to wait until I get [01:25:10] free time to go, then I do, I do travel a lot for in that case, yes.

Speaker2: Okay. But then [01:25:15] if they wanted to be seen sooner, then one of your colleagues, um, could go and see them and [01:25:20] they could equally support them and do as just as good a job.

Speaker1: Yeah, definitely.

Speaker2: Yeah. [01:25:25] Yeah, yeah. Brilliant, brilliant. Um, but, um, I’ve [01:25:30] got a few final questions to ask you now. Um, and, [01:25:35] um, the, the first one is, um, imagine, you know, we’ve come to [01:25:40] actually, before I go there, before I go there, I’ve got one more question, which [01:25:45] is, um, where are you going with all of this? The the academy, [01:25:50] the clinic. Um, what’s what’s your overall ambition? Where do you want to [01:25:55] take this all? Is is it is it you want to grow the clinic and do more of that? Are you or [01:26:00] just keep that where it is? And do you want to grow the academy or you’re just happy just trucking [01:26:05] along in that lane, doing what you’re doing now? Is there a is there a [01:26:10] vision beyond what you’re doing right now?

Speaker1: Right. Yeah, there’s a project. [01:26:15] I mean, it just started, uh, in, uh, last year and, uh, we [01:26:20] purchased a big building in Buckingham, which is 5500ft². It’s [01:26:25] two, uh, two storey building. So next project will be we are moving [01:26:30] both practices into that building, ground floor. And on the top floor will be the teaching, [01:26:35] uh, Academy, where we’re going to be a live surgery and the teaching [01:26:40] everything there. So that’s amazing project.

Speaker2: And so you’ve got the building, you’ve secured [01:26:45] the building.

Speaker1: Secure the building. And now waiting for the bank to say yes for that next [01:26:50] stage. Okay. Right.

Speaker2: Okay. Brilliant. So, so [01:26:55] so then I guess teaching everything will all be in one place from that. From one place. [01:27:00]

Speaker1: Yeah. Yes. That’s right. Because one thing lacking in my academy is the live [01:27:05] surgery. Even though I videoed almost every single surgery and [01:27:10] everybody gets the video of the cases so they can watch in their own, uh, place, [01:27:15] practice wherever they want to, but lives, lives, lives different. So that’s the one thing [01:27:20] I wanted to do. So hopefully by next end of next year, we should have that.

Speaker2: That’s [01:27:25] beautiful. That’s awesome. And so you’re gonna you’re gonna. But this, this time, you’ll [01:27:30] be able to relocate the goodwill without any problems. Right? Exactly.

Speaker1: Hopefully, I find the right [01:27:35] builder who doesn’t run away.

Speaker2: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s hope that your past experiences have [01:27:40] shaped that now. So, um. That’s right. Yeah. Brilliant. Um, so [01:27:45] for the last couple of questions, Balaji. And one of them relates to, um, just [01:27:50] sort of some advice, really imagine it was your last day on the planet and, [01:27:55] um, you know, you had your little one next to you. Um. [01:28:00] What three pieces of wisdom would you leave her?

Speaker1: Okay. [01:28:05] Uh, the first thing I would say is be [01:28:10] nice to people. Right. That’s the most important thing. Any human being. [01:28:15] Second thing is, don’t stop learning. And [01:28:20] most important thing I tell my daughter is, even now, every day, [01:28:25] she’s bored of it. Now. Never give up. Never, ever give up. [01:28:30] And, uh, that’s, uh, every day I say that to her so that the 2 or 3 things [01:28:35] will be nice to people. Never stop learning and never give up. Those are three things. Wonderful. [01:28:40]

Speaker2: And then final question. Fantasy dinner party. Three people are invited. [01:28:45] Dead or alive, who would they be?

Speaker1: She’s got to be three. Okay, three. Right. [01:28:50] Uh, I would say, um, the [01:28:55] Microsoft CEO, Sundar Pichai, uh, is the [01:29:00] because he got a similar background like me, where he comes from, similar language, we speak similar same language. [01:29:05] And then I’m sure he struggled a lot to where he is now. So [01:29:10] in the table, I would like to pick his brain and maybe share him. And hopefully he [01:29:15] share his experience with me. Yeah. And then uh, second one I would [01:29:20] say, um, Michael Palin, he’s the journalist [01:29:25] and comedian and actor. Yeah. And I love travelling. So and [01:29:30] I love the way he presents, the way he is as very simple man. And [01:29:35] then that’s what I would like to have us sing. And the final one, [01:29:40] maybe the first one could be. Is that David Attenborough? He’s, [01:29:45] uh. Yeah. He’s amazing, amazing human being. And, uh, that’s the [01:29:50] other person which I would like to have. Uh, these people. Definitely. [01:29:55] I would like to have them.

Speaker2: Trip. Baloji. Thank you for your time. Um. [01:30:00] This evening. Welcome. Um, for those of you who can’t see, can’t see you, you’re sat there [01:30:05] in a cold room in your coat. Um, for the for [01:30:10] this podcast. Um, because. Because you live in the middle of nowhere. So getting internet connection, [01:30:15] you said, is pretty tricky. So thanks for staying behind. Um, really, [01:30:20] really appreciate it. And thanks for your time today.

Speaker1: Thank thank you very much. It has been [01:30:25] a fantastic talking to you.

Speaker3: This is Dental [01:30:30] Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders [01:30:35] in dentistry. Your hosts. [01:30:40] Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

Speaker2: Thanks for listening, [01:30:45] guys. If you got this far, you must have listened to the whole thing. And just a huge thank [01:30:50] you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we’ve had to say and what our [01:30:55] guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

Speaker4: If you did get some value out [01:31:00] of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who [01:31:05] you think might get some value out of it too. Thank you so so, so much for listening. Thanks.

Speaker2: And don’t forget [01:31:10] our six star rating.

Take a deep breath and tune in as Jamie Clements explores the transformative power of breathwork

Jamie shares his journey from the tech industry to breathwork coach and founder of The Breath Space, discussing the scientific and therapeutic aspects of breathwork for improving physical, mental, and emotional well-being. 

He offers practical advice for integrating breathwork into daily routines and insights into how it could improve focus and reduce stress in dentistry.

Enjoy! 

 

In This Episode

00:00:05 –  Importance and applications of breathwork

00:09:05 – Transition from tech 

00:16:40 – Breathwork as business.

00:27:30 – Functional breathing

00:32:55 – Breathwork in dentistry

00:39:40 – Techniques for managing panic, anxiety, and stress

00:43:40 – Male mental health 

00:54:35 –  Self-soothing 

01:19:35 – Personal growth

01:22:05 – Practical advice

 

Jamie Clements

Jamie Clements is a breathwork specialist and founder of The Breath Space. He has worked with entrepreneurs, politicians, and athletes to share the well-being benefits of breathwork and altered states of consciousness.

Speaker1: I very much view breathwork as sort of the the thing I teach [00:00:05] and the thing I talk about, but actually let’s, you know, I work with a 1 to 1 client. I’m talking [00:00:10] to them about their mindset, their past, their childhood. I’m talking to [00:00:15] them about mainly we’re talking through the lens of the nervous system. So that’s I would view [00:00:20] the work as really working with the nervous system, which is where ice baths start to come in, where other practices start to [00:00:25] come in, and the concept of rest, the concept of resilience, all of this stuff, it’s sort of breath [00:00:30] as a gateway into a much broader conversation around the nervous system.

Speaker2: This [00:00:35] is mind movers. Moving [00:00:40] the conversation forward on mental health and optimisation for dental professionals. [00:00:45] Your hosts Rhona Eskander and Payman [00:00:50] Langroudi.

Speaker3: Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of Mind [00:00:55] Movers. Today we have a very good friend of mine, Jamie Clements. Jamie Clements, if [00:01:00] you haven’t heard of him, where have you been? Because he has owned the breathwork space. He [00:01:05] is the CEO and founder of The Breath Space. He is [00:01:10] somebody that integrates breathwork into daily life, daily practice, and also works [00:01:15] with altered states of consciousness, creating a better life for people. I [00:01:20] met Jamie on a retreat. I had one on one sessions with him as well. He also used enlighten and loved [00:01:25] it. Excellent. And Jamie has really inspired [00:01:30] me in my own practice. But thinking about breathwork and dentistry, which we’re [00:01:35] going to cover as well, but in a very we’re going to go off piece today [00:01:40] and we’re going to do a guided breathwork session together. So for anyone that hasn’t tried this, [00:01:45] I really encourage you to join in on us. Try not to breathe too heavily Payman, because I don’t [00:01:50] know what he’s going to be like with this. So Jamie’s going to guide us through a couple of minutes of breathwork, and then we’re going to get into [00:01:55] it.

Speaker1: Yeah. Thank you. Ronan. Thank you for having me. It’s, uh. Yeah, it’s a pleasure to be here. And [00:02:00] as you said, I was, uh, actually on a podcast a couple of weeks ago where we did this, and it just [00:02:05] changed the trajectory of the conversation. I sort of arrived to that recording a little bit frantic, [00:02:10] a little bit hectic going. I just need a moment to centre. And we did literally two minutes of breathwork, [00:02:15] which was almost a perfect window into the power of this work as well, because it only [00:02:20] takes we’re seeing more and more in the research now a matter of five [00:02:25] breaths, ten breaths, 20 breaths to really create quite a profound shift in in state. [00:02:30] So for anybody listening and for you guys here with me now, um, I just invite you to find [00:02:35] a comfortable position sitting down and then when, if you if you feel comfortable doing so, just gently [00:02:40] closing the eyes. You can do this with your eyes open. But I’d encourage you to close down your eyes. So just take a moment [00:02:45] to close your eyes here. Notice what you’re feeling, notice how [00:02:50] you’re feeling. But most importantly here, notice how you’re breathing. Is [00:02:55] the breath fast or slow? Is it deep or is it shallow? [00:03:00] Is it through the nose? Is it through the mouth? Just starting to tune in [00:03:05] to your natural. Habitual breathing pattern. [00:03:10] And we’re just going to move through two very simple techniques that are designed to [00:03:15] calm, balance and down regulate the nervous system. The first is going to be a physiological [00:03:20] sigh, which is going to be a deep inhale through the nose, followed by a second [00:03:25] smaller inhale again through the nose and then a sigh out of the mouth.

Speaker1: We’ll [00:03:30] take two more like that deeply in through the nose. And [00:03:35] again and sigh out once [00:03:40] more deeply in and again and [00:03:45] sigh out. And then our second technique is going to be an extended exhale breath. [00:03:50] When we make our Excel longer than our inhale, we lower the heart rate. We shift ourselves into [00:03:55] this lovely parasympathetic rest and digest state. So this is just going to be, to your own count, [00:04:00] a deep, gentle breath in through the nose. And then we’re going to blow the exhale slowly and gently [00:04:05] back out through the mouth, through pursed lips like you’re blowing through a small straw. So we’ll take five of those [00:04:10] in your own time, taking a nice slow, steady breath in through the nose and [00:04:15] then blowing that exhale out softly and gently. Again, [00:04:25] breathing in through the nose. And extending that breath out through [00:04:30] the mouth. Go [00:04:35] ahead and we’ll take three more like that deeply, slowly in extending [00:04:40] that breath out. The [00:04:45] last two. Allow yourself to relax fully, deeply, [00:04:50] in and softly extending that outbreath, allowing [00:04:55] the whole body to soften. Allow the shoulders [00:05:00] to relax as we move into one final cycle of that breath. Extending [00:05:05] that outbreath, allowing that sense of calm, of relaxation [00:05:10] to wash over your whole body here. And then just allow the breath to come back to gently [00:05:15] flowing in and out of the nose. Take a moment just to pause to check in before [00:05:20] you start to bring some small, gentle movements back into the body. And whenever you’re [00:05:25] ready, you can blink. Open your eyes.

Speaker3: So good. [00:05:30]

Speaker1: Send everybody to sleep before the podcast starts.

Speaker3: I know such a simple thing, right? But [00:05:35] it’s. I think it’s. Jamie. I have to tell you. Like, you know me. Like I know people that are top of their game who [00:05:40] just said to me in the kitchen, if anyone was average, would you be friends with them? I was like, Payman, that’s not [00:05:45] true because he’s so impressed with the people, I would listen, I hang out with [00:05:50] winners and I’m joking, you know?

Speaker1: Hey, look, there’s you know, I always say, you know, we [00:05:55] have different people in our lives for different reasons, but there is certainly something to the company [00:06:00] you keep and and where that takes you in your life. Yeah. You know, I don’t think I actually heard [00:06:05] an amazing thing yesterday that was saying we often hear it’s, you know, your life. It’s the sum of the five [00:06:10] people that you spend the most time with. And the person was actually saying, it’s not quite that. It’s that you sink to [00:06:15] the standards of the lowest common denominator of the people you spend the most time with. And [00:06:20] so that’s where, and this is where the nervous system, I don’t want to dive in too deep, too early, but our [00:06:25] nervous systems are constantly in dialogue. And the people that regulate you, the people that elevate you, they’ll [00:06:30] be working with your nervous system in a certain way. And the people that keep you stuck, keep you limited, keep you dysregulated [00:06:35] will also have a set way in the nervous system that they’re working with. So there’s [00:06:40] there’s method to the madness and method to the company that we keep for sure.

Speaker4: So have you fired friends? [00:06:45]

Speaker1: Have I fired friends? I would say friendships have developed. Some have come, [00:06:50] some have gone. I would say the friends that I’ve made in the last five [00:06:55] years. Um. Are different, not for better or for [00:07:00] worse than the friends that I made previously. I think there are friends that come from a place of longevity, from having known me for a long [00:07:05] time, who, um, I’m still close with, but perhaps in a slightly different way to [00:07:10] how we were previously. And then I think there are people that I’ve met in the last few years where I have [00:07:15] been more open in myself and more regulated in myself, who mirror that. Um, [00:07:20] so yeah, I think it’s never been about cutting people out, but certainly [00:07:25] watching how I’ve developed and how the relationships have developed within that, I.

Speaker3: Think there’s a really [00:07:30] amazing podcast. I’m sure you guys have seen her. She’s Middle Eastern and she’s got like tattoos and [00:07:35] hat and she’s like an amazing motivational speaker. She actually works in tech. And she basically a [00:07:40] video that she did went viral because she basically said, you know, people have come and gone, but when people [00:07:45] have got rid of themselves, it feels so good because it’s like a detox. And she said, your brain is like tofu. [00:07:50] Be careful what you marinate in, you know. And you know, I love.

Speaker4: That you fired friends. [00:07:55]

Speaker3: I find it really difficult. I think over time I’ve naturally drifted [00:08:00] from people because they’ve not served the purpose in my life. But I think London is [00:08:05] a very complex place because I’m constantly living in dichotomy, because the identity that [00:08:10] I have built within London means that I naturally attract a certain type of person or [00:08:15] clientele, which doesn’t necessarily align with my true authentic self. I’ve been lucky [00:08:20] enough that when I spent time with Jamie, I’m actually my true authentic self. We’ve met on retreats, [00:08:25] um, and that space is when I’m my most vulnerable and when I feel most safest because the people [00:08:30] around me feel safe. Where I would argue that some of the people in London, not for bad reasons. [00:08:35] I’m more in survival mode more than, you know, being at my most relaxed state. Jamie, [00:08:40] let’s talk a little about your journey. So we always like to start from the beginning. I know that when I met you, I was [00:08:45] really surprised to hear that you worked in tech. Tech is one of these jobs. That’s super glamorised. It is. You know, [00:08:50] the sort of new, like, city banking job as it was, like in the 90s and 80. [00:08:55] You know, everyone wants to be in tech. It’s the place to be. But you told me it made you really miserable, affected your mental health [00:09:00] and then led you to breathwork. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that?

Speaker1: Yeah, absolutely. So I [00:09:05] always kind of, at this point when I speak about my story, say that I had a relatively [00:09:10] by the book kind of upbringing, middle class, very fortunate to not have [00:09:15] had too many challenges financially from that perspective growing up. And I’m very grateful for that. But, [00:09:20] um, around the age of 15, um, well, I was 15, [00:09:25] my parents got divorced, and I don’t put blame on them for that because everyone [00:09:30] needs needs to do what they need to need to do to to move on with their lives. But it definitely at [00:09:35] that point in my life that was so formative, I did have a significant impact on me. And through my [00:09:40] late teens around that time and through my early 20s, I definitely went inwards. I definitely [00:09:45] withdrew, I definitely lost elements of myself. Um, there was a [00:09:50] an anxiety really, that took hold and a level [00:09:55] of unease that took hold. I really unknowingly, because I had [00:10:00] friends, I was high functioning. I was achieving at school, I was playing very high level of [00:10:05] sport at that time as well. I was functioning, but under the surface I think I was very uneasy [00:10:10] and very unhappy. And that went on then into my early 20s through university. [00:10:15] Um, and then at around the age of 24, I was in a very [00:10:20] kind of bleak place. I suffered with anxiety throughout that whole sort of ten year period and [00:10:25] depression as a result of that anxiety.

Speaker1: And a lot of that, I think, stemmed from a place of, [00:10:30] um, post my parents divorce, feeling like I needed to [00:10:35] fit in, to be accepted ultimately above that, to be loved [00:10:40] and to be kind of desired in, in a way. Um, and so I went down a [00:10:45] path that I thought would get me that. So it wasn’t necessarily you talked [00:10:50] about authenticity, and I always come back to that now in my life today, how can I show up [00:10:55] as my most authentic self and what environments empower that? But through that period of my late teens, [00:11:00] early 20s, I was studying a subject that I thought would get me the job that I thought would [00:11:05] get me the money that I thought would get me the approval. So I studied economics. I went to a very good university, [00:11:10] got a degree, thought I wanted to work in finance, did internships in investment banking, hated [00:11:15] it, hated it, knew it wasn’t me right from the get go. Um, and so I sort of. At [00:11:20] that point as well. I felt very uneducated, not from a academic perspective, [00:11:25] but from a perspective of knowing what was out there. I didn’t know enough about the world. I had a very narrow view, [00:11:30] and simply because of where I’d grown up, what I’d done up until that point, and what everyone else was doing [00:11:35] around me. And so I was like, I’m going to, you know, take, [00:11:40] take a slightly different path.

Speaker1: That was so. Undramatically [00:11:45] different. I went and worked in fintech. I worked in financial technology instead of finance and thought I was doing [00:11:50] something really out there and outlandish and how how rogue of me to go and [00:11:55] work in tech Start-Ups instead of an investment bank. And I had some jobs that I really [00:12:00] loved genuinely, and I don’t actually look back and think that there was anything wrong with the work itself. [00:12:05] It just wasn’t me. And I was so lost, and I was continuously losing myself, [00:12:10] trying to find myself through fitting in. And then at the age of 24, [00:12:15] hit a particular rock bottom, was suffering and struggling with suicidal ideation, with deep depression [00:12:20] and panic attacks that were debilitating, um, on a near daily [00:12:25] basis. And that led me to get help. Now, breathwork was a part of [00:12:30] that and a very, very big part of that. But that was made up of a number of things therapy, meditation, [00:12:35] yoga, exercise came back into my life in a major way. But breathwork for me was the [00:12:40] the linchpin. It was the key that unlocked a lot of things for me, particularly [00:12:45] with my anxiety. I think that I put a huge amount of weighting on breathwork as a part [00:12:50] of that that process, and continues to be something that supports me to this day.

Speaker3: Who introduced you [00:12:55] to the breathwork?

Speaker1: Um, friend of mine called Christine, who is now actually a business partner [00:13:00] of mine in a different business. Oh, wow.

Speaker3: Um, no. Anglemyer. No. I wish life. [00:13:05]

Speaker1: Would be very different if you were a friend of mine. Um, so Christine is [00:13:10] founder of a business called The Move Method. We’ve got a studio over in Fulham, and he [00:13:15] had a former studio, and I was a member of this studio. And, um, he had a fairly similar background [00:13:20] to me. He was a professional rugby player. Um, and we’ve always had quite a lot in common. And [00:13:25] I was training at the studio, I was practising at the studio, and he, he sort of just nudged me in the direction [00:13:30] of breathwork. And I was resistant, I was reluctant, I was hesitant, it wasn’t. I wasn’t open to it. I wasn’t [00:13:35] open to much beyond a bit of talk therapy and a bit of exercise, maybe a bit of yoga. [00:13:40] Um, it just seemed too out there for me to. I was too sceptical. [00:13:45] Sure. Um, and it was sort of a gentle nudge in that direction. And then eventually I [00:13:50] kind of bit the bullet and decided to to see what it was all about and haven’t really looked back since.

Speaker3: Amazing. [00:13:55] That’s so, so, so amazing. And so tell us then [00:14:00] how you made the leap. So from this kind of very corporate job into then becoming the [00:14:05] CEO, founder of the Breast Space, like, how did you make that leap in that transition?

Speaker1: On [00:14:10] reflection, I can’t remember my life being any different, and I don’t [00:14:15] actually remember at any point feeling like I was making a big leap. It almost felt like [00:14:20] a it was a pull. Like I cannot see my life having played out any other way, to be totally [00:14:25] honest with you. Um, so I was working at a, um, digital transformation [00:14:30] consultancy at the time for, for the financial services, um, ticking along, I was coasting, [00:14:35] um, and. I started training in breathwork. This was about [00:14:40] six years ago, um, sort of five years ago now. And, um, I’d spent [00:14:45] a couple of years exploring breathwork, everything that it had to offer and really finding my way [00:14:50] with it in my personal practice. And I have one particular, uh, transformative experience with [00:14:55] breathwork that I left just going, I want to see how I might be able to share this with other people. [00:15:00] And that was where it began, was just a desire to gift what I’d [00:15:05] received from it as a practice to other people. And, um, so I started [00:15:10] training. I started immersing myself in it. I’ve always had a fascination with human nature and psychology, and [00:15:15] so I started piecing together. I was like, oh, this is actually where [00:15:20] I should have been all along, actually, in terms of learning, in terms of education, in terms of what I was looking to [00:15:25] get from my life, from quite a natural, authentic place, it all started to make a lot more sense [00:15:30] and so started training, started doing certifications, qualifications and started [00:15:35] the business at the beginning of end of 2019, start of 2020. [00:15:40]

Speaker1: And um, obviously we were about to dip into Covid at [00:15:45] that point and I was still working full time, and so I was running the two alongside each other and really, [00:15:50] um, taking quite a lot of what I’d learned from small start up businesses, entrepreneurial [00:15:55] people to actually go, is there a business here? Is there actually something here [00:16:00] that could not even necessarily at that point, I was particularly concerned about making a life for myself [00:16:05] from it. But is there actually does this have legs? Can I actually turn what feels right now [00:16:10] like a passion and a passion project into something a little bit more serious, something a little bit more legitimate? [00:16:15] And that really was the beginning. And then I left my last full time job [00:16:20] in at the beginning of 2021. So I spent about a year and a half, um, [00:16:25] building the business alongside, um, what I was doing full time, um, through Covid and [00:16:30] then left the last full time job in the beginning of 2021 and went out to to kind [00:16:35] of continue building the breath space and make it what it is today.

Speaker3: Amazing.

Speaker4: Also, the business model. [00:16:40]

Speaker1: Yeah, varied. And uh, developing, [00:16:45] I would say. So I think this year has been particularly interesting for me, um, because [00:16:50] I felt a real pull and a real desire to build the brand [00:16:55] as a brand in of itself. Whereas the three, four years [00:17:00] prior that, I’d been very much building Jamie Clements breathwork coach individual. [00:17:05] And actually in the last six months, it’s become very apparent that this is here to be more [00:17:10] than that. And actually, for me, in terms of what I know I want for my life longer time, I have no interest in [00:17:15] always being the face of it by any means. I that’s the goal. I’m an introvert. I [00:17:20] love working with people. I love teaching and educating, but I, [00:17:25] um, need days to recoup and recover afterwards. So for me, [00:17:30] this is actually about, um. Becoming almost [00:17:35] a mouthpiece for breathwork and sharing that that work in whatever form that takes. The business model [00:17:40] at the moment is a pretty much a split down the middle of in person and online. So I work privately 1 to [00:17:45] 1. I work with businesses and corporates. I work with, um, high profile [00:17:50] individuals, particularly from a from a private practice perspective. Um, and then also group [00:17:55] workshops, retreats and that side of things from an in person point of view. I then have online [00:18:00] courses and online membership, a real digital presence. I work with apps. Um, and [00:18:05] then increasingly I’m finding myself working in a consultancy, um, kind [00:18:10] of capacity, working with different businesses to help them integrate wellbeing and breathwork [00:18:15] into what they do. So hotels being a great example, all looking to kind of ride this wave [00:18:20] of hospitality and wellness merging. Um, so spending a lot of time actually [00:18:25] sharing how and what they should be doing when it comes to integrating breathwork as well. [00:18:30] So it’s sort of started very broad and it’s gradually getting a little bit narrower. Um, and [00:18:35] this year is very much about building the brand as a brand and the business scaling ultimately. [00:18:40]

Speaker3: Jamie, for those people that don’t know, can you explain in layman’s terms [00:18:45] what breathwork actually is because people will be like, is it just me huffing and puffing? What’s the science [00:18:50] behind it? And is there a particular method that you have created for yourself?

Speaker1: For sure. [00:18:55] So, um, it’s the question because I think, you know, these conversations, [00:19:00] there’s a pre-existing level of knowledge that lulls me into a false sense of feeling like everybody [00:19:05] knows what I’m going on about. Same with.

Speaker3: Dentistry. People are like talking about stuff and they’re like, yeah, you know, veneers. [00:19:10] They’re like, yeah, I don’t know what that is.

Speaker1: Yeah, exactly. So, um, breathwork to me, for me [00:19:15] is an umbrella tum that encapsulates any way that we can use the breath to shift our state physically, [00:19:20] mentally, emotionally, spiritually within that, um, the way that I’ve developed the breath [00:19:25] space approach over the last few years has very much been informed, both by ancient practices, [00:19:30] ancient wisdom and contemporary science backed, um, evidence based practices, and [00:19:35] has been drawn directly from, um, how [00:19:40] I benefited from breathwork. So I talk about full spectrum breathwork, really [00:19:45] working from at one end the micro, which is about how we breathe day to day, and the 20 plus thousand [00:19:50] breaths that we take every single day, and the impact of those and how we can work at a [00:19:55] very simple level to optimise that all the way through to the macro level, where we’re working with big transformational [00:20:00] breathwork experiences. And there’s three key pillars that we can break it down to. The first [00:20:05] being that functional breathing piece. So how as a listener, as you guys [00:20:10] hear right now, do you breathe unconsciously? What is the natural resting state of your [00:20:15] breath? And is that helping you? Is that harming you? How is that affecting you? [00:20:20] And once we can become aware of that, how can you optimise that? So [00:20:25] that for me is is really the it can be a spectrum or a bit of a pyramid. And that is the first [00:20:30] layer that is the fundamentals.

Speaker1: We then have this middle piece which is around [00:20:35] the nervous system and nervous system regulation, which is looking at the role of the [00:20:40] quite unique role of the breath as a part of our autonomic nervous system. And the [00:20:45] best analogy here is that your breath can act as a remote control into the state of your nervous system, [00:20:50] to create change by conscious breathing. We then have the far end of the spectrum, which [00:20:55] is where we’re working with therapeutic breathwork, conscious, connected, breathing, these big [00:21:00] transcendent mystical experiences that come as a result of using the breath to tap into altered states [00:21:05] of consciousness. That realm sounds sexier, it sounds [00:21:10] more exciting, and ultimately, on the face of it, it is. But all of these are incredibly impactful [00:21:15] and important. This ends this kind of deeper end of the spectrum has typically been, um, [00:21:20] I’d say neglected or not really viewed, um, as worth [00:21:25] researching by by the scientific community. Um, but there are studies emerging now, and [00:21:30] there’s a really exciting one that came out back in September last year and that found [00:21:35] through, um, anecdotal experience. But through the research of this, this [00:21:40] study group that you can create, um, mystical experiences that [00:21:45] are comparable to medium to high doses of psilocybin. Yeah. Have you heard about this work? Um, [00:21:50] so that to me is the most exciting piece of research in breathwork for, for a while. [00:21:55]

Speaker3: So, you know, this is super interesting to me as well, because I’ve heard people say particularly [00:22:00] addicts because addicts feel like they can’t. Even though plant medicine is obviously not considered to necessarily [00:22:05] be a form of addiction, like a lot of people that go into total sobriety definitely don’t even [00:22:10] want to do plant medicines, but they say they can achieve that same high through breathwork, like you literally [00:22:15] can, you know, reach an altered state of consciousness. You see visuals like experience [00:22:20] that in your body. And I find that incredible. To me, though, I’m a bit of a disbeliever. [00:22:25] I’m like, how do you know what I mean? Like, do you have to be there for hours? And I’d probably lose patience. And with my ADHD tendencies, [00:22:30] I just can’t imagine. Reaching that altered state so you know what [00:22:35] would be required? And do you need to be a pro to reach that?

Speaker1: I’d say [00:22:40] not not. It’s not about being a pro. Um, and it’s not even necessarily about time. I think the [00:22:45] big difference, the key differential between plant medicines, psychedelics and [00:22:50] breathwork is the, um, the [00:22:55] substance nature of the medicine work. Because when you take a [00:23:00] plant medicine, a psychedelic, you are on the roller coaster, you’re not getting off. There is a change [00:23:05] coming, there’s an experience coming, and you ultimately just have to surrender to that. And if [00:23:10] you try and control that, it can create discomfort with breathwork. And this is a pro [00:23:15] and a con when it comes to working with altered states of consciousness, you are in control. So you [00:23:20] can stop. You can get distracted, you can get resistant, you can pull back, you [00:23:25] can push forward. That to me is the beauty of it and the pitfall of it, because [00:23:30] it can be so powerful. And I wouldn’t ever want to be one of those people that says it can [00:23:35] work for everyone, but it can work for a large majority of people. If we’re taking into [00:23:40] account the proper medical contraindications, safety precautions, and all of that side of things. Um, [00:23:45] the difference in what I see, you know, over the past sort of four and a half, five [00:23:50] years of experience in retreats and in workshops where we’re working with these deeper modalities [00:23:55] is that someone might step in, you might step in, for example, Rona, and, um, it [00:24:00] might take you 40 minutes in a session to really get into it for someone [00:24:05] else.

Speaker1: It might be their first session ever, and it might take them five minutes and they’re in. Um, [00:24:10] and that is dependent on a number of factors, but very much about the individual, [00:24:15] your capacity to let go your natural brain state as well, because ultimately [00:24:20] we are working with brain states and shifting brain states. Um, and really at a kind [00:24:25] of slightly, um, reductionist level where dropping the activity [00:24:30] in the monkey mind, that kind of ruminative part of the brain, and seeing a spike in activity in the subconscious, [00:24:35] which is where the experience itself comes from, which is completely mirroring [00:24:40] what we see with, with plant medicines. So sometimes it takes people. And I was one of [00:24:45] these people. It took me probably 5 or 6 sessions to get anywhere because I had I view it as [00:24:50] sort of layers of the onion. I had a lot of stuff to to dig through, to even get to a point [00:24:55] where I could open to an experience, whereas other people will drop straight in, [00:25:00] um, and that is just unique to the individual. Um, so I’d say there’s a [00:25:05] capacity for the large majority of people to get genuine experience and benefit [00:25:10] from that particular style of breathwork, but I’m also aware that it’s not for everybody.

Speaker4: So [00:25:15] is there is there a particular habit, I mean, coffee or sleep, [00:25:20] or is there something that gets in the way? Did you tell people not to drink coffee [00:25:25] before they have a session or something?

Speaker1: So I ran a retreat this weekend, just gone, and we [00:25:30] advise in the week leading up to it to minimise coffee, minimise social [00:25:35] media use, minimise stress, clean up your diet. All of this stuff that you might [00:25:40] do for a diet or working with plant medicines as well to, um, I [00:25:45] wouldn’t say it’s a particular habit, but I would say it’s anything that serves as an overstimulating [00:25:50] capacity on both the body and the mind. So anything that could be a distraction, anything [00:25:55] that might stop you going inwards, anything that keeps you trapped in your head. And so there will be certain [00:26:00] personalities who have a trickier time of being trapped in their head anyway. [00:26:05] Um, whereas other people might me who might actually just be able to drop in much [00:26:10] more naturally and more quickly. So, um, in an ideal world, we would strip out kind of [00:26:15] stimulants, we’d strip out tech, we’d strip out everything, um, which is kind of just a bit of a metaphor [00:26:20] for life on a grander scale, ultimately. But, um, to get the most from it, we would look [00:26:25] to minimise other, other aspects.

Speaker3: I’m going to pivot a little bit because obviously we’re dentists [00:26:30] and I’m so interested in this. So recently on social media platforms [00:26:35] like TikTok and everything, everything’s been talking about, everyone’s been talking about breathwork, jaw formation, [00:26:40] and I think we’ve seen a massive change in dentistry because we used to be perceived [00:26:45] as butchers and very much like drill, fill, pay the bills sort of people. Now people are recognising, [00:26:50] I mean, it’s so exciting. I was just saying to you earlier, Huberman’s released a podcast on the oral microbiome. [00:26:55] Amazing. So we’re having these conversations and controversially, there was an orthodontist, [00:27:00] him and his father mu. And it’s mewing. Were you? I learned this on TikTok and [00:27:05] I asked my orthodontist and she was just like, you know, this is super controversial. But [00:27:10] ultimately, environmental and genetic factors can play an effect on the growth of a child [00:27:15] and their jaw, etc. and then obviously breathing as well. So I want you and you’re like, Rona, you [00:27:20] should know more about this. I actually don’t, you know, and I don’t know if Payman does. Do you know, how about how breath and the jaw [00:27:25] effect?

Speaker4: I had a boss who was very close to me, and so, um, he used to [00:27:30] talk a lot about it, but.

Speaker3: Yeah. So tell us, Jamie.

Speaker1: It’s one of the big ones [00:27:35] at the moment because of the rise of social media and the chat about mouth taping. [00:27:40] Yeah. So, um, ultimately, this fits into this first pillar where we’re talking about functional [00:27:45] breathing. And a lot of the conversation about functional breathing, um, is, broadly speaking, split into [00:27:50] a conversation versus nasal versus mouth, um, and belly versus chest. So this is about biomechanics [00:27:55] and biochemistry of breathing and how you really habitually breathe naturally. And [00:28:00] it’s fascinating because let’s if we just speak to what we’re referring to [00:28:05] here in terms of nasal breathing versus mouth breathing, oral breathing, um, the benefits [00:28:10] of nasal breathing over mouth breathing are so well documented. [00:28:15] Now in the research, it’s, you know, there’s not even a discussion anymore around this and this. This [00:28:20] applies to rest during sleep, during low to medium intensity exercise. We want to be breathing [00:28:25] through the nose so the nose will naturally slow the breath. [00:28:30] It’s a smaller passageway. It’s going to regulate the breath in a really nice way. That’s going to help to regulate the nervous system. [00:28:35] Number one, it’s going to filter humidify and really create optimal [00:28:40] air to be received by the lungs. Additionally to that, when we breathe through the nose, we get [00:28:45] deeper and better recruitment of the bottom portion of the lungs. So we’re using more of our respiratory capacity. [00:28:50] All of these are great mouth breathing. On the other hand, um, [00:28:55] not only recruits a higher portion of the lungs, so we’re actually breathing more shallow. We’re [00:29:00] also breathing more in terms of volume. So we’re over breathing what people talk about in terms [00:29:05] of things like hyperventilation syndrome. So we’re offloading a lot of carbon dioxide. We [00:29:10] might then get a decrease in cerebral blood flow, brain fog, dehydration. [00:29:15] There’s one amazing study that shows that mouth breathing we lose 42% more water mouth [00:29:20] breathing compared to nasal breathing, which.

Speaker4: Is how interesting.

Speaker1: Plenty. Um, and the reason [00:29:25] that this comes around to this idea of mouth taping and mouth breathing and looking [00:29:30] to avoid it, particularly during sleep, is a that mouth taping is quite a people [00:29:35] view it as strange, people view it as out there, people view it as shocking. Um, but also [00:29:40] because of the fact that so many people are falling into habitual [00:29:45] mouth breathing while they’re awake and while they’re asleep. So the people I’m talking to are the ones that wake [00:29:50] up dry mouth, brain fog, fatigue, muscle soreness. And [00:29:55] to come back to your round, to your point on on dentistry. But hang on.

Speaker3: So mouth taping [00:30:00] does work. In conclusion.

Speaker4: Maybe let me just go through what it is.

Speaker1: Yeah, yeah. [00:30:05] Simplify it. So mouth taping very simply I’ve seen it.

Speaker4: Yeah I have yeah.

Speaker1: Typically advised [00:30:10] to be a little strip of tape vertically over the centre of your lips. The idea being that it’s gently keeping [00:30:15] the mouth closed while you sleep. Yeah. The reason for this is that, um, I [00:30:20] can say, right, if you’re a habitual mouth breather while you’re awake, I want you to focus while you’re awake [00:30:25] on breathing more through your nose. And you go, okay, great, I’ll do that. You go to sleep and you spend eight hours breathing with [00:30:30] an open mouth, snoring, whatever it might be. Then you’re undoing a lot of that hard work, and you’re [00:30:35] not really resolving the root cause issue. And there can be multiple root causes of mouth breathing. [00:30:40] Um. So the mouth taping just really helps to redirect the breath [00:30:45] back through the nose during sleep. It is, in my opinion, a temporary [00:30:50] fix. It’s a short time solution that can help us create those [00:30:55] conditions where we can move towards a more optimal, more functional breathing pattern. It is also not [00:31:00] safe for people with certain medical contraindications around cardiovascular system with severe sleep [00:31:05] apnoea, particularly obstructive sleep apnoea. It’s not advised, even though those people would probably also be mouth [00:31:10] breathing, um, and anybody who’s pregnant. So there’s like quick caveats and disclaimers [00:31:15] around it.

Speaker1: But I’d say for fit, healthy, um, individuals who mouth breathe, [00:31:20] who are aware either because their partners told them or because they’re waking up with a lot of these symptoms of [00:31:25] dry mouth, brain fog, fatigue, bad breath, then it’s highly likely [00:31:30] that your mouth breathing and that mouth taping could be a short time solution to that. Um, so [00:31:35] I would say it works. I’ve I’ve done it myself. I don’t do it as much [00:31:40] as I did previously because I have developed over the years, kind of an all around more healthy [00:31:45] breathing pattern that has fed into sleep. Um, and I can certainly attest to the fact that in, [00:31:50] especially in the first six months of doing it and getting traction with it. [00:31:55] I noticed such a significant shift because I had been struggling with sinus [00:32:00] issues. I’d been breathing through my mouth for a lot of a lot of my early 20s that actually [00:32:05] I it’s the lowest hanging fruit that I’ve found from a health perspective. [00:32:10] Um, from a very personal experience perspective as well, um, in terms of clarity of thought, [00:32:15] sleep quality, overall cognitive functioning on waking. Um, and [00:32:20] it’s quite a it comes out being quite controversial, but that’s social [00:32:25] media’s fault because, because.

Speaker3: People are like so alarmed to see your like mouth tape shop but so with with [00:32:30] jaw formation because obviously we’ve got a condition called an anterior open bite, which basically means that the [00:32:35] top and bottom teeth don’t meet. You’ve got this gap between your top and bottom teeth. And sometimes [00:32:40] people try to close that space with their tongues. They get something called an endogenous tongue thrust to create like [00:32:45] a seal, for example. Um, and definitely, you know, typically we call them mouth breathers. [00:32:50] And there’s other kind of like issues going on with them. So do you believe that something [00:32:55] into and I know you’re not like the dentist or anything like that, but do you think that there is scope [00:33:00] for a conversation where interceptive treatment can be done to help jaw development? [00:33:05] Let’s talk about jaw development for sure.

Speaker1: So from a mouth breathing perspective, we [00:33:10] see particularly in and this conversation I think across dentistry and the world of [00:33:15] respiratory physiology is is great because we typically see especially in [00:33:20] childhood and development kind of craniofacial development. Um, mouth breathing will lead [00:33:25] to a elongation of the face. So a longer face, um, and a setting [00:33:30] back of the lower mandible. Lower mandible. Yeah. Um, so you see [00:33:35] poor teeth formation. You see a lot of, of factors that come up as a result of that, alongside the other [00:33:40] symptoms that we’ve mentioned in terms of cognitive function and sort of mental and emotional side of it. [00:33:45] Um, there I think it’s multi multifaceted because, you [00:33:50] know, you talked about environmental. It’s definitely a case for things like diet and proper [00:33:55] kind of food and, and real whole food in terms of how often we’re chewing and that formation of [00:34:00] the jaw. But again, it’s all of these things are multifaceted. And because [00:34:05] of that, we can suggest that breath and mouth [00:34:10] breathing is a likely factor. And if you see your child, for example, [00:34:15] or a young adult or even an older adult who is mouth breathing and they are having issues [00:34:20] with kind of jaw formation, face shape, general respiratory health as well, then [00:34:25] as long as they are fit and healthy, then you’ve actually not got much to lose. [00:34:30] In trying to remedy that as a possible solution would be my opinion.

Speaker3: But how can [00:34:35] you remedy it? Do you know what I mean? Like so if a child is mouth breathing, what are you going to do? You’re going to [00:34:40] take their mouth shut. Then from a young age, would you do it? I don’t have kids yet, so I don’t know. No. [00:34:45]

Speaker4: There.

Speaker1: Yeah. There’s I, um, it’s invasive. [00:34:50] It’s invasive. It feels.

Speaker4: Weird.

Speaker1: Yeah, yeah.

Speaker4: There’s kid.

Speaker1: There’s certain tape that, [00:34:55] um, goes around the edge of the mouth that gently keeps the lips closed. And that is what’s typically recommended [00:35:00] and suggested for children. I my partner has a daughter. We’ve had this conversation [00:35:05] about it in terms of like, would you actually could we actually address it if we [00:35:10] felt it was an issue? And I feel quite strongly on it because I [00:35:15] and clearly in this world and I see the the harm that continuous [00:35:20] habitual mouth breathing can do. And as with anything in life, nature or nurture, [00:35:25] the earlier you catch it, the better. And the longer it goes on, for the worse it becomes, but also the harder [00:35:30] it is to undo. And so while it is invasive and probably not easy to any [00:35:35] parents listening or watching, they’ll be going, yeah, fat chance of that happening. I’m not never going to get my kid to do that. [00:35:40] And maybe that’s the case, but what else can we be doing? And I think there’s a conversation here about [00:35:45] wake time breathing and actually looking at what someone isn’t just mouth breathing just [00:35:50] because they’re not just mouth breathing at night because, um, so.

Speaker4: It [00:35:55] seems like a cultural problem rather than an actual problem. Well, I’m sure if [00:36:00] there was some device that a dentist could make that you could put in inside the mouth rather than the, the [00:36:05] fact that it’s over the lips just feels so strange, doesn’t it?

Speaker3: Well, I mean, there’s lots [00:36:10] of like, you know, there’s brands out there now like Myo Brace and stuff like that that are really affecting, like the jaw formation, [00:36:15] etc. and, you know, a bit teetering off from like breathwork, you know, [00:36:20] now they’re showing as well that giving your child like really chewy foods is really good for like, like jaw development [00:36:25] and everything like that. What I’m also interested to know is that is there any correlation between [00:36:30] the types of breathing and mental health disorders. So like ADHD, [00:36:35] like I’ve heard that ADHD now is linked to things [00:36:40] going on in the mouth and breathing etc. like that, which again is a massive thing for the dental sphere. [00:36:45] So has there been shown? Yeah.

Speaker1: So it’s a little bit chicken and egg when it comes [00:36:50] to, um, the mental and emotional experience and the experience of the breath. So. The [00:36:55] nervous system and breath are in this continuous dialogue where it’s, you know, as we all know, if something [00:37:00] frightens you, your breath will speed up, you’ll feel more fear, you’ll feel anxious, and vice versa. If [00:37:05] you’re breathing really quickly, you’ll start to feel more anxious. So we’re in this sort of constant loop. And there was a great [00:37:10] study that came out in 2013 that looked at the, um, natural habitual [00:37:15] breathing pattern of, uh, a study group that had diagnosed anxiety [00:37:20] disorders so significant enough anxiety disorders to, to be given a diagnosis. And they [00:37:25] found, I think the stat was 73, 72% of those with anxiety [00:37:30] disorders also had what were deemed diagnosable dysfunctional breathing patterns. [00:37:35] And that really to me, whether it’s causation, whether it’s correlation, [00:37:40] whatever, whatever the starting point, you develop an anxiety disorder and develop dysfunctional [00:37:45] breathing. They perpetuate each other. So we have this intrinsic link between the state of breath [00:37:50] and the state of mind. And ADHD is a great example because obviously we’re seeing so much [00:37:55] at the moment a conversation around ADHD, adult diagnoses of ADHD, and [00:38:00] I certainly feel from my own perspective, when I catch myself in what I would deem sort of as ADHD [00:38:05] like behaviours, a lack of focus, overstimulation, hyper focus, whatever it might be. [00:38:10]

Speaker1: And when I work with people with ADHD, what we’re ultimately looking [00:38:15] at isn’t saying that breath can cure ADHD, but we can [00:38:20] certainly use breathwork to work with symptoms to to support [00:38:25] ourselves. So a lot of people struggling with ADHD are also going to be feeling some expression [00:38:30] of a dysregulated, overstimulated nervous system. So actually, while we might not be [00:38:35] working with the root cause of the ADHD itself, perhaps we might be with some people. We [00:38:40] can use certain tools, techniques, practices to help them feel more balanced, to focus [00:38:45] more, to feel more regulated, whatever it might be. Um, and so there’s [00:38:50] for me, this is where stuff gets really powerful for breathwork from a [00:38:55] day to day level is actually going. We can work with our state of mind directly [00:39:00] through the breath. And that to me is the the power of it.

Speaker4: That’s super interesting because, you know, the autonomic [00:39:05] nervous system by definition is autonomic. Whereas some [00:39:10] of the stuff I’ve seen with Wim Hof that, you know, you can literally it’s the only [00:39:15] way of tapping into your autonomic nervous system is by changing your breath. Tell [00:39:20] me, what are the what are a couple of useful breathing patterns? Let’s [00:39:25] say I’m super stressed and have to have a panic attack or some feel that coming on. What should I do? [00:39:30] And the opposite. Let’s say I’m low energy and I want to get get going. What should [00:39:35] I do?

Speaker1: Great question. Yeah. So this comes back to the autonomic system right. We’re using that that lever [00:39:40] that remote control. So the language that we use here is up [00:39:45] regulation which is that that lifting or down regulation which is the the calming [00:39:50] which is the sympathetic response, which is fight flight, freeze and the parasympathetic rest and digest, [00:39:55] um, for panic and high anxiety and just general stress. Most [00:40:00] of the techniques and the stuff we lean on is pretty straightforward, but tends [00:40:05] to lean towards an extended exhale. So, like we did right back at the beginning, we did five extended [00:40:10] exhale breaths. This comes back to um heart rate and heart rate variability. [00:40:15] So we often think if um, my resting heart rate for example [00:40:20] might be 60 beats per minute, we think a beat on the second [00:40:25] every second for a minute. But what’s actually happening is when we inhale because of the change in volume of the [00:40:30] thoracic cavity, um, our heart rate slightly speeds up. When we exhale, it slightly slows down [00:40:35] logic, maths, whatever we want to call it. If you make your exhale longer than your inhale, [00:40:40] your heart rate is going to spend more time slowing down.

Speaker1: You’re going to start to feel more calm. We’re really tapping into that parasympathetic [00:40:45] response. So for high anxiety, usually we’ll work with [00:40:50] some kind of 1 to 2 ratio of inhale to exhale. So in for three [00:40:55] out for six in for four out for eight. Really maximising the length of that exhale. Um we [00:41:00] also introduce short holds. So in for four hold for four out for eight [00:41:05] is a great one. And the reason for that and from my past with panic attacks, [00:41:10] one of the most frustrating, intense, well-intended, but frustrating [00:41:15] pieces of advice is slow down your breathing because you’re in a panic attack and you barely have any [00:41:20] control if you’re breathing. And so one of the most powerful things that I found was actually to be able to [00:41:25] take a quick hold because then my breathing isn’t out of control. I hold, [00:41:30] I start breathing a little bit more slowly. I hold, and it’s really just taking back a little bit of [00:41:35] control, a bit of autonomy over my system and over what’s going on.

Speaker4: I found [00:41:40] the hold really useful last night when I did your, uh, your yes thing. It was almost like the you. [00:41:45]

Speaker3: Literally went from movement as medicine to breathwork. I love you, I’m so proud of you.

Speaker4: One after the other. [00:41:50]

Speaker3: So proud of you.

Speaker4: But it was, it was the hold was almost like a like a stillness like. [00:41:55]

Speaker3: But listen, I’m going to be honest with you, and I don’t know if this is me being me, [00:42:00] but I just can’t do breathwork on my own. And that’s why, like, I literally.

Speaker4: I like.

Speaker3: The guiding. Exactly. It’s [00:42:05] it’s Jamie’s guidance. And that’s why I think, like I always say, like, always invest in the professionals [00:42:10] because I think like, yeah, sure, I can download headspace, which I have done, I’ve done this [00:42:15] stuff. But like when you like, I’ve had one on one on one sessions with Jamie gone to his house and it’s just a different [00:42:20] space.

Speaker4: It’s the difference between watching a personal trainer on a video. Yeah.

Speaker3: And being, yeah.

Speaker4: Actually [00:42:25] being there. And I think part of it is the accountability of it. Yeah. Actually turning up.

Speaker3: Turning up.

Speaker4: Yeah, yeah. I’ve [00:42:30] found um float tank the best was that float tank.

Speaker3: Oh [00:42:35] I’ve heard about this and I’ve never been guys where is.

Speaker4: It in Wandsworth. I go so.

Speaker3: Far. [00:42:40] Why.

Speaker4: It’s near me. So Fulham.

Speaker1: There’s there’s one in there all over the place. Oh, really? Yeah. [00:42:45]

Speaker4: So what is it in water. Yeah. Salty water at body temperature and a cover. But basically it’s [00:42:50] there’s no sort of stimulus at all.

Speaker3: Are you, are you just on top of [00:42:55] the water floating in like a bikini or whatever. Yeah.

Speaker4: Well naked because it’s covered. Oh, really? [00:43:00] And then, um, but then the breathing is the only thing and I’ve, I found when [00:43:05] I.

Speaker3: Want to try this for.

Speaker4: An hour, you’re just breathing. And it’s the only time where you can really [00:43:10] super focus in on breathing. You’re never going to do it for an hour like this. And this. Bright lights and all that. Have you tried it?

Speaker1: Yeah, [00:43:15] I love it. I’ve not done it for a while and I’m going to go back. Um, it’s great. It’s sensory deprivation. [00:43:20] And it is, I’d say akin to a lot of breathwork experience as well. [00:43:25] At that deeper end, spend maybe the first ten minutes, 15 minutes going.

Speaker4: Yeah.

Speaker1: I’m [00:43:30] a bit bored. I’m a bit restless. Yeah. That’s right. If you can get into it, if you can stay with your breath, it becomes [00:43:35] this amazing space.

Speaker3: So I want to ask you, I mean, Jamie, I’ve known you for a long time [00:43:40] now, and I know that, you know, nothing sort of phases you in this realm. But Jamie’s done some incredible work [00:43:45] with other men, creating safe spaces for men, which is also one of the big reasons why I wanted to bring him here. [00:43:50] We often talk about I talk a lot about men, actually, on this podcast, only because I feel [00:43:55] like, you know, male suicide is still the single biggest killer in the UK of men under 25. [00:44:00] And I still feel worried for the role models that are out there. And Jamie’s created [00:44:05] a space with men that are, you know, look like, [00:44:10] I want to say normal people because I think people associate safe spaces with like being a bit woo woo and a bit like, [00:44:15] as they would say, naff. I’m just like kind of quoting. But he’s created like these, like men’s circles. [00:44:20] They do like retreats together. And they, they do they do activities which like harnesses [00:44:25] a lot of, um, you know, I say community and like a tribe like spirit. [00:44:30] But was it ever difficult for you to create those spaces and like, in [00:44:35] terms of, like delving into the world of breath space, which be considered quite like a feminine thing to do, [00:44:40] was there anything around that that was difficult for your mental health?

Speaker1: Absolutely. [00:44:45] I’d say it’s still it’s still a piece of work for me in terms of the development of, [00:44:50] um, my comfort in those spaces. I grew up from [00:44:55] 15 with my mum and my sister and didn’t [00:45:00] spend I spent time with my dad. I still have a good relationship with my dad, but I definitely grew up [00:45:05] in the the learnings and the environment of my mum and my sister and I. I put [00:45:10] down a lot of, um, my success and my, my kind of fulfilment [00:45:15] to that and the skills that I actually learnt, um, there and kind of everything that I [00:45:20] absorbed, um, and I’ve typically struggled [00:45:25] not so much in the last few years as I’ve worked with it and through it, but typically struggle with my relationship [00:45:30] towards other men. Um, I think there’s a naturally confrontational, [00:45:35] um, combative element to not all men, but the [00:45:40] male group. Um, and that leads to a lack [00:45:45] of vulnerability, a lack of openness. And in the same way, [00:45:50] it’s either a vicious or a virtuous cycle. Someone being open and vulnerable promotes openness [00:45:55] and vulnerable vulnerability, and someone being closed off and a bit, um, aloof [00:46:00] feeds the same. And it feeds standoffishness. And that is never going to be a healthy place for [00:46:05] connection, because the connection comes through the openness, through the authenticity, through the vulnerability. [00:46:10] And so I’ve been really fortunate to have worked with more and more men.

Speaker1: I’d say it’s still [00:46:15] heavily weighted towards women. Absolutely. I think the nature of the work that I do, [00:46:20] um, I, I don’t shy away from leading with emotion [00:46:25] in my work, and it takes time for people en masse [00:46:30] to to come into that with comfort, but particularly men. So many of us, myself included, were [00:46:35] raised of an era and to this day of a conditioning that [00:46:40] told us that that, you know, expression, healthy expression of emotion, any expression, expression [00:46:45] of emotion was feminine, it was weak, it was [00:46:50] something not to be engaged with. And so we pushed it down. We push it down, we push it down, and then we suffer and. [00:46:55] So I’ve been incredibly grateful that it’s developed over the last few years. I’ve sat in and held [00:47:00] men’s circles, men’s spaces, and I’m a big advocate now [00:47:05] in my work of mixed spaces and the capacity for for co healing [00:47:10] of women to witness men in their vulnerability and their openness and to, um, you [00:47:15] know, for the women who have maybe had terrible traumatic experiences at the hands of men [00:47:20] to witness men who are not threatening in that way, who are open, who [00:47:25] are healing, who are trying. Yeah. Um, and vice versa. I know so many men who have suffered at [00:47:30] the hands of women emotionally, physically and [00:47:35] for people to, to see a part of.

Speaker1: Maybe it’s your mum, maybe it’s your dad, maybe it’s [00:47:40] an ex-partner. To see a glimpse of that person who has hurt you in someone [00:47:45] else in one of those spaces is incredibly healing. Because there’s forgiveness, there is compassion, [00:47:50] there is conversation. And all of this healing for me in that capacity comes down to, [00:47:55] can you allow yourself to understand another perspective, [00:48:00] someone else’s perspective? Can you put yourself in the shoes of the person that hurt you? You [00:48:05] know, I think about my parents divorce and my dad, um, you know, clearly, [00:48:10] and this is something, you know, that I’ve worked with and worked through clearly, everything [00:48:15] that had happened before in his life and his childhood had led to a point where he found himself [00:48:20] unable to communicate in a way that that made that process perhaps easier than it could have been. [00:48:25] But as a late teens, early 20s man, I held a lot of resentment [00:48:30] towards him and very little understanding. And it’s only been through the understanding that you can even start [00:48:35] to tap into forgiveness and compassion. Um, and I think a lot of men, um, [00:48:40] struggle with that. I think just the openness piece, the emotional vulnerability piece, a [00:48:45] lot of good has happened. There’s so much more conversation happening than there’s ever been before, but there’s still [00:48:50] work to be done. I think.

Speaker3: 100%. I want to ask you something. Have you ever cried in front of your friends? Sure [00:48:55] you have. Yeah. Proud of you. I didn’t know I didn’t expect that of you, actually. [00:49:00] Why? So? No, I just felt like it’s like old school generation as well of, like, you know, [00:49:05] men have to always be, like, stoic and strong and etc.. The thing is, [00:49:10] is that I think that it is important. I mean, it was interesting because when we were talking on another [00:49:15] podcast, I was talking about, um, my immigrant family and the [00:49:20] different complexities that came with that. And Payman was like resonating and how what we achieved [00:49:25] academically or our achievements made us feel a sense of self-worth. And then someone [00:49:30] commented on the podcast and they were like, yeah, but what’s the opposite to that? Like, I think [00:49:35] that there has to be a balance, because if we tell people to just cry it out and like dwell [00:49:40] on their like sadness, they don’t grow and become resilient. I thought that was quite an interesting [00:49:45] point because I’m like, is there a balance? Do you think that we have become too soft as a nation, and [00:49:50] we’re allowing people to use their struggles to kind [00:49:55] of get on with it? Or do you think it is important that we actually create safer spaces? You know. [00:50:00]

Speaker1: I think it’s a great question. Um, I think my view [00:50:05] is that we have too much comfort, not that we have too much openness and softness. [00:50:10] I think we’re soft from a place of complacency and comfort rather than [00:50:15] soft from a place of vulnerability. I actually think, and there’s an interesting piece in the self-development [00:50:20] conversation that I think sometimes gets missed, which is actually the goal here. Isn’t [00:50:25] trauma dumping constant openness constant just shedding [00:50:30] everything with everyone and crying without any. You know, [00:50:35] we take crying as an obvious example, but expressing without any thought. It’s emotional regulation [00:50:40] that we’re seeking and we often confuse, you know, stoicism is a great example of [00:50:45] something that’s been massively misunderstood in modern society because stoicism people are like, [00:50:50] that’s just emotional repression in a different language, but actually stoicism, the Stoics were the best [00:50:55] sort of regulating their emotions. They were able to experience deep suffering, deep struggle, [00:51:00] feel it all and move forward. And actually, that to me is where [00:51:05] the growth and the resilience comes from isn’t from blocking an expression of an emotion, blocking the feeling of a feeling. [00:51:10] It’s actually feeling it fully, allowing it to pass through you and then regulating [00:51:15] yourself in the face of it. And I think that’s something that, especially in the conversation around men’s mental [00:51:20] health, has has to come into this, because I think that’s why a lot of men are resistant [00:51:25] and reluctant towards it, because they just think, I’m just going to become soft. I’m going to become too [00:51:30] open, too vulnerable. It’s going to be used against me. When actually this is about learn [00:51:35] how to feel your feelings so that you can become the best version of yourself, [00:51:40] so that you can be strong so that you can support other people because you cannot support [00:51:45] anybody else in their emotions effectively. If you’re completely disconnected from your own.

Speaker3: And it will manifest [00:51:50] in other physical ways. And that’s why when you see people that are really angry and again, angry is also healthy. Healthy [00:51:55] emotion. I remember my coach said to me, you know, go scream into a pillow like and I found that [00:52:00] one of the most useful tools in the world, because if I suppressed like anger, emotions, it would come out in [00:52:05] a really damaging way to the person that I was with. Not physically, but, you know, I would say something or [00:52:10] I would erupt and that would make me appear to that person in a certain way. But as you [00:52:15] said earlier, try to put yourself in other people’s shoes as well. Like, I just wanted to comment on that. [00:52:20]

Speaker4: I think, you know, part of the previous conversation we were having about women having to be more like [00:52:25] men in the workplace talking about men.

Speaker3: Yeah. See, look, Jamie is nodding. There is that. He says he’s learned a [00:52:30] whole new vocabulary.

Speaker4: It’s real. It’s real. But but also, I think these days [00:52:35] men are learning to be more like women. You know that that you know, this this conversation ten years [00:52:40] ago, even ten years ago would have been seen as like, just just [00:52:45] bullshit, you know, just crap. Yeah. You know, whereas now, you know, you can ask me if I cry, I [00:52:50] can, I can say, yes, I did in front of my friend without worrying about that. This is going out.

Speaker3: You know, [00:52:55] the reason why I asked you that as well is because, like, you know, we’ve had conversations because when I came on here [00:53:00] the first time and stuff, I was using words like trauma and everything and like, because Payman had never [00:53:05] been exposed to this whole realm of stuff. And over time he recognised [00:53:10] that actually, it’s an understanding and doing work that I can use these words [00:53:15] to understand who I am.

Speaker4: Like another. Yeah.

Speaker3: You know, um, but the other thing is, [00:53:20] is that thinking about it, even though we’re talking about like the archetypal figures [00:53:25] within society, someone like Wim Hof comes across as like a really like, masculine, like caveman [00:53:30] to me. And he’s like made a whole movement out of breathwork, do you know what I mean? So in a way, [00:53:35] he’s broke that because you suddenly have these like, you know, typical like six pack, [00:53:40] six foot men, you know, like whatever people want to define as being physically masculine doing [00:53:45] like ice baths and breathwork, which I think is remarkable. It’s like a huge movement, you know? [00:53:50]

Speaker1: Yeah, I really see it happening. I think there’s a, um, an [00:53:55] asterix there as well from, From My side, which is, um, any of these practices [00:54:00] ice baths, ultramarathons, Wim Hof, breathwork, whatever it might be, are also [00:54:05] very good ways to escape what you’re feeling and more to numb from it and to [00:54:10] avoid from it. That to me, is is going. Intentionality is at the core here. [00:54:15] If you engage in any of these practices as simply a means to escape what’s going on inside your own head, and to [00:54:20] avoid the apparent discomfort or, um, apparent boredom of sitting still and [00:54:25] actually feeling what you’re feeling, then that, to me, is actually not what we’re aiming [00:54:30] for.

Speaker3: No, it’s I talk a lot about self-soothing, and it’s another method of self-soothing. I find it interesting [00:54:35] that as addicts as well replace their addiction with intense exercise. It’s just another [00:54:40] addiction. It’s another.

Speaker4: Escape. You can slow down your breathing by smoking. Mm.

Speaker3: Let’s talk about.

Speaker4: You can [00:54:45] slow down your breathing by breathing. You know, like by doing that exercise. Yeah.

Speaker3: Smoking in the breath. [00:54:50] Does it affect your breath? Work practice is the question. All right. We know what it does like in terms of like the body [00:54:55] you know but it will affect your breath work practice for sure.

Speaker1: I remember I created for an app a few years ago, a, [00:55:00] um, a breathwork session to help with quitting smoking. Amazing. And it was essentially [00:55:05] to try and replicate the breathing pattern that is done via smoking, because obviously there are [00:55:10] substances within a cigarette that are creating this feeling and this addiction. But [00:55:15] actually, um, there will also be the the slowness of the breath that will definitely be [00:55:20] playing a role within that. If we take out, you know, let’s say smoking was completely non harmful, [00:55:25] it would probably still create a level of relaxation through the time that you’re taking [00:55:30] for yourself and the speed at which you’re breathing. Um, that’s not an [00:55:35] advert for smoking. Um, but it’s, I guess, understanding [00:55:40] the motion, the motion understanding what’s going on, but also understanding. And this is where we get deeper into, [00:55:45] you know, trauma and addiction, but also understanding why what’s led somebody there and [00:55:50] a holding compassion for that, but be supporting them through that and going actually, what is [00:55:55] a what is a different and healthier outlet for this thing that is creating the habit? [00:56:00]

Speaker3: Let’s talk about about ice baths. Right. Because I started doing this, you know, Prav is obsessed. He like [00:56:05] spends like 10 to 15 minutes in that zero degrees. I’m literally two minutes and I cannot [00:56:10] put my hands in. Yeah, I’m sitting there like that on the side. But anyway, what’s the correlation [00:56:15] with breathwork and being in the ice bath? You know, like does it enhance your breathwork? [00:56:20] Because I naturally feel I go into a different breathwork as soon as I hit the water, just naturally [00:56:25] without. But that’s like an unconscious thing, if that makes sense. So, um, so [00:56:30] yeah, talk to us a little bit about ice baths and breathwork.

Speaker1: I have some strong opinions on ice baths. Um, I [00:56:35] use them, I advocate for them. I advocate for responsible use of ice baths. [00:56:40] Um, and I think there’s a fuck ton of irresponsible use of ice baths. And [00:56:45] to the point where people are going to start seeing a negative impact, in my [00:56:50] opinion. I think we’re going to I think we never hear about the stuff that’s already going wrong. But I think. Panic [00:56:55] attacks. Uh, if there’s not proper medical contraindications, exposed [00:57:00] people, you know, heart attacks in a very extreme case. Yeah, can.

Speaker3: Affect your fertility. Just question [00:57:05] like for men and women, because I think Huberman said, not Huberman. Someone said that for men it can actually affect [00:57:10] fertility.

Speaker1: So Spum cold is cold is good for spum count. Um, I would [00:57:15] say up to a point. Yeah. Um, and heat sauna, for example, is not is [00:57:20] not good for spum count. Um, that’s why the testicles are on the outside of the body rather than the inside [00:57:25] is because the cold is good. Um, I don’t know the direct kind of impact on on sperms fertility, [00:57:30] but cold. Good. Heat bad. Okay.

Speaker4: Um, do you find yourself. You must find yourself [00:57:35] having to talk about all sorts of realms outside of breathwork itself. [00:57:40]

Speaker1: Yeah, I think.

Speaker4: Having to educate yourself on these.

Speaker1: Absolutely. I think I, I [00:57:45] very much view breathwork as sort of the, the thing I, I teach and [00:57:50] the thing I talk about, but actually let’s, you know, I work with a 1 to 1 client. I’m talking to [00:57:55] them about their mindset, uh, their past, their childhood. I’m talking to them [00:58:00] about mainly we’re talking through the lens of the nervous system. So that’s I would view [00:58:05] the work as really working with the nervous system, which is where ice baths start to come in, where other practices start to come [00:58:10] in, and the concept of rest, the concept of resilience, all of this stuff, it’s sort of breath [00:58:15] as a gateway into a much broader conversation around the nervous system and those practices. But wait, I’m. [00:58:20]

Speaker3: Not done with the ice baths. Yeah, okay.

Speaker1: Come back to the ice baths. So getting into the [00:58:25] ice or let’s go use of ice baths first and then talk about the breath in relation to it. So [00:58:30] ice baths are an acute stressor. Anyone who’s gotten one will obviously know that [00:58:35] it’s stressful. Um, the view is that they can be used as a hormetic stressor, a positive [00:58:40] stressor, to create positive adaptations in the nervous system, in the body. And there are very well documented [00:58:45] benefits of ice baths in terms of the release of cold shock proteins, in [00:58:50] terms of nervous system resilience, in terms of energy, release of dopamine, all of the stuff that gets people [00:58:55] hooked and bought into it. Um, for me, I think the biggest benefits of [00:59:00] of ice baths come in the realm of, um. Psychological [00:59:05] resilience.

Speaker4: So I agree with you.

Speaker1: They always I don’t trust [00:59:10] anyone who says I love ice baths. What they really mean is I love how ice baths make me feel, [00:59:15] and I love that I feel mentally stronger as a result of getting into ice baths. The experience itself sucks [00:59:20] and.

Speaker3: I hated every minute of it.

Speaker1: But it’s about how you [00:59:25] relate to the conversation that goes on in your head around it. Because human talks about this [00:59:30] Hormozi talks about this. Chris Williamson talks about this. You are building a stack [00:59:35] of evidence that you can win the conversation with the voice in your head, that you’re building a stack of evidence that you can do [00:59:40] something, that ultimately your mind is telling you that you don’t want to do. And that is powerful. That, to [00:59:45] me, is is pretty much my main motivator for using ice baths and doing anything.

Speaker4: Is [00:59:50] there a way you should breathe before getting in?

Speaker1: So this is where it gets interesting because the Wim Hof [00:59:55] method. Let’s talk more about Wim. Um, the Wim Hof method is mainly based [01:00:00] around hyperventilation breathwork, and you’ll see people doing it before they get into the ice. I [01:00:05] get that as an experience and I’m trying to be balanced here. That will [01:00:10] psych you up for something like an ice bath. It’ll get you going, it’ll get you charged up, fired up and [01:00:15] go, I can do this just.

Speaker4: Quick and out and out and out. Is that what you mean by hyperventilation? Yes.

Speaker1: So [01:00:20] the Wim Hof breath would be. You’re really stimulating yourself. [01:00:25] I think that is the worst possible way you could breathe before an ice bath. Before? Yeah.

Speaker3: What about when you’re. [01:00:30]

Speaker1: In it during? Because actually, let’s take us through a process of getting into an ice bath for a normal person. [01:00:35] You step up towards the ice bath. Anticipation nerves. Your [01:00:40] breathing rate increases, your heart rate increases. You start to go into this fight flight response. [01:00:45] If you then hyperventilate, you’re going to put gas on a fire. And so [01:00:50] we want to breathe slowly. We want to regulate that nervous anxious response so that you’re more [01:00:55] calm getting into it. So slow your breathing down. Extend the exhale. Then when it comes to getting in, as you [01:01:00] perfectly described Rona, we get this natural innate gasp reflex that happens [01:01:05] for everybody. When you get into the cold, it will try and steal your breath, shoot it up right [01:01:10] into the upper chest and make you pant and gasp. So all we do. And this is how my [01:01:15] protocol for ice baths slow your breath down before, as you get ready to get in, take three [01:01:20] big clearing breaths like. On your fourth breath, [01:01:25] take a full inhale, hold at the top and as you step in and lower down, exhale [01:01:30] as slowly as gently as you can. And then your goal is to stay [01:01:35] with this slower breath as you can in through the nose, out of the mouth for the first 30 to 60s [01:01:40] the the test for me of how well someone can regulate themselves in the [01:01:45] face of stress is how well they can regulate their breath in an ice bath. So if you [01:01:50] can regulate your breathing, you’re able to regulate that shock response, that stress response. You’re able to stay [01:01:55] in for a little bit longer. Um, and the more you can slow your breath down, the better an [01:02:00] experience it’s going to be. You see people getting in, they’ve hyperventilated before they get in, and they’re hyperventilating [01:02:05] while they’re in there, and they come out and they might feel buzzed. They might feel alive and energised. [01:02:10] Talk to me in two hours and they’ll be knackered. They’ll [01:02:15] be drained, they’ll be withered.

Speaker3: And what’s the what about, what’s your thoughts on like the different protocols [01:02:20] of like then go from like that to a sauna or the other way around. Do you think there is, is there [01:02:25] evidence that there’s benefits to doing it with a sauna? And which way round is better for sure.

Speaker1: So sauna is [01:02:30] another, um, hormetic stressor, um, less acute, less direct than the [01:02:35] ice, but a really, I love the sauna. Me too. Arguably more than I.

Speaker3: I’m happy in the heat. I’m very happy [01:02:40] in the heat. So the heat is great.

Speaker1: It’s a great heart health number one for me, from a sauna perspective, [01:02:45] I mental clarity is just I get all of my best ideas in the sauna. [01:02:50] Um, but heart health, increasing circulation through the heat. Um, and it’s just really, [01:02:55] really well documented for cardiovascular health, um, in terms of use of ice and heat together. [01:03:00] Um, always the disclaimer around just safety and blood pressure is changing [01:03:05] a lot when you’re in the ice and when you’re in a sauna going in opposite, opposite directions. And people can have [01:03:10] quite negative experiences of significant drops in blood pressure if they’re moving too quickly between [01:03:15] the two and sort of recklessly between the two. That being said, if [01:03:20] I have an hour in our studio in Fulham downstairs, um, I will regularly do [01:03:25] 15 minutes in the sauna once two minute break outside of the sauna, [01:03:30] 90s to two minutes in the ice, 2 or 3 times through that kind of [01:03:35] protocol, which is a really great just stress resilience and recovery protocol. [01:03:40] It just I just I love it, it makes me feel great. But the key to this [01:03:45] conversation of any use of sauna, but particularly ice baths, is helping [01:03:50] people understand their own nervous system. So if you are someone you’re walking into a room [01:03:55] with an ice bath and you’ve had a really anxious, really stressful day, and I think [01:04:00] very carefully before you get into an ice bath, because you’re going to put a huge amount of stress on your already stressed.

Speaker1: System for [01:04:05] some people, and this is where we need to learn to to think for ourselves ultimately and take personal [01:04:10] responsibility for some people that will take the edge off their anxiety, because that’s just how [01:04:15] their system works. But for the majority of us, I would say you need to be able to listen to your own [01:04:20] nervous system and know how you’re going to dose the thing that you’re about to do accordingly. [01:04:25] So I’ll have days. I love an ice bath. I love the sauna. If I’m super wired, [01:04:30] super stressed, even if I want to get into the ice, I won’t get into the ice because [01:04:35] I don’t need that additional stress. And when I first discovered breathwork, one of the first [01:04:40] things I came to was the Wim Hof method. I was still struggling a lot with anxiety and [01:04:45] it made my anxiety worse. Now it sounds a little bit like I’m just slating the Wim Hof method. [01:04:50] It’s helped so many people. It’s a great pro, it’s.

Speaker3: Stressful for me.

Speaker1: It’s [01:04:55] highly stressful and it’s always presented as a cure all. If you’ve got [01:05:00] anxiety, do this and it will work.

Speaker3: But like you said, when you’re in a state of anxiety, my physiological state [01:05:05] is so stumped and so paralysed, the last thing I can do is like start doing things [01:05:10] like that. I need something to create calm. The breathwork space is obviously been [01:05:15] incredible and I really want to know what do you think the future of breathwork is? Because obviously, [01:05:20] you know, you’ve also done some incredible things on like TikTok, Instagram, everything like that. You see more in people emerging [01:05:25] in this space. But what do you see the future as a future?

Speaker1: Um, I [01:05:30] see a bright future, but I, I can [01:05:35] come through with sort of the, not the bearer of bad news, but just with a slightly more, [01:05:40] I hope, realistic lens for this work, which is, um, you could say [01:05:45] this about a lot of fields and how they’re presented on social media, but, um, as [01:05:50] people flood to breathwork, I think that’s happening because it’s very accessible and it is very powerful. And [01:05:55] we’re seeing that in the research. And the anecdotal evidence is that it has for myself, for [01:06:00] thousands of people I’ve worked with, had a very positive impact. That being said, [01:06:05] I will never, ever operate in the realm of absolute, so I will never say it works for everybody. I will never say it will always, [01:06:10] you know, it will cure your anxiety, it will do this. It will do that because that would be dishonest. [01:06:15] Ultimately, I think it can play a very pivotal, key role in the overall [01:06:20] support of the of society in how we regulate our nervous systems, [01:06:25] how we tap into rest, how we find more balance. The space itself is [01:06:30] growing so quickly that we are due a reset. I think there’s a bubble that will burst at some point. [01:06:35] Um, you’re getting people misrepresenting things, running poor, [01:06:40] poor certifications, poor trainings, um, that are, [01:06:45] you know, I trained for, for from a conscious connected breathwork therapeutic breathwork perspective for [01:06:50] six months, part time. Um, and there are now trainings that you can do purely online that you get [01:06:55] a certification after a day.

Speaker1: It’s a very unregulated space, a little bit like life coaching. [01:07:00] There’s a lot of people doing a lot of good, but there’s also people looking to make a huge amount of money, as [01:07:05] with anything in capitalism. So I think this for me, for anybody listening, [01:07:10] is not a case of don’t buy the hype about breathwork because I think it is amazing and [01:07:15] I think there’s so much good to be done, so much good that can be gained. But it’s [01:07:20] a buyer beware thing. It’s, you know, look into the facilitator, the practitioner [01:07:25] who you’re going to be working with, look at their credentials, their certifications and [01:07:30] look to them as a person. I think the difference that I’ve seen, you know, [01:07:35] five years ago, getting into this space, there was such a small group of practitioners, [01:07:40] I could have counted them on one hand, and everybody knew everybody, and it was all people who had [01:07:45] either been in this space for a very long time or who similar to me. It had such a profound [01:07:50] impact on personally that we felt compelled to share it. You’re now getting people, and I see this across wellness [01:07:55] as a whole, coming into this space, because they think they’re going to make money and actually in [01:08:00] a service led, purpose led, um, practice where you’re supporting people, where it’s therapeutic. [01:08:05] Ultimately, that won’t fly.

Speaker3: You know what, you say that, right? But I was [01:08:10] really shocked because about ten years ago, I had a couple of yoga instructors as clients. And [01:08:15] I always thought anybody that goes into yoga is surely a very like conscious human [01:08:20] being with really great, like morals and values. And actually, I was totally shocked to find [01:08:25] that wasn’t the case. And I think I was naive to believe that when someone dedicates their life to [01:08:30] practices that have been built out of healing, they’re all like that. But as you said, like capitalism, now [01:08:35] I have a really sour my taste. I really don’t like yoga, like I.

Speaker4: Know what it is. There’s a lot of fuckery. [01:08:40]

Speaker3: Yeah, there is.

Speaker4: There is around wellness. But when you.

Speaker3: Say it won’t fly, it will fly [01:08:45] because there’s loads of.

Speaker4: Alienation, right? I mean, there’s a lot of bullshit out there. There’s. [01:08:50]

Speaker1: And this is what makes me sad is that, um, we say buyer beware, but I think [01:08:55] people are can be easily led when they’re looking.

Speaker3: For something vulnerable.

Speaker1: When they’re vulnerable and looking for support, [01:09:00] they will turn to someone who is saying the right things. And that is where that. That is why I think the bubble [01:09:05] will at some point burst, because I think and there are things that are known in the breathwork world and [01:09:10] that haven’t quite gone because it’s not quite big enough yet of, you know, long standing [01:09:15] practitioners who have had cases brought against them for misconduct, you know. Yeah, there’s there’s [01:09:20] some there’s not a huge amount, but I think there will be more because people are vulnerable. People [01:09:25] are being put into vulnerable states, all the states of consciousness. And I do think there [01:09:30] will be, as with everything, because humanity has a shadow collectively and individually, [01:09:35] there will be more that comes to the surface. Absolutely.

Speaker4: Yeah. But you know, the nature of [01:09:40] social and algorithms. I mean, in our space, we’ve got a company [01:09:45] who makes a teeth whitening product that doesn’t whiten teeth. Um, but they [01:09:50] turn over half $1 billion a year. Oh, I know what you’re talking about.

Speaker3: The TikTok brand.

Speaker4: Yeah, [01:09:55] and the purple.

Speaker1: The purple one.

Speaker4: Yeah, but you know, now, by the way, we shouldn’t [01:10:00] as dentists, we sort of we measure the colour of teeth and we’re and we have to remember when someone’s [01:10:05] buying that and using that. It’s not necessarily looking for what me and you are looking [01:10:10] for. Yeah. Because it’s the execution is actually very good on those products. Right. They taste good. [01:10:15] They feel good. They click. Well, you know, a lot of times when you use makeup or whatever, you know, it’s [01:10:20] it’s all of that you’re buying into, you’re buying into all of that.

Speaker3: You’re buying into the experience.

Speaker4: But what my point is the [01:10:25] truth doesn’t always out.

Speaker1: Mhm. Yeah I would, I would agree with you on that as well I [01:10:30] think um yeah I think it’s going to be a very interesting time for the space. There’s, I [01:10:35] tell you the biggest thing that I see at the moment and it’s each to their own, but um, [01:10:40] particularly with these transformative kind of deeper modalities of breathwork, the experience can be very [01:10:45] emotional, very cathartic, can be quite physical. I’ve had people in sessions before where if you’re from [01:10:50] the outside looking in, you’d be like, that person is having an exorcism. You know, they’re vibrating, they’re shaking, they’re [01:10:55] releasing. I’ve seen it in Jamie’s classes. That is part of it. But [01:11:00] what we see on social media, from accounts that have blown up as a result of this kind of content, because [01:11:05] it’s how social works, um, real up close and personal videos [01:11:10] of experiences like that. And I call it catharsis porn because it’s just promoting this, [01:11:15] like arguably quite unrealistic expectation of what a breathwork experience will be. [01:11:20] And it can be off putting for people because they’re like, I’m scared of that. It can set people’s expectations [01:11:25] too high because they’re like, I need that, and I this is where [01:11:30] I know I sometimes shoot myself in the foot from a, particularly [01:11:35] from a social perspective, but from a marketing perspective more broadly, because I think I [01:11:40] personally believe and other people are entitled to their opinion that we as practitioners have a duty of responsibility [01:11:45] in how we talk about these things, how we promote these things, the language we use, the [01:11:50] expectations we set, and really just holding yourself accountable for to. And [01:11:55] I think a lot of these people believe their own hype. Right. And so they don’t think they’re lying. They [01:12:00] don’t think they get into a state.

Speaker3: You know, it’s like cognitive dissonance. They start really like [01:12:05] believing the things that they say. And I genuinely think and we talked already about [01:12:10] I was telling Payman about on another podcast about how I went to go see The Picture of Dorian Grey, and [01:12:15] it was the best production I’ve ever seen. It was incredible. She got a standing ovation by the entire theatre [01:12:20] was Sarah Snook that played 26 roles. But the point is, nothing’s actually changed. And they were really clever because [01:12:25] when she looked in the mirror, she turned into all the filters on Instagram and was like loving her [01:12:30] own appearance as Dorian. And I was like, but that’s it. Like people love. There’s this, like, self-congratulatory [01:12:35] thing. And especially if a video goes viral on Instagram, you’re like, I have to keep [01:12:40] living this lie. There was a documentary.

Speaker4: Sometimes the genius is in the storytelling. [01:12:45]

Speaker3: Yeah, 100%.

Speaker4: But some people have that genius. Doesn’t mean they necessarily [01:12:50] know about breath. Yeah, but they know how to tell a story about breath.

Speaker3: Yeah, but I think it’s that transparency, [01:12:55] because even some of the most notorious podcasts that are out there at the moment are getting a lot of backlash. I’m not [01:13:00] going to name any names, but they’re getting backlash because also, um, they are bringing [01:13:05] on experts that don’t are not actually good enough to like, comment. [01:13:10] So, for example, recently a big podcaster got hate because he’s getting scientists to comment [01:13:15] on diet. And the nutritionists out there are like, no, but that’s wrong because the scientist would be like, I’m happy you’re [01:13:20] better off drinking like a glass of full fat Coke instead of some orange juice from a sugar perspective. [01:13:25] But the point is, the nutritionist like, but we’re not just looking at sugar content calorie. We’re looking at like [01:13:30] other things as well. So again, I’ve always said this to you like nuanced thinking is becoming [01:13:35] less and less and polarising content is becoming more and more, and that’s creating more and [01:13:40] more division. And we’re not seeing it just on social media opinions we’re seeing even in politics. How does someone like [01:13:45] Trump rise to the top polarising, you know, Brexit, polarising? Do you see what I [01:13:50] mean? And that’s the problem because it’s the nuanced thinking that is going to divide us.

Speaker1: It’s my least [01:13:55] favourite thing about social media and arguably the world, because it is [01:14:00] robbing people. They’re allowed, people are allowing. Themselves to be robbed of personal [01:14:05] responsibility. They want to be told what to think. So [01:14:10] someone comes to me. Will breathwork cure my anxiety? I’ll go. [01:14:15] I’ll give you a full, balanced, nuanced answer that says it depends on the root cause. [01:14:20] It depends on x, y, z. They don’t want to know. And they’re like, oh, I just wanted to [01:14:25] hear yes, yes. And it’s the same like I the big podcast that [01:14:30] I do name, not normally in these conversations, but.

Speaker3: You know what I’m talking about. Yeah. Oh [01:14:35] absolutely.

Speaker1: Diary of a CEO. So, um, there is, [01:14:40] there is a breathwork episode by with a guy called James Nester, who has [01:14:45] written arguably the pivotal book in the breathwork space. A fantastic book has done so [01:14:50] much for this space, and he’s a fantastic writer and a fantastic advocate for this work. [01:14:55] However, that podcast creates circumstances for people [01:15:00] where they say things that if you really again dig into the weeds, you go, I can see [01:15:05] how he’s got there, but there’s so much more to it. And again, I think there’s a duty of responsibility [01:15:10] to say to present a fuller picture. So his big one is, you know, 99% [01:15:15] of the population have dysfunctional breathing. I get what he means. But if [01:15:20] we’re talking about diagnosed dysfunctional breathing, it’s closer to 35%. What he actually means is that the remaining [01:15:25] 64% of those could be breathing better. We as a population could be breathing [01:15:30] better. But to sit there outright and say 99% of the population have dysfunctional breathing [01:15:35] is it creates fear in people. The thing is, when.

Speaker4: You’re an expert in anything, you [01:15:40] can critique in a different way.

Speaker3: I mean, I got hate recently. He knows.

Speaker4: This. Yeah, [01:15:45] but but but it’s just the nature, I think when you’re an expert in something, then whatever, when [01:15:50] when you see someone else talking about that, you can, you can pick holes in it because you’re the expert in that [01:15:55] thing I’m quite interested in. It’s obvious just looking at you. It’s obvious you’re in a place of [01:16:00] sort of authenticity, and you seem very comfortable in this space. What do [01:16:05] your previous peers think of you now? Some of them, not understandably. Someone going from a tech [01:16:10] Start-Up business to to this.

Speaker1: It brings up interesting [01:16:15] things for me because I have learned a lesson in myself, arguably [01:16:20] the hard way, over the last couple of years, which is that I social [01:16:25] media played a role in this. My work played a role in this. I, I lived as my [01:16:30] what I used to call breathwork Jamie, which was the persona that I was presenting on [01:16:35] social, the version of me that showed up in my work, which is a real version of me, but it’s not all of me. [01:16:40] And actually, um, I still have friends from my last company that I worked at, my friends [01:16:45] from university. We talk about it, um, [01:16:50] but I would say, actually, there’s a, a version of me, a part of me, um, [01:16:55] that really values not being this, this version of me all the time. [01:17:00] Yeah. I’m able to a bit like what you were saying in terms of the people we meet in London, the network [01:17:05] we have, we’ve got to.

Speaker3: You’ve got.

Speaker1: You. It’s not inauthentic. And I had this a really long conversation [01:17:10] with an amazing musician, very famous musician, about this the other day is not [01:17:15] inauthentic to show up differently in different circumstances. You think [01:17:20] you go home for Christmas, you see your family. That’s a different version of you to the one that goes out on a night out [01:17:25] with your friends that’s not inauthentic. That is different parts of you showing up at different times and parts.

Speaker3: Work is [01:17:30] so pivotal to that. Parts work. Yeah, parts work helps you accept. So I did a lot [01:17:35] with Ella. Ella is my therapist has come on here as well. So it’s like we all have different parts of ourself. And then you basically [01:17:40] when you work with a therapist for example, you see those different parts of yourself, you observe those parts of yourself [01:17:45] and you actually don’t judge parts of yourself. But in some sessions I was also the judge. And that makes [01:17:50] you kind of more accepting to things, and it doesn’t make you try to change so fundamentally who [01:17:55] you are, because we’re always. When I first met Jamie, for example, I was literally like, I have to put in the [01:18:00] work because I have to be this thing. You know, I met Jamie and Louis and all these people, and I [01:18:05] was like, I need to be them. They’re like the beacon of knowledge, and they’re like living and breathing [01:18:10] this, like, wellness thing. And I was like, but then I’m like this established dentist with this. [01:18:15] And I was like, where am I? And then, like, parts work made me realise, like, there are different [01:18:20] parts to myself. And look, don’t get me wrong, I have often thought to myself is the only way to find that [01:18:25] true happiness. To quit it all, sell my practice, move to Costa Rica, live with those jungle [01:18:30] people in this beautiful retreat. Do you know what I mean? And the hummingbird. And then I realised that, you [01:18:35] know, you don’t have to.

Speaker1: It’s awareness and acceptance. Like there’s a big piece of this with this part [01:18:40] stuff. Because I remember I went for dinner with some friends of mine that I used to work with, um, and [01:18:45] I was this was a couple of years ago, and I can have a very dark sense of humour, [01:18:50] and I made this very dark joke a bit close to the line. And one of the guys who I’ve known for a really [01:18:55] long time, he’s a great guy, turned to me and goes, that’s not very on brand. And my heart sank [01:19:00] because that was my that was of my own making, because. I, in [01:19:05] every aspect of my life, was trying to show up as breathwork. Jamie. I was trying to be, you know, present [01:19:10] and calm, balanced and namaste and a bit woo woo. And I [01:19:15] have that side to me. You know, I can draw a tarot card and really get into it. I can have a conversation at [01:19:20] a plant medicine experience and really go into that with someone. And I can also go and watch a rugby match with [01:19:25] my mate, drink a couple of beers, swear a bit. You know, all of these aspects, you know, it’s not a great example. [01:19:30] But yeah, that to me is that to me is authenticity.

Speaker1: Isn’t [01:19:35] it acknowledgement that I’m so, so multifaceted and there’s so many [01:19:40] different parts to me that can show up in different ways when they’re brought out of me by different people. You know, [01:19:45] I’ve always viewed myself as adaptable, but I don’t even think it’s that. It’s just I there’s [01:19:50] a self behind the identity. There is a pure awareness, present awareness [01:19:55] of self that has values, that has, um, an [01:20:00] understanding of the world and how I operate and an energy. And then [01:20:05] there are the layers and the masks that get stacked up on top of that. You know, I was the rugby player, [01:20:10] I was the tech guy, I was the business founder, I was the breathwork guy. I was [01:20:15] the the healer, the therapist. All of these things and all of those have been true at different points. And [01:20:20] it’s actually in trying to reject those. And I was writing the other day about this notion of [01:20:25] if your personal development journey is contingent upon an old self that you are [01:20:30] trying to run away from, then you will continue to suffer just in a different form because that is rejection [01:20:35] of parts. I tried for a very long time to run away from [01:20:40] any kind of entrepreneurial nature, any kind of businessman, any kind of drive, [01:20:45] any kind of ambition, because I thought that hurt me previously, but [01:20:50] that wasn’t what was hurting me previously.

Speaker1: And actually in the last year, and part of what I was saying at the top around my [01:20:55] ambition for this business has come as a result of reintegrating and re [01:21:00] accepting those parts of myself that are driven, that are ambitious, that love big [01:21:05] picture business, creative thinking and being entrepreneurial. And how can I [01:21:10] quite powerfully integrate that with the spiritual, with the emotional, [01:21:15] with the vulnerable and those two together? To me, that lights me up when those two parts of me are aligned, [01:21:20] when I’m in my vulnerability and my authenticity. And I’m also coming up with this huge [01:21:25] idea of where I want to take this business, I feel my best, rather than thinking [01:21:30] it has to be either or, rather than if I’m spiritual. I can’t be ambitious, I can’t want this. I [01:21:35] can’t like material things, all of that stuff. And that’s different for everybody. And [01:21:40] often the judgement that shows up in us is actually a judgement. It’s our shadow. You know, if there’s [01:21:45] a part of me that triggers you, you’re that’s a part of yourself that you are pushing [01:21:50] away and rejecting. Yeah.

Speaker3: And I get that a lot in dentistry. It’s like you can’t be glamorous, fashionable [01:21:55] and creative and then be the science person that’s going to be, like, taken seriously.

Speaker4: Exactly. [01:22:00] That was a beautiful monologue, man.

Speaker3: Thank you. Yeah, I love it. Look, he’s so touched. So, [01:22:05] Jamie, I could literally sit and talk to you for, like, hours and hours. And I want [01:22:10] to end on a note of for those people. And we’ve talked about this before, for those people, especially [01:22:15] dentistry, with being such a, um, stressful career, how can they integrate [01:22:20] very simple breathwork that’s realistic into their daily routine or even [01:22:25] during their time in the dental practice? You know, there’s.

Speaker4: Times Mark was talking about every time we’ve got [01:22:30] this light that makes the cures the filling material. It’s like 20s. [01:22:35] And she was saying she breathe through it. She was saying, every time you push that button, breathe, breathe for that 20s. [01:22:40] And it’s such a brilliant idea because dentists are doing that.

Speaker3: 20 [01:22:45] times a day, 20 times a day.

Speaker4: 20 times a day regulating your breath.

Speaker3: Yeah, but let’s give us a tip.

Speaker1: I’d be really curious [01:22:50] to see if you remember this, because I use you as an example all the time. Um, because [01:22:55] it was a conversation I had with you when we were doing the 1 to 1 work, and you asked me a very similar [01:23:00] question, like, how do I actually make this stick? Like, how does this come into my life? And I said [01:23:05] in the, in the clinic between every client, yeah, you did two, three minutes. Slow [01:23:10] your breath down, don’t scroll, don’t have a chat. Stop, pause and breathe. [01:23:15] And that has now become I always talk about my old client and friend, this dentist [01:23:20] that I worked with. I presented her this example of of basically breathing breaks and actually [01:23:25] making use of the dead time. I was in a cab on the way here, stuck in traffic. I’d [01:23:30] been busy, I was doing a few emails, and I was like, actually, no. I want to feel quite calm and present coming into this. [01:23:35] I’m going to do five minutes of slow, steady breathing. So for me, that applies in every [01:23:40] aspect of life. You know, in between meetings, in between calls [01:23:45] on the tube. This is so beautifully accessible and as a [01:23:50] result, pivotal because you’ve got no excuse. You don’t have to. It’s great if you can. [01:23:55] And if you do, sit down, carve out ten 15 minutes in the morning throughout the day, sit in [01:24:00] your lotus pose and do your breath work.

Speaker1: Fantastic. Really? For practice, because you’re cultivating that [01:24:05] additional stillness and creating time for yourself, that it becomes infinitely easier [01:24:10] if your nervous system is regulated. If your nervous system is dysregulating, you’re in overdrive. Carving [01:24:15] out that time is going to feel impossible. So start small. Build it up. Compound. As you said, [01:24:20] pushing that button so many times a day. If you breathe through every single one of those for 20s, [01:24:25] you’re going to build up some some compound interest. And that to me is the power because you’re redirecting. [01:24:30] You’re taking yourself off autopilot. And that to me is is at the core of my business [01:24:35] at the moment is creating tools and techniques and experiences [01:24:40] to take people off autopilot, because that is where things get tricky. That’s where we burn out, that’s where [01:24:45] we face challenges, and that’s where we can come back to actually this vicious versus virtuous cycle [01:24:50] of autonomy. Self-actualisation creating your own reality [01:24:55] or living on autopilot, burning out, realising too late that you’ve burnt out. Resetting [01:25:00] the dial, going again. Yeah. Um, so yeah, that would be the biggest one, I think, for, for people [01:25:05] listening to this is where in your day, as it currently stands, can you integrate this [01:25:10] rather than trying to change how your day is playing out? And funnily enough, if you can do that, [01:25:15] you will change the way that your day plays out.

Speaker3: Yeah, I love that so much. You can find Jamie. As I said, [01:25:20] um, the breath space on Instagram and TikTok. Is that your TikTok handle or is it?

Speaker1: No, I’m so [01:25:25] lazy with TikTok. I have to be honest, I.

Speaker3: Love his TikToks, actually. Um, but thank you so [01:25:30] much. It’s been so incredible and as always, so inspiring. I’ve never seen Payman get emotional, [01:25:35] so we know that we’ve done well here. Fantastic. Yeah. Thank you so much. Thank you, thank you. [01:25:40]

Pete Niesiolowski provides a glimpse into a dental journey that has taken him from the UK to Australia, and back.

Pete discusses life down under, the challenges of transitioning from NHS to private care, and thoughts on the overlap between implant provision and cosmetic dentistry.

Enjoy! 

 

01.20 – Backstory

15.20 –  NHS to private practice

21.15 – Australia

27.00 –  Discovering cosmetic dentistry

29.30 – Practice ownership

31.30 – Implant journey, training and experience

51.15 – Blackbox thinking

01.13.20 – Fantasy dinner party

01.07.30 – Thoughts on the future

 

About Pete Niesiolowski

Dr Pete Niesiolowski graduated from King’s College London in 1997 with his bachelor of dental surgery degree. He has worked in general dental practice for over two decades, including eight years running a practice in Australia.

Speaker1: But Hackney, that’s what Hackney used to be like. It was not mental health, not essential. But [00:00:05] we had the Homerton, the um, hospital. There was a lot of them there. And so we used to see a lot of patients like [00:00:10] that. Yeah, just strange ones. I had a patient propose to me once. Didn’t [00:00:15] that happen all the time? No, no. Again, that was in Hackney.

Speaker2: This [00:00:20] is Dental. Leaders. The [00:00:25] podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. [00:00:30] Your hosts [00:00:35] Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

Speaker1: It gives me great pleasure to welcome [00:00:40] Doctor Pete Nikolovski to the podcast. Pete, you’re, um, kind of under the radar [00:00:45] kind of guy. That’s actually why I wanted you on this. This pod. Because [00:00:50] your work is wonderful. I look at your your work all the time. It [00:00:55] gets sort of. You get a feeling sometimes when something’s so natural and [00:01:00] yet you’re not out there. Um. Very much. And, um, I wanted to. To meet you, [00:01:05] to tell you the truth is to go through all of that. And I’m sure there’s loads of people who’ll be interested in you. [00:01:10] Um, Pete works at Dental now, but we’ve come across each other at [00:01:15] Sardinia House as well. Um, we generally tend to start with, um, backstory, [00:01:20] where we born. What kind of kid were you? That sort of stuff. Right. Yeah. I was actually [00:01:25] born up the road from here. Um, probably 500m away. Belsize Park? Yes, literally. [00:01:30] Um, there was a maternity hospital. No longer there. Now it’s a block of flats, but, [00:01:35] yeah, 1973. That’s where I popped into the world. Yeah. What kind of kid were you? There’ll [00:01:40] be two stories about that. There’s my version and my parents version. I think I [00:01:45] was a good kid. My parents disagree. Yeah, they think, um, they think it was quite naughty. [00:01:50] But, uh, I think I worked hard, I think I was generally pretty good myself. So [00:01:55] brothers and sisters, one younger brother, three and a half years younger.

Speaker1: Mhm. Um, [00:02:00] we get on all right. He’s okay. And your parents are Polish. [00:02:05] You tell me. Yeah. Dad. Um, dad was born here. Um, he [00:02:10] came over. Well, he he was born here. His parents came over during the war. Um, after [00:02:15] the war, um, and then my mum was born over in Poland. She came over here in 71 [00:02:20] when she married my father. And were there any dentists in the family or anything? Why? Dentistry. No [00:02:25] dentists in the family. But my dad, um, basically, my [00:02:30] dad got terrible career advice when he was younger, and he didn’t [00:02:35] want me to have the same problems as he had when he was in his 20s. He went into chemistry because [00:02:40] he liked chemistry, and there was no one in his family or at school or anywhere, [00:02:45] it seemed, that could tell him that chemistry is a really shit career. And as soon as you [00:02:50] have a family, chemistry is not going to pay the bills. So he wanted me to get into something that a [00:02:55] I liked, b I was good at, and c ultimately would be a career for life where I could support my family. [00:03:00] So what did your dad end up doing? He ended up doing having his own company. [00:03:05] Um, so he did chemistry for a bit. But then when my brother and myself were born, that that [00:03:10] went. So he then worked in sales for a bit and about 30 [00:03:15] odd years ago set up his own company doing drug trials.

Speaker1: Um, so, you know, medical testing [00:03:20] if something works or if something doesn’t, you should put me in touch with him. Is he still working? No. He retired a few [00:03:25] years ago. Having to do a bunch of those right now. Oh, really? Yeah. [00:03:30] Um, so what were you thinking of? Any other career choice [00:03:35] other than dentistry? Yeah, a stunt man. No, [00:03:40] no. I’m joking. Um, no no, no international DJ yeah, yeah. Um, [00:03:45] no. From the age of 14. Dentistry. It was why, though? I [00:03:50] liked. I’ve always liked science. I’ve always liked medical things. I’ve always liked artistic stuff. Working with my [00:03:55] hands. They’re the cliche answers that you give at dental school for the interview, aren’t they? Yeah, but they’re [00:04:00] true. And I wanted what my dad wanted for me, which was a career for. For life. [00:04:05] Something I could travel with, something, you know, security. And were you the top [00:04:10] of your class kind of kid? That that at school? Yeah. Not far off it at [00:04:15] dental school. Closer to the at the bottom end. I [00:04:20] failed my second year. Um, um, because I discovered, [00:04:25] um, university life was quite a lot of fun in most cases, certainly in the first few years. [00:04:30] And did you grow up around Belsize Park as well? No, no. Um, north London. Barnet. [00:04:35] Um, did you did you not think of leaving London for university? No, I [00:04:40] quite like London. Yeah, I know there’s there’s a lot more apart from London in this country, [00:04:45] but I’ve always really liked it and I wanted to study there.

Speaker1: And at the time King’s was, [00:04:50] I think, number one rated dental school in the country. And I quite liked the idea of [00:04:55] going there. So. But then did you live away or what did you do? No, I actually lived at home. [00:05:00] So would you give your son or daughter that same advice to do that? Because I wouldn’t. [00:05:05] The same advice to stay at home and study. Yeah, yeah. I mean, I know that it limits them [00:05:10] in some respects, but financially it turned out to be a good thing because I didn’t leave dental school with huge bills. [00:05:15] Um, and ultimately, knowing the way I was behaving myself, it probably, [00:05:20] probably helped me to pass my exams. So I’ve got my son. My son’s in A-levels [00:05:25] now. Yeah. And he wants to be do engineering, right. And we live well. [00:05:30] He goes to school in South Kensington and Imperial College is it’s like [00:05:35] a ten second walk from his school, and loads of his friends are going to [00:05:40] go there. They’re going to try and get in there. And I’m telling him, look, come on, you’re going to live another [00:05:45] dimension of your life. Now, that said, when I, when I, when I was at your stage, [00:05:50] uh, looking well when, when we’re doing A-levels, I also wanted to stay in London. [00:05:55] Didn’t get the grades.

Speaker1: Ended up in Cardiff. Um, so I understand the sentiment. [00:06:00] Like every 17, 18 year old thinks they know it. All right, so I thought I knew it all. [00:06:05] I had my friends in London, I knew what London was about. But leaving was wonderful. Like the whole [00:06:10] dimension of Cardiff and all the people I met there and everything. Um, so [00:06:15] now I’m giving my son the advice. I’m saying don’t even put Imperial down as one of the choices. I mean, it’s one of the best [00:06:20] universities in the world, though, isn’t it? Yeah, yeah, yeah. But you know, the experience of university and more than [00:06:25] the education, right? I mean, I think I got that anyway because I went to [00:06:30] an all boys school. Um, which one, which one? Um, Finchley. Okay. In uh in Finchley. Yeah. [00:06:35] Um, and so I hung out with all boys, went [00:06:40] to the pub with all boys. There was a girls school up the road. Occasionally we had a little fling with one of them, but it was all, [00:06:45] you know, boys, boys, boys, boys, boys. Yeah, all from that area, all from the same backgrounds. [00:06:50] And then I went to university and suddenly there was people from everywhere. There was, there was girls [00:06:55] and lots of them, and there was, there was guys from all over the country, different backgrounds [00:07:00] everywhere, different countries, all studying different things. So it was really, really an eye opener. [00:07:05] That’s kind of where I found myself.

Speaker1: And that’s even though I was in London, I still feel that [00:07:10] I got a really good experience there for certainly for, for that aspect of [00:07:15] things. So, so I went to a boys school and, um, I’d class [00:07:20] girls as Martians. Back then they were a bit. Yeah. I used to think. I [00:07:25] used to think that if you were got managed to get a girl to kiss you, you’d have [00:07:30] to fool her into it. You know what I mean? Like that. That that’s how little we understood. [00:07:35] I still do, I still do now. I have [00:07:40] to get my wife drunk. That’s happening. But. But again, my advice [00:07:45] to my kids, or what I wanted for my kids, wasn’t that I wanted them in a mixed school. Yeah. How do you feel [00:07:50] about that? My kids are in mixed school. Are probably an active decision. Probably. [00:07:55] Probably. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tell me about it. They’re both very comfortable now with boys [00:08:00] and girls. Exactly. They can talk to them and they don’t get all embarrassed about it. Exactly. Whereas we were like, shit, [00:08:05] it’s a girl. Yeah. What are we gonna do? Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I think it’s a good decision. [00:08:10] Do they go to the same school? Yeah. Nice. Nice. Um, tell me about your Dental school experience. [00:08:15] Um. It was good at first. A [00:08:20] lot of fun. Um, but I left King’s pretty [00:08:25] bitter about the whole experience. Actually, I really didn’t like it very much.

Speaker1: I found it very cliquey. I [00:08:30] found it really. I mean, they tried to hold me back in my finals for no other [00:08:35] reason than politics. They said I wasn’t a strong enough candidate to pass my [00:08:40] exams, my finals, and they didn’t want me entering in case I didn’t pass. Yeah. Um, [00:08:45] because ultimately there’s a competition between Dental schools to have like the highest [00:08:50] pass rate in particularly with the London ones back in the day. Um, so they, [00:08:55] they fabricated some stuff. Um, they said that I hadn’t passed all my coursework, that I hadn’t [00:09:00] attended enough lectures, all this sort of thing to try and lower my grades. And I had [00:09:05] to argue with them for, for weeks and weeks and weeks just to let you sit, to show [00:09:10] them that I had attended everything that I had passed my coursework. I said, if I haven’t passed my coursework, what’s what [00:09:15] is this? You know, this has been marked, this has passed. I went round to all the heads of department and gradually [00:09:20] sort of managed to win them all over. Found out it was actually the Dean and, [00:09:25] um, one of the other heads of department that had sort of they just didn’t like me for whatever [00:09:30] reason, I don’t know. But I got in. Did the finals passed? No problem at all. But [00:09:35] yeah, I left King’s having um, I’d say not not brilliant thoughts about it, saying I’d [00:09:40] never return.

Speaker1: You know, I didn’t I didn’t ever want to go back there that day [00:09:45] when you leave school and you sort of turn round and emotionally look at the gates, you know, it’s like the end of an [00:09:50] era. King’s last day got my finals, walked out, ran and [00:09:55] what I mean, okay, you were never going to go back to King’s, but did you decide you’re never going to do an exam again? [00:10:00] Did you decide you’re not going to specialise? Nothing like that. No, no I did, it was King’s based. It was King’s. Yeah. [00:10:05] And it was only because of the, the Clickiness. And it was the kind of place, you know, we used to sign [00:10:10] if one of your mates wasn’t going to be in, would sign their name in the register. King’s was the sort of place if [00:10:15] you sign someone’s name and someone saw you, they’d rub it out. You know, the other students, there was just no camaraderie [00:10:20] there at all. No camaraderie. It was it wasn’t a nice place for me. Yeah. I think, you know, [00:10:25] we need to have this conversation more about Dental school, the hierarchy of [00:10:30] that. Um, I’m not sure. I mean, we’re sort of very similar [00:10:35] era, um, but I’m not sure exactly what happens now, [00:10:40] but just based on, you know, the evolution of the course. I mean, I’m quite [00:10:45] interested in the Dental course has not changed much since my day. In your day. Yeah. [00:10:50] And so what that tells me is that maybe the hierarchy thing hasn’t changed much either.

Speaker1: I’m sure [00:10:55] it hasn’t. And, you know, your whole life is in the hands of 1 or 2 people. For personally, [00:11:00] I had A11 altercation with one member of staff in the third year. The [00:11:05] guy made it his mission to make my life hell after that. This is, I think, what probably happened to me as well. [00:11:10] And it was a funny thing. It was, it was it was, uh, on clinic. I took an impression. [00:11:15] I thought it was a fine impression. Showed him he threw it across the clinic, said, this [00:11:20] is rubbish. I took the same impression, took it to another, um, demonstrator, [00:11:25] and he said, yeah, fine. So I carried on, but he saw me do [00:11:30] that and he was not happy about that. Yeah. Um, now my point [00:11:35] is this that one teacher can solidly [00:11:40] affect what happens to you in Dental school and under the guise [00:11:45] of dentists are under pressure. So we’ll put some pressure on the students [00:11:50] to see if they can manage, which probably is real, that there is some of that. I’ve got no problem with that. [00:11:55] Yeah, yeah. But under that guise, some people get an awful experience through dental school [00:12:00] that there’s a degree of abuse in it, you know. Yeah. And I mean some and some of the, the lecturers will [00:12:05] get a little power trip from it as well. Yeah. It’s human nature.

Speaker1: Right. When you put a lot of power [00:12:10] in someone’s hands. Yeah. Um, did you party or did you study? Were you which which [00:12:15] one of those students were you both? Oh, first. First few years party [00:12:20] too much? Yeah. Um, failed my second year. Yeah. Had to reset. Um, [00:12:25] came up with the most fabulous story to get myself back in, which [00:12:30] we won’t go into now. Um, but it involved a lot of lies and deceit. [00:12:35] Um. Um, and then after [00:12:40] that, after after the failure, I sort of my, my career flashed before my eyes or lack of potential [00:12:45] career. And then I, then I buckled down. Then I did actually work quite hard in the clinical years. Mhm. [00:12:50] And did you feel like you took more to the hands on than to the, you know the learning. [00:12:55] Yeah. Completely completely. I mean that’s one thing they don’t emphasise in dental school enough is it. Yeah. [00:13:00] You know it’s actually a hands on career. Does it really matter if you know [00:13:05] what something looks like under a microscope. Does it matter if you can differentiate between different types of [00:13:10] cancer or something that you’re never going to need to use that? But yet we spend months and months learning it. What [00:13:15] they should be teaching is. Be good with your hands. Yeah. You know, I’m [00:13:20] quite interested. I left having not done a bridge prep. I left having not done a surgical extraction. I [00:13:25] left having done, I think, one veneer, this sort of thing.

Speaker1: And then it’s like, well, here you are, Pete. There you are. [00:13:30] Yeah. You’re now a dentist. You’re not. So I’m quite interested in this question of which bits [00:13:35] of the course would you remove and what would you add. Because [00:13:40] someone, someone in your year went on to become an oral pathologist or something. Yeah. And [00:13:45] the basics that he got taught about looking under a microscope for dysplasia [00:13:50] or whatever were important to that. Now, should the whole course have to go [00:13:55] through that, I see, I think not, no, I think it’s not. You’re not getting, [00:14:00] um, a bachelors in pathology. It’s a bachelors in dentistry. Yeah. So [00:14:05] it should be geared towards dentistry. It should be geared towards doing all the [00:14:10] things you do in daily practice. That’s what I think. I mean, I was at a meeting last night and we were talking about [00:14:15] bleaching, teaching of bleaching. Yeah. In dental school. And it literally [00:14:20] has not changed since our day when it was illegal. And if you remember. [00:14:25] Yeah. Um, illegal and, um, or I don’t know about you, I got maybe [00:14:30] one hour on internal bleaching. I don’t think I even got that, to be honest. Yeah. No. And [00:14:35] and yet we get taught. I mean, I think we spent a couple of terms on full dentures [00:14:40] or something, you know? Yeah. Um, and you know what, what the [00:14:45] what what do dentists see or what are the growth areas in, in dentistry right [00:14:50] now? It’s aesthetics, it’s orthodontics, it’s implants.

Speaker1: Yeah. Those sort of three things. [00:14:55] Dental school doesn’t prepare you for any of those. You know, it’s it’s it’s [00:15:00] quite interesting that I think it still prepares you for a, for a life in the NHS, doesn’t it. Yeah. That’s [00:15:05] true. You know, amalgam fillings and dentures. Not for long. Not [00:15:10] for long. Yeah. But yeah that’s right. And they’re not for long. That will be gone soon won’t it. Um, [00:15:15] the dental aspect of the NHS anyway. Yeah. What did you do next. Vte, VTE and [00:15:20] then um, general practice straight away after that. Um NHS for. [00:15:25] Seven, eight years, maybe even longer. [00:15:30] Actually eight years. Yeah. I started I started sort of weaving the, the private into the NHS, [00:15:35] but I was probably pure NHS for five years in Hackney. [00:15:40] Well, which, um, Pre-Olympic regeneration [00:15:45] was one hell of a place to work I bet. Um, we used to see some incredible [00:15:50] things. But really good thing about Hackney. You could actually make mistakes. No [00:15:55] one complained because they wanted to take the tooth out in the first place. That was the thing. We took out so [00:16:00] many teeth in Hackney and they’d come in, they’d, doc, can you take the tooth out? And I’d look at it and go, do you know what? I reckon [00:16:05] I can probably save that one. And if you saved it, you’re the hero. If you couldn’t save [00:16:10] it, it took it out.

Speaker1: That’s what the patient wanted in the first place. So it was a great place to actually learn dentistry. [00:16:15] So interested in this question. I get asked a lot by new young [00:16:20] graduates what they should do next. Yeah. And I think a lot of us give [00:16:25] the advice based on what we did. So if [00:16:30] if if a young dentist asks you now what’s the best thing to do? Would you, would you say, [00:16:35] go and do a few years in the NHS, make your mistakes? Yeah. Learn how to be a dentist because [00:16:40] dental school, as we’ve just discussed, doesn’t really prepare you to be a dentist. Yeah, but why does the why is the [00:16:45] NHS the best place to get further? Uh, because you can make mistakes. Because, well, [00:16:50] you can make fewer mistakes. You can get sorry. You can make more mistakes. You can make in [00:16:55] private. You can’t make mistakes because patients are different in private. But a [00:17:00] strange thing to say really, right. If you really break it down because patients [00:17:05] are patients, patients are humans. I know again, I’m going back to my own experience. No, [00:17:10] I get it. I completely get it. By the way, maybe things are different. I understand exactly what you’re saying. Yeah, [00:17:15] but that the notion that we can make mistakes on NHS patients, but not [00:17:20] on private patients. Let me rephrase that. Let me rephrase it. The expectation is [00:17:25] different. That’s true.

Speaker1: So the standards are different. That’s true. So you can get away [00:17:30] with more. Yeah. Yeah. You may not be as gifted with your hands. The [00:17:35] NHS system will allow you to still practice as a dentist that you may not be able to do private [00:17:40] work so well. So that’s really what I mean. Not mistakes as such, but okay. Exactly. You mean [00:17:45] I might take that one out later? No. I think we all understand what you’re what you’re saying. And it’s [00:17:50] a very common thing. People say, yeah, but I break it down so they. Yeah. Look, I know, I know a [00:17:55] dentist, he hasn’t yet qualified, right? But he’s already got himself [00:18:00] onto a specialist programme in the US. Um, which starts one day after [00:18:05] he qualifies. Yeah. Which is interesting because he’s going to find that very, very, very hard. [00:18:10] Yeah. But in the US their advice is go run towards a speciality [00:18:15] as soon as possible. Okay. Um, and this is why I’m asking because here it’s very sort of [00:18:20] taken wisdom as, yeah, spend 4 or 5 years in the NHS, make [00:18:25] some mistakes, learn what you like and then but it’s not necessarily the the right move for everyone. [00:18:30] No. It’s like taking a gap year isn’t it. Yeah. If you take a gap year quite often people then don’t go to university [00:18:35] afterwards because they’re too much having too much fun in the gap year. Um, whereas the Americans, as you, as you say, [00:18:40] they’re quite geared towards the future straight away work.

Speaker1: Once you’ve got there, [00:18:45] you’re there. What what did you learn from your first couple of bosses? [00:18:50] Because I think who your first couple of bosses are is a real makes a real difference to your [00:18:55] sort of launchpad into the world of work. My first boss, [00:19:00] I probably in Hackney. I probably can’t even remember. I don’t really yeah, I [00:19:05] wasn’t a great experience, just not particularly memorable. I mean, [00:19:10] I stayed there for five years. Yeah. Um, so there must have been. Did you learn what not to do? Because there’s [00:19:15] a lot of that, right? There is a lot of that. How to how not to treat your your team, how not to [00:19:20] whatever the team. Yeah. I mean, I think with the team, it’s always best to try and be friends. Yeah. Um. [00:19:25] Yeah. There’s no point taking your stresses out on your team. [00:19:30] Yeah. At the end of the day, they’re your right hand aren’t they. You can’t you can’t be horrible to them. So I’ve [00:19:35] always tried to be nice to the team. I think if you ask any anyone I’ve ever worked with they’ll probably probably [00:19:40] back that up. Really? Always. Yeah. We go out for drinks. I try to be their friends as well. You know, work [00:19:45] is work, but outside of work we can be mates. That’s. That’s kind of the way I’ve [00:19:50] always tried to do it. When I had my own place.

Speaker1: Um, we kept the same staff for eight years because I [00:19:55] tried to look after them. I think that’s a very important thing. So. Okay, those [00:20:00] first five years of making your errors on the NHS, let’s move on then. What happened next? [00:20:05] Um, then I went into, well, change practice, but it was still predominantly [00:20:10] NHS. But I started putting a little bit of private in, you know, the odd white filling and this sort of thing, [00:20:15] getting very excited about doing posterior composites. Um, and then gradually [00:20:20] as time went on, just more and more private. By the time I got to about [00:20:25] 2007 eight, I was all private at that stage. And that’s I’ve stayed [00:20:30] so coming on for, what, 18, 19 years? Private now that’s still in London, [00:20:35] London. And then I went to Australia for eight years, did private work [00:20:40] in Australia, and then came back here in 2015 and back into private here. [00:20:45] Ah, so tell me the story about Australia. It was, [00:20:50] um, my wife. Yeah. Her idea. She’s Australian. Um, [00:20:55] she. When we got married, she said to me, you. In fact, on my wedding day, I think she said, you’ve [00:21:00] got five years left in London. So would it be good if she said it the day before? Yeah, [00:21:05] that would be nice. But to me it was just a challenge. I thought, all right, well, I’ve got five years to change her mind, [00:21:10] which didn’t work. Um, we went over there in 2007, um, [00:21:15] looking for the better life.

Speaker1: Um, she wanted to have children in Australia. [00:21:20] Where in Queensland. Okay. Yeah, I that were her family or they are, um, [00:21:25] little place called the Gold Coast. Um, south of Brisbane. Um, [00:21:30] yeah, I was, I was resistant, I was reluctant to go because I’d been there on holiday and I really [00:21:35] didn’t like it particularly, but, um, we tried to go to Sydney first but found it very, very difficult [00:21:40] to get a job in Sydney at the time. So, um, ended up on the Gold Coast. You [00:21:45] didn’t like Australia or you didn’t like Brisbane or you didn’t like Gold Coast? I didn’t like the Gold Coast. I probably would [00:21:50] have been quite happy in Sydney because I like cities and Sydney’s. Sydney’s very nice. [00:21:55] But the Gold Coast is, um, it’s it’s a retirement village, basically. Okay. It’s, um, [00:22:00] they call it in Australia. God’s waiting room. Um, God. So, yeah, [00:22:05] it wasn’t for me. Not. Not my kind of place. And you opened your own practice there. Bought one. Bought an existing [00:22:10] one? Yeah. So what’s culturally the difference, like in the Dental [00:22:15] world? Not much. It’s all private, though, right? Yeah. I mean, teeth are [00:22:20] more or less teeth any way you go. And dentistry, I think if you’re if you’re living in and working in a [00:22:25] fairly sort of affluent first world place, I think dentistry is more or less the same, but [00:22:30] so so I speak to distributors.

Speaker1: Yeah. And they say, yeah. When, when, when you, when you [00:22:35] do a course in Australia, all the dentists come and buy everything and they’re into education [00:22:40] more than the dentists here. Really. Okay. Yeah. You didn’t find that. Didn’t find that. No. No. [00:22:45] Not more go getting sort of in the dental way. I don’t think so. I mean, they’re more muscular [00:22:50] than British dentists. They actually they’re actually muscular. You [00:22:55] know, they all go to the gym before work and this sort of thing, which most British dentists don’t do. Uh huh. Um, [00:23:00] but other than that, there’s basically the same. Okay. Yeah. So okay. Then your reflections [00:23:05] on Australia, what was it like? Did you not like it. Yeah. [00:23:10] No, no I didn’t it wasn’t for me. Um, a whole series of things went wrong. There probably [00:23:15] shouldn’t have gone there in the first place. But it was, you know, I did it for my wife. And, [00:23:20] um. Do you not want to expand on that? I’d rather not. You [00:23:25] don’t have to, because she’s going to watch this. She. Yeah. Um. [00:23:30] So what not to do with work? What? The other things. The [00:23:35] things that went wrong. Yeah. I mean, the economy took a massive downturn there when we were there. Oh. [00:23:40] Um, so business went really bad. Um, it happened to be at the same time as interest rates [00:23:45] were very high, etc. more or less. What’s happening here right now? Um, and I was heavily invested [00:23:50] there.

Speaker1: I bought a house, bought a business and ended up almost overgeared. Yeah, [00:23:55] almost ended up going bankrupt, basically. Um, so that will always leave a sour taste [00:24:00] in your mouth. So on reflection, do you feel like you did something you would have done something [00:24:05] differently, like if you, if you had to do it all over again, would you not not buy the [00:24:10] house apart from not going in the first place? Yeah. Um, no, I’d probably go to [00:24:15] Sydney. I would, I would insist on the security of a big city. Yeah. [00:24:20] Um, I just found that the smaller places it was, it was just too tough. Too tough. And do you feel like you [00:24:25] made any errors as far as. First time principal. First time business owner. We all do, right? We [00:24:30] make it. I’m still making massive mistakes. I made massive mistakes today. I [00:24:35] really did. Having you on there. I’m joking. No, I already made my mistakes when I was doing [00:24:40] the NHS. No, no, no, but the business errors, um. I’m sure, of course, of course. [00:24:45] No, but I know. But on reflection, do you think that they were the things that caused this, this business not to be? No, [00:24:50] no. Absolutely not. Um, it was just a massive down. Everyone in the area had the same problems. It’s [00:24:55] macroeconomic. Yeah. I to be honest, I think, I mean, I wasn’t experienced, [00:25:00] but I don’t think I made too many mistakes as a principal because I had the old principal [00:25:05] on hand as an associate.

Speaker1: So he was there also to guide things and stuff. So I don’t think that, no, [00:25:10] I think it was outside of my control. See anyone on paper you’d [00:25:15] imagine, you know, Australia, the coast, on paper, on paper it sounds amazing. [00:25:20] It does, it does. And yet you prefer London I do. Okay. [00:25:25] It’s you go to Australia and everyone thinks the way Australia is sold to you [00:25:30] is sunshine beaches, chilled out and beer. Right. Yeah. Things like that. Yeah. You [00:25:35] go there and as soon as you get there they’re like, don’t go in the sun. Wear [00:25:40] wear factor 50. Whenever you leave the house, wear a hat, wear sunglasses, wear a shirt [00:25:45] and don’t and sit and sit in the shade. So but I came here for the sun. [00:25:50] I was like, are you going to get cancer? So. So don’t go in the sun. So that’s the first myth, you know, it [00:25:55] dispels. You can’t go there and enjoy what you want to go there to, to enjoy [00:26:00] it. Um, then there’s the beer thing, right? Oh, God. It’s [00:26:05] very, very it’s terrible in Australia, the beer itself, the beer is terrible, but it’s [00:26:10] it’s so regulated as well. Like if someone if you’re in a pub and [00:26:15] you decide to go to another pub. They look at you and say, you’ve had a few, haven’t [00:26:20] you? Oh, and they won’t let you in.

Speaker1: You could be good as gold. You’re not. You’re not misbehaving. But [00:26:25] they’ll simply look at you and go, no, we’re not letting you in. Mhm. So you think to yourself well I’ll go somewhere [00:26:30] else but no no no no they’re on the walkie talkies to all the other places saying if [00:26:35] a guy in a white shirt and red trousers turns up with a British accent, don’t let him in, really, this sort [00:26:40] of thing. And that’s particularly bad in Sydney, actually. Oh, really? Yeah. So this sort of chilled out [00:26:45] lifestyle that’s, that’s sold to you as being very Australian. I didn’t find that at all. I found that they’re [00:26:50] they’re about, you know, they’re as anal as everybody else and in some ways more so. So [00:26:55] had you started to do the cosmetic work, the composite work by [00:27:00] this time or not? I started doing that in, um, probably about [00:27:05] 2004, 2005, um, with limited success. But I thought at the time [00:27:10] it was pretty good. I looked at some of my photos from 20 years ago and no, [00:27:15] it’s not good, but I started. I started dabbling with it, experimenting with it as an alternative [00:27:20] to porcelain. Yeah, because it wasn’t very fashionable back then. No, it wasn’t fashionable [00:27:25] at all. I mean, I think back to we started with Cosmo in 2007, and [00:27:30] I was I was thinking about this. I was looking at some of our old, uh, marketing pieces.

Speaker1: The [00:27:35] whole word composite veneer or composite bonding didn’t [00:27:40] really exist. Didn’t even exist. No. Didn’t we? The way we used to describe what [00:27:45] this course was, was like success with composite or something like this. Um, but [00:27:50] you were you started dabbling. Started dabbling. Yeah. Yeah. Got into it slowly. [00:27:55] Um, but like I say, it didn’t really take off because I think also there’s been a change [00:28:00] in, in British patience, for sure. Back in, you know, 20 years ago, people [00:28:05] didn’t care so much. Yeah. There wasn’t Instagram, there wasn’t Facebook, there wasn’t [00:28:10] all the horrible reality TV shows with, you know, dazzling White. There was nothing like that for people [00:28:15] to look at and go, well, that’s what I want. So it was something that we didn’t do very often anyway. It was very [00:28:20] niche, wasn’t it? I think there were cosmetic dentists in the West End. Um, [00:28:25] there were, you know, rich people or, or celebrities who used to get their [00:28:30] teeth done. But there wasn’t this situation where, you know, your waitress is wearing Invisalign. [00:28:35] No. Or whatever, you know, absolutely not. Um, so, okay, moving [00:28:40] moving forward. You came back to the UK. Was your wife [00:28:45] annoyed? Must have been still. Is he still there? Still [00:28:50] talking, still there? Yeah. If we have an argument ever. It’s about that. It’s always about [00:28:55] that. Yeah. And that’s I mean that’s one of the things you hadn’t had your kids yet or you had.

Speaker1: We had them in [00:29:00] Australia. Oh okay. Okay. Yeah. So big change for them as well right. Yeah. [00:29:05] I mean their kids are they adapted to it very well. They came back aged seven and four and [00:29:10] um within two weeks they’d lost their Australian accent. So it was quite, quite remarkable. And [00:29:15] then did you decide you’re going to be an associate going forward? And maybe you had [00:29:20] no choice at the beginning? Certainly. But what are your views on that now, though? Are you thinking maybe you’ll you’ll do [00:29:25] your own practice, or did it leave a bad taste in your mouth? Or how how are you thinking about practice ownership? [00:29:30] Yeah, I probably wouldn’t do practice ownership again. I found it hard. [00:29:35] It was when business was good, business was good when business was bad, which was the final [00:29:40] three years about being there. It was horrible. It was the worst pain, the sleepless nights. It was having [00:29:45] to pay everyone before you pay yourself. It was horrible, you know. So I was yeah, I [00:29:50] don’t think I’d do business ownership that way again. Yeah, certainly not as a principle. I think if, you know, [00:29:55] it’s I think it’s one of the most painful things in the world to work your ass off and lose [00:30:00] money. Yeah. And with, with this first six years. Yeah. [00:30:05] Working the hardest I’ve ever. Much harder than I’m working now and [00:30:10] losing money and, yeah. About to lose our houses and all those sort of things.

Speaker1: Especially [00:30:15] if you’re good at what you do as well. Sure. So, okay, you’ve got a wing if you’re winging [00:30:20] it. Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah quite quite. But if you know what you’re doing, if you’re, you know, it’s it’s it’s painful, [00:30:25] it’s painful. It is. It really is. But the, you know Elon Musk said something about entrepreneurship. [00:30:30] He said you have to have a massive appetite for pain. Yeah. It refused that way. [00:30:35] So you got an associate job. [00:30:40] Yes. Where was that? The first one was um, down in near Battersea. [00:30:45] Wandsworth. That sort of way. Fully private, fully private, lasted about I think it was about [00:30:50] four weeks because I was doing nothing. Okay. Sitting on my bum, not enough patience, [00:30:55] no patience, and just sitting on my bum watching TV the whole time. So it didn’t last very [00:31:00] long. Um, then I got another one very similar, I think that was in the West End, [00:31:05] somewhere in Harley Street and Wimpole Street. Um, was sold the dream. Come [00:31:10] and join us. You know, we’ve got loads of patients. The implant guys leaving. You’ll be taking over his [00:31:15] list day one. No patients, no implant list. Day [00:31:20] two. Same. Day three. Same. That was the end of that one. Um, [00:31:25] had you done implant training by this point? Yeah, I did, I’d done I’ve done [00:31:30] quite a few hundred implants. I’ve actually got a diploma in implants. So I was doing that’s what I was trying [00:31:35] to get into at that stage in 2015, I was trying to be an implant dentist more than anything. [00:31:40]

Speaker1: Um, so I was looking for places that could offer me an implant list or at least a lot of [00:31:45] patients that, you know, for consults and stuff that, um, but yeah, I found [00:31:50] that quite difficult to, to get into, but then, um, 20, I think [00:31:55] it was 16. I had an interview at Sardinia House, um, got the job there, [00:32:00] general dentistry, but a bit of implant on the side that was great. Stayed there for quite a few years. [00:32:05] That was a nice place to work. Amit. Amit. Great guy. Good guy. [00:32:10] Yeah. Nice, honest, honest guy. Yeah, yeah. No bullshit. Good. Solid. Solid practitioner. [00:32:15] Good. Good pair of hands. Knows what he’s talking about. And just a yeah, good person [00:32:20] to work with and work for. Where did you do the implant training in Australia. Oh did you. [00:32:25] Yeah. What what kind of amount of education was it. Was it like 18, 18 months [00:32:30] diploma course. Oh wow. So we were going for implants. So it [00:32:35] was university based. It was it was a proper, proper course. Yeah. So the [00:32:40] transition from guy trying to become an implant dentist to [00:32:45] what we see now, um, but. Oh, I should have I should have said [00:32:50] that your your account doctor Pete. Right. Doctor Pete, 1973 oh 1973. [00:32:55] Yep. Yeah. For anyone who doesn’t know, check that one.

Speaker1: Doctor Pete, 1973. When did [00:33:00] the transition come? 20 1718, [00:33:05] probably to talk me through it because it’s very different being an implant dentist [00:33:10] than the dentist you are now. It was when I started working at Ru um, [00:33:15] 20, I think I started at 20th April 2017. Um, it was just general [00:33:20] dentistry at that point. It was new. It was called the the neem tree at that stage I remember. [00:33:25] Um, and it was there was no in Wandsworth that one, uh, Fleet Street or that one here. [00:33:30] Yeah. Um, so that, that was, that was then and they were just a general dental practice at that [00:33:35] stage. So I went there because it was going to be a bit of this bit of that, a few implants here and there, [00:33:40] a bit of everything. Um, and then what gradually started happening there. Once it became [00:33:45] Ru, they started focusing on cosmetic more and more. So um, and [00:33:50] then that’s what started coming through the door. Um, and everyone was coming in and asking for [00:33:55] composite bonding. Invisalign, bleaching. And so that’s where the transition happened. I mean, it really happened [00:34:00] when one of the girls said, um, Pete, you should get Invisalign. Invisalign, [00:34:05] um, Instagram. Um, I was, what, 44, 45? And I said, I’m not getting Instagram. [00:34:10] You know, I’ve got Facebook. And they were like, no, no, no, it’s completely different. You don’t you don’t understand. [00:34:15] You could advertise your work on, on Instagram.

Speaker1: So I did reluctantly, [00:34:20] I just I said to him, look, it’s going to be another thing I look at on my phone every day, isn’t it? I’ve got enough things I look at. Um, [00:34:25] but they persuaded me to do the Instagram thing. Who was that? Um, actually, [00:34:30] you might know Kerry Sharp. Yeah. Um, so [00:34:35] she. Yeah, she was the one that said you should you should do this. The number of Instagram accounts she’s kicked off. Yeah. No, [00:34:40] she’s very good at it as well. Yeah, yeah. Um, so, [00:34:45] yeah, she, she convinced me to do that. And, um, I’ve never really looked back as soon [00:34:50] as I started advertising, putting my own stuff out there, people started coming in and asking for [00:34:55] it. So that’s really when the transition happened. So let’s, let’s, let’s get into, [00:35:00] you know, we we we do this composite course. You’re about to do a composite [00:35:05] course. We’ll talk about that in a moment. But let’s get into, you know, for, for someone. We [00:35:10] were talking about it before, I’d say in the whole country there’s maybe ten [00:35:15] maximum ten dentists doing the amount of composite bonding [00:35:20] that you’re doing. So I’m up there on volume. Yeah, it’s [00:35:25] a really unfair question, but I do want to get like a your aha [00:35:30] moment with composite. Like what can you, you know you’re about to [00:35:35] teach the stuff anyway, right. Yeah. What are the few ahas you had along the way that [00:35:40] make, you know, for instance, let me give you an example.

Speaker1: Um, I asked [00:35:45] Sam Jethwa this. He does a lot of, um, veneers, porcelain veneers, and he said with occlusion, [00:35:50] the fact that it’s outside in as well as inside out [00:35:55] for him was an aha! For the sake of the argument for [00:36:00] you with bonding question, an [00:36:05] aha moment with Bonnie. I mean it was offering I think. Well, I don’t know if it was an aha [00:36:10] moment as such, but it was offering young people on a slightly lower budget [00:36:15] the chance to get really lovely cosmetic work done in a very non-invasive way. [00:36:20] That’s, I think, what probably attracted me to it. You know, we’ve got a huge young market. The young market now [00:36:25] is massive. The middle age market is still growing slowly, but the young [00:36:30] market is the big one. I think. Um, and it was being able to to treat those people. [00:36:35] They were coming in and asking for something that I know wasn’t going to be damaging their teeth too much. Okay. [00:36:40] And I think that’s probably well, that’s certainly one of the reasons I got into it. Okay. [00:36:45] But clinically. What [00:36:50] do you mean? Well, you would look at your work, right? And it’s so beautiful. It’s beautiful [00:36:55] work. Oh, right. So clinical. You mean sort of what turns me on about my. What [00:37:00] was it? What was it that turned you from the dentist that everyone else is to this [00:37:05] this clinician? Right.

Speaker1: Sorry. It delivers this quality. Didn’t understand your question. Numbers [00:37:10] playing the numbers game practising. Yeah, totally. Um, [00:37:15] when I started off doing it five, six years ago in bigger volumes. [00:37:20] Yeah, the work wasn’t what it is now. It was. It was good. It was acceptable. It didn’t cause any [00:37:25] problems for the patients. But I look back at those photos and it it wasn’t what I’m doing now because [00:37:30] I wasn’t doing as much of it. Yeah. And through doing, you know, thousands and thousands and thousands [00:37:35] of them, God knows how many I’ve done now, but it’s got to be 10,000 plus. You just [00:37:40] get better. It’s playing a numbers game. Yeah, but what are you looking out for? Like what? You know, specifically. [00:37:45] What are you doing? Um, shapes and polish. Really. They’re the things [00:37:50] with composite bonding, getting your shapes right and getting the polish right. The [00:37:55] line angles. Yeah. If your shapes aren’t right, then nothing looks right. You can, you can, you know, [00:38:00] you can’t polish it. If the tooth shape isn’t good, you can polish the hell out of it and it’ll [00:38:05] still look shit. Yeah. You’ve got to get the line angles in. You’ve got to get the embrasures right. You’ve got to do all that. [00:38:10] So and then you can polish it and then it will look fabulous. But if you don’t get all those basic things right, then [00:38:15] no, it’s never going to look good. You look on Instagram, there’s people that put fabulous polish, but on a [00:38:20] terribly shaped tooth you can see it.

Speaker1: Yeah. You see people that, um, that shape [00:38:25] things well. But then don’t put secondary anatomy properly in. They don’t polish properly after that [00:38:30] and it doesn’t look great. You’ve got to combine all those things and get the result right at the end. And what about [00:38:35] from the patient perspective? I mean, how how much do you look into what [00:38:40] this patient is after. Because not all patients are after the same thing. I think nearly all of them are actually. [00:38:45] Oh, really? Yeah, about 95% of them, I’d say. Um, most people, if you ask [00:38:50] them, what do you want? They want they want white, they want straight. Most of them want quite [00:38:55] square, this sort of thing. I try and steer them away from the square thing. But most people want similar [00:39:00] things. They don’t want slightly darker canines. They don’t want shade progression [00:39:05] from the top of the tooth to the bottom of the tooth. They want it all one shade, this sort of thing. So I think most people do want [00:39:10] similar things. Most people don’t want too much tertiary anatomy, or in fact, most people don’t want any tertiary anatomy. Yeah, um, [00:39:15] people don’t want tints and opaques. If you ask [00:39:20] people, do you want me to put a translucent edge in your tooth, 95% of them will say no. So [00:39:25] I think most of them do want the same thing.

Speaker1: But do you not get patients who [00:39:30] want fake looking teeth? Yeah, less so now than a few years ago. But [00:39:35] yeah, we still get some coming in and say, I want it really white, really straight, really [00:39:40] square. Yeah. I mean some some people want people to know that they’ve had something done, which is going to be opposite [00:39:45] of of the way we think about it. Right, is to the best dentistry is the one you can’t tell has been [00:39:50] done. Yep, yep. I think it’s more an up north thing. It used [00:39:55] to be an up north thing, and it’s also, um, just east of London place as well. Sure. Beginning [00:40:00] with E sure. They’re still quite keen on it there, but, um, less [00:40:05] so than it used to be. But I mean, I’ll do it. If a patient wants that, then you do what the patient wants. [00:40:10] Yeah, but I just don’t put it on Instagram. Oh, I see, so you don’t want to track more of that? It’s [00:40:15] not work I particularly enjoy doing. And it’s not work I’m proud of because I don’t think it looks any good. Yeah. [00:40:20] You know. Yeah. I’ll only really put my name, put something out there with my name on it if I’m proud [00:40:25] of it myself. Yeah. And the your, your sort of split of the [00:40:30] work that you’re doing. What percentage is composite bonding? A lot 80% [00:40:35] plus I’d say. Well yeah. And the rest is Invisalign. [00:40:40]

Speaker1: Invisalign bleaching a little bit of general and a few implants still here and there. Are [00:40:45] you still doing back teeth or not at all? Yeah, yeah, but not normally as a lead [00:40:50] up to doing all the other stuff. So I’ll put fillings in back teeth if, if I have to do them. Um, pre [00:40:55] Invisalign or pre whitening or something like that. Yeah. Um, but I, you know, I prefer [00:41:00] not to be doing general dentistry now, but I still do a little bit as a, as part of the whole, the whole case. [00:41:05] And then do the patients tell each other and find you online. [00:41:10] And is that just the profile of the patient that you’ve got that’s going to it. Always [00:41:15] want to go down that road? I’d like to think because of your kind of reputation, I’d like to think there’s a lot of word of [00:41:20] mouth referral. Yeah. Yeah. But you know The Hindu. Right. [00:41:25] I do endo as well, you know, to do everything. I still [00:41:30] do everything. Okay. But, um, I do less of it than I used to, but I’ll still still do everything. I mean, [00:41:35] the only thing I don’t do anymore is dentures. Mhm. Unless it’s part of an implant treatment, of course. But, um. Yeah. [00:41:40] Very rarely. But I still do everything. I mean, I like doing everything. I like dentistry. Yeah. [00:41:45] Any tactics around how to get patients to post, [00:41:50] for instance, post and tag me and.

Speaker1: Yeah. Yeah. [00:41:55] It’s tricky. Do you not bother with that? Very rarely. I found that most of the time they’ll say no. [00:42:00] Even the ones that they, they, uh, have collaborations with at work at Ru, [00:42:05] they’ll quite often renege on what they, what they’re supposed to do as well. So I prefer the influencers. [00:42:10] Yeah. Yeah. So I prefer to keep it. I don’t ever post a face. Yeah. Because [00:42:15] I think if you post faces you’re going to open up the door for, you know, complaints [00:42:20] and identifying patients and so on. So I only post teeth and non-identifiable photos. [00:42:25] Um, and I don’t really tag people and I don’t ask them to [00:42:30] tag me. One of the guys that I work with got in trouble for tagging a patient without asking. [00:42:35] Just a tag, nothing more. But you know, so I prefer just to keep it as [00:42:40] I’ve got it. There are tactics though. There are? Yeah. Go [00:42:45] on then. So. So I come across some dentists who they [00:42:50] set it up so that patients want to be tagged. Go [00:42:55] on. I’m intrigued. Yeah, well it might be in smaller communities [00:43:00] than central London, right? Yeah. Where, you know, people know each other more. I mean, I studied [00:43:05] in Cardiff, so I understand that feeling like in a town like Cardiff, however many population [00:43:10] it’s got, if you bump into someone one day at the bank, you [00:43:15] know you’re going to bump into them at some point soon, right? You know, even though it’s a city, [00:43:20] it’s not it’s not the Gold Coast.

Speaker1: It’s a city you’re going to bump into. And so the movers and shakers, [00:43:25] whether let’s call it the medical community, the dental community, the, the, the pretty [00:43:30] girl community, kind of know each other. Yeah. And so what [00:43:35] these practices do is they make it a thing to, to, to, you know, it’s almost like if [00:43:40] why didn’t you tag me, right. Yeah. Was it, was it, was it that you weren’t happy with the work. [00:43:45] You know, it’s one of those. Got it. Um, and then. Yeah, there’s other subtleties [00:43:50] right around language. Um, for instance, what do you say to [00:43:55] patients about how long it’s going to last? Bonding 5 to 7 years. [00:44:00] Normally. Yeah. Come back for a polish once a year. Oh really? Do [00:44:05] you do it yourself? Yeah. Yeah. Um, but that’s that’s [00:44:10] what I tell them. As long as you don’t do anything silly with them, you know, bite your nails, [00:44:15] chew pens, open crisp packets or tear sellotape, that sort of thing. Um, 5 to [00:44:20] 7 years. You should get of them. Looking good. Doesn’t mean they’ll fall off the next day or anything like [00:44:25] that, but they should look good as long as you repolish them every now and then, refine the margins, that sort of thing should [00:44:30] be fine. So talking to Matty Parsons about this. Yeah. Who does as many as you do I guess [00:44:35] he says the subtleties of he says to the patient, if you [00:44:40] go ahead and break one of them rather than if one of them breaks.

Speaker1: Right. Yeah. And he says [00:44:45] that little subtlety means that patients come in with a broken, you know, chipped [00:44:50] restoration. Apologising. Yeah. Nice. [00:44:55] Yeah. It’s a subtlety right. Yeah. And he’s like, look, [00:45:00] I’m absolutely fine. I’ll fix it for you if you go ahead and, you know, if you, if you do go [00:45:05] and bite on the wrong thing or. Yeah, you know. Well okay. So the subtleties of [00:45:10] it, I have to try that one. And because, you know, we’re as a profession, we’re guilty of owning the restoration [00:45:15] for the rest of that patient’s life. Right? I mean, why should it be that way if the guy’s only paid you three grand for something? [00:45:20] Yeah. Um, so let’s talk about [00:45:25] darker days. My favourite part of the pod. [00:45:30] Go on. On this pod, we like to talk about mistakes. Sort [00:45:35] of from the black box thinking idea of. It’s better for all of us [00:45:40] to learn from each other’s mistakes and in in medical and dental. Often we hide [00:45:45] our mistakes or don’t own up to them or because there’s a massive blame [00:45:50] culture, whereas other if you’ve read black boxing, it’s about it’s about plane [00:45:55] crashes, okay? And you know, when a plane crashes, um, the first [00:46:00] thing they do is to find out what went wrong and immediately tell the whole community, [00:46:05] yeah, what went wrong so that everyone else learns, okay? [00:46:10] And there’s no issue of blame.

Speaker1: They’re just saying, you know, this is what happened. Even [00:46:15] if someone did the wrong thing, they blame the system, um, for [00:46:20] it. Because, you know, bad systems cause errors. But [00:46:25] in medical it’s quite the opposite. And so we never end up learning. So [00:46:30] what comes to mind if I talk about ask you, you know, clinical errors most difficult [00:46:35] patients. What comes to mind. Well one I’ve just hopefully [00:46:40] finished off with recently. Okay. Yeah. Um, came to see me [00:46:45] probably summer last year. Um, had some bonding [00:46:50] done about a year or so before that, which she wasn’t very happy with. And [00:46:55] so she said, I want, I want to take it off and redo it. It’s only on four teeth. So [00:47:00] that’s what we did. I said, right, here’s the treatment plan. [00:47:05] We’ll make one appointment. She had slightly overhanging margins on the composite. So I said, what we’ll do. We’ll take off the [00:47:10] composite on visit number one. Let your soft tissues recover for a week or so and then get you back in on [00:47:15] visit number two to redo the bonding. Had you done the original? No, no. [00:47:20] Not sure who did it, but it was, you know, it was starting to fail. She said it was only a year [00:47:25] old, which I suspect maybe was not true. It looked a bit older than that, but it could have been done badly. [00:47:30]

Speaker1: So it started to fail. Um, she came in. I took the composite off [00:47:35] with, um, soft discs. And found that she had [00:47:40] pig teeth underneath the pig pig lateral, and quite a slim canine as well. And [00:47:45] I said to her, oh, you’ve got quite small teeth under there. And she. That’s [00:47:50] fine. No problem at all. She didn’t react to it too much. She came back, um, the following week for the new [00:47:55] bonding which we put on. She came back two weeks later [00:48:00] for a small adjustment. Um, and she said her teeth had moved. [00:48:05] And I said, have you been wearing your retainer? And she said, yes, I have. This is where I made the mistake. [00:48:10] I should have said to her, can you bring your retainer in and let me try it in? [00:48:15] Because her teeth had moved, there was visible gaps between them. And I said, look, I’ll close them up for you. [00:48:20] But when you get home, put your retainer in. If it feels too tight, let me know. Come back in. [00:48:25] We’ll make an adjustment. I shouldn’t have done the composite in the first place. This is. This is where I’ve learned a big lesson. I [00:48:30] should have said, bring the retainer in. Then we’ll have a look. Then I’ll redo the composite if necessary. So [00:48:35] she went home, called up, um, a few days later, saying her composites broken again because [00:48:40] she’s put the retainer in.

Speaker1: Clearly the teeth have moved and the retainer is not fitting. [00:48:45] And at that point, she launches the worst complaint I’ve had in years, [00:48:50] basically threatening straight away. I’m going to sue you. You’ve ruined [00:48:55] my teeth and you destroyed the teeth underneath. When you took the old composite off, I [00:49:00] said, well, no, I didn’t. That’s the shape of your teeth. And there was [00:49:05] a lot of backwards and forwards, a lot of a lot of arguing, a lot, a lot of threats on her part. Written [00:49:10] right, written straight away. Um, there was then suddenly, after about the third [00:49:15] email, I started thinking, actually, no, she’s she’s, um. I [00:49:20] don’t think she’s serious. I think she’s she just wants money. I don’t think she wants anything else. She’s [00:49:25] not going to go down the GDC road. She’s not going to go down any other. She’s having a go. She’s having a go. [00:49:30] Because every letter she wrote, if I don’t get compensation by the this date, [00:49:35] I’m going to sue you. Second letter. My brother’s a lawyer and so is [00:49:40] my dad. And if I don’t get compensation, they’re going to sue you. Third [00:49:45] letter. If I don’t get compensation by this date, I’m going to sue you. And I thought she’s not going to sue because she [00:49:50] would have done it because we were delaying things. We were trying to get the records organised. And she keeps threatening. [00:49:55] Every week a letter comes through saying if she doesn’t have financial compensation, she’s going to sue. [00:50:00]

Speaker1: So it ended well. I hope it’s ended recently when I wrote [00:50:05] to her and I basically called her bluff on a lot of things, I said, look, if [00:50:10] I destroyed your teeth as much as you think I destroyed them, how was I able [00:50:15] to do it without anaesthetic? Right? How come my photos show enamel all the way round your [00:50:20] teeth? But what you’re saying is that the teeth are painful because they’ve been prepped and prepped. [00:50:25] Um. I said, why didn’t you raise the alarm when I first took the composite off? [00:50:30] Why didn’t you raise the alarm when you came back to put new composite on? Why didn’t you raise the alarm when [00:50:35] you came for the adjustment? At no point have you ever mentioned that your teeth have been damaged. [00:50:40] Apart from now, when you’ve raised this complaint. And I think it sort of scared her off, that she’s realised [00:50:45] that she’s just, you know, I’m on to her and she’s now seems to have backed down. But from what [00:50:50] we’ve gathered, she’s gone somewhere else and tried the same thing with another practice. Oh yeah. So [00:50:55] she’s she’s a serial complainer kind of woman that goes to a restaurant, eats three quarters of [00:51:00] a meal, pulls out a little piece of glass from her handbag and says, I’m not, you know, I’m not. It should be one of those. [00:51:05] But yeah, I mean, there’s there’s a few of them out there at the moment, but she’s the one that springs to mind most recently. [00:51:10]

Speaker1: How long was it beginning to end? Like how four months. Painful. [00:51:15] Four painful. Four months. There’s another one that we’ve got going at the moment. Who? Um, [00:51:20] actually, the it started here, um, because you made me a bleach tray, [00:51:25] which didn’t include her wisdom teeth. So she had about a 5 [00:51:30] to 5, then a two tooth gap and then wisdom teeth. And the bleach tray only was [00:51:35] made for 5 to 5. Yeah. And she came in and said the bleach tray doesn’t include my wisdom [00:51:40] teeth. And I was like, well, you know, nobody is ever going to see your wisdom teeth. And she said, well, I see my wisdom [00:51:45] teeth. And I said, fine, we’ll make you a new bleach tray. So I took a new impression. New bleach trays made, [00:51:50] including the eights. She went off happy. Um, [00:51:55] we did some other work on her, some fillings, etc. one of them ended up being sensitive. [00:52:00] She then launched a massive complaint, saying everything I’d done in the three years [00:52:05] leading up to that point was negligent. Done without consent, including implants, bridges, everything. [00:52:10] So she’s now trying to get compensation for everything I’ve ever done because the tooth was slightly [00:52:15] sensitive and her bleach tray didn’t quite fit. And she got a lawyer. No, [00:52:20] she’s again another someone trying their luck, hoping that dental protection will simply [00:52:25] just write.

Speaker1: Write the check, I wonder, I wonder if in the this [00:52:30] sort of current economic climate, we’re going to get more of this stuff just from desperate people, right? I fear [00:52:35] that may be the case. You never know who’s going to walk. So I guess it definitely increasing recently. [00:52:40] Yeah. And all the guys I work with have said the same thing. Everyone’s got things going through Dental protection [00:52:45] at the moment and massive complaints just going through, you know, local through through work, through [00:52:50] the actual we’ve got lawyers at work as well that are dealing with things for us. There’s so much of it at the moment, so much [00:52:55] and most of it, I have to say, completely unjustified, completely unjustified. You [00:53:00] know, if we’re all screwing up, fine. But we’re not. Yeah. Nothing’s changed that massively in [00:53:05] your treatment, right? No, no obviously not. I mean, I’ve said this a few times to people, my work [00:53:10] now is better than it’s ever been, but I’m getting more complaints than I’ve ever had. Yeah, [00:53:15] that doesn’t make sense. Does it make you more defensive? Yeah, [00:53:20] completely. So what, you’re writing longer essays for consent and all that? Yeah, [00:53:25] yeah. Have you had the situation? This this must have happened to you where you [00:53:30] finished the work? Patient says they’re happy. They go home and then someone says [00:53:35] something, whatever. And then. Yeah, I mean, in all of cosmetics, the one when a patient says [00:53:40] I don’t like them.

Speaker1: Mm. Okay. If you can shorten them or remove the [00:53:45] fine. Of course composites a bit different, you can change it repair. But [00:53:50] that situation, do you prepare the patient sort of say something to them to. [00:53:55] Because I used to do that when I was a dentist, I used to say, um, you’re going to go home and someone, [00:54:00] somewhere is not going to like them. I have a spiel that I say at the end of [00:54:05] every appointment setting, setting them up for the fact that they may not like something [00:54:10] hit us with it. It’s basically like, look, they’re new. New doesn’t always feel right. [00:54:15] However, after a few days it probably will. If it doesn’t, if there’s some aspect [00:54:20] you’re not getting on with after a few days, let me know. We can adjust it. And I sort of go think about a new pair [00:54:25] of shoes. Shoes don’t always feel great when you first put them on, but after you’ve broken them in, they feel fine. [00:54:30] I said, look, a millimetre of tooth is nothing but a sorry, a mil [00:54:35] a millimetre is nothing, but a millimetre of tooth is massive. You know, it’s 10% of a tooth. [00:54:40] So I said, even though we’ve added a tiny bit, for instance, that’s going to feel big to you. Don’t [00:54:45] panic though, I sort of I manage them into this kind of feeling that it’s okay if there’s something you’re not quite comfortable with [00:54:50] right now, you know, gaps.

Speaker1: For instance, if you close a gap, that’s the number one. [00:54:55] Yeah. You know, especially in midline, if it’s a big midline, people don’t like it necessarily straight away. [00:55:00] The first thing they do is they hold the mirror up and they know, oh I’m not sure I’m not sure. And you [00:55:05] can see them also. Don’t let them go to the loo halfway through an appointment if you can. So they can’t see. [00:55:10] Yeah. Because they always check. Yeah, yeah. And quite often they’ll come back in. They’ll say is that meant to be like [00:55:15] that. Is that going to stay that way? And you’re like, no, I’ve only done three out of the eight teeth, you know, calm, calm down. But [00:55:20] so you’ve got you do have to manage expectations. Tell me, tell me about the [00:55:25] actual treatment process itself. How long do you take on a sort of 3 to [00:55:30] 3? Um, three. Between 3 and 4 hours, or maybe about 3.5 [00:55:35] hour mark. And you go completely free hand, or do you use a stent or always freehand? Yeah, [00:55:40] I’ve tried it with stents and there is a place in the market for stents, [00:55:45] um, for where cases, that sort of thing. But most of the time I can do it freehand [00:55:50] unless it’s a real bad, you know, bruxing case or something like that, that I will use a stent, but [00:55:55] 99 times out of 100 it will be freehand. And how [00:56:00] confident are you regarding the occlusion and the occlusion sort of analysis of [00:56:05] what’s going to work and what isn’t? Is it is it is it any more complicated than getting them to [00:56:10] move their teeth around and seeing what’s hitting what? Not really.

Speaker1: Really. Yeah. If you if you look [00:56:15] at them at the consultation visit. Yeah. Then, um, you should be able to work [00:56:20] out what’s going on. You know, if you see flat canines, you know, what you’re up against, um, [00:56:25] still gets, you know, a few surprises every now and then, but most of the time you can work [00:56:30] out what’s going on. If there’s edge to edge bites, cross bites, this sort of thing, then, you know, Invisalign [00:56:35] first. Yeah. But yeah, if there’s if there’s enough space and there’s no signs of wear, [00:56:40] then more often than not you’re okay. You’re good to go. And do you get them all to wear a [00:56:45] thing a white razor. I know some people that do a [00:56:50] bite razor. Well, not a retainer tray. Um, a lot of [00:56:55] people will put that into into every plan. Yeah, I don’t necessarily put it in every plan, you know. No. [00:57:00] If I mean, there’s some that, you know aren’t going to chip if there’s, you know, huge [00:57:05] overjet this sort of thing, you know, they’re never going to be able to put their front teeth together properly. So I [00:57:10] don’t do it for everyone, but I do it a lot. Do it a lot. I feel like it’s a defensive move too though. Yeah, [00:57:15] of course it is.

Speaker3: You know, you can kind of blame that. Yeah.

Speaker1: You haven’t been wearing it. Yeah. [00:57:20] Yeah yeah of course.

Speaker3: Do you get them to bleach their composites.

Speaker1: Um, increasingly [00:57:25] I do advise that. Yeah, it’s a good idea. Yeah. Um, because they, you know, they’re going [00:57:30] to get staining, particularly around the margins, particularly in between where you haven’t quite got the polish right, this sort of thing. Um, [00:57:35] so yeah, I say get a bleach tray. Pop your gel into it and then do [00:57:40] a bit of whitening once every few months, and that should lift the stain off. So I do, I do or.

Speaker3: Prevent the stain from ever [00:57:45] coming on right in the first place. Yeah, yeah. So I [00:57:50] kind of want to hear another difficult story.

Speaker1: Oh. [00:57:55] Let’s say. I mean, [00:58:00] there was I’ve had people threaten to beat the shit out of me once when [00:58:05] I was in Australia. Well, tell me what that was. Um, [00:58:10] a surgical extraction that went wrong. Okay. And the tooth [00:58:15] kept breaking and breaking and breaking. And I’m removing more and more of the bone around the tooth. And there’s PTSD right now. Yeah. [00:58:20] Um, and at the end, I mean, we didn’t actually get the tooth out. We ended [00:58:25] up with a little bit of root left in. He jumped out of the chair and he said, look, I’ve been here for two fucking hours. And he just fronted [00:58:30] up to me this ready? Wow. And that, you know, that’s not great. [00:58:35]

Speaker3: Yeah.

Speaker1: Um, that happened that actually happened twice when I was in Australia. [00:58:40] There was there was another guy who said, I get the injection I gave was far too painful. Would I like to step [00:58:45] into the car park? Well, sort it out. I said no. Yeah. [00:58:50] So that that’s, uh, that [00:58:55] happened. Had had had, uh, what else happened in [00:59:00] Hackney? I had a woman that’s, um, thinks or thought rather that, um, the [00:59:05] crown I was putting in had some kind of GPS tracker in it. Before [00:59:10] before GPS had been invented, I think because that was in the late 90s. [00:59:15] There was another one that said that, um, spiders had come out from under one of her bridges [00:59:20] or something like that, something odd like that. But Hackney, that’s what Hackney used to be like. It was not [00:59:25] mental health, not a central. Well, we had the Homerton, the um, hospital. Yeah. There was [00:59:30] a lot of them there. And so we used to see a lot of patients like that. Yeah, just strange ones. I had a [00:59:35] patient propose to me once.

Speaker3: Didn’t that happen all the time?

Speaker1: No, no, again, [00:59:40] that was in Hackney. Um, yeah. So I’ve, I’ve had a few. [00:59:45]

Speaker3: Tell me this. Did you kind of. To me, I feel like you’re the you’re the kind [00:59:50] of person who doesn’t mind jumping in and trying things. No. Whether we’re [00:59:55] talking composite bonding 20 years ago when no one was doing it, whether we’re talking about you were quite, [01:00:00] you know, Instagram just, just just doing an Instagram page in itself. Um, [01:00:05] what is it? What is it about you? I mean, is that is that would you would you characterise [01:00:10] yourself like that as someone who just jump in and have a go at stuff, certain things.

Speaker1: I mean, with, with dentistry? [01:00:15] Yeah, I’m happy to have a go as long as I’m comfortable doing it I think. Yeah. Give it a try again. [01:00:20]

Speaker3: We talk about the younger generation, the very, very scared of doing anything that’s not, um, you [01:00:25] know, fully taught and researched and and so forth. And I feel like, yeah, [01:00:30] of course, that’s the total risk free way of going. Yeah. But also it stifles [01:00:35] innovation. Like you’ve got this course, which we’ll come on to now. But in [01:00:40] this course you’re going to teach certain sort of tricks and tips. Yeah. [01:00:45] And you wouldn’t have learned those tips and tricks without trying them yourself. Right. True. [01:00:50]

Speaker1: Absolutely. Right. Yeah. So yeah I do I again [01:00:55] I’ve made mistakes with composite. It wasn’t as good as it used to be. It used to be worse than it is [01:01:00] now. Yeah. And that’s trial and error. Yeah. Found out what works. Found out what doesn’t work. [01:01:05] Do more of what works. Do less of what doesn’t work. I’ve tried virtually every [01:01:10] polishing system on the market. Found out which one works for me. So I’ve done all that. Yeah, [01:01:15] but I had to. I had to try it first, though.

Speaker3: Let’s talk about the course that you’re about to start. [01:01:20] Why now?

Speaker1: I’ve been thinking about it for about two and a half years, actually. [01:01:25] Um. I’ve always wanted to do it. Um. [01:01:30] My body isn’t what it used to be. Not [01:01:35] what? What you think? Um. You know, I [01:01:40] spend eight hours a day with my neck at 45 degrees like that. Yeah, it’s, you know, it’s hurting. [01:01:45] I haven’t had a day without neck pain for probably 15 years. I know I’m not going to be able to do it [01:01:50] forever. The course allows me to do what I love. Still, [01:01:55] um, indulge my passion for composites, but without the physical strain on the body. [01:02:00] You know, every day I wake up with stiff hands, I work out with stiff elbows. It’s all Dental [01:02:05] related.

Speaker3: How many days a week do you work?

Speaker1: Five. Occasionally six. That’s your [01:02:10] era? Probably. Honestly? Yeah.

Speaker3: Honestly. Uh, you know, [01:02:15] I’m a massive advocate of four days. Or three days.

Speaker1: Yeah, well, I’d like to be able to do that [01:02:20] because it’s a hard.

Speaker3: Job, I don’t think. I don’t think your earnings will suffer as much as you think. Yeah. Um, [01:02:25] because, you know, you’ve heard this story before, right? You’re fresher. Yeah. [01:02:30] Number one. So you end up talking and you sell more, for [01:02:35] want of a better word, you end up finishing things off that sometimes you temporise or [01:02:40] because. Because you’re fresher. But really, for me, the main thing is that [01:02:45] extra day dentistry is such a hard job that without it, you’re so burnt [01:02:50] out that you don’t end up doing other things like teaching or whatever [01:02:55] it is. Like I can 100% tell you there would be no enlighten if I was a five [01:03:00] day a week guy. Yeah, it’s because I was a four day a week guy. Then on that fifth day, I had time [01:03:05] to even think, oh, let’s do a teeth whitening company, you know, because, [01:03:10] you know, she’s hard, then she’s hard.

Speaker1: It is hard. Yeah.

Speaker3: So that that’s something you should think [01:03:15] about, right? I really would.

Speaker1: If the course takes off, that’s probably where I’ll be ending. [01:03:20] You know, I’d say take a day off immediately. Do it straight away.

Speaker3: I can see zebras out spitting [01:03:25] in her coffee. I’ll text them.

Speaker1: I’ll text her now. Payment always take a day [01:03:30] off.

Speaker3: Honestly though, you will find your earnings. It will not go down by one [01:03:35] fifth. No way. Yeah, yeah. Um, some people even earn more, right? [01:03:40] In four days. Um, but the teaching thing. Have you ever taught it before?

Speaker1: No, [01:03:45] I’ve supervised on other courses. Oh, yeah. Um, but I’ve never actually taught solo. No, [01:03:50] I mean, I’ve taught some of the guys at work. Yeah. Hints and tips. You know, occasionally one of the younger guys will come in and [01:03:55] and sit with me through a case or this sort of thing. But I’ve never done group teaching. Just just one [01:04:00] on one, really.

Speaker3: And have you got the content already or are you working on it still?

Speaker1: Yeah, most of it’s done. [01:04:05] I’ve got to do a few bits of video, which I’m going to hopefully do in the next few weeks, [01:04:10] but most of the contents there. Yeah.

Speaker3: And the sort of the back end, the [01:04:15] how are you going to get people to come onto the course.

Speaker1: And at [01:04:20] the moment it’s Instagram advertising, um, which is going all right, but [01:04:25] have you.

Speaker3: Got a, I don’t know, a landing page or.

Speaker1: Yeah, can.

Speaker3: You buy tickets online, that sort of.

Speaker1: Thing. [01:04:30] I haven’t done all that yet. Yeah. I send out a brochure with bank details on if they’re interested. [01:04:35] They’ll transfer some money.

Speaker3: And what is it, a two day course.

Speaker1: Two days. Um, if it goes well, I’m [01:04:40] thinking maybe of doing a third day in the future if I, if I, if it goes if it goes. Well, [01:04:45] because the first two days are going to be very much a sort of foundation. And on the third day, if I decide [01:04:50] to do that, it’ll be more, slightly more complicated stuff.

Speaker3: Yeah. And what would [01:04:55] you say is the USP of your composite course?

Speaker1: Um, I’m [01:05:00] going to say simplicity. I know a lot of people say simplicity is going to be their thing, but [01:05:05] I reckon it’s doing great work with fewer shades of composite and [01:05:10] with fewer materials in a really reproducible way. That’s one of the things. The other [01:05:15] one is really gearing it towards what patients want. So not doing we’re [01:05:20] not in the first course. We’re not worrying about translucency. We’re not worrying about Incisal Edge. [01:05:25] Um, not yeah. We’re not watching. You know, patients don’t want that. [01:05:30] Yeah. We’re not we’re not going to be doing tints opaque as translucency, notching anything like that. Very [01:05:35] little tertiary anatomy. Just doing really, really solid. Um, 3 to [01:05:40] 3. Primary anatomy, secondary anatomy, good polish, that sort of thing. Also, [01:05:45] I think I think I’m right when I say I’m going to be the only guys doing a full [01:05:50] 3 to 3. So we’re going to do um, because most, most courses I’ve been [01:05:55] on will focus on a single tooth, and then they’ll do another single tooth and another single tooth. I’m going to focus on doing things in [01:06:00] pairs and doing so. Hopefully they end up leaving having done a full 3 to 3, [01:06:05] which, uh.

Speaker3: When you’re treating a patient, is that how you do it? You start with the two centrals, [01:06:10] right?

Speaker1: Yeah. Upper right, one upper left, one upper right, two upper left, two upper right three upper left three. Like [01:06:15] that. Then I’ll normally if I’m doing premolars I’ll do the right side first both of them and then the left side. [01:06:20] But I’ve got, I’ve got that system. That’s how I do it.

Speaker3: But do you find it’s that it [01:06:25] is the centre line and those mesial line angles on the centrals. [01:06:30] Yeah. That set off the whole thing. Yep.

Speaker1: Totally.

Speaker3: And the symmetry between them. [01:06:35] Right. Yeah.

Speaker1: If the midline is not there you’re fucked straight away. I mean it’s [01:06:40] so hard to go back and correct a midline. So you’ve got to make sure that’s right. Mesial line angles much more important [01:06:45] than distal line angles. Yeah. You know and then you’ve got to get the the symmetry between the centrals [01:06:50] straight away. Mirror image of each other. With the laterals you’ve got a bit of play. [01:06:55] You can make your lateral you know, it.

Speaker3: Adds character if it’s out away from the centre line. Exactly. [01:07:00]

Speaker1: The midline laterals are where the smile gets character. So you can play with the shapes a little bit there. [01:07:05] You can create a little bit of asymmetry if you want. But again patients don’t want asymmetry. They want symmetry. [01:07:10] Um, but it’s um yeah. So that laterals you’ve got a little bit more room and canines [01:07:15] again canines are quite important. You’ve got to understand how the canine works in the smile. [01:07:20] So shaping the canines properly is a really good thing as well for for getting a good overall result. [01:07:25] And the key.

Speaker3: To that the fact that it’s not one surface, it’s two.

Speaker1: Yeah. I mean a canine [01:07:30] is that when you look at it from above, it’s got a ridge in the middle. And I like to just scallop slightly [01:07:35] as well. So you create just when you, when you take a picture, it just you get [01:07:40] a little bit of reflection, a little bit of a scoop in the distal part of the canine. It looks more [01:07:45] organic. Yeah. Little things like that. These are things I’m going to be teaching.

Speaker3: And [01:07:50] photography tips.

Speaker1: There will be some. And again, I’m not a photographer. Um, [01:07:55] you’re pretty good though. It’s again, I set my camera. Yeah. And I take a picture exactly the same [01:08:00] way every time. I don’t tinker with the settings. That’s all it’s about for me.

Speaker3: But [01:08:05] I don’t know. I mean, the befores and afters are very, very like well positioned. [01:08:10] Yeah.

Speaker1: I mean, you can edit that later, can’t you? Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Um, but yeah, for me, I [01:08:15] haven’t changed the settings on my camera now for years. The only time I change settings is if I get a new camera. [01:08:20]

Speaker3: Who taught you photography?

Speaker1: No one. No one? No.

Speaker3: Putting a [01:08:25] theme here? Yeah, yeah.

Speaker1: Um. No one. Again, I made mistakes with camera [01:08:30] settings. You just Google Dental settings for canon cameras. They’re there. [01:08:35] They’re all there. Just do that and, um, get a good flash. Get some. I’ve tried different diffusers, [01:08:40] and now I’ve settled on some, um. What are they called? I’ve forgotten [01:08:45] the name, but they’re very nice. Um, they give a lovely sort of softness. Once you’ve got the kit that [01:08:50] you get on with, just stick with it and always try and take the pictures from the same angle, same distance, [01:08:55] that sort of thing, so that everything is consistent. That’s what it’s all about.

Speaker3: You’re going to be teaching [01:09:00] that to photography. There’ll be a.

Speaker1: Half hour slot in there about that.

Speaker3: And you’re doing it at Lon DEG. [01:09:05]

Speaker1: Yeah, yeah. First of all.

Speaker3: Phantom heads.

Speaker1: Phantom heads. Um, [01:09:10] I’ve, I’ve, I’ve been there a few times to London and I think it’s a good setup. Yeah, definitely. [01:09:15] And they’ve got great backup and support and all this sort of thing. So I thought for my first course that would be a great [01:09:20] place to do it. They can take 32 people. I’m not going to be teaching 32 people. I want [01:09:25] to try and cap it at somewhere between 16 and 18 because I want to keep it quite small, quite intimate, [01:09:30] because one of the things I’ve noticed on a lot, of course, I’ve been on, is too many people. You don’t get [01:09:35] to go round everyone, give everyone a fair share of time. Yeah. You [01:09:40] know, some of the courses I’ve been on, they don’t finish the the itinerary they set for the course because there’s too many people and there’s [01:09:45] always one that’s going to ask the questions and hog your time. Yeah. So I’m going to try and keep it as a small [01:09:50] group, keep it more intimate.

Speaker3: So what do you think the future holds.

Speaker1: For [01:09:55] for you? I’m hoping at one point in the future [01:10:00] it holds a villa in Spain somewhere. That’s what I’d love. Yeah. [01:10:05] I mean somewhere like Mallorca or something like that. I can see myself there in my 60s, [01:10:10] maybe earlier, but definitely in my 60s. A bit of sunshine.

Speaker3: I’ve [01:10:15] always thought, I’ve always thought, I mean, who knows if this will ever happen to me, right? But the notion [01:10:20] of going from summer to summer to summer to summer, the.

Speaker1: End of summer like a surfer.

Speaker3: Yeah, just. Just [01:10:25] amazing. Just go. Northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere, northern hemisphere. And then at one point, you’ll want something. So go [01:10:30] skiing quickly. Yeah. And then some of that would be the amazing thing. That would be [01:10:35] lovely. But the my parents have a villa in Spain and in, um, [01:10:40] uh, you know, Portofino around there.

Speaker1: My parents used to have a place near there as well. Yeah. Near Estepona. [01:10:45]

Speaker3: Yeah. Yeah. Nearby. Yeah. I’m not sure I’d recommend it to anyone. Um, [01:10:50] ownership, of course. Of course. If you’re going to live there, it doesn’t make sense not [01:10:55] to own it because it’s expensive. Right? But ownership of a holiday home, I don’t I [01:11:00] don’t think I’d do it because it.

Speaker1: Limits you going to the same place.

Speaker3: Limits you. But also also it’s, you [01:11:05] know, every year my parents were spending five, six grand on something. [01:11:10] Something was going wrong. You know, the swimming pool cracked. Yeah. So and so, you know, the gardener, [01:11:15] whatever. It wasn’t like it was hands free at all. It was. It was. I mean, there is a notion that you [01:11:20] don’t have to sort of take clothes anymore because they have clothes there and they have clothes. They don’t have to carry [01:11:25] loads of suitcases. Um, but I don’t know, man. I’d do it a different way. I’d go to, you [01:11:30] know, maybe the same. I found one villa in Thailand I love, and we went back there twice. [01:11:35] Um, but I’m not.

Speaker1: Thinking of it as a holiday home. I’m thinking more of a permanent move.

Speaker3: Life. [01:11:40]

Speaker1: Yeah, yeah. Giving up? Retire. Retirement. Yeah. Giving up London. Um, say [01:11:45] ten, 15 years, whatever it ends up being. And then just living over there, just having a nice, [01:11:50] relaxing time. I like.

Speaker3: Spain, um.

Speaker1: I love Spain. Yeah. Where? [01:11:55]

Speaker3: I mean, you know, you said you didn’t particularly dig Australia. Where else have [01:12:00] you been that you really love?

Speaker1: My, um. Well, Spain is my favourite country to travel [01:12:05] around. Yeah, absolutely. Love it. Um, France is very enjoyable. Italy, I mean, most most of the Mediterranean [01:12:10] is a great place. I’ve been to. I’ve been. Yeah, I’ve been to America. I’ve been to the Caribbean. I’ve been to Asia. I’ve been [01:12:15] all over the place. But of the places I could live. Um, not that many. I mean, there’s, [01:12:20] like I say, Spain. I could live probably southern France, I could, I could hack, but, um, not many [01:12:25] other places.

Speaker3: I’ve always thought Canada never been.

Speaker1: You know, [01:12:30] I’ve been to the airport in Canada, changing planes, but that’s it. Gander, Newfoundland. [01:12:35] Change planes there once. But I’ve never, never been to Canada. Yeah, no.

Speaker3: I like it. [01:12:40] Reminds me of America without the Americans somehow.

Speaker1: Yeah.

Speaker3: But it’s not about the crime. [01:12:45] It’s when I say aggressive. I don’t mean physically aggressive. I mean mentally Americans are quite [01:12:50] aggressive. Yeah, yeah, they want to know how much money you make. What’s going on? The Canadians [01:12:55] are much more chilled. Yeah. Um, and yet I haven’t been to Australia to know whether [01:13:00] what that what that’s like. But they’re much more chill. And yet you get everything you get in America. You [01:13:05] know, the service and the whatever, whatever you were after, like the burgers or, you know, these days we [01:13:10] have burgers here. We don’t have to worry about that.

Speaker1: Yep. We’re moving on. Get [01:13:15] moving with the times here.

Speaker3: Let’s let’s get on to the final [01:13:20] questions. Okay. Um, it’s starts off with a fantasy [01:13:25] dinner party.

Speaker1: Yes.

Speaker3: Three guests.

Speaker1: Yeah. I thought I’ve thought long and [01:13:30] hard about this. Dead or alive. And I could go with, you know, the usual, [01:13:35] like.

Speaker3: The Elon Musk.

Speaker1: And Dalai Lama. And. But that would be boring. [01:13:40]

Speaker3: Elon Musk, Einstein and Nelson Mandela making a lot of appearances on this list.

Speaker1: Yeah. [01:13:45] I mean, and then I thought, um, about people like, sort of Freddie [01:13:50] Mercury and Michael Schumacher, people that I’ve admired in my, you know, in my youth. [01:13:55] David Attenborough was one that I thought of as well. I think he’d be a very interesting [01:14:00] guy. But then I’ve also thought a lot of people say, if you meet your idols, you’re very disappointed by them.

Speaker3: Have [01:14:05] you met any of your idols? No, I’ve met 1 or 2 here, for instance. And [01:14:10] not always disappointed, man. Not always. Sometimes. Sometimes it’s great. [01:14:15] Yeah, but I hear what you say.

Speaker1: You know what I mean? I yeah, I’ve, like, I always thought, you [01:14:20] know, until Michael Schumacher had his terrible accident. I always thought he’s a guy I’d really like to meet because [01:14:25] I thought he’s brilliant at what he did. And he’s always come across to me as a very nice man. I thought he’s [01:14:30] someone I’d love to have a beer with in the future. Um, but then people said, oh no, no, [01:14:35] some people, when you meet like Michael, he’s very, very aloof. He’s very quiet. This sort of thing. He’s [01:14:40] not. He’s not who you think he’s going to be. And therefore, do you want to meet someone like that and be disappointed [01:14:45] by them because you’ve put them up here, you hold them, you put them on a pedestal, you hold them high in your esteem. Yeah. [01:14:50] When you meet someone and they disappoint you, you go, oh, yeah. So [01:14:55] again, like Freddy, I’d love to have met Freddy back in the day. I think he would have been a legend. Yeah, but, [01:15:00] you know, you read some stories about Freddy. Apparently a bit of an arsehole sometimes as well, you know? So [01:15:05] do I want to have a dinner party with people that might disappoint me, so I’d probably pick.

Speaker3: What have you come up with? [01:15:10]

Speaker1: Best mates and my wife. That’s it. No, no, of course [01:15:15] no, I would say, do you know what I mean? I don’t know if this is corny, but one of my [01:15:20] grandparents, who I never asked enough questions of when I was able to [01:15:25] because I was too busy wanting to go out with my friends and get pissed. Yeah. And I had [01:15:30] my grandparents. I had my grandmother around till I was in my mid-twenties, which is, you know, quite unusual. And [01:15:35] I never sat her down and asked her all the fabulous stories about the war. You know, she [01:15:40] was in concentration camps in Siberia and this sort of thing. And I never listened to her. She always wanted to talk to me. I [01:15:45] never listened. So she’s she’s someone I’d invite back, you know, if I could. Yeah.

Speaker3: That’s [01:15:50] two.

Speaker1: Okay.

Speaker3: Um, grandparents. [01:15:55]

Speaker1: Grandparents.

Speaker3: Yeah, there’s four of them. So three. We [01:16:00] could we can we can make it four if you want. All the grandparents, I thought.

Speaker1: Yeah. Okay. [01:16:05] So look, I, I don’t know is the answer. I mean, there’s lots of people I could think of, [01:16:10] but to finalise it down to three, I don’t know.

Speaker3: It’s so interesting when you say grandparents because we had [01:16:15] our kids, grandparents had my wife’s parents over with us in Christmas. Yeah. [01:16:20] And we were talking about this notion of, um, hardly anyone knows the name of their grandparents. [01:16:25] Grandparents. Yeah. And and why is that like, is it, I mean, and [01:16:30] I was saying to my kids that your grandparents are right here, ask them about their grandparents. And [01:16:35] they did. They did. But we were sort of reflecting on that question of almost even though the [01:16:40] person’s there and they were in touch with that other person. And, you know, it goes to this question [01:16:45] of regretting not asking the questions. Right. It’s interesting.

Speaker1: And it’s something [01:16:50] I’ve actually said to my, my children as well that, um, they need to spend more time with. They’ve got four [01:16:55] grandparents at the moment. My kids. Yeah. No one’s passed away yet. They’ve got four people. They could be sitting down [01:17:00] and asking questions. Right? Yeah. And they don’t. They just it’s.

Speaker3: The kind of thing you only figure [01:17:05] out once you’ve lost it sort of thing, isn’t it?

Speaker1: And I try I like my dad’s been on well this year, the last year and this [01:17:10] year he’s on the mend now. But it’s one of the things I when he became unwell, I said to [01:17:15] my daughter, you need to talk to granddad a bit more, you know, just ask him stuff. He knows [01:17:20] stuff that you can’t even comprehend, you know? And once he’s gone, all that information [01:17:25] is gone with him. So it’s one of the things I do, I do believe strongly in. Yeah.

Speaker3: The [01:17:30] final question. Yeah, it’s a deathbed question on [01:17:35] your deathbed surrounded by your loved ones. Yeah. And [01:17:40] you had to give him three pieces of advice. What would they be?

Speaker1: Oh. Hold [01:17:45] your head high in failure and be humble [01:17:50] in success. Um, one of my dad’s favourites. [01:17:55] Don’t tell people what you’re going to do. Just do it. [01:18:00] Don’t. Don’t tell people what you’re going to get. Just get it. Because if you don’t get what you’re telling me, you’re going [01:18:05] to get, you come across the bullshit. So just, you know, just do things [01:18:10] rather than tell people about what you’re going to do. And then I think the other one is, again, one of my dad’s [01:18:15] don’t buy crap. Always, always buy [01:18:20] the best thing you can possibly afford. Don’t buy rubbish, because if you buy rubbish, you buy it twice, three times, etc. [01:18:25] etc. something I’m trying to get through to my kids. They live in this very sort of, you know, Chinese throwaway, sort [01:18:30] of, you know, Chinese plastic throwaway stuff. If it breaks, just chuck it out, chuck it out. I say to them, when we were younger, we used [01:18:35] to fix things. No one fixes anything anymore. Yeah. You know, buy quality.

Speaker3: I’m guilty of shopping [01:18:40] on Tick Tock Shop. Unfortunately, I know I’ve suffered with it. I don’t know why I don’t [01:18:45] learn my lesson, but what’s amazing about it is how frictionless it is to buy one [01:18:50] button when it comes to your house. Um, we didn’t really touch on. I [01:18:55] mean, you kind of alluded to it right there. Why are you so low profile, [01:19:00] Pete? Is it on purpose or by mistake?

Speaker1: I’m just not a very [01:19:05] showy person. I, I’m quite sort of humble. I like to keep things. I’m deliberately [01:19:10] low profile. Yeah. I don’t like putting myself out there too much. [01:19:15] Like doing this. I feel I’m, I felt quite nervous about doing it. I don’t like.

Speaker3: I caught that [01:19:20] vibe from you when I asked you.

Speaker1: Yeah, yeah. I don’t like cameras in my face I don’t like. So I’m, I’m [01:19:25] quite, I’m quite sort of, um, quite shy by nature. Really. Are you. Yeah. So [01:19:30] putting myself out there was probably through choice.

Speaker3: But. [01:19:35] And now I’ve got to.

Speaker1: Try and get myself out there more for the course. [01:19:40]

Speaker3: Are you happy about it or are you sad about it? Because you look. I’m shy, I [01:19:45] wish I wasn’t.

Speaker1: Yeah, of course, I mean, I wish I was more naturally extrovert. Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker3: I [01:19:50] mean, and definitely you need to get out there more if you want to do a course. [01:19:55]

Speaker1: Yeah I know, yeah.

Speaker3: It’s, it’s of course it’s a very difficult thing, you know, to [01:20:00] keep it going for a long time. I take my hat off to people like, uh, Spear and Chris [01:20:05] and Chris Horn, you know, people who have been doing a tipped and people doing courses [01:20:10] for a long time. Yeah. And stayed relevant over a long period. [01:20:15] Um, because it’s very it’s great fun teaching. Let’s not get [01:20:20] this wrong. It’s wonderful, fun teaching those little light bulb moments what you said was [01:20:25] particularly pertinent. Right. We’re still in the area that you’re interested in and passionate about, but a different [01:20:30] angle on it and a bit of a change, you know, a bit of variety. Absolutely.

Speaker1: I don’t know [01:20:35] anything else. You know, like we talked about earlier, I started I made a decision to be a dentist at the age of 14. [01:20:40] I don’t know anything else. I, I literally if I had to have a career [01:20:45] change, I don’t know what it would be because I don’t know anything else.

Speaker3: Indulge us. What would it be? Not [01:20:50] not not what you’re good at. But what would I.

Speaker1: Like if.

Speaker3: Let’s just say alternate [01:20:55] universe, what other job would you do?

Speaker1: I like food [01:21:00] and wine. I think maybe something to do with food and wine. I don’t think [01:21:05] I’d like to be a chef because that’s. That’s hard. Food critic. Food critic. [01:21:10] Very good. Yeah. Wine taster, something like that. Um, I so I like things [01:21:15] like I say to my wife, there’s only two things I’m actually good at, and that’s fixing teeth and cooking. Um, [01:21:20] she agrees with me so she doesn’t try and, you know, say, no, no, you’re good at other things too. [01:21:25] But, you know, so if you had.

Speaker3: Half a day to yourself without any sort of expectation. Cooking, cooking, always [01:21:30] cooking.

Speaker1: Yeah.

Speaker3: Would you cook.

Speaker1: Everything and anything I like? I particularly like slow cooking stuff. So [01:21:35] get, get me, um, like a pork shoulder or something like that. Beef ribs. Yeah. Love [01:21:40] it. Absolutely love it. I got myself on those, um, barbecue eggs. The green ones. [01:21:45] Not the green ones. I got a black one, a black, a black egg and, um. Yeah. Charcoal [01:21:50] cooking. I love it. So this. I can’t wait for the sun to come out so I can start doing it again. [01:21:55] But that that sort of thing is just a huge, huge, huge hobby of mine. Amazing.

Speaker3: Thank [01:22:00] you so much for doing this, buddy. You’re welcome. Thanks for coming. Coming in as well to do having me. Let’s [01:22:05] go get a steak. Thanks a lot man.

Speaker2: This [01:22:10] is Dental Leaders the podcast where you get [01:22:15] to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your [01:22:20] hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki. [01:22:25]

Speaker4: Thanks for listening guys. Hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Make sure you tune in [01:22:30] for future episodes. Hit subscribe in iTunes or Google Play or whatever [01:22:35] platform it is. And you know, we really, really appreciate it. If you would, um, give [01:22:40] us a.

Speaker1: Six star rating.

Speaker4: Six star rating. That’s what I always leave my Uber [01:22:45] driver.

Speaker3: Thanks a lot, guys. Bye.

Payman Langroudi sits down with Zak Kara, co-founder of Bounemoputh-based Smile Stories, to explore the philosophy and practices behind his success. 

Zak shares insights into the importance of teamwork, thoughts on patient communication and why some conventional dental words and phrases off limits during patient consultations.

Zak also explores patient journeys, creating a practice ambience and his practice-growth philosophy.

Enjoy!

 

In This Episode

01.00 – Private dentistry and the patient journey

04.55 – Smile Stories

11.00 – Patient selection

20.00 – Personal and professional background

28.40 – Comfort, ambience and atmosphere

32.21 – Banned words

36.10 – Practice management

01.10.00 – Practice growth

01.17.10 – Consultation and communication

01.57.25 – Leadership and structure

02.05.00 – Black box thinking

02.21.19 – Last days and legacy

 

About Zak Kara

Zak Kara is the co-owner of Bournemouth-based Smile Stories dental practice.

Zak Kara: But if you don’t recognise the person in front of you and their real true wishes, [00:00:05] it’s kind of pointless. You know? That gets quite deep and philosophical. But panky one, some [00:00:10] of it was quite philosophical, and it makes you realise what you’re about as a person and why you’re in [00:00:15] dentistry and the communication stuff. And coming back to some of the banned words. One of the banned words [00:00:20] might be surgery. So the Americans call it an office, but we don’t call it a surgery in art. We call them treatment [00:00:25] rooms, because surgery is a word that conjures up images of all sorts of stuff you don’t want.

Intro Voice: This [00:00:30] is Dental Leaders, the [00:00:35] podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. [00:00:40] Your hosts [00:00:45] Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

Payman Langroudi: It gives me great pleasure to [00:00:50] welcome Saqqara onto the podcast. I’m Zak Sagi, I’ve been following for years [00:00:55] now, and one thing that’s particularly made me sort [00:01:00] of interested in Zak’s musings is his approach to patient journey, [00:01:05] his approach to really, you know, private dentistry in the way that it really should [00:01:10] be done. Um, we get questions all the time, people who want to leave [00:01:15] the NHS, and there are different characters. You know, there’s the character who thinks that NHS [00:01:20] dentistry is, um, you know, private dentistry is NHS dentistry at a higher price? Um, [00:01:25] and then, you know, you get all the way to people who want to focus on one particular [00:01:30] type of treatment, um, segmenting patients, making sure that the person [00:01:35] who comes into your chair is the person who should be there and being kind of pre-screened, [00:01:40] and it’s going to be a real sort of, I think a [00:01:45] pod that’s going to give us a lot of value. Um, to talk to Zak, I will go through the, [00:01:50] you know, life story part as well. But it’s a pleasure to have you, Zack.

Zak Kara: Thanks very much for having [00:01:55] me. I appreciate it. As I said earlier on before we started, um, I’ve been listening to what you guys do for a long [00:02:00] time, and, um, it makes me feel very honoured to to be asked, so thanks for it.

Payman Langroudi: Really? Yeah. [00:02:05] Excellent. You get different types of guests as well. You get guests who say that, and then [00:02:10] and then you get guests who say, oh, yeah, I’ve been waiting so long. How come it took so long as well? So [00:02:15] thanks a lot for coming in, actually, because, you know, you come all [00:02:20] the way from Bournemouth. Um, and it’s I always find the in person interviews so much, so much [00:02:25] more sort of intimate than, than on zoom. Um, and the other thing I want to say [00:02:30] is that, uh, I’ve been doing going to a few events in the last few weeks and the [00:02:35] number of people who are coming up to me and asking about the podcast. And so wherever you are right now, [00:02:40] whether you’re, you know, on your way to work, which seems to be the the most common one, or [00:02:45] walking the dog or taking a run, um, you know, I salute you. I salute you for, you [00:02:50] know, wanting more dentistry because, you know, it’s quite fashionable these days to hate your job [00:02:55] and all of that. But there’s many, many of us who love our jobs. And, um, [00:03:00] Zack is the kind of person who, I don’t know, on on the outside, [00:03:05] I feel like you adore being a dentist, that you love it. Um, now, whether that’s [00:03:10] the Meccano side or whether it’s the actual the running of the place and, and one [00:03:15] thing I’ve noticed with Isaac is that you’ve got a sort of looking at things from a lateral [00:03:20] angle, thinking outside the box kind of kind of thing. And you’re very good at putting that into words. [00:03:25] Into simple words. Oh. Thank you. Yeah. Um, so I want to I want to, you know, with this podcast, we tend [00:03:30] to start with where were you born? But sometimes with my [00:03:35] ADHD side, if I don’t ask the question that I want to ask straight away, yeah, I [00:03:40] end up just not listening to anything else and just waiting to ask that question. And really the [00:03:45] question is around that, around, you know, why did you become this guy who [00:03:50] who is just so good at talking?

Zak Kara: Do you think I’m good at talking? Yeah, I’ve got [00:03:55] high expectations. Well, you must have set high expectations for this. Pardon? Um, I look [00:04:00] I love a chat. Yeah. The deep down origins probably go to together with the question you were going. Well the [00:04:05] traditional first question, which is that I grew up in my dad’s record shop. You guys have heard this all before on [00:04:10] the podcast with Prav background and so on and so forth. Um, so I grew up getting to know people’s [00:04:15] stories, and you’ll write that my approach to dentistry is definitely been that I look at things [00:04:20] slightly laterally compared to most technical minded dentists, but there’s still a huge [00:04:25] element of my day to day that I love in that artistry and that finesse and that [00:04:30] attention to detail. That’s it. The thing that I that really, really gets [00:04:35] me out of bed these days is actually a bit deeper than that. It’s connecting people to [00:04:40] their real skill set. And I found that the power of words and your processes and [00:04:45] your workflows, and what you can create as an organisation is really what makes me excited. [00:04:50]

Payman Langroudi: I see. And so this practice that you’re in right now. [00:04:55] Yeah. Did you rename it Smile Stories or did you buy it as Smile Stories?

Zak Kara: Back [00:05:00] story okay. If you want the overview. But the brilliant.

Payman Langroudi: Brand I love it. You know, I [00:05:05] must have come across a thousand different names for dental practices, but that’s a great one.

Zak Kara: I’m [00:05:10] not going to compare us to any other practice, but what I do find, and funny enough, you mentioned a bit earlier [00:05:15] on in the intro. Thank you. That’s very kind of you. What you said, um, is that a lot of practices [00:05:20] become dentistry according to what that clinician or those clinicians believe dentistry [00:05:25] to be, because that’s all they’ve done in their careers. And then they put a private price tag [00:05:30] on it. Yeah. And then they go, well, you sit down in the chair and it’s fee per item, and this is how you do dentistry. [00:05:35] And then some take it to the next level, which I would call private private dentistry, which [00:05:40] is rubber dam, comprehensive thinking and all the rest of it. Those practices are sometimes [00:05:45] fine can become a little bit, I don’t know, forgive the terminology, but kind of up their own ass [00:05:50] kind of a bit. Big picture. They think they’re so big thinking [00:05:55] that they kind of just lose sight of themselves and they become quite pretentious. [00:06:00] And actually, I found that when you then look wider afield. For example, [00:06:05] I’ve just been over in Chicago at midwinter meetings and American dentistry got brought to the UK, [00:06:10] you know, 20, 30, 30 years ago. Now that makes us feel old. Um, and I was aspiring to this [00:06:15] stuff when I was a dental student, you know, 2004. I began at dental school not that long ago, but 20 years ago. And [00:06:20] I thought that I was aspiring to be the Larry Rosenthal dentist. The white coat [00:06:25] that made you a big deal and you could easily call a practice, I don’t know. I heard of one the other day.

Zak Kara: What was it? [00:06:30] Uh, dental philosophy. And I thought to myself, okay, by the way, this practice hasn’t [00:06:35] become, uh, come to be. So, um, maybe I shouldn’t have said that, but, um, this was a mooted [00:06:40] idea, and I don’t think this is going forward, but it becomes something that’s a little bit kind of, I don’t know. [00:06:45] Again, forgive the terminology, but a bit wonky. And that isn’t really me. So [00:06:50] what will you became? Small stories. Yeah. You’re right. It, um, it evolved from a [00:06:55] chicken fuelled weekend, literally and metaphorically. I’ve sat on a old school [00:07:00] waiting room floor of what was called Castle Lane Dental Care in Bournemouth, um, alongside my now business [00:07:05] partner and absolutely one of my best friends in the world, Gareth Edwards, who’s a kind of, um, the [00:07:10] kind of dentist that doesn’t bang his own drum but really works hard, like the hardest working white guy [00:07:15] you’ve ever met kind of thing. But, like, yeah, properly works hard, okay. And he puts in the hours and the slog [00:07:20] and he gets it. And he was one of the few guys I’ve ever come across when I was like, I don’t want to compete with you. I want to collaborate with you. [00:07:25] You really get it. And so we think that we’ve created something that’s quite special and unique in small [00:07:30] stories, because we do genuinely believe and we, our team, it’s become instilled in them, that it’s about the relationship with [00:07:35] the person. So it’s that middle ground between what people think dentistry is and [00:07:40] that overdone, overzealous Charlie big potato. I’m [00:07:45] I’m a pretentious dentist, dentist, white coat dentist. That’s not us at all.

Payman Langroudi: So when [00:07:50] you say he got it. Hmm. What was the sort of the moment, the sort of resonating [00:07:55] story or the what was the.

Zak Kara: Thing you got?

Payman Langroudi: What’s the thing he got? [00:08:00] You know, like, so because, you know, dentists, you know, so, so, [00:08:05] so happy that so many different types of people listen to this. Right. But there are there [00:08:10] are people out there who are dental students. There are people out there who are dental nurses. And then there’s [00:08:15] every type of dentists you could imagine, and quite a large number abroad as well, right, where the [00:08:20] culture is different. Yeah. So if you had to distil it down, to bottle it down [00:08:25] to what is it he got that that resonated with you. That’s so few of us get. [00:08:30]

Zak Kara: Great question. I think the moment was when Gareth and I [00:08:35] actually just began to realise I literally sent him. And by the way, this proves that if you’re ever [00:08:40] thinking, oh, they’re an interesting kind of guy kind of girl, jump into their DMs, just [00:08:45] have a conversation with them, because it literally began with that. I said, you’re in your 20s or 30s, you’re in Bournemouth. [00:08:50] Um, I’ve never heard of you before. It would be great to meet you. We went for a coffee, turned [00:08:55] into another coffee, turned into a beer. It was like dating. And the thing that we got [00:09:00] about one another and we got about dentistry, I believe, is this. It’s [00:09:05] the fact that. The whole picture [00:09:10] can only be created properly in dentistry. Comprehensive minded dentistry in [00:09:15] a playing the long game slow burn kind of way. I think the best way for me to explain this [00:09:20] is this. So I spend a lot of time around jazz. Jazz. Gulati I know you know pretty well. [00:09:25] Um, and in conversations with jazz, the thing that I realised is there’s [00:09:30] a lot of dentists out there who are in their first, let’s say, 5 or 10 years or even beyond that. They’re doing fee per item dentistry [00:09:35] or they’re doing NHS dentistry and they want to take it to the next level. The way that we found you can [00:09:40] take to the next level is only by having the person in front of you, your patient or [00:09:45] client, having them opt in to the dentistry themselves [00:09:50] because they came up with the idea themselves, and the power of the journey of how [00:09:55] to get them there matters.

Zak Kara: It’s an entire it’s an all encompassing thing. It’s everything [00:10:00] from the way it looks in the clinic, smells in the clinic, the words that are used on the answer to [00:10:05] the phone or actually, quite uniquely, we don’t answer the phone. That’s a bit weird, I know, and [00:10:10] it’s quite self-selecting and it’s maybe a bit too niche for some practices. But even if you’re a new [00:10:15] potential client or patient, there’s a process. It shouldn’t ever be obtrusive. [00:10:20] It shouldn’t ever be so many obstacles that it becomes that thing that we were mentioning earlier that you disappear up your own arse. [00:10:25] Yeah, but there’s enough self-selecting aspects to it. And that’s the thing I think Gareth [00:10:30] really got, which was that he’s technical minded enough to realise we can do this. We [00:10:35] have to some extent then in some ways kind of scaled it back a little bit over the years because, [00:10:40] um, it becomes too complex. And so, for example, 2020 four’s theme amongst Gareth, between [00:10:45] Gareth and I is simplify or delete because we’ve created a bit of a Frankenstein, [00:10:50] which can be a pain in the neck to onboard new team members with. So there isn’t to say we think we’ve created some sort [00:10:55] of gospel, but what we have created is definitely unique.

Payman Langroudi: We get more specific. I mean, what [00:11:00] does that even mean?

Zak Kara: Do you mean in terms of the patient journey or do you mean. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: When, when, when [00:11:05] when you say that the patient will come asking for the treatment. Okay. What is it. What [00:11:10] does it mean? I mean, give us give me an example of a person.

Zak Kara: Okay. So I’ll give you an example. So um, we [00:11:15] created the brand if you want to call it that. Small stories, not from [00:11:20] the logo or whatever. Some practices tend to kind of like spin things around in the [00:11:25] backwards kind of way. And then we called it this. And then we live on we’re on this street. So we called it that. We began with small [00:11:30] stories because we realised that people matter and it’s all about not necessarily the technical craftsmanship [00:11:35] of the dentistry, but how it makes people feel. And the power of a story, as you all know, is very, [00:11:40] very, uh, compelling. Yeah. Okay. So if you want the, the nitty gritty, [00:11:45] um, let’s say client I met the other day in her 50s, um, [00:11:50] had come to see us in quite a different headspace as opposed to some, uh, new clients. Her [00:11:55] husband had seen Gareth some years back in a different clinic, and she came [00:12:00] in to see us and said, Dave got me a chatterbox set of teeth for Christmas and [00:12:05] said, I’m going to. You want to go and see the guys at Smyths Toys? They’ll look after you because she’d done too [00:12:10] much continual drip, drip, drip. Commenting [00:12:15] on the nature of her teeth, the fact they break all the time and all the rest of it, she’d already arrived [00:12:20] at that decision making point in her, in her, in her life, her dental life, if you want to call it that.

Zak Kara: Where she realised she [00:12:25] didn’t want to do that anymore. Yeah. And so she contacted us and she was already in that headspace, which we [00:12:30] didn’t need to do much to guide her with. But there are other people that are at the other end of the spectrum. Most [00:12:35] of them begin at the other end of the spectrum, which is that they come to see us and they go, I’d like straighter, whiter teeth, or [00:12:40] they go, ah, this crown really bugs me. And I had an injury when I was in my 20s. So how you [00:12:45] carve the path for that person matters. A lot of practices. They’ll phone up receptionist, [00:12:50] they’ll answer the phone, they’ll go, yeah. The next availability with Zac is two and a half weeks away and [00:12:55] it’s £95. I’m not saying that you [00:13:00] should create too many barriers to entry, but that’s frictionless. That process is [00:13:05] too frictionless, and any old goodness knows who will land in your chair. [00:13:10] And our belief is that the dental treatment room time, we call it a treatment room, by the way, [00:13:15] not a surgery because nobody likes surgery. So we’re very hot on words and quite pedantic about it with our [00:13:20] team, because as soon as that becomes contagious, it becomes contagious. And you can’t scale that back. You can’t pull that [00:13:25] back once it’s disappeared. So words matter. Um, the [00:13:30] process, though, for somebody who’s phoned up with that kind of headspace [00:13:35] needs to be guided.

Zak Kara: So we ask for photographs, for example. There’s a specific process that we follow [00:13:40] and we go so that we can guide you best. And our team of dentists can make sure that we [00:13:45] offer the right type of treatment or the the right type of advice. When you come to see us in the building, [00:13:50] could you help us question mark. That’s it. Shut up. So [00:13:55] they might WhatsApp them back this question or they might phone it might be a conversation on the phone to be fair. And they have to ask [00:14:00] answer the question with yeah, sure. And the answer to that is therefore [00:14:05] next step. What a lot of our clients find is that by sending us a set of photographs, by the way, I can send you [00:14:10] some example photos on WhatsApp. It’s so easy now. Smartphones are so clever, blah blah blah blah blah. If [00:14:15] you can show us different angles, we can give you some free advice. Do you know the the [00:14:20] thing about that that’s interesting is probably about 30% of the time I have Laura or Hannah [00:14:25] or Hannah, our care coordinators come and see us. And there’s certain specific times of the day where we do things collaboratively [00:14:30] like that. And I’ll go. I really don’t think, given the nature of the goals that this person is presenting to us, [00:14:35] I don’t think we can help her.

Payman Langroudi: Just from that.

Zak Kara: Just from that. Love that. [00:14:40] And the reason why is because, to be blunt about it, hey, we’re busy enough to not have [00:14:45] to be so, um, so desperate.

Payman Langroudi: To take to see everyone. [00:14:50]

Zak Kara: Exactly. And I’ve worked in other clinics where we used to look after footballers and footballers wives, which was the least fun [00:14:55] ever, by the way. Don’t aspire to that, if that’s what you think. In the first two years out of uni you think you want to do. [00:15:00] Yeah, um, certainly not my way of doing it anyway. Um, and the other way of doing it is [00:15:05] basically to go, okay, well, we charge £500 for a new visit or. Oh, by the way, we charge 250. [00:15:10] And by the way, most of our clients need a CBT which is 250. So everyone knows in that type of clinic they’re [00:15:15] walking in the door and it’s going to cost them £500. And they think that by being wealthy that [00:15:20] fixes the problem. The problem with that type of mindset is they will always think they can throw money [00:15:25] at a problem. So we treat and we treat and look after normal people with normal jobs. But it’s [00:15:30] about finding and cherry picking them.

Payman Langroudi: So is Hannah. Was that her name? [00:15:35]

Zak Kara: Hannah and Laura.

Payman Langroudi: And Laura is so well trained that they can make those decisions [00:15:40] themselves or or they write most of the time, [00:15:45] or what happens? Do you know, what is it about that patient’s goals and the photos that they showed you? [00:15:50] Okay.

Zak Kara: So we actually find it’s quite interesting. I don’t know if maybe if you’re listening to this, you probably thinking [00:15:55] I’ve never followed a process like that, but probably the closest thing to it that you will have done is [00:16:00] I believe you can tell a lot, even from somebody coming into the building. And let’s say they’re filling in a medical [00:16:05] history form. Yeah. Or back in the day when small stories began and evolved from [00:16:10] just myself and Tasha. Tasha is a nurse, dental hygienist, therapist who now became [00:16:15] my wife. Um, and these things happen sometimes. And, uh, uh, Tasha and I [00:16:20] just began on evenings and weekends, and we used to give somebody a medical history and a dental history, and that was [00:16:25] from the evolution from a bit of an amalgamation of Pangaea and the roots that I, um, [00:16:30] came from one two years out of university and then some choice and some other bits and bobs from the US. [00:16:35] And when you plug the MH in the dental history in together into a what I thought was quite [00:16:40] a concise thing and you put it in somebody’s hand, you can find out a lot just from their handwriting [00:16:45] even, and from the nature of the words they use, even from the kind of style of their grammar [00:16:50] in that they might say, okay, so one of the questions on the dental history might be, tell [00:16:55] us about your previous dental experiences.

Zak Kara: Oh my God, worst thing ever. Hate this torture. [00:17:00] They can immediately tell their expectations of always look isn’t to say we can’t treat [00:17:05] them, but if that goes together with the other thing, which is I want a perfect smile and [00:17:10] I’ve got to be ten out of ten. And by the way, it’s my daughter’s wedding in two months. And I’m like, whoa, [00:17:15] whoa, chill out. Too many things. We’re trying to solve too many things at once. And then I’m [00:17:20] thinking, is this a particularly, um, is the person got the temperament of the kind of person who [00:17:25] is going to be flexible and, you know, they’re given the nature of the fact they need [00:17:30] replacement of at least six crowns that I can see. And I’m probably a bit of author and maybe a bit of grafting [00:17:35] and a bit of complicated work, like you can just tell sometimes, and to be honest with you, it’s [00:17:40] a bit of a busy restaurant philosophy.

Payman Langroudi: Pay your chips. So basically you’re trying [00:17:45] to get the information that many of us get in the first assessment ahead of [00:17:50] time.

Zak Kara: Yeah, because treatment room time is sacred to me. To us, the treatment room time. [00:17:55]

Payman Langroudi: From a business perspective, you mean. Yeah. Yeah.

Zak Kara: From a business perspective. But also because.

Payman Langroudi: Time is.

Zak Kara: Sacred. Yeah. [00:18:00] Time is sacred. But also as an associate, let’s say back in the day, I used to work in I’ve worked in probably 15 different [00:18:05] clinics in one shape or form a day here, a day there, NHS one, one one. I’ve done it all [00:18:10] as an associate. Right. And I’ve seen it and done it the ways that I believe that you can do so [00:18:15] much better. And I’ve kind of from each one of those little episodes gone. I wouldn’t do it like that. That’s a bit, that’s a bit weird [00:18:20] or oh, I like that. Actually. They do a 3D scan as the first thing they do when they walk in the treatment room. Oh [00:18:25] that’s cool, I like that, and I’ve cherry picked that and I’ve amalgamated it into some of my best friends [00:18:30] in dentistry. Cringe when they hear this because I say it all the time. You’re a patchwork quilt. Yeah, I’m a patchwork [00:18:35] quilt, and we all are. And you just choose the bits that seem to resonate the most with you.

Payman Langroudi: I [00:18:40] think. I mean, the the situation is that most of us don’t [00:18:45] do that as much as you’ve done it right. Most of us tend to sort [00:18:50] of just follow a, like you said at the beginning, a particular kind of way of doing dentistry [00:18:55] that you saw in a the best one of the 12 practices, maybe, that you worked at. [00:19:00] And I get what you’re saying. Of course, there’s I’ve worked in practices where it’s a brilliant [00:19:05] practice, but the boss was a fool. Yeah. You know, and even though that seems like [00:19:10] a difficult thing because, you know, he’s obviously not that much of a fool because it’s a brilliant practice. [00:19:15] Sure. But, you know, he did something that I would never do. Or all the opposite [00:19:20] situations sometimes is a wonderful area and it’s a bad practice, sometimes a brilliant practice and the wrong area. All [00:19:25] those different permutations. Most of us end up doing the same [00:19:30] thing, and yet you almost on purpose are kind of [00:19:35] doing anything to be different.

Zak Kara: Yeah, almost to our own detriment sometimes [00:19:40] in honesty.

Payman Langroudi: So there’s going to be a downside to that. There’s going to be a downside to that. But but but with you definitely, [00:19:45] you know, it’s almost like you’re innovating in a patient journey and and [00:19:50] all that. And I’m sure clinically you’re looking to lots of different places as well. And and all that. What [00:19:55] is it about you that you know? What what was it about you that made you into that guy? [00:20:00]

Zak Kara: You know, I’ve pondered this quite a lot. Um, my sister and I talk [00:20:05] about it once in a while when we, um. When I was growing up, I grew up in my dad’s record [00:20:10] shop, and my dad’s a my mum and dad were first generation immigrants from Kenya. And, [00:20:15] you know, as a kid or a or a in your 20s, maybe even early [00:20:20] 20s, probably at that point in my life, I was thinking I was rebelling against that because [00:20:25] there was a lot of what I believed at that point to be control. My parents were so controlling classic [00:20:30] Indian burners in in record shops.

Payman Langroudi: A bit different though, right?

Zak Kara: A bit quirky. But this is interesting because my dad’s [00:20:35] approach to things, my mum and dad’s approach was let’s leave West London, where all of their my mum’s [00:20:40] side of my family landed in the UK, and let’s do something a bit different. So they moved to north west Kent, [00:20:45] which was seen as crazy. You’re moving to Dartford. What. What is Dartford. Yeah. [00:20:50] You have to go b260 from M25. B260 off the M25, [00:20:55] Abbey road was like oh what, what is that. Yeah. Crazy. So you know Mum and dad uh [00:21:00] were commuting into London which again was seen as crazy. You have to wait at the train station in, in the snow. And so I think that [00:21:05] probably deep down when, when you realise you can do something different, [00:21:10] I think it’s probably almost the challenge deep down inside me of what [00:21:15] if we thought a bit differently and just went, let’s follow our nose. And and that’s part of life’s fun, [00:21:20] isn’t it? Part of life’s fun is being is challenging yourself. Like, for example, on the train to come and see you today. [00:21:25] I was on my computer, and if somebody had been over my shoulder or sat next to me, they’d have been thinking, I’m a software developer. [00:21:30]

Zak Kara: Because I was working automations, I was working on different ways of connecting software together and integrating [00:21:35] them together to make our team’s life easier because we pay about, I think in total per [00:21:40] annum, something like 56K on different, uh, bits of software and automations that charge us [00:21:45] per usage, different ways of doing things. But that to me is at least one team member salary. [00:21:50] So it’s just thinking a bit outside the box and going, [00:21:55] I love a bit of tech. I can learn something different. I’ll learn something different. One of my best friends, [00:22:00] Chris, who’s a complete opposite end of the spectrum, Chris and Emily. I met them at first day, first week of dental school. [00:22:05] Chris is now Max facts consultant. Congrats! By the way, if you’re listening to this Chris C you literally just finished [00:22:10] and he’s been through the whole journey 17 years, 15, 16, 17 years later, uh, and [00:22:15] he, uh, realises that, um, we’re just [00:22:20] so worlds apart. But you can do all those things in dentistry because you use your your basis of your [00:22:25] degree or your, your clinical aspects of things. And you go, hmm. What if [00:22:30] I just think differently?

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. But, you know, I, I [00:22:35] must have thought a bit differently to want to give up dentistry, right? Yeah. Um, and, you know, start a teeth [00:22:40] whitening company. And people ask me all the time, how the hell did that happen? And in a way, [00:22:45] I feel like I just fell into it. Um, but when I analyse it, when [00:22:50] I do look back, I do think in my situation, I went to school [00:22:55] with some interesting cats and, uh, listening to the stories of their family businesses [00:23:00] was maybe inspired me a little bit. Um, I was [00:23:05] particularly disappointed with what a dental practice is when [00:23:10] we became dentists. And by the way, my my first job [00:23:15] adore the guy, but but it was an NHS practice. Yeah. And I [00:23:20] just couldn’t believe that this was what dentistry was. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now the reason for that was we [00:23:25] had a revolution in Iran and we came, we just ran away and came. And [00:23:30] our first dentist in the UK was our dentist from Iran, same guy who’d also [00:23:35] who’d also run away. Turned out he was a super duper. But we didn’t know he was just our dentist. Right. [00:23:40] Um, but he he set up in Harley Street, so we went and saw him in Harley [00:23:45] Street. I didn’t even know what the Harley Street was right at the beginning. Yeah. Um, and, [00:23:50] you know, it was a very plush place. That’s the dentist, right? That’s what it is. Yeah. So in my head, [00:23:55] that was what the dentist was, is that thing. Yeah. And then when I first saw dentistry, the real [00:24:00] dentistry, I was like, oh my God. Yeah. I couldn’t believe it.

Zak Kara: And you become conditioned don’t you. To that. And I believe dentists [00:24:05] generally, especially in the UK appreciate a lot of people listening will be overseas as well. But [00:24:10] in the UK in particular, it’s deep rooted in whatever we’ve been doing for the last 20, 30, 40, 50 [00:24:15] years. We actually utilise that to our advantage. By the way, some of our marketing and some of our sort of ingrained conversations [00:24:20] we have with our clients and patients is we say things like, it’s not 1995, [00:24:25] we don’t do old fashioned scrape and polish, because that isn’t what we believe dentistry should be [00:24:30] provided, as it’s a gentle we call it a jet wash and a thorough, uh, gentle [00:24:35] but thorough clean of your teeth and your gum foundations and blah di blah di blah di blah. And how you explain that [00:24:40] and go about demonstrating that and then proving it really does set you apart. But [00:24:45] you need to be surrounded by people coming back a little bit to the Gareth thing. You need to be surrounded by [00:24:50] people that get it, that kind of realise that it can be different, and it’s about actually being bold and brave [00:24:55] enough to do something different a little bit like my dad’s and my mum did when they moved away from West London, and [00:25:00] their little nest of their, their extended family, and they realised that actually I look back at [00:25:05] that in hindsight and think to myself, they probably did a lot of things that they did out of fear, [00:25:10] and a lot of the advice they give us is deep rooted in fear as well. They [00:25:15] moved away from East Africa when Idi Amin in the 70s forced a lot of Indians out. It was literally as close [00:25:20] to the bone as, by the way, you’ve got however many weeks or months or you all of your [00:25:25] assets, literally imagine all of your assets, every penny to your name and everything you’ve worked for, [00:25:30] your family’s entire history gone. It will be acquired [00:25:35] by the state. Take a Kenya passport or take a British passport. Underestimate.

Payman Langroudi: You mustn’t underestimate. [00:25:40] I think Rona calls it generational trauma. Yeah. You mustn’t underestimate [00:25:45] that. Yeah, that even though you were born here and you had none of that. Yeah. The stories, [00:25:50] the fear, you’ll hear those stories from your parents and grandparents, [00:25:55] they they they permeate you and, you know, they kind of define the person [00:26:00] that you become after that.

Zak Kara: Deep down, you do. Yeah. And but the the more years you get [00:26:05] on the, on the, on in your own life, um, in your 20s and 30s, I think [00:26:10] it only took until my late 20s, early 30s, now nearly late 30s, uh, when I [00:26:15] realised that there’s a lot more to it and the reasons behind some of the things they said and did, the way they acted, [00:26:20] even as subtle as my dad. I always remember finishing school, um, [00:26:25] getting back to the shop. Um, mum at one point had to commute to London from [00:26:30] south east London to to work in the civil service to supplement the family income. My parents insisted [00:26:35] that we went to a we went to a private primary school for a for a short while, and beyond that point [00:26:40] they’d just run out of funds to be able to do it, but to be able to sustain it, that’s what they did. Um, and [00:26:45] my I remember being around in the shop with dad from about 4 p.m. till about [00:26:50] 630, when we’d. Pick up mum from the station down the road in Longfield. And one [00:26:55] time dad was sweeping the floor and he had, I don’t know what the actual. I think it might [00:27:00] be Swahili, but I think basically he called it foggy or so foggy. Is is a is a is a broom, is [00:27:05] a broom. But such an old worn down broom that the handle, I swear, was so tatty [00:27:10] it was like a stick, like a like a twig that had got so worn thin because he’d held it in a particular [00:27:15] place.

Zak Kara: And I mean this. I’m not just kind of telling you a story. The broom itself was so [00:27:20] curled back on itself that the bristles weren’t bristles anymore. And I used to go, dad, why don’t you get a new broom? [00:27:25] This is my broom. I’ve done it this way the entire longer than you were born. [00:27:30] 1983. They started the shop. We were born in 85, 86. My sister and I and [00:27:35] I at one point said, why do you do this every day, dad? You. We’ve gone around the entire shop. It’s a loop, a record [00:27:40] shop. Um, so you’ve gone around the entire shop. There’s barely any dust. He said. Something [00:27:45] will stick with me. He said, it’s [00:27:50] not about what you’re doing. It’s about how well you do it and what [00:27:55] you demonstrate and what that demonstrates to others, or words to that effect. And [00:28:00] how you do anything is how you do everything. If you put that amount of effort [00:28:05] into sweeping the floor, when people walk past and go, oh, Mr. Carr is sweeping the floor. They literally [00:28:10] used to call him Mr. Carr Micro famous in his little village in Kent. He was [00:28:15] micro famous. He was on the radio once, my dad. The local radio. [00:28:20] Uh, and, um, but it applies.

Payman Langroudi: To dentistry, right? Because the patient can’t see what you’re [00:28:25] doing at all. There you go. And so we have to demonstrate it to them in other ways. Um, [00:28:30] now let’s, let’s, let’s go through the, the basics of [00:28:35] I mean, I know you’re, you’re big on pain free injections, which which I am too. I really [00:28:40] I think I think if you if you get proficient at pain free injections, it’s better for [00:28:45] your career than an MSC in restorative dentistry. Um, because those patients [00:28:50] tell patients and those patients stick with you. And the magic that a patient feels [00:28:55] the first time they get a pain free injection because they’ve had so many other injections. [00:29:00] So so we’ll get we’ll get to specifics. Right. So so pain free injections obviously. [00:29:05] But tell me about some other sort of interesting non-clinical cuz [00:29:10] like for me I visit practices coffee. The [00:29:15] quality of the coffee to me tells me all sorts of stuff about incorrectly [00:29:20] by the way. Yeah, incorrectly because there are some practices, brilliant clinicians, brilliant [00:29:25] equipment, crap coffee that that happens. Yeah. And the opposite and the [00:29:30] opposite. But I’m so biased on coffee that if I get when I go in [00:29:35] and they say coffee, I say sometimes they never say coffee. Right. So that says a lot, right? Yeah. You say coffee, [00:29:40] I say sure. Sometimes they’ve been criss barrowed up. They say something like a latte or [00:29:45] flat white and that’s that’s always nice to hear that. Right.

Zak Kara: So you hear the machine going in the background [00:29:50] and you’re thinking, okay.

Payman Langroudi: Flat white whatever. Yeah, yeah. Generally I expect it to be rubbish. [00:29:55] Yeah. And sometimes amazing coffee comes out. Right now nothing’s happened. I haven’t met the principal [00:30:00] yet. I haven’t seen the equipment yet. All I’ve had is a sip of coffee. But I’m already making [00:30:05] all sorts of deductions. And I’ve been to a thousand practices. Here are patients. [00:30:10] Um, can you think of other, other cues? I mean, obviously General Clinic in your.

Zak Kara: Mind here, we don’t [00:30:15] offer coffee. Do you know, we intentionally don’t offer coffee because, uh, although [00:30:20] those five senses do matter, and taste does matter. Our approach to it is that [00:30:25] the smell, the sound, the sight that everything else and [00:30:30] including smell like, you know, like a decent, uh, restaurant or hotel does, uh, it always smells [00:30:35] right. Yeah. The lobby smells right. The. We call it front of house. Our lounge smells right. Um, [00:30:40] the look is right. It’s earthy, it’s real. There’s brick wall exposed genuinely by my own [00:30:45] hands, grinding a brick wall, brick dust in my hair through the build phase of the new clinic last year. [00:30:50] Um, and all of those things to us, kind of even the brick [00:30:55] wall. I deep down believe that that matters because it says real. [00:31:00] So our approach to it is real. That isn’t necessarily your approach or another clinic’s approach, but [00:31:05] it’s our approach. There are intentionally real plants in there in the lounge. It’s [00:31:10] because the words that we use with our clients are real as well. So we have two front of house crew [00:31:15] members. One of them will be sat down. One of them sat up or stood up at a greet station that we have. We intentionally [00:31:20] utilise that as a bit of a kind of natural, you know, when you go to a decent restaurant and there’s almost like [00:31:25] a natural waiting point.

Zak Kara: Yeah. Like, you know, you’re gonna tell somebody that you’ve got a reservation or whatever here, that’s [00:31:30] your greet station. And that’s also a point where it stops any old Tom, Dick and Harry walking [00:31:35] in off the street and making a big old, big old mess of our experience for our real clients. [00:31:40] Yeah. So we can utilise on a little tablet that we have in built into the greet station. We can utilise [00:31:45] that space to jump on a website and scroll through. And oh, by the way, here’s an example of our previous client stories. [00:31:50] And sometimes we divert that human being into the client. Coordinator’s room we call [00:31:55] them cos not tcos care coordinators to us feels more, um, authentic [00:32:00] than a treatment coordinator. They’re coordinating your care. Okay, so [00:32:05] that’s one of our methods physically in the building. Um, but there are [00:32:10] plenty more, as I was kind of alluding to a bit earlier on, which are a bit more kind of, um, uh, tech orientated or [00:32:15] virtual, let’s say, um, and the photos and the part of that process is very unique to us. Um, [00:32:20] the.

Payman Langroudi: Tell me about other banned words.

Zak Kara: Haha. And do you know what we actually [00:32:25] have? I used to work.

Payman Langroudi: In a practice. The word dentist was banned.

Zak Kara: Oh really? Yeah, they say instead. Surgeon. Oh, [00:32:30] surgeon who’s.

Payman Langroudi: Who’s your surgeon?

Zak Kara: Hahaha. Terrible. Um, it [00:32:35] might work for some clinics and yeah, he will.

Payman Langroudi: He wanted to really push over that sort of doctory [00:32:40] sort of implant centre. And I.

Zak Kara: Can see that, that, you.

Payman Langroudi: Know what a banned words in your.

Zak Kara: Practice. So we have [00:32:45] a list of nearly 50 of them pay 5050 and not joking. And we actually call it the team thesaurus [00:32:50] because some of them are banned words and some of them are instead of this, try this. So Gareth [00:32:55] and I, when we were scoping out the build and some of the inspiration for the new clinic that we moved into, [00:33:00] we we basically outgrew that old fashioned Castle Lane dental care that I mentioned earlier on, with its horrible [00:33:05] carpet that was fraying around the edges. And Tash used to come in and do the little haircut on the beginning of the day. [00:33:10] And, uh, you know, the old fashioned artex on the ceiling outgrew that place, moved into the new purpose built clinic. [00:33:15] Last year, Gareth and I went up to Manchester, and the inspiration we got behind a lot of the team thesaurus [00:33:20] and how you embed it into the team was actually from lush. We went into lush because we were just interested [00:33:25] in how they display things. Um, and we started talking to somebody by the dental section. They had [00:33:30] like some dental aspects of things, probably fluoride free toothpaste and God knows what else, right? Yeah. Sales [00:33:35] essentially. Assistant came over probably in her early 20s, and [00:33:40] she was so good. She was amazing about talking about her products in a particular way. [00:33:45] And we literally asked her at the end of this 20 minute conversation, we had to come clean and go, we’re dentists. We’re here in Manchester [00:33:50] doing a bit of scoping out of like, you know what’s cool in the Manchester? Because we love the city, right. Wicked city. [00:33:55] Um, and she said, well, we, we start the day with [00:34:00] focusing as a team. One of our product specialists will focus on their particular angle on things, and [00:34:05] it’s part of our drip, drip, drip feed training. So we instilled that in as part of our [00:34:10] most practices. Call it a team huddle or we have a ten minute meeting every morning starts at 8 a.m. sharp till 8:10, [00:34:15] 8:10 till 8:30. Our our clinical team and our non-clinical team set up.

Payman Langroudi: They’re [00:34:20] going to have to interrupt you because I know to you it seems like second nature. Yeah, but [00:34:25] plenty of practices don’t have team huddles. What happens?

Zak Kara: Ah, okay. So [00:34:30] the band words come up, she’ll come on to.

Payman Langroudi: Oh do they, do they. Yeah.

Zak Kara: At the end of the team ten minute meeting.

Payman Langroudi: Just literally [00:34:35] take me through it okay. You go through patients coming in today. Yes. And what about them?

Zak Kara: We might begin [00:34:40] the day. So this is important. It’s it’s not led by the boss. It’s not led by principles. [00:34:45] It’s not led by a manager. It’s led by front of house. Because our front of house crew are building [00:34:50] coordinators. They’re the they’re the clinic coordinator for that day. So they’re the point of contact. And the team [00:34:55] need to know psychologically that if I’ve got all you know, what hitting the fan my [00:35:00] go to is Alice this morning. And Alice comes with her pre-printed day schedule. [00:35:05] Um, as I mentioned tech earlier on, um, forgive all the tangents, by [00:35:10] the way, but one of the things we do in tech is, uh, we custom built our own software, [00:35:15] which is a client scheduling software which integrates with Dental. It pulls out the information for the day [00:35:20] in question, and it prints it in a particular way that we like it designed. Because on that day schedule, [00:35:25] yes, you have a list of clients that that clinician is seeing, but it also indicates which nurse is working with them. [00:35:30] And on the right hand side, it also has space for them to jot down what it is, notes for that [00:35:35] particular client. And on the right hand side there’s also three columns. One of them is next in [00:35:40] the workflow. So we have a particular workflow for certain treatments. For example, Harry today might [00:35:45] be seeing one of my clients for what we call phase one dentistry, which is restorative [00:35:50] dentistry. Um, getting that mouth stable for that client. And it might be that he needs to take a 3D [00:35:55] scan at the end of that, so we can upload that to the next phase of the process, which might be [00:36:00] clear aligners, or it might be ortho, or it might be, um, implant planning with the Cbct or [00:36:05] whatever else it is, but who’s.

Payman Langroudi: Filling all that stuff.

Zak Kara: Out? So in the treatment room that gets filled in at the end of the day. But if you don’t [00:36:10] instil that in the team at the beginning of the day through the ten minute meeting. Yeah, why on earth would they think to do it? Yeah. [00:36:15] Right. So they need to know they circle that or they, they put a highlighter around it to go, I’ve got to do this at the end of this [00:36:20] treatment. And that matters because the notes will have been written up when that appointment was created [00:36:25] or when, let’s say I’m listening in ten minute meeting I go, oh, Harry, quick one for Craig. You’re seeing him this [00:36:30] morning. Can you do a da da da da. And he jots it down. There’s also a couple of other columns on there. Like for example, [00:36:35] are we going to request a Google review? Are we going to do something the following day a kindness call. [00:36:40] And that ten minute meeting becomes your that day schedule becomes your sacred, um, [00:36:45] your document that you take with you through your day and you hand it over to front [00:36:50] of house when you finish your day. So as a clinician, you’ve got to go to place. That [00:36:55] is essentially the crux of this ten minute meeting. It’s basically it’s a bit like a maitre d [00:37:00] in a decent restaurant. Talk me through what’s happening today. But before then, it’s even subtle things that we’ve [00:37:05] added on to that flow. Like, for example, who’s in today? In which treatment rooms? Oh, Sarah, one of our dentists [00:37:10] is starting at 2 p.m.

Zak Kara: she’s in 2 to 8 today, so the team need to know don’t shut down treatment [00:37:15] room three, because Sarah’s coming in and she’s working with Esther. And they’re going to start at two, 230 [00:37:20] and so on. So even we’ve found all those, you know, those niggly, niggly things [00:37:25] every day that just piss you off. Somebody couldn’t even be bothered to plan ahead for [00:37:30] the day to keep my treatment room open. And now we’re running late all afternoon. It’s just solid teamwork. [00:37:35] Yeah, so they need to know about it in the ten minute meeting, right? The next thing it [00:37:40] might be who’s joining us as a visitor, we increasingly have clinicians from all sorts of [00:37:45] places, shadow and shadow us and spend time in the clinic. So this is Tom. He’s going to be spending the day with us. And I might say, [00:37:50] oh, Tom’s a dentist from a very good dentist in his own right from over in Cornwall. Welcome, Tom. He’s going to be with us [00:37:55] till what time? 6:00. Okay, cool. So everyone knows Tom, right? That couldn’t be weirder for Tom if he’s [00:38:00] not introduced. Right. He’s just sitting there like a lemon. And then we talk through the clients on the day schedule. That might take [00:38:05] six, seven minutes. And that’s important because it’s the back and forth between two different clinicians and [00:38:10] so on.

Payman Langroudi: But outside of outside of the sort of the I don’t mean to belittle the [00:38:15] obvious. Yeah, yeah. Do you do you go into oh so and so’s finishing treatment and she [00:38:20] likes this sort of chocolates and surprise and delight whatever.

Zak Kara: Yeah. [00:38:25] It’s not necessarily the surprise and delight. Oh let’s do, let’s get out whatever it is. But it is, it is. [00:38:30] There’s an element of that for sure. And for definite we bring up, for example, I might mention Kay, [00:38:35] one of our clients, oh, she’s just had a baby, by the way. She might not be feeling the the best that she’s literally come in [00:38:40] a week after her baby boy was born. Oh by the way, she sent a picture. Like, how weird or [00:38:45] awkward would it be for Kay, who went to the trouble? Because we are talking to her on WhatsApp [00:38:50] all day, every day. Our front of house crew arranging the right appointment at the right time, and she sent a picture of her newborn [00:38:55] baby over. If the clinical treatment room didn’t get that information, Kay is going to be feeling really awkward. [00:39:00] She’s gone to the trouble of keeping our relationship, and that relationship matters, that everyone on the team [00:39:05] is on board with that because we’re. So congratulations. What’s his name by the way? Not [00:39:10] you know, oh yeah. You had a baby. Didn’t you know we already knew in advance because [00:39:15] that that’s the synchronicity that matters. Um.

Payman Langroudi: So so [00:39:20] I do expect after this degree of care, stuff goes [00:39:25] smoothly in general. In general. Yeah, of course there’s always going to be something, right? [00:39:30] Stuff goes smoothly. But more important than that, people feel special. Yeah, right. [00:39:35] And so people who feel special tend to tell other people. Yeah. And so have you sort of [00:39:40] keep do you keep a count on word of mouth referral or forget account. Can you [00:39:45] tell me sort of hand on heart, that word of mouth referral in our practice is just way up. Because of this. [00:39:50]

Zak Kara: We do we, um, we log through our CRM, [00:39:55] um, software that we, we have and we have different channels, which we use Pipedrive [00:40:00] just because we always have um, and it’s quite business to business orientated, [00:40:05] but there are lots of things that we’ve adapted and manipulated and customised and stuff. Um, so we [00:40:10] have different inbound leads, um, different workflows for general dentistry, for teeth straightening, for [00:40:15] implants, for whatever. And we believe they are the kind of core foundations, [00:40:20] um, from which people tend to search for dentistry. So the key [00:40:25] ones tend to be, um, I no longer want my teeth to keep breaking out of the blue. And [00:40:30] that, by the way, matters not I just want a dentist near to me. So slight curveball [00:40:35] again. Uh, might sound weird, but we don’t offer emergency dentistry for somebody in pain, [00:40:40] not for a new client. Wow. Because we’ve found over the years that it’s very difficult [00:40:45] to get somebody on board and keep them on board. And percentage wise, you’ll lose that battle more [00:40:50] often than you win that battle. And we don’t want to be the go to place where you phone up in the next emergency. [00:40:55] So our approach to it is.

Payman Langroudi: Sorry, explain that to me. Why is it why is it hard to [00:41:00] to make that person stick? Okay, because he didn’t come looking for you. He came looking for pain relief.

Zak Kara: Came, came. [00:41:05] Yeah. Sounds controversial, but when we looked at the statistics prior to Covid, you see [00:41:10] those types of scenarios. And fair enough, it was a different environment then. Uh, the [00:41:15] client lounge looked different. It smelled different, different location and stuff. But we found more often than not, [00:41:20] those people coming in, even though you felt like you’d been the saint who looked after them in an [00:41:25] affordable way, we solved their issue. Oh my God, Zach and the team are so amazing here, blah blah blah. More [00:41:30] often than not, they don’t come back. Wow. And so interestingly, what an insight. Well, interestingly [00:41:35] that because most people build their whole clinic and their brand on the basis of I can help people, [00:41:40] right. But what we found is the flip side of it, if you become the busy restaurant and you have a busy restaurant [00:41:45] philosophy behind this, you actually if you really want to do comprehensive dentistry every day, what we actually [00:41:50] do is we let them go and have dentistry done elsewhere. And then we go, [00:41:55] oh, so we’re so glad you found us from your friend, whoever it is. And yes, [00:42:00] we do track word of mouth. And it isn’t, by the way, the biggest inbound percentage of our of our new [00:42:05] prospective clients. And but we still want to keep that relationship because we wouldn’t want [00:42:10] to harm our relationship with their friend who’s recommended us. Right. So we tend to say something along the lines of, [00:42:15] so sorry to say, the next availability in our schedule is around about a week and a half away. All [00:42:20] of our clients who come and see us tend to see us because they’ve planned ahead proactively. And we [00:42:25] have. We offer comprehensive dentistry here, so feel free to call NHS 111. They may be able to solve [00:42:30] your immediate pain.

Zak Kara: Let’s get you out of that issue and then come back and speak to us, or I’ll happily follow [00:42:35] up with you in a couple of days, if you like, and see how you’re doing, because then it demonstrates [00:42:40] that level of care in the same way it demonstrates that we are bothered about them as a human being, and [00:42:45] then we offer them the complete new client, new patient experience when they’re [00:42:50] in a headspace that they’re ready to receive it. And they walk in the door through this process again. [00:42:55] Again, slight curveball, but our process pay for general dentistry is a [00:43:00] bit backwards. We only packages and new client visit into a health [00:43:05] check and a hygiene visit, but we do the hygiene visit first. What? The [00:43:10] reason why is because we find that when you have a hygiene visit first, it [00:43:15] it’s kind of insistent on we do preventative proactive dentistry [00:43:20] here. It also gives them what I find works so well, which is [00:43:25] in order to get somebody to make a decision, you kind of have to breadcrumb it. So our hygienists [00:43:30] are brilliant and they 3D scan every new client and patient at the very beginning [00:43:35] of their first hygiene visit, prior to the prior to which, prior to this time, they’ve not even [00:43:40] seen a dentist in the team, but they have taken a three shaped scan. It’s [00:43:45] free. You don’t even pay for the scan sleeve. Take a 3D scan and they show off the tech at [00:43:50] the end of that visit, which works brilliantly because it gives that person an insight into what’s [00:43:55] really going on. Because we know, don’t we? In dentistry, you can see all these 15 things going wrong [00:44:00] and they’ve got no clue because they’ve got no pain.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, yeah. I mean I think you one underestimates [00:44:05] the difference that that might make here because we’re so in it the wood for the trees or whatever. [00:44:10] Yeah. But if you put yourself in the patient’s position, particularly if you’ve never had a [00:44:15] scan, which most people haven’t these days yet. Yet. Yeah. And you’re seen by this [00:44:20] other person who’s not the dentist who’s taking care, taking a scan. So it’s a whole different experience, isn’t [00:44:25] it? Yeah. A whole different thing.

Zak Kara: Is, you know, you we often find that new patient visits [00:44:30] for a dentist tend to be a bit of a loss leader. Let’s face it, you can actually carve out the ideal [00:44:35] path for them after that first visit. And they’ve gone home and probably had time to [00:44:40] do a little bit of grieving. That’s a strong word, but we use that word within our team [00:44:45] because our team know that they need the opportunity. If there’s some relatively bad news i.e. my teeth aren’t quite [00:44:50] as good as I thought, and there were some brown bits and some black bits and whatever. By the way, our hygienists and therapists aren’t [00:44:55] tasked to diagnose, but they are tasked to give them [00:45:00] a guided tour, show them the colours, and they don’t even say what they see themselves. [00:45:05] They kind of go, what do you see out of interest? And what they’re doing there is that’s the true [00:45:10] meaning of Co diagnosis. It’s become quite trendy to say co diagnosis. Yeah true co [00:45:15] diagnosis is nobody ever believes or trusts new information [00:45:20] particularly not in health care in a relatively mistrusted space like dentistry. [00:45:25] Yeah until they believe they’ve come up with the answers themselves. So what I do, which is maybe a little [00:45:30] bit sneaky, is that if I’m giving someone a guided tour of their 3D scan, their three shaped scan on the screen, right, I’ll [00:45:35] move it around.

Zak Kara: Here’s you on the right. Here’s you on the left. Let me show the the arch of the teeth. This is [00:45:40] really the view that most dentists look at. And I’ll show them the occlusal view. And I’ll zoom in a little bit and [00:45:45] I’ll go, do you know what? I can see so many different things because I do this all day, every day. [00:45:50] Why don’t I actually pause and let you tell me what you what do you see? I do that intentionally [00:45:55] because it gives them the opportunity to tell me the colours. What do you see? Some of them [00:46:00] will go, I don’t know, dentist. You tell me and they dither and [00:46:05] I might prompt them gently. What colour do you see? Is it this yellow bit here or. Oh, this bit here. [00:46:10] Yeah. That’s the back of that tooth. That’s a bit kind of weird with my tongue, isn’t it? Why do you think that might [00:46:15] be? And that’s letting them walk this slow and steady journey. And if our hygienists [00:46:20] and therapists are doing that at the first, we call that the pre um pre new client [00:46:25] visit hygiene visit, um that first step in the journey. And [00:46:30] they will offer the opportunity for them to go home and think about it.

Zak Kara: Because by the time [00:46:35] they then come back and see a dentist they’ve been offered the correct length of visit. That’s the other thing [00:46:40] I find golden with this. Some of our, uh, in previous clinics, when I was trying to do a new client, [00:46:45] new patient visit, it wouldn’t be long enough. Yeah, well, you’ve only got yourself to blame [00:46:50] if you’ve seen their mouth and you’ve got an idea of their. Temperament because Tasha or Camilla or [00:46:55] whomever in our team has already told me and by the way, also offers the opportunity [00:47:00] to gently but tactfully ask somebody to find a different clinic. That [00:47:05] does happen once in a while. Yeah, yeah, once in a while, because Tasha will go. I couldn’t even lay a bat [00:47:10] beyond 20 degrees. You ain’t treating her. Mhm. And I’ll go okay. Cool. How do we how do we [00:47:15] not spot that already. And she’s going it’s all right. At least I only burned you know 30 minutes 40 minutes. Hygiene visit. [00:47:20] Don’t bother getting into a spiral of a mess. When they then come into the dental treatment room. Then [00:47:25] you have to you’re compelled to give them a diagnosis. Then you’ve got a duty of care. That’s a problem. [00:47:30] So what we actually do is we use some tech. We use do you guys lose use loom. Sure.

Zak Kara: So do you use [00:47:35] a loom video all day, every day. It’s literally show them the three shapes scan on the screen. There’s my my picture of my face [00:47:40] my video. And I’m talking to them. And I’ll give them five minutes free of my time. And I’ll send that through our care [00:47:45] coordinators. And I’ll ask them in that video. Given the nature of this, this and this, and [00:47:50] I’m sorry to say, because of the layout of our treatment rooms and because of our problems [00:47:55] with posture and position, what we find is that actually you will need some treatment to be done and [00:48:00] you’ll better, better looked after by a clinic that’s best set up to do that. I’m sorry to say that can’t be our clinic. [00:48:05] So what we’re doing is asking them to go somewhere else. I don’t care where they go, I do, but, you know, I don’t, um, [00:48:10] I don’t specify, you know, like old school dentists used to go send them to your worst enemy kind of thing. I don’t really care who they [00:48:15] go and see, but it won’t be us. Because I won’t just do that thing that most principals do, which is. Oh, well, [00:48:20] at least it’s money. Let’s bring him in. Let the associates deal with them. That’s again, a recipe for the whole [00:48:25] team’s disaster.

Payman Langroudi: I’m really interested in this grieving period. It’s very interesting [00:48:30] idea that they almost they’ve almost marinated in the problem. [00:48:35] There you go. For a week or two or however long it is before then seeing you [00:48:40] and you confirming and the words, I mean, it must be that when you say when you say, [00:48:45] what do you see? And he’ll say, I see a crumpled up tooth or whatever. [00:48:50] Then when you say, oh, you know, you’re crumpled, there you go. There’s a, there’s active listening. This is well, [00:48:55] there’s just, there’s, there’s a, there’s a feeling of the guys really listening. But you know, active [00:49:00] listening is, is wonderful to understand. Right. But to tell someone that [00:49:05] I’m, I’m actively listening to you is a wonderful thing. If that’s trust, isn’t it.

Zak Kara: That’s more powerful [00:49:10] when you then put it in words on a screen. So for example, um, if not through this pathway, but [00:49:15] if you came to see us for, let’s say, more cosmetically focussed dentistry, that’s again a two stage process. There’s no hygiene visit [00:49:20] involved at the beginning, but we do the information gathering first. We tell people in advance [00:49:25] so they don’t come into the building confused or feeling like they’ve been ripped off in some way, [00:49:30] that they don’t get an answer by the end of that first visit. But we do a separate follow up consultation, which is [00:49:35] on zoom generally and virtual because we don’t want to burn chair time on it. But behind the scenes between [00:49:40] that, our team have put together a comprehensively focussed treatment plan, and that isn’t what most old school specialists [00:49:45] used to do, which is write a blinking letter. No one reads the letter. No one cares, nobody cares. [00:49:50] But if you bothered to put it into pictures and by the way, our team create [00:49:55] that, we believe we’ve created a really neat. We would say this, wouldn’t we? But genuinely, [00:50:00] I don’t see any other clinic that have done this. And if you want to know more, feel free to hit me on Instagram or whatever. [00:50:05] And I’m happy to share. But our process there is that we put it into [00:50:10] pictures, animations, diagrams that are relevant to them and walk them through it.

Payman Langroudi: So [00:50:15] look the process of every time you mention something. What’s firing [00:50:20] off in my head is, well, that’s another process that that’s going to have to, you know, okay, [00:50:25] the hygienist sees the patient gets all this info. Now that info is got to get to [00:50:30] you. Yeah. And you know, each one of these processes. Right. And as you said [00:50:35] the simplification part that you’re you and Gareth are going to focus on this year. But [00:50:40] how long would you say it would take if I was going to come and shadow you guys? How [00:50:45] many weeks or how many days would I have to be there before I get it and understand what’s going on? [00:50:50]

Zak Kara: Do you know, this is one of the reasons why we recognise in order to be able to create a clinic, which is not just contingent [00:50:55] on Gareth and Zach. Yeah, we have to be able to create something that’s neat, succinct, [00:51:00] but actually achievable by most dentists, most clinicians, most non-clinical [00:51:05] team members because it will take us two months to onboard a new non-clinical team member pay, which is mental. It’s absolutely [00:51:10] mental and it’s costly. And and actually, in a weird way, it [00:51:15] it’s almost counterintuitive.

Payman Langroudi: It depends on what makes you happy. Right? [00:51:20] I’ve asked this question of so many dentists. Right. What’s the usually [00:51:25] the last question. But let’s go there. What’s what’s what’s in the future for you now if in the future [00:51:30] there is a 30 practice plan. Yeah, 130 practice plan [00:51:35] or a three practice plan. Yeah. Or you know, I keep on bringing [00:51:40] it up, but, you know, Robbie, he was telling me, um, one practice in every capital city in the world. Yeah. Okay. [00:51:45] Plan. Yeah. Um, or, you know, so [00:51:50] many of us. The one perfect practice. One one. And we know it’s never going to be perfect, right? But [00:51:55] one place. Yeah, yeah. One place where, you know, you’re [00:52:00] going to trying to get as close to perfect as possible. What comes to mind? What [00:52:05] are you thinking?

Zak Kara: I don’t know. Do you know how long has it been?

Payman Langroudi: How long is.

Zak Kara: This masterpiece has been alive [00:52:10] for nearly three years. Is that all 2021 only? Yeah, just after Covid. So we’re in [00:52:15] so early, you know. Yeah, I, Gareth and I say this to each other all day, every day. If we’re having fun, we [00:52:20] carry on. That’s all that our nose has followed over these last few years. And we’ve done some slightly wacky things. [00:52:25] And if there’s going to be one thing I’ve definitely learned in hindsight is take advice from others who have walked [00:52:30] your path sooner. Um, we didn’t not take that path because of ego reasons, [00:52:35] but coaching has been so valuable for us even to be able to structure our day [00:52:40] to day, our week to week. Because in a weird way, like you said, you can’t see the wood from the trees. And I’m a bit of a numbers [00:52:45] guy, and I like the tech and I like the details, and I create huge spreadsheets. Right. So we’ve been working [00:52:50] very closely with a lovely guy called Mike Hesketh, recommend his services, but not if he gets into In [00:52:55] Demand that he gives us a worse service. But Mike is a coach. He’s also a very successful [00:53:00] business owner and clinic owner of his own right.

Zak Kara: And he used to be in the commandos in [00:53:05] the military. So that’s his roots. And he taught us over these only last few months we’ve been working together [00:53:10] that the details matter in some things. So we never used to even have a daily [00:53:15] cash flow spreadsheet. And I used to think things like that were overkill in terms of information. But you do need [00:53:20] to know where your money is going on a day to day basis, to forecast ahead that you don’t ever get to those peaks [00:53:25] and troughs, and one of those troughs that takes you close to zero in the bank, and then you shit your pants, right? [00:53:30] Yeah. Because you need to be able to feed your families, because that’s the whole purpose of having a clinic in the first place. [00:53:35] If you can’t even take your fair share and your percentage as a principle dentist is [00:53:40] nowhere near literally not even a quarter, some months of what I would have taken as an associate. [00:53:45] But you do need structure in your life. I’ve gone off on a tangent. I [00:53:50] forgot what you asked me. What did you ask? Um. [00:53:55]

Payman Langroudi: Well, we were. Well, we were talking about processes, right? Processes. How long it takes to learn.

Zak Kara: So [00:54:00] when dentists come and spend us, spend time with us in the team, we’ve realised that we need to simplify [00:54:05] this into something. But typically it takes about two or 3 or 4 months [00:54:10] of soaking it up. And what we have learned over the years through Harry, amazing dentists in our [00:54:15] team, um, and Sarah, relatively new dentist in our team. We almost need to create this as a [00:54:20] mentorship program. So what we did with Sarah is we salaried her for the first four months, and there was a [00:54:25] set agreed a number of days she’d spend in and around the team because a big part of this is onboarding [00:54:30] with an associate, for an associate whom the team need to like. [00:54:35] There’s no better advocate than the team themselves for that [00:54:40] particular clinician. So you can’t just start and let them fail for the first six [00:54:45] months. Look at their numbers, look at their outcomes, and go, well, that’s crap. There needs to be [00:54:50] a pathway, and you need to create a nurturing environment where they start to realise, oh [00:54:55] crap, actually, I need to learn how to talk like these guys do. Okay, I need to learn some of the processes. What’s [00:55:00] this Pipedrive thing anyway? And all that kind of thing. And it’s literally taken Sarah about four [00:55:05] months and you know, she’s now in the team about, I don’t know, seven months, eight months or something. And she’s flying because she gets [00:55:10] it. And all that groundwork has been done. But most principal dentists, most clinics don’t really [00:55:15] see the wood from the trees in the sense they can’t recognise the value of that.

Zak Kara: Again, it’s costly. You know, a flat rate for [00:55:20] a dentist on on the basis of mentorship is basically paying them to come into the team, which is mental [00:55:25] because as an associate, in some practices, maybe not. You know, I don’t want to blow smoke up our own [00:55:30] asses, but maybe not in our clinic, but in clinics that I’ve shadowed, I would have paid to go and spend [00:55:35] time with them. Yeah. So it’s the other way around. However we’re paying and funding Sarah’s or [00:55:40] did fund Sarah’s life for no clinical outcome whatsoever, purely on the basis that we [00:55:45] saw something in her. And I believe we’ve created something that is so unique, which I actually [00:55:50] would have loved to work in. I do do genuinely mean that as an associate dentist, so [00:55:55] much so sometimes to our own detriment on a personal level, because I think to myself, it’s not the bloody same [00:56:00] as a principal created this amazing clinical environment. We’ve got the best handpieces wicked chairs, [00:56:05] A-dec 500 tellies on the ceiling, the full shebang. Clinical team most [00:56:10] days, more nurses than we need, not less. No trainees take six months to onboard [00:56:15] a dental nurse to be completely independent. Well, certainly in all facets, including implant sedation and all [00:56:20] that. But it literally takes so long to create this amazing machinery that [00:56:25] sometimes you can’t feel the full benefit as a principal.

Zak Kara: Because. Because [00:56:30] as an associate, I aspire to have all those things. Yeah. But on the flip side of it, as a as [00:56:35] a principal, I don’t sit there for four days a week as a, as a clinician. And I [00:56:40] also have all the other pressures of, for example, less so now because the management aspects of [00:56:45] things are more neat and they’re better delegated and stuff like that. But, um, you [00:56:50] know, you still get the flack as the big bad boss, as a principal, you know, you will always be [00:56:55] the person who I did used to think that we had some sort of Goldilocks scenario. [00:57:00] We were about maybe 12, 14, 16 of us as a team at that point. And I [00:57:05] think we I thought we’d created that little beautiful little moment where it was like having a flat [00:57:10] hierarchy and everyone got on great guns with each other, and we all socialised with each [00:57:15] other. And they were. Gareth and Zach weren’t seen as the big bad bosses, but as soon as you went beyond that [00:57:20] to 20 to now, I think 24, 25 of us, something like that, there’s [00:57:25] only so much you can do and I do really. It’s painful sometimes because I do. I would love to have a chat [00:57:30] with most of our team every day. I literally have not got the minutes to even sit on the loo myself [00:57:35] sometimes. How am I going to be everything to everyone? And I’ve learned you can’t [00:57:40] know.

Payman Langroudi: But there are. I know what you mean. There are. There are moments, I think back at moments in enlightened [00:57:45] where it felt that way, um, tends to be smaller, smaller teams [00:57:50] where that can be the case. And, you know, as an associate, [00:57:55] you kind of it’s such so easy to be like, happy with, with your nurse. [00:58:00] And, you know, because we’re all in, we’re all in it together. It’s just a lot, a lot of fun. Yeah.

Zak Kara: Close the door. [00:58:05] And God knows what else happens out there. At least we’ve got. Yeah. You know, we create our little sanctuary.

Payman Langroudi: I remember as an [00:58:10] associate being very much working for the practice personally, I, you know, if someone said something [00:58:15] bad about the boss, I would sort of say, look good on you. You don’t you don’t realise what you know.

Zak Kara: What [00:58:20] happens behind the scenes.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, yeah. Always, always trying to protect the boss as [00:58:25] an associate. But but it’s a very easy thing to do as an associate. Yeah. You become a boss [00:58:30] and there’s things like fairness. Yeah. Which is interesting. [00:58:35] You know, it should be. Be fair. Of course we should be fair. Right. Um, but but then, you know, I [00:58:40] find for me, it’s a tiny business, right? We have 54 people, right? It’s a tiny, tiny business.

Zak Kara: Compared [00:58:45] to.

Payman Langroudi: Most. No, no, but. Any business, right? Let’s say so-and-so comes up to me and says, can [00:58:50] I do X, which is a bit outside of the norm? Yeah, I’m going to say sure. Yeah. Because [00:58:55] we’re so small. Yeah. It’s one of the very few benefits of being small. Move.

Zak Kara: And you can shake. You [00:59:00] can.

Payman Langroudi: Move. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. My partner, who just met Sam, he didn’t quite meet him. He’s quite the opposite. [00:59:05] He’s like, well if you do that, that’s unfair isn’t it. Because that person’s had that now. And now what [00:59:10] you have to think is what if everyone wants that? Yeah. Yeah. And he’s right in his own little way. Of course he’s [00:59:15] right.

Zak Kara: Equal opportunities for everyone. Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: And so suddenly something that should be very [00:59:20] simple and, and you know, not, not a big deal can become a really big deal. And then you get [00:59:25] to pay.

Zak Kara: Gets everything in question. I was just about to mention pay. Do you have a set hierarchy and structure [00:59:30] for nurses for example first year into the company as a trainee you paid this, then this, then this and [00:59:35] structure can help. But equally we haven’t ever done it that way. In truth, because everyone’s more valuable [00:59:40] than others, because some are more valuable than others, because that’s the nature of human beings. And also [00:59:45] it’s a timing thing. Some got lucky and joined us at a time when we were desperate for nurses, and we’d have paid anything [00:59:50] post-Covid. The world has changed a lot in terms of, but I.

Payman Langroudi: Really struggle with the meritocracy. [00:59:55] Question. Yeah, someone joined you four years ago. Someone joined you two years ago. The [01:00:00] one who joined you two years ago is better. What do you do? What do you do?

Zak Kara: Our approach to [01:00:05] it is that we pay based on merit. We we kind of go, okay, you’re the [01:00:10] the the skill that you cannot teach well is approachability, um, [01:00:15] human skills, willingness. And I recognise it even in interviews, [01:00:20] even the first conversation, if I’m using the word client and a dental nurse who [01:00:25] is maybe five years into their career believes that they know the right way to do it, and they keep bouncing back with patient. [01:00:30] I’m thinking this is going to be a hard person to teach, and I can spot some of those early warning signs quite soon. [01:00:35] Now. Now we’ve done enough interviews, Gareth and I, that we can kind of bounce off each other and navigate the path. [01:00:40] And sometimes people, you can just hear it in their voice. Voice, oh my goodness, they’re going to be amazing. They’re going to fly. [01:00:45] And yeah I don’t know. Is it the wrong thing? Page I’ve [01:00:50] got to lots of points in our journey so far. Very short journey. Only three years where I’ve just thought, no, [01:00:55] I’m just going to do what I trust my gut with. And my gut feeling is telling me this person’s worth. The [01:01:00] top end of our pay banding in our in the in the job spec. Yeah, [01:01:05] yeah.

Payman Langroudi: But but so listen I expect there’s some sort of pathway. [01:01:10] I mean it’s very early days, but I expect a junior nurse joins. Yeah. And [01:01:15] then it’s almost like a promoted promotion to a more senior nurse. And then maybe a practice [01:01:20] manager or in charge of this implant.

Zak Kara: Nurse and more skilled nursing. Yeah. So yeah, what.

Payman Langroudi: I’m saying is [01:01:25] there’s an expectation that that’s to do with how long you’ve been there as opposed to [01:01:30] meritocracy. And I’ve talked to other practices, other principals, and they [01:01:35] say, oh yeah, I promoted this person sooner and it got everyone else annoyed. [01:01:40]

Zak Kara: Yeah. Well, yeah, we’ve encountered those moments that we don’t very well in honesty. [01:01:45] And it’s hard in a small team. It’s very difficult. Yeah. You’re not actually taught any of these skills of how to [01:01:50] navigate the. Because every person a little bit like clients or patients when they come to see you can only [01:01:55] see their experience through their own eyes and their own personal journey. So each one of those team members, [01:02:00] you kind of need to keep your eyes on their eyes and what they’ve seen and who [01:02:05] joined after them and what position they’re in. And and it’s very hard in your timeline of your growth [01:02:10] as a company to keep your eyes on every perspective all at once. And so, in truth, [01:02:15] we have done it based on merit and based on need demand at the time. For example, you take on a [01:02:20] new associate dentist. One of the things we’ve never nailed down is how you choose [01:02:25] to make the right moves at the right time, because, for example, we’re gearing [01:02:30] up to the next level at this point, and we’ve taken on a new care coordinator and a front of House crew member. We’re [01:02:35] probably slightly overstaffed on a non-clinical basis, but we also know the numbers, and we know that our inbound [01:02:40] traffic of new prospective clients is huge, and we cannot sustain [01:02:45] that number without burning out our existing team at the moment. And so as a result of that, [01:02:50] we’ve got to take it to the next level.

Zak Kara: We’re going to go right, okay. If we can have more potential new clients at this [01:02:55] point, what’s the lag period until we need to then have [01:03:00] the next clinician ready to go? So for example, it might be a two month lag [01:03:05] to then have an associate ready or three month lag or whatever it is. And again, there’s no [01:03:10] rule book for this. And this is the thing we literally tell our team this. Sorry to say, guys, we are not reading some sort of [01:03:15] textbook of small stories. This is how you create this. This is we can only go by advice and [01:03:20] you can only go by others experiences, and you kind of need to take risks. And that’s kind of the things that excite [01:03:25] us as business owners, isn’t it? Um, and yeah, we’ll get burned once or twice. We’ve been burned once or twice. [01:03:30] We’ve, uh, we have to human beings and team members in our team who [01:03:35] sang the story through their journey. And we’ve recognised their skill set isn’t quite what [01:03:40] they first purported it to be. How do you handle that? Well, associates, you [01:03:45] mean? No. Not necessarily. More often than not, non-clinical team members. Um, but you often, [01:03:50] if you’re really listening, uh, and are caring, understanding person, [01:03:55] you go, but what is their skill? Let’s not judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, [01:04:00] right? Yeah.

Zak Kara: What does the fish do? And oh my God, she’s amazing with computers and numbers. And [01:04:05] she can do this in five seconds flat. All right. Cool. Let’s steer the ship a bit this way, and then [01:04:10] hopefully we look back in three, five, ten years time and go, that was really good that we made something cool there. [01:04:15] Do we aspire to do we aspire to have three 3130? No. [01:04:20] When I see not even three, perhaps, [01:04:25] perhaps, um, I don’t aspire to the international thing in honesty. [01:04:30] Uh, you see dentists around the world who are setting up their Miami clinic and their Dubai clinic and this and that. No, that’s not me. [01:04:35] Um, I’m just, uh, the thing that I’ve always struggled with is when you start something, establish something [01:04:40] new, it would rely, I believe, too much on me as a human being [01:04:45] to set our stall out, to provide that kind of dentistry without [01:04:50] doing the shortcut thing. And my heart is in comprehensively minded [01:04:55] dentistry done the right way. And it’s too easy to set up a system and go, yeah, that’s what we believe in. We’ve [01:05:00] copy pasted small stories into a new location. Would it really be done to the nth degree [01:05:05] of detail, the way that we would created it the first time around? Would it could be, could be, could be. I need [01:05:10] your help them because look, I don’t know for sure.

Payman Langroudi: I don’t know for sure. Because, you know, it’s difficult to say that [01:05:15] because, you know, I haven’t been there, you know, and, you know, if I visit and you show me something and I go, [01:05:20] God, that’s so difficult to replicate or to teach or something. But at the same time, [01:05:25] you do have to acknowledge, right, that I went to the what was it, the, um, [01:05:30] uh, the hotel like in [01:05:35] four seasons? Four seasons? Yeah. In Marrakesh. Okay. I just [01:05:40] stay there. I went for a coffee. Yeah, but, you know, it was.

Zak Kara: Was it pretty sure it was. [01:05:45]

Payman Langroudi: A Four Seasons?

Zak Kara: Yeah. It was, it was, it was. It’s what you get in the US.

Payman Langroudi: It was a Marrakesh version [01:05:50] of the Four Seasons. But it was a four seasons feeling. Yeah. And if [01:05:55] I, you know as well as I, if I, if I walk into Mumbai Louis Vuitton shop.

Zak Kara: Yeah they’ll be the same [01:06:00] experience. Is it the same in dentistry. In, in healthcare. Well well well well yeah that’s the quirk [01:06:05] isn’t it. So the question.

Payman Langroudi: You I mean, are you saying that doctor APA’s clinic in Miami isn’t as [01:06:10] good as doctor APA’s clinic in Dubai?

Zak Kara: Are they getting doctor APA. Sorry, are they [01:06:15] getting doctor APA every time, or are they getting the iteration of which will always be kind of APA [01:06:20] and kind of not? Does it matter? Again, that’s another question that’s a bit more of a philosophical, philosophical [01:06:25] thing that we haven’t probably squared the circle with yet. We’re, you know, I’ll join you on the pod in another three [01:06:30] years and I’ll tell you where we went. Um, because, uh, yeah, I don’t think there’s any rule book of [01:06:35] life. And my feeling. My feeling. Sorry to interrupt.

Payman Langroudi: Sorry to interrupt you, but my feeling on it is. Yeah. You’re the kind of cat [01:06:40] that if you’ve managed to do what you’ve managed to do in the last three years. Yeah, you’re the kind of cat who can [01:06:45] pull this off in more than one location. Yeah, there’s many people who can’t. [01:06:50] But personally, I’m the kind of guy who can’t. Yeah, that’s not what I could do. My my partner [01:06:55] Sanjay upstairs. He’s he’s the he’s the kind of cat who could systems people understands. You’re [01:07:00] the kind of cat who could pull it off. The question is, can you be bothered? Yeah.

Zak Kara: It’s important. [01:07:05] That’s an important question, man.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. Because look, if you can go on three holidays [01:07:10] and skiing and put your kids in private school and, and feed your parents or whatever [01:07:15] is important to you. Yeah, yeah. Why should you build empires if that’s [01:07:20] what’s important to you? You know, that’s an important thing. There’s the other side of it. That and [01:07:25] I, and I like this idea of you should live up to your potential. [01:07:30] Yeah, yeah. And that’s what I’m kind of saying.

Zak Kara: Well, you know, moments like this and [01:07:35] even sitting here talking to you on, on your pod at the moment and, um, and when you reflect and you [01:07:40] have feedback from others and one of the reasons why I did the stuff on Instagram, which is a lot of people now commenting on [01:07:45] and I really appreciate, um, Zach, small stories on Insta, by the way, if you’re listening to this, um, is kind [01:07:50] of to exude a little bit more about what I’m really about and what really does drive me on a daily basis. [01:07:55] And then when you get feedback, you kind of go, actually, geez, again, you can’t see the wood from the trees there. There’s [01:08:00] a lot more that’s different than what we do compared to what some even can even comprehend or can even [01:08:05] conjure up in their own, in their own, you know, let alone apply it to their own working world. But come up with the idea in [01:08:10] the first place. Um, do I think that, um, uh, am [01:08:15] I now finally at the other end of that kind of growing something from being the toddler phase into an [01:08:20] established organisation now? Yeah, there’s been three years when since Covid and since [01:08:25] beginning Small Stories, when I wasn’t really Zach, the thing that a lot of people [01:08:30] don’t recognise is that you become a different person. And if you’re of our kind [01:08:35] of approach to life and you bunker down and you really have to spend the hours sweating in the office [01:08:40] and you put in all the late nights and you don’t see your niece and nephew and you don’t see your extended family [01:08:45] the last time. So my parents was nearly a year ago.

Zak Kara: They’re not that far away. They’re in Leicester, but it’s still a solid [01:08:50] journey from Bournemouth. Right. But you know when you see when you kind of look at the whole picture of your life, you’re like, [01:08:55] was it worth it? I think I’m only just. And this is a word of warning to anybody who’s starting their own clinic. [01:09:00] Do expect that it will swallow up your life in every single way, in ways you’re not [01:09:05] even thought about, and I do I regret it, no, not now. But there’s been many moments when I went, why [01:09:10] the hell? Like, my income is crap, my lifestyle is crap. I was a stone overweight until [01:09:15] a couple of months ago when I’ve really just gone. I’m going to just shake this up. This isn’t really Zac. This isn’t [01:09:20] the guy that used to be the happy go lucky associate. I’ve evolved into the big bad boss. I don’t want [01:09:25] to be that. Yeah, yeah. And only then when you kind of reflect back and you go, actually, fair enough. [01:09:30] I can think a bit more, bigger picture now. I was in Chicago at midwinter meetings last week, and [01:09:35] it’s finally then when you go, yeah, it’s pretty cool, this dentistry thing, and it’s pretty cool when I share this [01:09:40] stuff. And even American dentists are a lovely lady speaking. I wasn’t speaking, but speaking in [01:09:45] groups. Yeah. Um, you know, at the bar and whatever else. And people are going, hang on a minute, say that again. [01:09:50] And, you know, one of the dentists literally pull out a phone and went, you do what? And she’s making a note for us. I’m like, [01:09:55] okay, well, maybe it is a little bit different.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, for sure it is different. And this is what I’m saying. Yeah, [01:10:00] that most, most people wouldn’t have bothered with what you’ve already done. So [01:10:05] that that’s why you could be bothered to keep going. Yeah. Um, although, you know, [01:10:10] you, you say you had a hard time. Dude, I refuse to believe you had a harder time than me.

Zak Kara: Yeah. [01:10:15] Glenn, we.

Payman Langroudi: I mean, lost hundreds of thousands of pounds in the first four [01:10:20] years. Like, the first four years. We just lost money. Just lost loads and loads and loads of money. [01:10:25] Um, to.

Zak Kara: Establish the company, just to set the thing up and get it moving. Fuck it up. [01:10:30] Yeah, yeah, yeah, but.

Payman Langroudi: But the real business is take three, four years. Yeah, yeah. In dentistry, we’re very lucky. [01:10:35]

Zak Kara: Yeah. Of course.

Payman Langroudi: Very lucky to be cash flow positive so quick. Yeah. Um, and [01:10:40] and you’re right, it needs to be all encompassing to be a success. It’s like a child. [01:10:45] Yeah. Have you got.

Zak Kara: Kids? No, don’t. It’s just like a child.

Payman Langroudi: It starts as a baby. You have to feed it [01:10:50] and stay up late at night.

Zak Kara: And the bits that that become the reward for me on this journey so [01:10:55] far has been moments when I’ve finally managed to step back a little and observe others [01:11:00] of positions of responsibility in the company, kind of talk new team members [01:11:05] through the small stories way we call it the the nine small stories ways. They were kind of evolved from our our [01:11:10] values and the things that we establish from day one of like the deep, deep rooted recipe [01:11:15] for why we are, why we exist, and those evolved into really practical [01:11:20] things, the nine ways. And when I see new team members talking, talk, uh, being talked through it very professionally, I [01:11:25] kind of go, yeah, it’s kind of got its own life of its own. And that does make me feel excited.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, [01:11:30] yeah, that’s a lovely thing. When you when you, when you think something up one night at 2 a.m.. [01:11:35] Yeah, yeah. And then nine months later there’s people talking about it.

Zak Kara: Yeah. It’s really cool. [01:11:40]

Payman Langroudi: Though. Tell me what they are. So you don’t have to go through all mine. So the ones that you love.

Zak Kara: So we walked the entire journey. But [01:11:45] the basic overview of our values, there’s two main things that we say all day, every day, which is that we deliver. [01:11:50] Wow. First time and every time. And number two, our clients come first and they will always be our top [01:11:55] priority. It’s as simple as that. Um, but when you boil it down into the actual journey, for example, the [01:12:00] first of our nine small series ways is that the right clients arrive [01:12:05] at the clinic and they’re pre-vetted and pre, um, we’ve got to know them beforehand. [01:12:10] And any one of them could be our friends, which might sound a bit cringey to some, but we believe [01:12:15] that is the simplest thing. If I’m walking past one of our treatment rooms and there’s laughter, we want to its [01:12:20] working. The next might be, for example, that, um, our, [01:12:25] uh, our team at front of House does, um, a choreograph, [01:12:30] but they’re never, never scripted. And they’ve designed an experience that makes people feel warm [01:12:35] inside and makes them keep coming back and never feel like they need to dress up to visit us. [01:12:40] So there’s things along those lines that are kind of what we’ve boiled down as a team into what [01:12:45] we are as people and what’s the best thing about it. When you’re you look back and you reflect at moments like that that I [01:12:50] was just mentioning, you kind of go, that’s really us, Gareth and I.

Zak Kara: That is us [01:12:55] and our own personalities extrapolated out into an organisation which then [01:13:00] took on a life of its own. But I can genuinely hand on heart, tell myself, yeah, this [01:13:05] is really an extension of me. This is how I believe dentistry should be delivered. [01:13:10] Weirdly enough, talking to coaches, it turns out that a lot of clinics kind of rely [01:13:15] on mouths of their patients and clients not being fully stabilised. For that to be a good [01:13:20] business prospect or proposition for a new future owner. So in a weird kind of way, [01:13:25] sometimes boutique can kind of play against you. If you were to stabilise [01:13:30] the mouths of every single one of our patients, which is what a smile story is all about. It’s a phased and [01:13:35] comprehensive plan, and the aim of the game is somebody joins us as a member, and then they just need to [01:13:40] see us for six monthly or 12 monthly or whatever it is for their consistent, ongoing care. [01:13:45] The. Troublesome thing with that is that we actually haven’t got a lot of work to do for our maintained clients. Is that a bad [01:13:50] thing? In some ways, no. But deep down inside me, ethically [01:13:55] it is. It’s the right thing. Yeah, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Of course I wasn’t aware of what you said before [01:14:00] or I wasn’t aware that was a thing. Um, but anyway, if you do it right, [01:14:05] the the patients on your. Do you say members.

Zak Kara: Members? Yeah. Our membership [01:14:10] plan. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: That that itself. That’s like an annual recurring revenue thing.

Zak Kara: It is it is, you.

Payman Langroudi: Know, that you can [01:14:15] sell that as a thing, right? That’s true. Yeah. Um, but, you know, the [01:14:20] story is so impressive that it’s all post-Covid. I mean, to me, like post-Covid [01:14:25] seems like day before yesterday.

Zak Kara: How much of it.

Payman Langroudi: Were you doing as an associate.

Zak Kara: Of [01:14:30] the style of the industry that we’re doing here? Um, so I moved down to Bournemouth for [01:14:35] the unicorn associate gig, the six handed dentistry gig at a clinic not terribly far [01:14:40] away, and learnt the roots of what I kind of boiled down into comprehensive dentistry, the way [01:14:45] we do it about five, four years before Covid, something like that. Um, before [01:14:50] that I believed I was doing really thorough thinking, comprehensive dentistry, but had no real way. [01:14:55] I’d never seen anyone plug it together properly. So somebody comes to see you. How you [01:15:00] can see there’s also to do. You can see there’s possibly, you know, like a bridge or an implant or a prosthesis of some sort [01:15:05] in that lower left area. And oh, but there’s loads of amalgams and stuff to sort out first. And [01:15:10] how do I get this person on side and walk them through a journey that’s palatable for them in [01:15:15] a timely way, that we’re not waiting for a tooth to blow up into a problem or break beyond repair? [01:15:20] What my old school approach used to be and worked alongside a lovely guy called Richard Guyver, [01:15:25] who was the principal at the time of um Envisage in Emsworth down on the south coast [01:15:30] envisaged has now become a little entity, a quite big entity of its own, actually not through Richard, [01:15:35] but by the now owners of that mini corporate and and [01:15:40] what I learned there was that I could plug some of the ways I’d do it into. I was just learning, [01:15:45] really. Somebody came to see me. It was independent dentistry. There was a membership plan, [01:15:50] but essentially it was fee per item, classic thing, 10% or 20% off.

Zak Kara: By joining the membership [01:15:55] plan on X treatment that we’re going to provide for you. And the way I used to do it was I used to win the [01:16:00] relationship by doing 1 or 2 high priority things, getting them on site, [01:16:05] proving to them that the local anaesthetic is going to be painless. As I explained, [01:16:10] proving to them that I’m bothered about the details. And oh, he really took his time on making [01:16:15] sure the bite was correct at the end of the visit. And oh, the dental nurse and him were having such a good time [01:16:20] and having a nice chit chat. And ah, they’re lovely people to create consistency, to win that [01:16:25] relationship, to then play the slow, slow, slow game. The problem being that there’s a lot of times they were the wrong people [01:16:30] because they actually really just were of the mindset of I [01:16:35] just want my tooth fixed, and I kind of want to wait till the next one to break, and I’ll fix that when it’s broken as well. [01:16:40] And funnily enough, I then kind of embarked on a different way of doing it by proactively asking [01:16:45] the question and here’s a here’s a good one if you if you like the power of words in the way that [01:16:50] I do, let’s say you’re doing an old school check-up. We don’t really call it a check-up, we call it a health check, [01:16:55] but, um, or a 3D health check because 3D health check. Yeah. So we do a 3D scan for every [01:17:00] single person every time. So the first thing that happens, it processes on the screen. And we do the walk through because [01:17:05] we’ve then got a record in colour of how their teeth were on that day.

Zak Kara: Right. So [01:17:10] um, the method that um, we in hindsight, uh, could have [01:17:15] approached this with would have been something like this might sound like a bit of a fluffy question. [01:17:20] Can I ask why you’ve come to see us today? And they might go, they might look at [01:17:25] you funny, and my patient or client might look at me funny if I were to ask that question like, why do you think I’m here? I’m here for my check-up. You’re [01:17:30] supposed to come every six months, aren’t you? But I might stick to my guns there and go. But why [01:17:35] a little bit deeper? Yeah. Get a bit. Yeah. Why? What is it about a check-up that bothers bothers [01:17:40] you so much? Or what is it? Is it that your parents kind of instilled that in you as a kid, and you’ve been [01:17:45] doing it ever since? Or what is it about your teeth that are bothering you? Is it you haven’t got any pain at the moment by the sounds of [01:17:50] it. Why are you here? And some of those people will be the kind of people where you [01:17:55] can keep expanding out that conversation and listening actively, and you might embark [01:18:00] on some of the conversations with some of them to sort of go, ah, actually, it sounds [01:18:05] like you would prefer to avoid waiting for other teeth to fall down the same [01:18:10] slippery slope as that one that broke when you were on holiday last summer. So you remind them of that [01:18:15] unforeseen, unexpected breakage or pain or whatever, because it was.

Payman Langroudi: And now you’ve got them into the comprehensive [01:18:20] mindset. There you.

Zak Kara: Go. Because that was more costly and complicated. Am I right in hearing you carefully that you [01:18:25] don’t want to just wait for another jagged edge and you don’t want to wait for another root canal and all the rest of it, and some of them will [01:18:30] go, yeah, and you go, would it help you if I talk you through what I can see? So [01:18:35] I might then show them the cusp that’s very thin on that upper six. And, you know, then you extrapolate [01:18:40] that out into a quadrant based plan or you might go whilst this tooth on the this first molar [01:18:45] here. Is looking like it’s going to break at some point. It could be that some of our clients, [01:18:50] in a scenario like yours, say to me, do you know what, Zach? Over a period of the next year or two, let’s work through [01:18:55] in an order of priority. That makes sense. Let’s do proactive dentistry. If I’m tackling the upper left area. And [01:19:00] the reason why that can work well is, as you’ve experienced with our blue protective shield, call that rubber down, [01:19:05] blue protective shield. It means that we can protect your entire mouth from that upper left area, and [01:19:10] you’re only frozen and numb for one visit. You can kick back, watch the telly on the ceiling, listen to me and Tash [01:19:15] natter on blah di blah di blah. And they go, yeah, that does make sense. And before you know it, you’ve [01:19:20] got a quadrant completed the next visit. So I don’t do single tooth dentistry, not because I railroad [01:19:25] people into not doing single tooth dentistry, but people only find us for that. When you position it through the eyes [01:19:30] of other clients, they go, oh yeah, I can see that makes sense. You know. Do [01:19:35] you think.

Payman Langroudi: Your exposure to Pankey and Coy’s has made you a more interventionist [01:19:40] dentist than the average?

Zak Kara: Yes, but not in American way. And in Pankey, actually, [01:19:45] Pankey is a brilliant organisation, by the way. But I went to Pankey too early in my career. I was their second [01:19:50] year out of uni.

Payman Langroudi: How much of it did you do?

Zak Kara: I did essentials one and two of the four in [01:19:55] the continuum, and I always intended to go back to Pankey, but funnily enough it became part of the patchwork quilt course. [01:20:00] Joined a little bit of that and lots more lectures around the world and all the rest of that stuff.

Payman Langroudi: The personal mastery, [01:20:05] the financial mastery stuff. Useful?

Zak Kara: Yeah. Big time. It was the thing that actually got me excited. Pankey [01:20:10] won the first of that week long continuum residency program was gold. [01:20:15] It was opening my eyes to something which actually, in hindsight, has formed the bedrock of [01:20:20] my day to day dentistry and probably influenced my stories more than I realised. And which [01:20:25] is that the interpersonal stuff, and that isn’t just understanding personality types, but the the [01:20:30] interpersonal stuff in the sense of dentistry needs to work [01:20:35] for you as a career. It’s you can be as selfless as you like, [01:20:40] but if you don’t recognise the person in front of you and their real true wishes, [01:20:45] it’s kind of pointless. You know, that gets quite deep and philosophical. But Pankey won. Some [01:20:50] of it was quite philosophical, and it makes you realise what you’re about as a person and why you’re [01:20:55] in dentistry and the communication stuff. And coming back to some of the banned words. One of the banned words [01:21:00] might be surgery. So the Americans call it an office, but we don’t call it a surgery in art. We call them treatment [01:21:05] rooms, because surgery is a word that conjures up images of all sorts of stuff you don’t want. [01:21:10] We don’t use the word late in a treatment room or client facing room. Might [01:21:15] say Zack is a little behind schedule this afternoon because nobody likes lateness.

Zak Kara: It’s a negative [01:21:20] word. We don’t call it a waiting room because nobody likes to wait. What do you call it? We call [01:21:25] it a client lounge or front of house or. Yeah. Um, we we call it a [01:21:30] treatment room, not a surgery. As I mentioned, we we just have different ways of approaching these things. And even [01:21:35] there’s we always believe in keeping everyone part of a three way conversation in a treatment room. So [01:21:40] nurse client, clinician. But sometimes you have to be a little sneaky [01:21:45] with the code that you say. So lateness. If I’m running behind schedule and I can foresee that this is going a [01:21:50] little bit Pete Tong, I might just say to Tash or Amy, who I’m working with, can I get a ten L, please? And [01:21:55] it’s ten hours, ten minutes late, which is signalling to them we’re running late. But if they believe [01:22:00] that from their viewpoint that we might be able to catch this up, we’re listening. We’re understanding [01:22:05] one another with our terminology. What happens then? So they might type on the computer screen. And the reason why it’s a ten is [01:22:10] because there’s literally four buttons. You have to press ten L enter and it goes to front of House, who then [01:22:15] send a WhatsApp message to our client in advance.

Payman Langroudi: To not turn up so soon.

Zak Kara: Yeah. To basically [01:22:20] kind of go just a quick heads up because we, we thought we’d message to respect your time. That’s a kind [01:22:25] thing to do. We’re going to respect your time. Um, thought I’d give you a heads up [01:22:30] that Zach and Amy’s schedule is a little bit behind this afternoon. Feel free to run [01:22:35] an errand, and we’ll be ready for you by around about 3:20 p.m., rather than 310. Will that be a problem for [01:22:40] you or. Well, I hope this was helpful question mark. And they’ll often message back and [01:22:45] go, oh my God, amazing. I’m five minutes late. Anyway. Kiss kiss. Thanks very much. Not often the kiss gets, but you know what I mean. [01:22:50] Like you’re creating this proper relationship between between clinical treatment room [01:22:55] and front of house, front of house and client. They therefore come in not over, they’re not sweating [01:23:00] or they’re not. I respect your time is.

Payman Langroudi: A beautiful message to send in whichever [01:23:05] way you can.

Zak Kara: Send kind, isn’t it? It’s just kindness. And panky taught me that actually, [01:23:10] you don’t need to be that pretentious. I’m a doctor. I’m really important. And [01:23:15] you know that. There’s, you know, you can respect yourself and have people respect you in a funny way [01:23:20] by respecting them.

Payman Langroudi: Dude, why do you think it is that so many dentists [01:23:25] go into this other mode of sort of dentist mode, and I [01:23:30] get the feeling that you talk to your patients like this the way you’re talking to me and why [01:23:35] why is it that and by the way, I was that dentist too. I just think everyone’s like that dentist. Yeah. And then I shadowed [01:23:40] a couple of people and I was like, what? It’s like this other. This other persona. Yeah. What do you think [01:23:45] that is?

Zak Kara: I think that’s deep rooted.

Payman Langroudi: Have you had have you had to decouple associates sometimes. [01:23:50]

Zak Kara: Because they just generally don’t make it.

Payman Langroudi: You’re not hiring those people.

Zak Kara: Exactly. The and [01:23:55] again, side note, if you are listening to this and associate thinking, I kind of want to know more about this, then feel [01:24:00] free to let us know. You can come and shadow. We have loads of dentists all the time. The team are very used to it, but those ones self-select [01:24:05] out because they recognise from day one that if they can’t have a little chilled out conversation [01:24:10] with any one of our team at the ten minute meeting or after the ten minute meeting in the morning, [01:24:15] they’re just not going to be our vibe. Like, you might as well just go away somewhere else. Like, no disrespect to you, but you’re just [01:24:20] not our vibe. You don’t share the same values. That’s okay. I’m cool with that. And you know, [01:24:25] we’re busy enough with the busy restaurant philosophy that we’ve got bums on seats all day long. It’s hard to find [01:24:30] available visits in our schedule and long may it continue. And why did they go into that mode? [01:24:35] I think it’s deep rooted in who they learn from. And there’s one of the things I [01:24:40] think in dentistry we kind of have got wrong, which is that it’s not incentivised in our profession to be [01:24:45] at the top of your game in the real, applicable day to day sense of operative dentistry. [01:24:50]

Zak Kara: As a clinician with, you know, some of the guests that you’ve been on your podcast are outstanding [01:24:55] clinicians with their hands and with their craft way beyond I’ll ever be or [01:25:00] ever aspire to be, because I will never aspire to take close up photographs of my work and put it on a massive [01:25:05] lecture screen on a in a lecture theatre. It’s just not me. But [01:25:10] interestingly, I think those people learn not from those clinicians. The wrong sorry, [01:25:15] the the dentists who are on the wrong path and go into that mode aren’t learning from these types [01:25:20] of clinicians. They’re learning from ones who haven’t done the real operative dentistry on a daily basis, on [01:25:25] the shop floor, in a real working clinic under a and a live pressures [01:25:30] of finances for clients and live pressures of time restraints and nurses who are [01:25:35] breathing down your neck because they want to get to lunch on time and all that stuff. So I think they learn from the old school. [01:25:40] I think they learn from dentists who are 20 years out of date and nicest possible way to some of [01:25:45] my clinical tutors at uni. The majority of them graduated in the 80s 70s. [01:25:50] Mental? That’s mental.

Payman Langroudi: I’ll ask you a question that keeps getting. I [01:25:55] keep getting asked, and I’m sort of the wrong person to ask the question because I don’t own a dental [01:26:00] practice here, but I know lots of young dentists who are looking for private jobs. And what [01:26:05] are what are what are you looking for in a in a young associate? Okay. This thing [01:26:10] that we just mentioned. Yeah. Someone you can sit with and have a beer with and not think. Yeah. Not not not [01:26:15] alien. Yeah, yeah. Just call me Zach. Yeah. So simple as that is. Does that now what else? [01:26:20] Because I’m giving advice like, you know, take photos, do Instagram [01:26:25] rather than learn, you know, Crown preps.

Zak Kara: It’s [01:26:30] that there’s some ability to see that dentistry is not about the 0.2 [01:26:35] margin on that crown. It’s actually about having a broader range of skills. Like, [01:26:40] I can pick up a camera and and very ably take a half decent photo. I am wearing magnification. [01:26:45] I can place a rubber dam, but not just place a rubber dam and I. But I’ve got the patter. [01:26:50] I’ve got some ability to talk the talk whilst I’m placing the rubber dam, because the wording that [01:26:55] you use as you’re placing this blue protective shield matters based on the client or patient’s perception [01:27:00] of it, which will ultimately make it more of a success. So if you haven’t got your wording down, [01:27:05] you’re probably going to suffer or struggle. Besides, your nurses will then think you’re weird and [01:27:10] they’re using these using this blue shield thing, and it’s annoying. You can’t floss it anyway. I don’t see why you’re bothered with that. [01:27:15] To some extent, that’s probably because you’ve been working in the wrong clinic. Maybe you should be working in the right clinic, but that’s a [01:27:20] bit aside from that. Um, the, um, the other elements to it are definitely the emotional [01:27:25] IQ. Yeah. It’s seeing the words as seeing the world through the eyes of [01:27:30] that client or patient who might be receiving dentistry for the first time in years. [01:27:35] It’s how you go about calming them at the beginning of the visit. Yeah, but how do you.

Payman Langroudi: Assess that [01:27:40] in an associate or not? An associate in a prospective associate? I mean, tell [01:27:45] me that process. Do you get people to come in and work?

Zak Kara: We have a phantom head. Yeah. And [01:27:50] um, so yeah, we do. Yeah. So we, um, through the guys at, um, incidental, we [01:27:55] we acquired a phantom head. Thanks very much, Chris. Um, and they essentially helped, [01:28:00] um, us to, um, be able to kind of work out a path where [01:28:05] we can just cut teeth on that model all day, every day. And it’s not weird to for [01:28:10] a new potential clinician to just be like, right, okay. They’re just going to throw me in the deep end and see how I get on. [01:28:15] Our approach to clinical dentistry is forehanded. So again, that’s a bit wacky for some of them. [01:28:20] And so we don’t put pressure on them and go, you expected to be shit hot on day one, but an openness to [01:28:25] it matters if they’re the kind of dentist who goes, no, no, no, I always have my instruments on the bracket table.

Payman Langroudi: You have to worry about [01:28:30] that.

Zak Kara: Yeah, because you have.

Payman Langroudi: To teach them so many different new tricks. Exactly.

Zak Kara: And one of those tricks is give [01:28:35] it up. They ain’t yours. They belong to the nurse. And we have set up these treatment rooms on purpose in the way that [01:28:40] we have to be open minded to anyone, including left handers and right handers. So we have to both [01:28:45] sided chairs for a reason. Ah, um, mobile units are swappable [01:28:50] on purpose because we’ve recognised that you need to be able to work from both sides. So yeah, that’s what you do. Left handers. [01:28:55] Right? So if you’re not open to the fact that we are compromising and we’ve created [01:29:00] an organisation that caters for most people, then you’re probably not going to be open [01:29:05] minded enough to even think, ah, I get it the smart way and I want to do it like that. The ones that [01:29:10] you pay, you just know. Yeah. You just know deep down in your gut the [01:29:15] first few conversations you have with somebody, will they cut it or will they not? I won’t [01:29:20] say his name and I don’t want to pre-empt too much, but we have a dentist who’s doing some shadowing with us at the moment, and every [01:29:25] time he comes in to see us, he rolls up his sleeves.

Zak Kara: He understands the people he’s recognised. [01:29:30] He remembers their stories. He the team members. He recognises [01:29:35] them and knows their names. And you know, he can create continuity and congruency from [01:29:40] visit to visit. He comes in shadowing and he’s not being paid a penny for it. But some of those subtle things [01:29:45] are the things that you cannot train or teach in somebody. You’ve either got it or you haven’t. And lo and [01:29:50] behold, Tash brings him in a friggin tin of olives this morning. I’m like, why are you taking him olives? And she she went, because [01:29:55] we had a conversation about olives. And he tasted one of my at lunch a few weeks ago. And then, you know, that creates that [01:30:00] bond. And before you know it, you get more out of one another. And that’s the self-perpetuating fun [01:30:05] of building a relationship with somebody. And hopefully he’ll turn into a clinician or a team member for. Future [01:30:10] who’s worth his weight in gold and vice versa. He should be winning. Creating a win. Win. [01:30:15]

Payman Langroudi: You said your main source of new patients isn’t word of mouth. So what is it?

Zak Kara: To [01:30:20] our detriment, it’s mostly, uh, it’s online. It’s, uh, it’s sometimes paid [01:30:25] ads, but sometimes it’s the SEO related stuff. So we’re at an early phase of building our web [01:30:30] presence. And so as a result of that, we’re ploughing four figures every month into [01:30:35] all of those elements of it. And there’s no rule book on where you put your money every [01:30:40] month into each element of it. And there’s not actually any hard and fast rules of [01:30:45] return on investment to say, okay, we put that much into SEO and content and blog [01:30:50] writing and this and that and whatever this month, how much did it translate into, I don’t know, scratch your [01:30:55] head. And it’s all about a presence, isn’t it? So, um, yeah, majority of our, um, of [01:31:00] our inbound traffic tends to come through our web forms from our website, um, our paid ads on [01:31:05] social media, um, Google, PPC, that type of stuff. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: And who [01:31:10] handles that? Have you got an agency or.

Zak Kara: No, we tried all sorts. Um, it’s actually [01:31:15] Gareth Edwards. He turns out he’s an absolute partner. Partner? Business partner. Yeah. So Gareth and I [01:31:20] have a real synergy with lots of things. And it just so happens we’ve gravitated to things that are very complementary [01:31:25] to our skill sets, but complementary to one another. Um, I could have probably done a fair bit more of the marketing [01:31:30] stuff, but it doesn’t make me doesn’t put fire in my belly every day. Whereas Gareth will spend [01:31:35] his evenings, his weekends, and just almost for fun, sometimes created a hobby out of oh my God, I love [01:31:40] the web marketing stuff and I and I really want to do it. And then, to be honest, what we also done is employed [01:31:45] some agencies on that journey and learned some of their tricks and then made the matrix [01:31:50] and gone, okay, well can plug that together again. Patchwork quilting some of the skill set. There is [01:31:55] a whole different beast of its own and it’s a full time job. So Gareth does pretty much a full time job of a web [01:32:00] lead in our team. Or.

Payman Langroudi: You know, sometimes it goes full circle as well. So we [01:32:05] used to have in-house loads of people for marketing. Then we went sort [01:32:10] of outsource. Then we go back in-house. And there are things that you guys [01:32:15] have no idea how to do. Right? There’s we had a meeting today. The company’s whole [01:32:20] job was heat mapping. Yeah.

Zak Kara: Where people go on the website where they click and all the.

Payman Langroudi: Rest of it in [01:32:25] real time changing. Yeah, yeah, yeah, changing. Changing it.

Zak Kara: And there’s a lot of that will turn into AI [01:32:30] related. It was design and UX changes. Yeah. And so UX is quite an interesting thing. And it’s quite, [01:32:35] quite a fun thing to explore if you want to go and go down that rabbit hole in some ways, uh, as a, as a, [01:32:40] as a business owner, you have to be able to outsource some of that stuff and trust that somebody [01:32:45] either in-house or external has got their handle on that one element of it. And the more data [01:32:50] you see, the more you’re like, whoa, that is crazy how that stuff works. Um, and yeah, we’re redeveloping [01:32:55] our home page at the moment as a result of some of those changes. And we’re going, oh, actually, let’s make it a bit easier. Oh, [01:33:00] crap. When you scroll down, you have to scroll down three times to get to this. So they have that whole thing. Yeah. Yeah. [01:33:05] You have to be you know, it’s all built for mobile first, isn’t it? Uh, 80% of our traffic comes from mobile. [01:33:10]

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, that’s a sobering statistic. When you’ve been seeing everything on a big screen.

Zak Kara: It has to remain [01:33:15] above the fold so that the first thing you see is super accessible. We’re even thinking about how [01:33:20] far your thumb has to go. Most people are right handed, how far your thumb has to go to to get to the button [01:33:25] that we want to make. Easy to press. Do you have.

Payman Langroudi: A boat or is that against your authentic on.

Zak Kara: The [01:33:30] on the home page on the on the website? No we don’t we we haven’t for that reason. [01:33:35] Mostly because I’m not going to name any names, but you scroll down a lot of these websites and it’s just so annoying [01:33:40] when.

Payman Langroudi: It comes up.

Zak Kara: It frustrates the hell out of me on a personal level. I’m sure there’s great data behind it, but, [01:33:45] um, the thing that I would like to make it useful for, maybe some developers [01:33:50] of these bots can listen to me in this, and the time when it would be most helpful for me [01:33:55] is when somebody’s showing exit intent from a website. So if they’ve scrolled down, they’ve not found what they’re interested [01:34:00] in. They’re scrolling back up. That’s when a bot should appear.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, [01:34:05] I don’t know. In some ways, the data the data would have, the.

Zak Kara: More I look into it, the more I realise [01:34:10] actually, these bots don’t do things that seem quite obvious to me like that. But anyway, the most [01:34:15] annoying is when you’re on a website website, and three seconds later, hey, I’m so-and-so, what do you want from [01:34:20] these huge menu? And you’re like, get out of my way! All you’re looking for is the X button. To be honest.

Payman Langroudi: I know [01:34:25] what you mean. I’ve done that a lot too. But but having said that, we trained a bot recently and [01:34:30] it’s answering questions better than everyone on our team now.

Zak Kara: That’s what you afterwards about some of the ideas we’ve [01:34:35] got.

Payman Langroudi: And yeah, yeah. So it’s an important thing because I reckon in two years time [01:34:40] you’d rather buy from a bot than from a human, because.

Zak Kara: It’s just so much more slick and.

Payman Langroudi: Doing [01:34:45] it right. You know, the efficient AI and I used to be a bit of a control freak myself [01:34:50] on answering questions. And then, you know, you learn to give that up when you see this thing that’s [01:34:55] always answering them correctly. Yeah. Every single time. Yeah. And you realise even [01:35:00] I won’t be able to do that. Yeah. There’s, you know.

Zak Kara: It’s it’s pretty sobering as a human [01:35:05] being isn’t it. But the only thing it does lose at the moment is that emotional intelligence and that. That [01:35:10] hot?

Payman Langroudi: Of course, of course. But I mean, did you hear about Gemini that recently? What happened? They [01:35:15] said so Gemini is the Google version of of ChatGPT [01:35:20] or something like that. And they said to it if, if, uh, if misgendering [01:35:25] uh, what’s the name of the father of the Kardashians? That guy. Bruce Jenner. [01:35:30] Bruce Jenner has.

Zak Kara: No, uh, is it.

Payman Langroudi: Bruce.

Zak Kara: Jenner? I think we might have.

Payman Langroudi: I [01:35:35] just missed misgendered him. Okay, okay. Yeah. So if if misgendering Bruce Jenner [01:35:40] would save the world from from nuclear apocalypse. Yeah. And there is no other way of saving the [01:35:45] world from nuclear apocalypse. Would you misgender Bruce Jenner? And it goes. No. And it’s caused a serious [01:35:50] situation there. Google are having to deal with that situation now. Well, yeah. [01:35:55] And especially because with AI people think it’s the end of the world stuff. Yeah, yeah. So cool. Cool [01:36:00] cases.

Zak Kara: Alert. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Let’s get to darker days [01:36:05] because you’ve told the sort of effortless story I know, I know, it hasn’t been I’m not stupid enough [01:36:10] to think it’s been effortless. I’m sure you’ve had so simple. Many difficult days and nights and so forth. [01:36:15] Yeah, sleepless nights and all that. But I’d like to hear the sort of the darkest parts, [01:36:20] um, of of the journey of actually building this business, um, [01:36:25] or your career because, you know, we haven’t I didn’t do the normal thing of start from the beginning. All [01:36:30] right. Take me through your career. Um, I’d like to hear about your most difficult patient. [01:36:35]

Zak Kara: Okay. Probably darkest or biggest mistake [01:36:40] in my career. When [01:36:45] I went to go into the too much of the specifics of it, uh, I was sacked. I [01:36:50] was sacked from an associate position. I was sacked from an associate position [01:36:55] off. Off contract, off terms from the associate agreement. And [01:37:00] at the time, it was like my world was shattering around me because [01:37:05] I remember receiving an email. I was at a one day a week associate position, not the same position, but I [01:37:10] was at. So the the other position which I was sacked from was I was at three days a week, three and a half days a week. It was [01:37:15] a very solid income, and I was doing what I believed to be amazing, comprehensive dentistry. And I was really kind of growing [01:37:20] on a day to day basis. But our relationship, the relationship between myself and the principal had broken down [01:37:25] and it was quite clear to see. And in hindsight, you look back and go, yeah, actually it wasn’t going anywhere. Was it? Like [01:37:30] if we got to a point where we’re literally arguing with each other over something as simple as [01:37:35] the fact that I’d come in on a bank holiday weekend to see a new, [01:37:40] sorry, an emergency patient on the out-of-hours rota for that particular region. [01:37:45] And I was essentially told off for the fact that, um, I had [01:37:50] then, um, poached inverted commas, this patient to join the practice. [01:37:55]

Zak Kara: I hadn’t I’d simply done what I believed to be deliver great dentistry, and they’d left singing [01:38:00] our praises and wanted to book a new as a new patient to come and see us again. Different approach to what we do at small stories. [01:38:05] But that’s kind of what most practices do, right? I could see why, through the eyes of the principal, that might [01:38:10] look like poor reputation management, but at the time, as an associate, I believed I needed a pat on the back [01:38:15] for that, because I’ve come in on a bank holiday Monday and I’m trying to do my best to grow this bloody business. Right. But [01:38:20] that was just one of 50 things that went wrong in that relationship, and it was never going [01:38:25] anywhere forward. But that moment nevertheless, when you get an email that says da da [01:38:30] da da da, Monday lunchtime. And by the way, there’ll be nothing in your clinical diary from next week, [01:38:35] whatever it was. Wow. And you go, ah, now [01:38:40] what? And I remember there being a lump in my throat and being unable [01:38:45] to even concentrate for the afternoon of patients or clients at this other one day a [01:38:50] week clinic I was in. What was.

Payman Langroudi: The feeling? Was the feeling unfairness? [01:38:55] Was it like failure? Was it it was a bit like, how am I going to pay my mortgage? [01:39:00] It was it was all feeling.

Zak Kara: It was, oh God, I’ve been so stupid. It was also that I moved down to Bournemouth [01:39:05] on the basis of of wanting to make this really work. I’d gone all in [01:39:10] and and it is a feeling of fairness or unfairness, isn’t it? Because I’d kind of given up what I believe to be a cool [01:39:15] 2020s in my 20s, uh, under ten years graduated London City [01:39:20] life thinking, oh, this is what all the cool kids do. This is what proper dentists do. You have to work in the city. And I [01:39:25] did have a pretty good job in the city. Maybe not. You know, in hindsight, it’s a very transient community I [01:39:30] find in the city. So your patient base comes and goes difficult. Very difficult.

Payman Langroudi: I didn’t enjoy working.

Zak Kara: I didn’t enjoy [01:39:35] it at all, to be honest. I was opposite Saint Paul’s Cathedral, working amongst people that are very like, oh yeah, I’m going to [01:39:40] spend two years in New York. And oh yeah, by the way, I can’t make it this morning because can’t be bothered. Yeah, too many things to do. Dentistry [01:39:45] is not my priority type of thing, you know. And so, um, I’d given up a lot. [01:39:50] Um, I didn’t sell the flat that I co-own. Um, but I moved away to Bournemouth, thankfully, in hindsight, [01:39:55] I met my now wife, and I love her to bits, and so that was a great thing that happened. But but all of that, [01:40:00] um, all of that. Was part of the tapestry, [01:40:05] and that feeling in that moment was, what am I going to do? And to be honest with you, I kind [01:40:10] of just did probably a little bit like I was talking earlier about my parents, what they did when they had fear [01:40:15] inside them after having been forced out of a country that they’d grown up in until the age of 18, 19. [01:40:20] And you just get going, the tough get going and you go, right, okay, what do I do? Um, jeez. [01:40:25]

Zak Kara: Okay. My pal Simon’s been talking on, on and on about expert witness work for ages. [01:40:30] Um, I better go and get my certification in from Cardiff Uni in expert witness work. [01:40:35] And I began report writing, and then I went, okay, I’m going to follow my nose. I think there’s a really good [01:40:40] opportunity in a practice not far away in Salisbury. And I think actually what I need to do is [01:40:45] beg, borrow some money off mum and dad to get an itero scanner and I need to start learning to be able to do [01:40:50] some of this work that I’ve been doing in comprehensive dentistry, in a more [01:40:55] kind of approachable, direct to consumer kind of way. I don’t mean at home braces, by the way, but [01:41:00] how do I make this comprehensive dentistry plug in to what people are searching online [01:41:05] for? So all of those things became part of my week and I was doing loads of extra okay. So bringing [01:41:10] the income in so.

Payman Langroudi: It fed to.

Zak Kara: You. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: But tell me about the other side of it. I mean, [01:41:15] how long did it take for you to sort of stop feeling terrible? [01:41:20]

Zak Kara: Probably at least a couple of months till we were back on our feet [01:41:25] as a family. Tash did a whole bunch of locum work. She. Dentist, therapist. [01:41:30] Yeah, yeah. Um, did a whole bunch of locum work because she had some connections in and around Bournemouth. She’d been their entire life, and [01:41:35] she’s been a nurse since she was 16, 17 kind of thing. So, you know, she knew people and we managed to [01:41:40] financially make things through and not have to sell the property and whatever. But for a few months it was harum [01:41:45] scarum because I had done that thing, which maybe I don’t, uh, advocate. But in my first [01:41:50] ten years, I’d just spent all my money on reinvesting in myself. All of my money was in my brain. I’d literally [01:41:55] gone to Pankki. I’d gone to expensive courses around the world. I’d literally gone, I’m going to plough it [01:42:00] all back in. And to be blunt with you, in hindsight, I was probably a pretty crappy associate in most practices prior [01:42:05] to this one that I’m mentioning because my income on a monthly basis wasn’t brilliant. Um, [01:42:10] and Richard, for example, probably as a practice principal, massively supported me. In hindsight, [01:42:15] I was making nothing for him, really. It was probably barely breaking even from the high from the associates [01:42:20] treatment room. Um, but.

Payman Langroudi: You didn’t know it.

Zak Kara: I didn’t know it. Because you can’t see the wood [01:42:25] from the trees. You don’t see the perspective of one of another person until you’ve walked a little bit in their shoes. [01:42:30]

Payman Langroudi: And I think it’s important. That’s an important lesson in itself, right? That you know that as [01:42:35] an associate who doesn’t gross very much, you’re losing money for [01:42:40] the practice big time.

Zak Kara: Yeah. And you look at the, uh, you look at the hourly, um, fixed costs per [01:42:45] chair. And we believe in spreading that out. And it being a fair, every room has to wash its own [01:42:50] face approach. So for treatment rooms, it costs us over £90 an hour to run the [01:42:55] bloody place. If you’ve got a client who FTAs last minute, £90 just went down the drain, [01:43:00] and most practices compensate for that on the basis that the principal gross is handsomely. [01:43:05] Or does the implants or whatever it is in your particular practice, and you basically fudge over the numbers [01:43:10] and go, ah, isn’t this lovely and profitable? Oh, isn’t it good? Because at least I’ve got a five year exit plan [01:43:15] and blah blah blah is what most practices, they’re investing in their organisation for the future [01:43:20] and then what they’ve created. Our approach is very much that it has to work on a monthly, daily, uh, [01:43:25] daily, monthly, yearly basis. Um, coming back to what I was saying about the [01:43:30] the feeling it took at least a couple of months to get over that. And it was only when [01:43:35] I realised that the only way to do this was again, the tough get going. Tash and I went, well, [01:43:40] you know, what we’ll do is you’re learning more about online marketing. At that point, [01:43:45] Facebook ads were very junior in dentistry, and I began to put together some clever video [01:43:50] marketing that I worked with a few freelancers around the world to put together, and we had tons [01:43:55] and tons of bums on seats for cosmetically focussed dentistry.

Zak Kara: And Tasha and I ended up room renting in [01:44:00] what became what at that point was Castle Lane Dental Care. Oh, I see, so we were there Saturdays, [01:44:05] Sundays and evenings in an old school NHS practice because they [01:44:10] were sort of functioning on a daily basis with a principal who was about to basically retire, which became obvious. And [01:44:15] then he did retire after Covid, which then became a pretty obvious direct pathway. [01:44:20] Almost in hindsight, you look back and I tend to say that I was kind of railroaded into buying the [01:44:25] practice because there wasn’t really any other way to carry on doing dentistry for the client base we created. So [01:44:30] Tasha and I were doing evening and weekend dentistry, cosmetically focussed, and it turns out that that was in particular in Bournemouth, [01:44:35] not a thing that people were willing to do. So we we were gunning it. We were gunning it pre-COVID [01:44:40] and we were doing very well. And, uh, small stories became like lighting the touch paper and it really [01:44:45] going, you know. So.

Payman Langroudi: And then did you remodel straight away?

Zak Kara: Um, so [01:44:50] weirdly, we redeveloped the Castle Lane clinic, uh, got [01:44:55] rid of the carpets, had to do loads of structural work. Uh, all of that stuff became an overhaul. [01:45:00] But weirdly, we did it prior to buying the. This. Again, not something I would advocate, but essentially [01:45:05] Gareth and I chucked a load of money in five figures each and we’re buying it. Mm. It was a weird [01:45:10] situation because the guy who was, um, retiring after Covid, it was a unique scenario where [01:45:15] he couldn’t work because of his medical health. Immunocompromised and blah, blah, blah. So he was kind of [01:45:20] there, but not there. Gareth and I were going, well, look, we’ll scratch your back and we’ll do you a deal [01:45:25] and we’ll look after your patient base you’ll be looking after for years. But essentially we’re working towards purchase here. [01:45:30] Let’s do the legals behind the scenes. And Gareth and I were like, we’ll get a three month head start. If you put five [01:45:35] figures in and I put five figures in, shall we just refurbish the place? And we could have lost that money. But [01:45:40] thankfully all of the i’s got dotted and the T’s got crossed and we completed. And, um, that was March [01:45:45] 21st that we we signed on the line and, and we owned the place and yeah, we, we, [01:45:50] we bought the place for just over 300 K and it was all it’s a pretty, pretty [01:45:55] smooth.

Payman Langroudi: And the work was done by the time you’d bought the place.

Zak Kara: Pretty much.

Payman Langroudi: I [01:46:00] love that I’ve never heard of that before.

Zak Kara: Pretty much the work was done we were in and also we [01:46:05] had multiplied, uh, the revenue stream to make it proven as a process prior to buying [01:46:10] the place.

Payman Langroudi: Also, I mean, brilliant timing.

Zak Kara: It was it was it was a [01:46:15] little bit that’s why I say railroaded. It was a bit of a it was just a stupid no brainer. Like, in hindsight, I always used to be the [01:46:20] kind of person as an associate who went, no, I don’t want to be a principal. I can’t be bothered. People are difficult, QC, [01:46:25] blah blah blah. But actually this became the opportunity to be like, right, okay, if you want to carry on being a clinical dentist [01:46:30] sac, you’ve got to just just go. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: But also post-Covid was that massive [01:46:35] rush of private dentistry.

Zak Kara: And we jumped on that like, you know, jump on the coattails of uh, when [01:46:40] things are flying like that nationally, internationally, then just go.

Payman Langroudi: But I think now there’s a [01:46:45] I mean, it depends when you’re listening, but but here we are beginning of March [01:46:50] 24th and the, the profile of patients walking into dental [01:46:55] private dental practices. A lot of them are NHS patients who can’t [01:47:00] find an NHS dentist sort of thing. And they’ve decided that they’re going to go private [01:47:05] and often with them they’re not looking for comprehensive care. And if no one’s ever mentioned [01:47:10] it, or are you, are you having to filter that kind of patient away?

Zak Kara: Yeah, all the time [01:47:15] and not not away. Because actually, if you ask the right questions prior to them landing on the [01:47:20] in the treatment room bum on seat, you do find that some of those, when you tap into what [01:47:25] they’re really their real goal is some of them do want comprehensive dentistry because they’ve.

Payman Langroudi: Never had they just.

Zak Kara: Don’t know what it is. [01:47:30] Yeah, they’ve nobody’s even asked them. They’ve literally just phoned up a dentist and gone, yeah, can I [01:47:35] come for a check-up. And the dentist has been terrible at communicating. Yeah. The dentist does nothing modern, doesn’t take [01:47:40] any photographs. The dentist looks in their mouth and goes, yeah, nothing’s broken at the moment. And they think that’s it. And [01:47:45] that to them becomes dentistry. And that’s what I mean by the difference between private dentistry i.e [01:47:50] NHS dentistry with a price tag or dentistry, dentistry, private dentistry, [01:47:55] that is that is completely different thing. And you kind of just don’t know what you don’t know [01:48:00] until you see it from around the world. Which is why the American influence was quite important to us, um, and has been part [01:48:05] of the tapestry of what we’ve created as a, as a, as a clinic and me as a person. Uh, but [01:48:10] the thing we definitely aren’t is super interventionist, like a lot of these American [01:48:15] schools can be. And it used to make me really cringe. But at Panki, they they used to be [01:48:20] clinicians as part of their teaching faculty who would look at the screen and go, oh, that’s a 28 and [01:48:25] a 28 was for for mouth rehab. And I’m literally looking at them like, what [01:48:30] if I’d have said that to my undergrad tutors two years ago? They’d have literally shot me in the face like, no, no, [01:48:35] that to me is a real case. And then you go, um, so there’s localised anterior. Where have [01:48:40] you guys thought of like a double composite, like additive approach and then look at you [01:48:45] like, like you’re a weirdo. What the hell is this? This guy, this weird European guy, wants to do weird European [01:48:50] things. That’s not what you do. Composite composites, just a temporary material.

Payman Langroudi: They see composite as just [01:48:55] transitional. Yeah.

Zak Kara: And you’re like, no, no, no, no, no, there’s a different way. But so this is how it became [01:49:00] part of the kind of part of the puzzle where we do an adaptation of the things that we learned overseas, [01:49:05] and we have to make it and mould it part of our daily lives. So, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: How many [01:49:10] scanners are there in your practice?

Zak Kara: Two otero’s in a three shape.

Payman Langroudi: For how many? [01:49:15] Four rooms. Four. Yeah. Because you know, the way you’re saying it, that there are scans happening left, right and centre. [01:49:20]

Zak Kara: Yeah. We have to be a bit strategic about where they move around the building and stuff. But yeah, I mean, uh, it became [01:49:25] an inevitability that if you want to do dentistry in this way, you have to show people you need a screen on the wall.

Payman Langroudi: So the CapEx [01:49:30] is more than your average practice, right? You’re buying these the expenditure [01:49:35] as far as dental chairs, the left and right handed, these, [01:49:40] uh, scanners everywhere. Yeah. You’re spending more than the average practice [01:49:45] would have to spend on out without doubt.

Zak Kara: Without doubt. And, um, yeah, like I said earlier on, sometimes [01:49:50] to our own detriment, because you look at the, um, the stage of growth that you’re at [01:49:55] and you kind of go, we’re investing for the future here. We’re creating something unique. Um, but it I [01:50:00] say all it was about to say all it requires. And. But it really isn’t that complicated. [01:50:05] But it just needs the right, uh, human beings to be able to understand the value [01:50:10] of that and go, I fancy a part of that. And so that’s what we found with associates. Increasingly. Sarah, joining [01:50:15] us, I think, was a bit sceptical about what we do because it seemed like it was either unattainable by her. [01:50:20] This was last September. We first met and I think sceptical to some extent, um, because, [01:50:25] um, she was kind of a bit like, is it really what they say it is? And [01:50:30] we find it takes time to have to really demonstrate that to even to a new team member, that this is [01:50:35] our approach and this is why we find it works. And only then a few months later does the penny drop and they go, ah, [01:50:40] that’s quite good, I like that. So I didn’t have to face the person who gags, and [01:50:45] I didn’t have to do look after the person who won’t let me lay the chair back and all those things, and you’re [01:50:50] like, yeah, we created this on purpose.

Zak Kara: And they’re like, ah, cool, okay, cool. But you don’t [01:50:55] know what you don’t know, right? So, um, yeah, it’s definitely more costly to [01:51:00] create and to run on a daily basis and some practices. But but equally it’s more valuable. So it’s about [01:51:05] how you present it to a client or patient. And thankfully, because of the phased, comprehensively planned nature [01:51:10] of it, we don’t just slap clear aligners on anyone walking in the door. We build that as part of [01:51:15] a phased plan, but how they receive that information becomes breadcrumbed. So once they receive [01:51:20] that information, they then can decide, are they going to, uh, work through this in a phased way, [01:51:25] i.e. kind of spread things out and decide to do the dentistry later that they [01:51:30] knew they walked in the door wanting, or are they going to bundle it all together and go, I’m all in. And that [01:51:35] increasingly happens because again, it becomes what you didn’t know, what you didn’t know. [01:51:40] And your friend goes, yeah, I needed a bit of that as well. And oh yeah, I had a couple of veneers on these two teeth afterwards. [01:51:45] And so he becomes an ever consensual and ever more [01:51:50] comprehensive plan. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Do you find I get that completely. But do you find sometimes [01:51:55] best practice in a business sense conflicts with [01:52:00] your notion of authenticity and treating people like [01:52:05] family or whatever it is that? Let me give you an example. Like Prav often talks about slow lane [01:52:10] buyers. Yeah. Um, and he says large, like 60% of, of buyers [01:52:15] will take eight months before they buy something. Yeah, yeah. Um, so [01:52:20] the best way to, to keep in touch with those people is to follow up. Right. To keep following [01:52:25] up.

Zak Kara: Yeah. So you say even over years.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. Yeah. So, so what have you got in place regarding [01:52:30] that? I mean, uh, what I’m it’s not only slow lane buyers, right. It’s any unfinished [01:52:35] treatment plan. It’s any any person who said, I’ll think about it.

Zak Kara: The [01:52:40] only way to maintain that for me is with relationships. It’s it’s, uh, probably sounding quite [01:52:45] repetitive at this point, but the the membership plan works incredibly well because even if somebody completed phase [01:52:50] one of their treatment plan. And by the way, that kind of sounds to some people [01:52:55] when I say that phase treatment plan, what you’re saying. You can either go all in on phase one or you’re not at [01:53:00] all. Yeah. To be honest with you, if you’re a new client or new patient to come and see us, our approach is that we [01:53:05] offer and we say this to people before they land in the dental chair. We offer completely [01:53:10] healthy mouths. We do. Total mouth health is actually what we terminate the terminology. We do that and [01:53:15] we do lifetime smile, confidence, the two things we offer. So if you want total mouth health, total [01:53:20] mouth health, sorry, I’ll get it right. It does say it on the website. So if you want that, you need [01:53:25] to come through to see us through this process. And what we’ll do is put together a comprehensive plan. And if you like the idea of this, [01:53:30] you’ll have a completely healthy mouth.

Zak Kara: And then you can pause on the next phases if you wish. But at least you’re [01:53:35] stable and healthy. But at that point, 95% of people on the membership plan, because it’s incentivised to [01:53:40] be on the membership plan. So you keep that relationship, and every six months you keep knocking on the door and you go, [01:53:45] okay, things are stable at this point. How are you feeling about everything else? And that’s as simple as you need to keep it. [01:53:50] And before you know it, people often of their own accord go, I’m ready now. I’ve got the money I’ve saved [01:53:55] up because some people don’t want finance, they don’t want to spread it out and they just want to go. No, I’ll save up for the things I [01:54:00] want in life. I’ve got. You said it was going to be about five K. I’ve got five K ready. What do we need to do? And [01:54:05] we find that’s quite straightforward. The other ones who have the smile story, the plan [01:54:10] and they disappear into the aether. Yeah. Those ones, they come back through a follow [01:54:15] up process and even three months.

Payman Langroudi: Crm process.

Zak Kara: Kind of, but not automated, [01:54:20] to be honest. We find that loses the heart. And actually we need to understand the real core reason [01:54:25] behind what it is that didn’t make the move right now. So as part of this process [01:54:30] that I mentioned, we might see somebody for, let’s say they come in for a cosmetically focussed plan. [01:54:35] We put together the plan, we follow up with a follow up consultation on zoom, and then [01:54:40] our care coordinators continue the conversation and sometimes they won’t convert straight away. They’ll convert later [01:54:45] down the track, but sometimes they it’s because we’ve got enough heart behind it and we’ve got enough [01:54:50] knowledge about them as a person from the first ever conversation again, it’s handled by one human [01:54:55] being who knows them on a personal level. Oh, you did say you might be moving house. Is that what’s the obstacle [01:55:00] at the moment, or are there any other obstacles you have? Shed with us at this point. And then before you [01:55:05] know it, you know the timeliness of how quickly to reply or not or respond or not.

Payman Langroudi: So [01:55:10] the process of staying on top of that, which basically is the software, is telling [01:55:15] you what happened last time, what what what the patient said. Yeah. And [01:55:20] is it giving them prompts to contact.

Zak Kara: We have the task management system for that. So yeah [01:55:25] we quite like asana for example, which is a smart way to make sure that every role in [01:55:30] the team is, um, is completed at the right interval and in, in [01:55:35] a timely way. So as a team of care coordinators, they then know who to move where at each stage of the [01:55:40] process. So which care coordinators handling follow ups today? Who’s handling this today. Who’s handling this. [01:55:45] And then Hannah, one of our care coordinators might go, no, I didn’t message so-and-so because she did say Friday is the best [01:55:50] day to contact her. So they pick and choose their battles like that because they know the person. They know that [01:55:55] Marie always has a Friday off work. Don’t bother phoning her on a Wednesday. That’s just going to annoy her. Phone her on a Friday. [01:56:00] So let’s wait till Friday, you know. So there’s things like that that make it a systematised thing to make sure that we [01:56:05] all know each stage of every one of our tasks, and we know that the left hand knows what the [01:56:10] right hand is doing. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: And if you know, I’m seeing more and more practices where they’re doing those [01:56:15] tasks off site. Yeah. Um, because there’s plenty of work that needs doing that, [01:56:20] that kind of gets in the way of everyone.

Zak Kara: Else nailed on. I actually think that that is, [01:56:25] uh, that is that’s something we are increasingly growing towards having virtual assistants. [01:56:30] We have a virtual assistant who’s brilliant and and she does a lot of the stuff that she just does [01:56:35] not need to be in the building for. And it works her for her life, and she can probably do it more efficiently. And [01:56:40] actually, sometimes I see her come in in the morning and she’s done it at 11 p.m. last night. Why? Because she was awake and she fancied [01:56:45] doing it. She wanted to earn some money. So crack on.

Payman Langroudi: I think, you know, in dentistry, there’s so few opportunities [01:56:50] for working from home. Yeah, but but this I see this as going to be in the future. It’s going to be a big [01:56:55] thing tech.

Zak Kara: Orientated.

Payman Langroudi: And just, you know, you’re going to be you’re going to be there’s going to be website [01:57:00] people, people who fill out a form on your website and then nothing else happens. That person needs [01:57:05] to follow up. Right? Why does the person have to be in a dental practice to do that follow up? Precisely. Um, even [01:57:10] some of them, they tend to be more mini corporates, but you know, call centre, you know, all [01:57:15] centralised in one place. Yeah. Um, the marketing activities and the follow up activities. [01:57:20] I, you know, I think we’re going to see more of that.

Zak Kara: Dental clinics tend to be [01:57:25] very where one business in one location type thinking. And [01:57:30] we need an office for that on site. Well, you do you actually you need somebody to coordinate it and somebody [01:57:35] to lead it. And that’s something we’ve been working very hard on in creating an organisation structure as we’ve grown, because [01:57:40] we recognised that we’ve grown beyond that eclectic little family of eight that sit around the dinner [01:57:45] table and go, oh, you do the gardening and I’ll do the washing up. And no, no, no, we need a structure and to [01:57:50] have a bigger organisation, we need to have lead for operations, a lead for marketing and so [01:57:55] on and so on. And we need a right hand person for Gareth and Zach.

Payman Langroudi: I [01:58:00] don’t feel like I got your story, your most difficult, patient story.

Zak Kara: Uh, I [01:58:05] think we’re going to ask this because I do listen to your pod. So, um, I actually [01:58:10] haven’t got one specifically, but I it did conjure up, uh, the story of, uh, one of our clients not long ago. [01:58:15] Actually, she’s midway through her small story at the moment, obviously, for obvious reasons. Won’t won’t name names. Um, [01:58:20] so these types of clients you encounter once [01:58:25] in a while and you go, oh, it’s just a heart sink type of thing. It’s probably [01:58:30] related to the fact that I thought that I could be all things to most people, and probably [01:58:35] a little bit of not ego, but probably a bit of I think she’ll get this. I think [01:58:40] she’ll get this. She’s basically in her 60s. She came to us because she wants a lovely wide smile. [01:58:45] I want taller teeth sack. I’ve never had a lovely set of teeth that I’m proud [01:58:50] of. Looked after her through the process that I explained, several teeth needing phase one dentistry [01:58:55] I recognised in the follow up consultation. She’s not a brilliant listener. She’s not [01:59:00] a brilliant listener. She’s not very good at retaining information. And before you know it, even by the end of that [01:59:05] conversation, I’m thinking, if I’ve said this to her right now and she’s asking me something I told you about 20 minutes [01:59:10] ago, and then thinking she can’t retain information between one visit and the next. So it we [01:59:15] we thought to ourselves, okay, I’ll tell you what I’ll do.

Zak Kara: I’ll take this slowly. We won’t go all in on phase [01:59:20] one. We’ll take this visit by visit, because then you and I can get to know each other better. And you’re [01:59:25] quite anxious with dentistry. Let’s be honest. You know, you get it. I understand because of the backstory [01:59:30] you’ve explained to us, and we know the next thing to do is the priority tooth on the upper left [01:59:35] side. So why don’t we tackle that one a little bit, like that approach that I mentioned earlier on my my slightly more old school approach, [01:59:40] and that for me, was a way of dipping our toe in the water and getting to know her and visit [01:59:45] by visit. We started to see some signs of improvement and she understood. Rubber dam. Oh wow, that thing is so good. [01:59:50] I’ve never had it done like that. And she could recognise that it was painless between visit to the next she [01:59:55] said yeah, I used to get sensitivity after every dental visit and now I don’t. This is so [02:00:00] good. And then we got to the point where the full. Gold crown with four posts and a crappy old Indo and [02:00:05] all that needed to come out. And on that day I’m thinking, oh for goodness sake, this is going to be the least fun ever. Um, section [02:00:10] the tooth and all the rest of it ended the visit. Zach, why do we need to remove that tooth again? [02:00:15]

Payman Langroudi: I’m thinking once it’s out already.

Zak Kara: Yeah, okay. Like I [02:00:20] okay. What do you see on this x ray? Um, because [02:00:25] I showed her the PA on the screen and I said, this tooth is looking [02:00:30] this way because of some dentistry had done 20 or 30 years ago, as you described. What do you see on this? And [02:00:35] somehow by then, the end of that conversation, we’ve gone full circle. And she went, ah, yeah, I do realise now. [02:00:40] And somehow I think by the end of that visit, I’d saved it. Ish. But [02:00:45] then visit by visit, it’s still been difficult. We finally got to the end of phase one and one visit [02:00:50] from it. She came to see me the other day, and a temporary crown as part of this comprehensive plan has broken, and I had to put [02:00:55] a picture on the screen. And I said to her, what’s your understanding of why this is broken? And it’s because of a lack of occlusal [02:01:00] clearance, because we haven’t yet filled the missing spaces on the lower left, and this crown on the lower left isn’t [02:01:05] from a dental health point of view isn’t going wrong. But it’s over erupted and it’s interfering [02:01:10] with their occlusal scheme and all the rest of it. And it’s part and parcel of the fact that we might place a denture or an implant or [02:01:15] implants on that lower left quadrant, for example. So I’m then thinking, how the hell do I not [02:01:20] let her embark on the next phase because she’s going, but when we’re going to get these tall teeth you talked about, [02:01:25] and I’m thinking, what’s your understanding of why the teeth are flat in the first place? [02:01:30] Essentially, the long and the short of my story with her is that I am struggling to see [02:01:35] what I’m going to do next with her, and once in a while, these types of things do happen where we [02:01:40] go, oh, I wish we’d never taken her on in the first place, because now I’m going to look a bit silly [02:01:45] when I go, yeah, this plan that we put together, yadda yadda yadda, which she’s bought into, I [02:01:50] don’t really want to provide it for her, because I know that there’s a higher chance than most that [02:01:55] she is going to get to the end of it and say something like, no, this isn’t what I wanted after all.

Zak Kara: And [02:02:00] it will just be a time burn and it will be an effort burn. And you look back and you go, ah, it just [02:02:05] wasn’t worth it. So I will probably pull the plug after this phase and kind of go. I think actually, in hindsight, I need [02:02:10] to level with you and I need to talk. I need to talk to you about the ideal path. If you would like X, Y, and z, my recommendation [02:02:15] would be.

Payman Langroudi: There must be a worse story than that one. It’s [02:02:20] a good story.

Zak Kara: It’s a good story. It’s a good story.

Payman Langroudi: There’s a lot of learning points in that story. [02:02:25] There is a lot of learning points in that story. But. But it’s not painful enough.

Zak Kara: Not painful enough. Okay.

Payman Langroudi: You’ve [02:02:30] been qualified, what, 12 years or 15 years? Yeah. 15 this year. There’s a more [02:02:35] painful there’s more painful.

Zak Kara: I’ve had all the usual stuff. We’ve all been there. I’ve [02:02:40] perforated a lower premolar and hit and stop patients stuck hypo [02:02:45] through to the PDL and all this type of stuff. No no, no, no.

Payman Langroudi: I don’t mean.

Zak Kara: That boring.

Payman Langroudi: I mean, I mean, I mean [02:02:50] some somewhere where like, like this is this one was verging on it, but it would have been good if something more [02:02:55] had gone wrong.

Zak Kara: Thanks for pre-empting my misery. But, um, is [02:03:00] there anything really, truly bad happened? I’ve had all sorts from, you know, NHS [02:03:05] 111 days. I’ve had people come in in the treatment room and threaten me. I’ve had had to call the police. I’ve had [02:03:10] hair raising moments when you’re going, shit, I think there’s a drug addiction issue here. How am I going to get this person [02:03:15] numb? Because I’ve given them like eight cartridges of local and they’re still going, Zack, [02:03:20] Zack, everything’s fine. I can still feel it. And I’m going, how did I not spot [02:03:25] there a coke addict, for God’s sake? This is really ridiculous. Like, you know, we’ve had all sorts. You know, I’ve really been there and done [02:03:30] that, but I can’t think of one where I’ve gone. Oh, well, marinate.

Payman Langroudi: Marinate [02:03:35] in it, I saw look in your eyes there where you actually thought of it, did I. Yeah.

Zak Kara: Yeah. No, I thought I [02:03:40] tell you what it is I made me think of, you know. Do you know Mukesh Soni? I’ve never met Mukesh Soni [02:03:45] in face to face, but he used to, back in the day, post a lot on a particular Facebook group and he used to say bicycle [02:03:50] clips, moments where you remember those. Yeah. So you do your implants and da da da da da bicycle clips because [02:03:55] you just got wet stuff and brown stuff dripping down your legs. Yeah. Sorry if you’re eating your food [02:04:00] listening to this, um, I, I don’t have one of those I don’t have. I’ve got [02:04:05] loads of moments where I’m like, ah, I was crowned. No, I don’t, thankfully I’m [02:04:10] rinsing this crown and it’s dropped down the sink. What do you do? I’ve had those moments I’ve had and [02:04:15] we will learn, don’t we? And we and we go and put the plug in next time. And where are we going to. Ah. [02:04:20] And you know, to be honest, you said it earlier on. I bet you talk to your patients and clients like you’re talking to me. I do. And when [02:04:25] that moment happened, yeah, I had that shiver down my neck and the hairs stand up and I’m going, oh, but [02:04:30] I just had enough of a relationship with that person to go. I’m so sorry to tell you that your crown [02:04:35] is in the u-bend. Um, would you like me to handle this? I can handle [02:04:40] it for you right now, because I knew the layout of the room and whatever, so I got it sorted. I said, take a seat in the lounge for a minute. I [02:04:45] promise I’ll get this sorted and disinfected. So I found it. We got it. Gold crown, disinfected and whatever else. And they went, [02:04:50] are you sure that’s safe to put back in my mouth? And I went, yeah, well we can autoclave it for you as well. So we did Gold Crown. That’s [02:04:55] a success story.

Payman Langroudi: That’s a success.

Zak Kara: Story. Sorry, I haven’t got complete [02:05:00] on the. Maybe it’s unfair to the graveyard.

Payman Langroudi: It’s so unfair to us. Like someone as positive as [02:05:05] you for such a negative story. So I’m going to. I’ll leave it. I’ll leave it at that. I’ll leave it at that. Um, although [02:05:10] I am still interested in what you would consider as your biggest mistake in [02:05:15] not clinical, but. Yeah, career wise.

Zak Kara: Career wise.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. [02:05:20] Don’t follow me off with something.

Zak Kara: You know.

Payman Langroudi: A cliche [02:05:25] about.

Zak Kara: My biggest mistake got.

Payman Langroudi: Me to. Yeah.

Zak Kara: Biggest mistake that I can share with you. [02:05:30] Yeah. Is it’s going to sound cliche as well. It’s [02:05:35] it’s it’s kind of being a bit. I’m not an arrogant person, but it’s. Did I mention. Goldilocks [02:05:40] earlier on. I believed for a long time in creating what we’ve created, that somehow we had a Goldilocks [02:05:45] practice. We don’t need help. We don’t need coaching. We don’t need, uh. I’m sure we’ll be able to [02:05:50] work it out for ourselves. We did have some, uh, coaching from non-clinical dentists [02:05:55] previously, and I learned that because they haven’t walked a mile in our shoes [02:06:00] and actually been on the shop floor, they don’t really know to give the right advice. So my biggest, our biggest [02:06:05] mistakes as an organisation have all been rooted in running before we can walk, investing [02:06:10] incorrectly in the wrong things at the wrong time because we didn’t realise and probably [02:06:15] still don’t realise what we don’t know, and and putting money into stuff that was [02:06:20] a complete waste of time, like marketing endeavours that you look back on and you go, did we need to spend [02:06:25] five figures on a on a world class marketing agency at that time? No. Why [02:06:30] did we do it? We were probably too afraid of the competition. Why am I focusing on the competition? We shouldn’t have bothered [02:06:35] because we should be running our own race and we’re makers of our own destiny. And we are, um, [02:06:40] other non-clinical mistakes is probably related to what I mentioned earlier on to do with, uh, actually [02:06:45] knowing your numbers on a daily basis. I’ve spent most of my, uh, time in the non-clinical [02:06:50] sense, in a financial orientated sense, uh, uh, at the clinic, [02:06:55] uh, building these fancy spreadsheets, but not utilising the information in them terribly well. Very good at creating [02:07:00] a pretty spreadsheet, but not very good at analysing the data and going. But that needs to change. Move the dial. [02:07:05] Yeah. What would you say, Ricardo?

Payman Langroudi: You know, I think it’s a big issue, right. Like key performance [02:07:10] indicators that make sense to to follow. What would you say. They’re like a [02:07:15] number of new patients.

Zak Kara: Number new patients is the obvious one. And if you talk to Mike who does our coaching with us, you [02:07:20] need to keep it very, very simple. Number of new patients. What feeds the new patients? For us, it’s the number of virtual [02:07:25] consultations that our CEOs do or phone calls that our CEOs do. And then we also want to know last week’s [02:07:30] data. So we keep a track of what’s going on this week or forecasted for this week and what happened last week, and [02:07:35] always be better. And in order to grow, we need to then therefore know how many of our [02:07:40] new clients stories are being converted to people that are saying, yes, um, and [02:07:45] as cringey and businessy as that is, I hate the word converted. Sorry. If you’re particularly, uh, it’s a business, [02:07:50] but we have to.

Payman Langroudi: We have to become what it is.

Zak Kara: Yeah. So I don’t know a better way to describe it, but we convert somebody [02:07:55] from that headspace of, I want this thing to, yes, I’m going in, I’m doing this thing. [02:08:00] And then we know it populates on average X amount of clinical hours over the foreseeable month, two months, [02:08:05] three months, our next availability. And we play that busy restaurant philosophy type game, which [02:08:10] is that we never want to do a disservice to our pre-existing clients. So we only take on a certain number of new clients [02:08:15] per month, and the next availability is always four five weeks away. To be able to start, [02:08:20] which for a lot of practices is too long, but too long. Do you know what we do? We offer 4 or [02:08:25] 5 weeks, and then we phone them back in a couple of days time and go. By the way, there’s last minute availability for next week. Do you want [02:08:30] to grab that? That’ll that makes people move. It makes people move. It [02:08:35] does. Philosophy behind it is, do I really want to wait another four weeks? No, I want to go. Let’s go. I’m excited. Let’s start. [02:08:40] And funnily enough, that does is it fills your white space. So it’s a little game of strategy [02:08:45] and that’s one of the tactics involved in it.

Payman Langroudi: Well you know there’ll come a point where [02:08:50] the wait will be too long or classically they say raise your price [02:08:55] at that point, but you might not want to do that. And so you you’ll need another clinic. [02:09:00]

Zak Kara: Yeah, we possibly will. We need to expand which we’re in the process of doing. And uh, and [02:09:05] um, one thing I’ve definitely learned is that you’ll never get it right. You’ll always have a hygienist. You know, a [02:09:10] year and a half ago, we were nearly held to ransom by a couple of hygienists in our team, um, on the basis that my [02:09:15] diaries are too empty because this new hygienist has joined and it’s spread everything out way beyond what it used to be. [02:09:20] And I can’t sit here with white space. One of them left, the other one followed suit. We [02:09:25] had two new hygienists who replaced them. Suddenly their books are two filled again, and [02:09:30] you look and go, if you’ve just been patient for two months, the machinery was moving. [02:09:35] You were going to get a field diary. You were just impatient. But it’s amazing how, uh, a lot of people get [02:09:40] cannot see the bigger picture.

Payman Langroudi: It’s like you’re so generous with the knowledge. [02:09:45] You’re welcome. Um, and I think it makes sense to be generous with the knowledge. Because [02:09:50] if anyone thinks that the information itself is the key, it’s. It’s the execution [02:09:55] of the of the information. Um, but have you [02:10:00] thought about teaching?

Zak Kara: I love teaching you do teach? Uh, I used to be a clinical [02:10:05] teacher at Portsmouth. Uh, that was actually funny enough. Where I met Harry, uh, when he was a fifth year student, [02:10:10] coming down from King’s once a week on their rotation program. Their outreach program. They spend a week in Portsmouth. Uh, 1 [02:10:15] in 4, 1 in 4 weeks. Um, and I stopped doing that just before Covid, um, because [02:10:20] I just couldn’t dedicate the time to all these different things all at once. The expert witness work, the out of hours work and blah, blah, [02:10:25] blah. And but the thing that I really love now is seeing people’s eyes light up when [02:10:30] I talk about the things that we’re talking about now, now, which is actually systems, [02:10:35] workflows, processes, communication and how we get to the end. The [02:10:40] goal of what we set out to do in the first place, and redesigning or designing [02:10:45] and redesigning. Your own destiny in not in a fluffy, kind of [02:10:50] like, life coaching kind of way, but in a kind of if you’re getting the wrong people landing [02:10:55] in your treatment room on your chair. Have you asked yourself why? Because it’s [02:11:00] your responsibility to choose who lands there, and there’s nothing wrong with self-selecting [02:11:05] or pre-selecting out the wrong people.

Zak Kara: And I think a lot of dentists, because of their backstory. Usually in NHS [02:11:10] dentistry where you’re told you should just keep, um, you should just work, work, work, because [02:11:15] that’s how you get good, actually. You lose sight of the bigger picture. And if you want to choose [02:11:20] the right people, you can and you can do it in an unpretentious way. So these days, for example, in our [02:11:25] team, I’ve been badgered by our team too much now to the point at which, um, we have started [02:11:30] posting some stuff on our social media, and it turns out there’s a lot of people that resonates resonate with it. So, [02:11:35] um, Zach smiles stories on Instagram and we post regularly our reels of me doing something, [02:11:40] us doing something, and it’s as simple as, for example, hey, there was a video not [02:11:45] long ago that’s, I don’t know, six figures in terms of views. And it’s me talking somebody [02:11:50] through how this rubber dam works and why this blue protective shield matters. And it’s me literally [02:11:55] going to greet a client from our lounge and going, hi, I’m Zach, nice to meet you. You must be. And [02:12:00] somebody messaged me, slid into my DMs and said, who taught you to do that? And I went, what? [02:12:05] Greet somebody? And they went, no.

Zak Kara: How did you know what seat they were sitting [02:12:10] in? And I went, I knew because there’s actually a design behind that process, which is that our [02:12:15] front of house crew, no two seats, and every new client goes in that chair or in if [02:12:20] that’s occupied, the next chair. And we have a system behind the scenes of like they’re in seat number two. So if I’m [02:12:25] ever in doubt and I’m looking at the screen going, and there could be about four people waiting at front of house at the moment, I’ll message [02:12:30] and go, which seat number are they? Are they in please? And before you know it, I go and greet them warmly and go [02:12:35] and look in their eyes. And I shake their hand and I go, I’m Zach, nice to meet you today. Come on down. It’s the first time you’ve come to the clinic today, [02:12:40] isn’t it? And they usually soften up, but it turns out people don’t seem to have that in their patter [02:12:45] or their daily thinking. And that’s the fun bit when people message and go, oh, there [02:12:50] is a different way to do this, you know?

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, it’s nice man. It’s nice, nice [02:12:55] to hear it. So many different nuggets, um, from someone who’s only three years [02:13:00] in man like to. So I see the future as being very, very bright. Thank [02:13:05] you. Um, but you really, you owe it. You owe it to yourself to do more, I think. Do you think? Yeah. [02:13:10] Do you think we.

Zak Kara: Should put together a course?

Payman Langroudi: Well, yeah, we’ll do everyone.

Zak Kara: Everyone wants a course these days, right? They all have [02:13:15] an academy. How many academies now?

Payman Langroudi: There’s nothing wrong with it, man. There’s nothing wrong with it, dude. I mean, if you remember, you [02:13:20] don’t remember. It was before your time. You qualified in 2009? Yeah, [02:13:25] when I qualified. Yeah. There was nothing. Yeah. You literally had to go [02:13:30] to America to to get education. Nothing existed. And I hear that whine of too many [02:13:35] courses and and and so on. Yeah. And I don’t know, people talk about [02:13:40] people wanting to be teachers two years out of dental school and there is that. Yeah. Yeah. But at the same time, [02:13:45] I see, um, students, I’m following some students. I went to Bdsa. [02:13:50] Yeah, I was following them. Been they’ve got a fantastic page is [02:13:55] tutoring people on how to get to dental school. Um, as you know, has been [02:14:00] posting since, since the first year. And then we get people on mini smile [02:14:05] makeover sometime. Still don’t have Instagram, uh, where they’re on Instagram, but [02:14:10] they’re not. There’s no dental Instagram. Um, they don’t have loops, you [02:14:15] know, and and so, you know, I rather than sneering at that, all that teaching [02:14:20] side, I’d at least say that guy’s involved. And you know what [02:14:25] I was saying about people who listen. Yeah, you have to listen to a dental podcast, [02:14:30] man. There’s there’s so many different things you could watch or listen to. Yeah, it’s true, but [02:14:35] if you’re if you’re on your way to your practice or on your way back from your practice, you’re listening to a dental podcast, right? Yeah. Yeah, [02:14:40] yeah. That that shows the degree of.

Zak Kara: Interest.

Payman Langroudi: Interest in your job. Right.

Zak Kara: Interest in [02:14:45] and wanting to better yourself and knowing what else is out there. And, you know, to be fair, you know, I’m not, um, entirely [02:14:50] sneering at that type of approach. The main thing on my mind is, um, I wouldn’t [02:14:55] it would if I was going to do something on those lines. I do feel I would owe it to our team as much as anything [02:15:00] else to have this stuff out there, because I do know I can see it in their eyes. There’s a team they love to be [02:15:05] able to share the four handed stuff that we think is normal every day, but a new clinician joins and they’re like, they have no idea [02:15:10] what to do. And we’re like, yes, they won’t know what to do because this is not normal, right. But that goes so [02:15:15] hand in hand with some of the other stuff we’ve mentioned and the workflows and the communication and stuff. It just synchronises [02:15:20] so well and that we’d love to be able to do that kind of thing. I just wouldn’t want to be one of so many that [02:15:25] try to do certain things. And and it’s having a platform to do it. Um, yeah. Maybe [02:15:30] if you are listening to this and you fancy the idea of it, then, uh, give me some encouragement, I don’t mind. Yeah, you should do it.

Payman Langroudi: You [02:15:35] should. So honestly, I’m not a dentist anymore, but I if I was, I [02:15:40] had 100% invest in that. Yeah. Thanks. Because because a lot of it, it sounds like [02:15:45] hocus pocus. Like how the. Oh, do you do that?

Zak Kara: You know there’s a way to integrate. No, I know, I know the best thing. Now, [02:15:50] we’ve actually got proof in the pudding. It’s not just my ideas in my brain. We’ve done it. It works. Here’s how [02:15:55] the system works. But you kind of need to ascribe to the whole system, and you kind of need to know what’s part of my patchwork [02:16:00] quilt. Because as you mentioned, when you graduated, when I was at dental school, we didn’t have anything either. [02:16:05] The internet was very slow. Uh, we had Paddy Lunn’s book. I remember picking up Paddy Lunn’s book. Remember [02:16:10] him? Yeah. It’s amazing what a heart behind Paddy Lunn’s book. Literally the most black and white book you can ever [02:16:15] see. Um, Australian dentists. Um, now, no doubt retired. Um, absolutely [02:16:20] brilliant. There’s gold in there really is. Absolutely. And it becomes part of that whole philosophy. So sometimes the [02:16:25] most old school things, the things that seem outdated are actually it’s. Yeah, it’s uh, it [02:16:30] should become part of everyone’s repertoire.

Payman Langroudi: It’s been a massive pleasure, man. I’m going to end with the [02:16:35] the usual final, final questions. Yeah. Fantasy [02:16:40] dinner party.

Zak Kara: You know, I’ve pondered this already. I’ll come out and say it [02:16:45] straight away. My roots are in music, proper music. So it would be [02:16:50] Freddie Mercury, Prince and Michael Jackson. I know that’s cringe.

Payman Langroudi: And Michael Jackson. [02:16:55]

Zak Kara: And Michael Jackson. How could it be Prince and say that these days I know I’m not Prince [02:17:00] Andrew.

Payman Langroudi: As a massive Prince fan, I just object to [02:17:05] Prince and Michael Jackson.

Zak Kara: I just want to fight.

Payman Langroudi: All Michael Jackson. No, no, no, I want a fight.

Zak Kara: I would I would just be like, [02:17:10] right, why don’t you guys, why don’t you get on? And I’d want Freddie Mercury to just sit [02:17:15] there and drink wine all night because.

Payman Langroudi: Because there was no Billie Jean and there was no kid. [02:17:20] There was no one who said, beat it. There was none of that happened. None of that happened.

Zak Kara: That’s [02:17:25] why he is controversial. This is exactly why I suggested it. So those are my three for the dinner party. And also, [02:17:30] worst case scenario, we just put YouTube music on and have a frigging great night.

Payman Langroudi: Some record story like [02:17:35] record shop stories. It must be interesting having a record shop. Do you get like, what do you get?

Zak Kara: It’s part of [02:17:40] you don’t get anything. You get told off by your dad when you’re nicking the CDs of the weekend and recording them.

Payman Langroudi: You [02:17:45] know, the customers you get like DJ types, you get what happens.

Zak Kara: At that time, it was record collector [02:17:50] types. It was like old school fellas with a beard and long hair. And they’d come in and [02:17:55] they’d. You’d see the same names and faces every weekend. I’d be there on a Saturday or a Sunday, and that had a few little [02:18:00] side gigs of selling things like, uh, you know, at that point they had to get a £10 top up voucher for Orange Mobile [02:18:05] or whatever. So I used to get paid in top up vouchers. Okay. And uh, some of them, some of my, [02:18:10] uh, my roots of like, why I, why I like talking to people must come from the record shop. Yeah. So I’d [02:18:15] see the same names of the faces. And I used to have this little party trick where I would just know where that record [02:18:20] is, and I’d be able to go to the shelf, and I’d literally be barely tall enough to see it, and I’d go, this [02:18:25] one, LED Zeppelin two. Uh, and I’d know it by the record cover. So weirdly, now [02:18:30] when people say things like, uh, somebody mentioned R.E.M.

Zak Kara: the other day and R.E.M. had an album called automatic [02:18:35] for the people. Amazing album, right? Great album. And I picked it up and I just know that record [02:18:40] sleeve. I know that cover because it’s just black and white. Yeah, it’s embedded in me. So some of those [02:18:45] things are part of my tapestry for sure. And, uh, you look back now and you’re like, why do I like [02:18:50] getting to know my patients and clients every visit? It must be rooted in that. It’s rooted in [02:18:55] the conversations I had with people every week, and I’d find out about their family and oh, when are you buying that? [02:19:00] And I used to be the cheeky little kid, because my dad used to love the fact that I loved the chat, and I’d be that one who [02:19:05] goes, so when are you buying the the the, uh, the stack. So we used to have little stacks together of [02:19:10] like, back catalogues. So like the Queen back catalogue, you buy a whole stack, you package it together. Massive. Good deal [02:19:15] that when you buy the queen stack.

Payman Langroudi: You had a bit of a lateral thinker. [02:19:20] Anyway, to do a record shop, right? Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s a kind of a niche thing to do. Yeah. I had a [02:19:25] friend whose dad had a record shop too, and he’s just have fun there. I’ll tell you some fun. [02:19:30]

Zak Kara: Fun taught me something. It taught me diversification because actually at that point wasn’t trendy [02:19:35] in the 90s. Well, it was in the 80s, and it was in the early 90s recession hit. Um, John [02:19:40] Major has got a lot to blame for that. And as a result of that, things went very Pete Tong for [02:19:45] wreck. Uh, not just record shops, but retail in general. Yeah. And at the same time, CDs [02:19:50] were beginning to take over and tapes were getting a little bit outdated. Yeah. And, um, Sainsbury’s over the road. [02:19:55] No, in fact, at one point it was Safeway over the road, literally over the road from the shop started selling [02:20:00] CDs and it was like a price war, literally £9.73 for a CD. And [02:20:05] then they used to do it £9.23 and that’d be like, that’s below cost, what am I gonna do? And he used to go [02:20:10] and ask me to go over the road and price shop for him and go, how much are they selling it for? And they’d come back and say, [02:20:15] essentially, in the mid 90s, dad realised that he had to diversify the business and he took some of it online. [02:20:20] And so he had a, the first ever, uh, first ever website he had was created by my dad and I on, [02:20:25] uh, a really rubbish old PC, windows 3.1, uh, or maybe an [02:20:30] old school Pentium, whatever it was. And, uh, we created a website and essentially took his record [02:20:35] player needle business online. Wow. And dad ended up leaving the business as [02:20:40] a physical entity. And when we’d gone to uni about 2005 and he carried on just making his [02:20:45] little trickle along income. Home with a stack full of record playing needles [02:20:50] that were all.

Payman Langroudi: The record players have totally come back in.

Zak Kara: Yeah, now. Yeah, they come full circle. But [02:20:55] dad’s had enough of business and he hated customers, always complaining every five minutes and sending them back, and [02:21:00] he’d go, uh, um. Doherty, 40, Murray, Missouri. [02:21:05] And they sent it back, meaning they made a complete mess of my products. Oh, I see they made [02:21:10] cucumber of it, which means they made cucumbers out of my product and they returned it back to me.

Zak Kara: Yeah, [02:21:15] that’s my dad.

Zak Kara: So, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Now [02:21:20] I feel a bit sad. I didn’t go more into your backstory, but. But you’ve given so many pearls that it’s [02:21:25] not have to worry. Let’s, let’s let’s go with the final question. Yeah. You [02:21:30] on your deathbed, surrounded by friends and family. Anyone who’s [02:21:35] special to you. Yep. And you’re going to offer them three [02:21:40] pieces of advice. What would they be?

Zak Kara: I [02:21:45] would tell them that for the rest of your own days. If you keep [02:21:50] doing what you’re doing, you’re going to keep getting what you’re getting. If you keep doing [02:21:55] what you’re doing, you’re going to keep getting what you’re getting. And if you want to do better [02:22:00] every day and it’s bothering you, you’ve got to do something different. So that probably [02:22:05] is rooted in the diversification and things we were just talking about, I tell them. I [02:22:10] really did do my best because [02:22:15] I always wanted to be better myself. Um, so I hope I’m looked [02:22:20] back, um, at fondly, um, as a person and somebody who [02:22:25] thirdly, would, you know, be generous, be generous with your time, because, [02:22:30] you know, in my first something I regret, uh, my first eight years out of university, I spent two, two [02:22:35] weeks every year with bridge to aid in East Africa because I always believed in giving something back to East Africa. [02:22:40] Life took over, Covid took over the business, and so on and so on. But it’s something I will go full circle and do, [02:22:45] because the heart you receive from somebody who’s got nothing, and the amount of generosity you [02:22:50] get from somebody who’s got nothing, that’s real generosity to me. And if you can dedicate your own time [02:22:55] to being generous and receiving in return, um, then that’s those are some of the [02:23:00] most special moments of my life. And, um, hopefully they, uh, I have more opportunities to do just that [02:23:05] and again in the future.

Zak Kara: Beautiful man. Really beautiful. Thank [02:23:10] you so much for.

Payman Langroudi: Doing this, dude. I really enjoyed it very, very much.

Zak Kara: Thank you very much for having me.

Intro Voice: This [02:23:15] is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get [02:23:20] to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your [02:23:25] hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki. [02:23:30]

Prav Solanki: Thanks for listening guys. I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Make sure you tune in [02:23:35] for future episodes. Hit subscribe in iTunes or Google Play or whatever [02:23:40] platform it is. And you know, we really, really appreciate it. If you would, um, give [02:23:45] us a.

Payman Langroudi: Six star rating.

Prav Solanki: Six star rating. That’s what I always leave my Uber [02:23:50] driver.

Payman Langroudi: Thanks a lot, guys. Bye.

 

Emma Marshall, the CEO of Movement is Medicine, chats about the profound impact of movement on mental and physical health. 

Emma shares her journey from facing severe health challenges and exploring various mainstream and alternative therapies to discovering the healing power of movement and dance. 

She discusses the importance of integrating physical with mental health support and using movement as a vehicle for catharsis and trauma recovery. 

Emma also touches on the societal pressures and misconceptions around health and advocates for more accessible and inclusive approaches to wellness practices.

Enjoy!

 

In This Episode

00.40 – Emma’s story

12.41 – Alternative medicine

23.10 – Rhythm and healing

26.05 – Movement is Medicine

39.10 – Wellness and mental health

46.25 – Accessibility and socioeconomics

52.45 – Female perspectives

57:40 – Business and the rhythm of processes

01.01.00 – TED Talks and training for teachers​​.

 

About Emma Marshall

Emma Marshall is the founder and CEO of Movement is Medicine®, a neuroscientific technique for wellness and stress relief through music and dance.

Emma Mashall: A place that no one touches. When was the last time you sat there and touched the backs of your knees intentionally? The reason [00:00:05] being is because we’ve got loads of lymph nodes in the backs of the knees, and the lymph is literally all it’s needed [00:00:10] to work well is a bit of movement and a bit of touch. That’s it. And it just shows you [00:00:15] playing and.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. And your sort of guiding. We’re gonna have.

Rhona Eskander: To try it. We are going to try it.

Intro Voice: This [00:00:20] is mind movers moving [00:00:25] the conversation forward on mental health and optimisation for Dental [00:00:30] professionals. Your hosts Rhona Eskander and [00:00:35] Payman Langroudi.

Rhona Eskander: Emma, welcome [00:00:40] to an episode of Mind Movers, the mental health podcast for dentists. This [00:00:45] is season two and we have the incredible Emma marshall. Emma is the founder [00:00:50] and CEO of Movement is Medicine, and when I first met Emma, it was through a friend and I [00:00:55] was drawn to her incredibly vibrant personality, her healing soul. [00:01:00] And we continue to stay in touch. And she inspired me because she recognised this huge gap in the market [00:01:05] for movement as a method of healing. I’m not talking just about exercise, but moving [00:01:10] your body to music, moving your body in any place that you’re at, not necessarily [00:01:15] being in a rave or at a party with people, and certainly not needing substances to fuel your [00:01:20] desire to move your body. She’s also been a TEDx speaker. She’s been at the Happy [00:01:25] Place Festival, which I was also at and has gone to, gone on to do incredible things. And [00:01:30] I think what’s really exciting is that she’s not gone on to do incredible things with what I call the woo woo [00:01:35] culture, but also the corporate society, because she’s recognised as well that people should have [00:01:40] access to healing and not be boxed up into just being part of a certain type of industry. [00:01:45] So welcome, Emma. Oh, thanks for having me.

Emma Mashall: What a lovely intro. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Thanks. [00:01:50] So, Emma, the reason why I found you so inspiring and I think a lot [00:01:55] of people have is because, you know, you had a series of unfortunate events that had happened to you, which [00:02:00] led you to where you are. So let’s start from the beginning. What are you were doing before? Movement is medicine [00:02:05] and how it led you to where you are today.

Emma Mashall: Yeah, so I had a really [00:02:10] successful career in the music industry. Um, and everything was going [00:02:15] great. You know, I was going from one kind of space in the industry to the other, just figuring out my path [00:02:20] in my 20s. But in 2015, I [00:02:25] had like a very serious health year where there was just all these different situations [00:02:30] that happened back to back. Um, and it wasn’t just like, oh, I had the flu. It was like I was hospitalised [00:02:35] with some serious conditions. And so one of them, I had to have a catheter [00:02:40] because my kidneys weren’t functioning properly. And then I got tripped over in the street. [00:02:45] I fractured my arm. And I was then diagnosed with like, a very serious, um, [00:02:50] nervous system disease, which, like, was all to do with the brain firing off the wrong [00:02:55] signals in regards to pain. So I couldn’t move the left side of my body. And it was [00:03:00] really, really serious for quite a long time. Um, I was also told with that one [00:03:05] that there was no kind of cure that would be my life. And I was like, nah, I don’t believe that. [00:03:10] Um, but then after that, I had to have my appendix out, and this was all in the space of six months. [00:03:15] So at that point I went to a GP and I was just like, there’s something wrong with me, [00:03:20] you know, I’m only 25, so why is my body not working properly? [00:03:25] And the GP kind of just was giving me the fobbed off of just like, oh, you’re probably a bit depressed.

Emma Mashall: And I was a bit [00:03:30] like, well, I think there’s more to it than that. And that’s when I started to look into a more holistic [00:03:35] way of understanding health. So started to look at nutrition. I started to look at my lifestyle. [00:03:40] I had burnt myself out like I just got into the music industry at 23, like full [00:03:45] time. Before that, I was doing bits and pieces and I just was doing so many jobs. I wasn’t [00:03:50] sleeping properly, I my diet was poor, and there was so many aspects of my [00:03:55] lifestyle that I can understand why that impacted on my health. Now that obviously I reflected on it and when [00:04:00] we were in those situations. It affects our nervous system, it affects our immune system, it affects our endocrine system. So [00:04:05] I really started to observe the ways in which my body was working and how it wasn’t, and changed [00:04:10] a lot, but I also felt like I never fully recovered. Uh, there was always this kind [00:04:15] of like missing piece of the jigsaw. And then in 2018, I had [00:04:20] to have an operation. It was like suddenly I couldn’t have avoided and it went wrong, and [00:04:25] I was put on medication because I thought I was going to go into sepsis and there was a whole thing. [00:04:30] And after that, my body just started shut down. It just gave up, and [00:04:35] I got sicker and sicker, and I got a diagnosis of clinical PTSD.

Emma Mashall: And then it [00:04:40] went from there where the physical symptoms got so extreme, um, that I went to functional [00:04:45] medicine. So I looked at functional medicine rather than the NHS. The NHS weren’t being particularly helpful. [00:04:50] And I was told, oh, we think you’ve got Lyme disease, or we think you’ve been poisoned by a black mould. [00:04:55] And then I went to this hospital in Mexico, raised money and had some really [00:05:00] serious treatment over there, and it was really interesting. What kind of treatment? Well, so I had ozone [00:05:05] therapy where they take your blood out and then put it back in when it’s been oxygenated. And then I also had [00:05:10] something called hyperthermia where they put you to sleep and they basically comatose you for like, [00:05:15] um, I think it’s around ten hours and they basically heat your body up really slowly to a [00:05:20] temperature of 109 degrees, and they hold you there for as long as possible to kill off any [00:05:25] kind of infections that you’ve got. Because that’s the problem, is that when I got to this hospital, I didn’t have Lyme. [00:05:30] I did have some sort of, you know, toxin issue. But the problem was, is that my immune system wasn’t working and [00:05:35] my nervous system wasn’t working. And my endocrine system. Wasn’t working, so I had some infections [00:05:40] that my body couldn’t fight off bacterial and viral. And then, yeah, they [00:05:45] just put me through this really serious treatment. But unfortunately the treatment then resulted in me not being able to [00:05:50] walk.

Emma Mashall: So the knock on effects were huge. And then from there I started to have seizures. [00:05:55] And so it was just this kind of like getting worse and worse and worse. But one of the interesting things that I will [00:06:00] mention, because I’m talking to dentists, is that one of the things that they have at this hospital is a bio [00:06:05] dentist, okay. And the reason being is because they were checking people’s teeth, they checked all of my teeth and [00:06:10] they were looking for things like fillings, silver fillings and that kind of thing to look for toxin overload. [00:06:15] And I just found that really interesting because I was just like, oh, okay, cool. There’s there’s a whole spectrum of health here that [00:06:20] like, we just I wouldn’t know about this. I had no idea. So we started to just again open me up. But I [00:06:25] was seriously ill at this point with no kind of resolution and no cure, because that’s what I think we look for [00:06:30] when we’re ill is like, I need the cure. And there wasn’t a clear path. It was just like, we’re going to try this and we’re [00:06:35] going to try that and blah, blah, blah. And I basically ended up carrying on different treatments under like functional medicine [00:06:40] for the next year with no improvements. It just got worse and worse [00:06:45] and worse. And by this point, my mental health was absolutely appalling, like serious [00:06:50] PTSD and just yeah, no real will to live, to be honest. And [00:06:55] it got to a point where I met somebody and she just kind of transformed my understanding of health, [00:07:00] where she was like, you have been through so much trauma, but it’s [00:07:05] been very physical.

Emma Mashall: Um, you know, we have different types of trauma and yours has been extremely physical. [00:07:10] Your body is going to be holding on to those physical experiences because trauma is held [00:07:15] in the body. So you need to start understanding how to work with your body and your nervous system to release [00:07:20] this stuff. And it just was like thing. And I was like, okay, [00:07:25] this makes sense. So I dove into the research around the nervous system and [00:07:30] neuroscience, the mind body connection and how everything is connected and, you know, the gut brain connection [00:07:35] and all these different connections that we we have and how the nervous system impacts your immune system and your endocrine [00:07:40] system. And I was like, okay, this is all starting to make a lot more sense. But this is now pandemic [00:07:45] time. So there’s no resource and no support. I should have 100% have [00:07:50] had at least a therapist and also some physio, because when I couldn’t walk, it affected my legs [00:07:55] and I had nothing. So I was like, I woke up one day and I just said to myself, like, [00:08:00] you’ve got to start moving. And the only thing that I felt like I could do was [00:08:05] dance. And I just promised myself like one song a day come from the music industry, where I was [00:08:10] out all the time.

Emma Mashall: I had a life style that incorporated dance. Most days. I [00:08:15] hadn’t done this. I hadn’t had fun like this in a really long time. So I just started putting on tunes and moving [00:08:20] my body, and I started to feel a difference, and I started to see improvements in both [00:08:25] my physical health, my legs, and also in the way that my anxiety was and PTSD symptoms. [00:08:30] And I was just like, okay. So again, furthered the research. And I looked specifically not just around [00:08:35] stress and trauma in the body. I looked at dance and movement and even rhythm [00:08:40] and certain types of tempos and sound and all that kind of stuff. And I just basically [00:08:45] started to piece together all these different aspects. And then at the end of 2020, [00:08:50] I decided that London was a bit too much for me, pandemic wise. I’d just been through two [00:08:55] full years of illness. I was like, I can’t do a whole nother year of this. So I left and I went back to Mexico [00:09:00] because Mexico was quite open, so went back to Mexico and used the time [00:09:05] to not only recover fully, but also study. So I studied how [00:09:10] indigenous tribes and communities utilise dance and music [00:09:15] all the time. And if you look at anywhere that’s got indigenous culture and that spans [00:09:20] across so many different continents, every single aspect of that culture has [00:09:25] music and dance incorporated. And we in the West don’t particularly utilise [00:09:30] it like that. It’s very much based around hedonism. So when we go out it’s like, oh, have a drink [00:09:35] and we’ll just yeah, we’ll go out, have a drink and I’ll listen to this.

Emma Mashall: Um, I’ll go to this festival or listen to this concert [00:09:40] or whatever. It’s always based around hedonism. And in other cultures that’s not necessarily [00:09:45] the case. And I just was like, okay, cool. Well, we need to do something here with this because [00:09:50] the science is saying this. The science is saying that dance is extremely helpful and [00:09:55] the nervous system and etc., etc., the neuroscience. But also we’ve just kind of [00:10:00] forgotten this very ancient healing practice. So I [00:10:05] put something together as a body of work, um, utilising the science in [00:10:10] particular. And this is where I really didn’t want to waste time, but also like make [00:10:15] it as a trust me bro situation, which is a lot of wellness. [00:10:20] It is that there’s no there’s no data, there’s no science, there’s no studies. And [00:10:25] I think that there is a place for science, and there’s also a place for feeling they both [00:10:30] coexist. And that’s what I wanted to create is something that I can say. This is why it works. And [00:10:35] now we’re going to do it and you’re going to feel it. And that’s what I’ve managed to create. And people have really, [00:10:40] really taken to it and it’s taken off and it’s done really, really well. And and it helps people [00:10:45] with everything. But the main thing that it kind of helps people with, most importantly is just releasing stress. [00:10:50] So yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Such a fascinating story, like so many things to say on that. And [00:10:55] like one of the things that I want to touch upon because I think it’s really interesting and I want your views on this, [00:11:00] is that about alternative medicine? Because we work in a profession where we’re very much [00:11:05] taught traditional medicine, you know, um, there is a diagnosis to your symptoms [00:11:10] and we don’t look outside the body. Um, there’s also been recently in the press [00:11:15] a lot around amalgam fillings and amalgam fillings. We’re one of the last countries [00:11:20] now to basically put a stop to it. And obviously a lot of dentists studies have basically [00:11:25] shown that actually they don’t cause any harm in your body, and they can cause more harm [00:11:30] if you remove it in an unsafe way. So like the actual like vapour can get inhaled, etc.. So [00:11:35] you have to use something called the rubber dam. Or some dentists use like a kind of extractor machine, etc.. And [00:11:40] I think now there’s been this massive emergence of like biological dentists and they’re actually challenging [00:11:45] the status quo and challenging the system. And as you know, she actually saw one [00:11:50] of my dentists. He sort of brands himself as a biological dentist, and he very much believes [00:11:55] in stuff. So he does like ozone. He removes the amalgam with like an amalgam extractor. You know, Doctor Richard, [00:12:00] he does like vitamin infusions as part of like when he does like his implant treatments and stuff like [00:12:05] that. And I have to say that, like, I still believe traditional medicine [00:12:10] is needed. Totally. And I think, you know, I had a friend of mine that also was in Mexico and [00:12:15] she was like, oh, I’ve got a wisdom tooth pain. And I tried putting cloves on it and it didn’t get better. [00:12:20] And obviously she did need antibiotics. But I do think it’s the integration of, you know, [00:12:25] that functional medicine with modern day medicine, which is really important. What’s your thoughts on it? [00:12:30]

Payman Langroudi: It’s a difficult one. Tell me, because look, the you [00:12:35] can make a good or bad story up about anything. Right. Because what’s the alternative to amalgam [00:12:40] encompass it. Right. It’s a plastic, you know, plastics in your [00:12:45] mouth all the time. The free plastics that you get from the bonds, you can make a bad story up about that. [00:12:50] Do you know you can you can do research and find out how much problems that causes. I [00:12:55] mean, I’m interested in in why you thought that dance [00:13:00] was the answer. When, you know, doctors are telling you, you know. [00:13:05]

Rhona Eskander: Otherwise. But I think but I think it’s the functional piece as well that helped her because that led her [00:13:10] to people that said to her, like, you know, it starts from within. Like if you read books like, [00:13:15] I’m sure we’ve discussed this, the body keeps the score or the body says, no, it’s all [00:13:20] about that stuff. Because all of these physical diseases. Six months ago, I slipped my disc. [00:13:25] He knows I was in here. I tried to ignore it. It was 100% because of what was going on physically, mentally [00:13:30] in my mind. Like, yeah, okay, fine. I actually physically fell in the gym, but my mind was [00:13:35] somewhere else and all this stress had been building up and it was like crash. Totally. And I was like, that’s not [00:13:40] a coincidence that I slipped my disc, you know? So I think that, like, you know, you understanding that [00:13:45] is so important. And for me, I’m hearing that like the movement was freedom. [00:13:50] Yeah. But do you think then as well there’s like something that you’re doing [00:13:55] can be integrated into mainstream medicine.

Emma Mashall: Well yes. I [00:14:00] would love to be able to have this available on the [00:14:05] NHS. The red tape however, who knows. You know, [00:14:10] we will need to get it to a point of clinical trials, um, which is doable [00:14:15] with the right backing and with the right funding. But clinical trials cost money. But that’s when we’ll be able [00:14:20] to see the different chemical releases, you know, during a session for each person, the [00:14:25] way that the brainwaves move, etc.. Because I’ve got my theories on it. I know what I believe [00:14:30] makes sense for this work. And also I have done so much research [00:14:35] now, um, I just don’t have the piece of paper. However, [00:14:40] I’m also not ignorant to the fact that the pieces of paper are important. Um, and [00:14:45] so I partnered with a neuroscientist on this work who has, you know, [00:14:50] 15 years in chronic pain. And she she works specifically on understanding the mind body [00:14:55] connection. And she’s a really interesting person. But the way in which she came to me, I [00:15:00] mean, it was only from God at this point. Like she, um, did my method [00:15:05] for six months. So she’d been following my journey. She’d been following me online. I put this out when I first started. [00:15:10] It was a case study. It was a theory. It was like, I believe this works. It’s worked for me. But I can’t charge people for [00:15:15] this because I don’t, you know, I need to see if it works for other people. So I did it for free and then I upped [00:15:20] it to donations. But people were just coming for free. I was teaching it five times a week on zoom. She [00:15:25] was one of those people. She did it for six months. I don’t know who people are when [00:15:30] they come.

Emma Mashall: Just similarly to if you go to a gym class, you don’t know who people [00:15:35] are in that gym class, what they do, etc. we don’t. Talk about that. You’re there to move and then you leave. So similar concept [00:15:40] with this. So when she told me, um, no sorry. I then [00:15:45] basically put a call out to medical professionals via Instagram because I was like, we’re [00:15:50] starting to get some good traction here. Like there’s press coming. I want to make sure that I’ve, you [00:15:55] know, I’m not a bit delusional, and I want to have some medical professionals that really do believe [00:16:00] in what I’m talking about. So I asked people, I had pharmacologists get in touch, I had therapists, I had doctors, [00:16:05] I had various types of people get in touch and say, yeah, if you want to put my name on your kind of backing, then I’m, I’m [00:16:10] for it. And she was one of those people. And so when I read the email and it said neuroscientist, [00:16:15] I was like, oh my goodness. Like, this is what I need to do. I need to partner with this [00:16:20] neuroscientist. And only ten minutes before, I’d been having a conversation with my assistant [00:16:25] at the time to say to her, I need to find a neuroscientist to back this body of work. Like, for sure, [00:16:30] ten minutes later, Dawn shows up. So she’s written out from a neuroscientific perspective [00:16:35] what happens in a session and therefore what she believes happens, especially [00:16:40] even in regards to chemical release. You know, acetylcholine and and serotonin release [00:16:45] and even dopamine and understanding those kind of chemicals. Now, to have the actual proof that that works we would need [00:16:50] to go clinical. And that’s just financial at this point.

Payman Langroudi: There’s a few things about what you’re saying. [00:16:55] I mean, in in the scientific world, often the breakthrough happens [00:17:00] 20 years before. Totally the general sort of acceptance of it. [00:17:05] Because you do a clinical trial, no one’s still going to accept that 100%. Yeah. You need multi-center [00:17:10] clinical trials from all over the world with blind clinical trials and the other. But, um, [00:17:15] but if you’re a 100% sure of it within yourself, then the [00:17:20] challenge to spreading this story to me is more a marketing challenge [00:17:25] than a than a clinical one 100%.

Emma Mashall: Because like I said before, it was about me making [00:17:30] sure that it wasn’t just working on me. Right. And then so when I started to see that it was working on people with diagnoses [00:17:35] from autoimmune to cancer to.

Payman Langroudi: Exercise, right. I mean, of course people [00:17:40] accept exercise is good for you. Yeah. And this is exercise, right?

Emma Mashall: Absolutely.

Payman Langroudi: But but but I did I [00:17:45] did your Ted as as in your Ted talk I like did you get.

Rhona Eskander: Up and do it. He [00:17:50] messaged me going like can we do the movement tomorrow? I was like, sure it was.

Payman Langroudi: It was like midnight last [00:17:55] night. What I looked.

Rhona Eskander: Like, he’s like dancing.

Payman Langroudi: But but the you know, the thing that was for me was [00:18:00] amazing about it was dancing for me doesn’t come naturally at all. I mean, you come from a music background [00:18:05] for me. Yeah. I was a raver in the 90s. Yeah. Then you are. But the Closing [00:18:10] your Eyes piece. Yeah. Was really the important thing. Where he just free? Yeah. Now some people can just [00:18:15] be free with their eyes open. I can’t, even if there’s no one in the room. I just find this [00:18:20] awkward, you know? But the sort of the the almost the meditation [00:18:25] part of it. Yes. Was really. Tell me about that. The link from the actual exercise to the mind. [00:18:30]

Emma Mashall: So there’s two components to the method. And the reason why it works is the following. Your [00:18:35] peripheral nervous system is essentially a sensory and motor [00:18:40] system. So it’s governed by sensors and movement. And that’s essentially [00:18:45] what keeps us alive as well. And it also allows us to create a perception of the world. So [00:18:50] when we do the method and the reason that we close the eyes is because as soon as [00:18:55] you close your eyes, your other senses heighten, and the senses that we’re looking for to heighten [00:19:00] are sound and also touch. And so when we heighten those other senses, [00:19:05] your internal world is going to tell you where you’re feeling uncomfortable, perhaps [00:19:10] have tension, maybe you’re holding on to something emotional. And just by creating [00:19:15] the awareness, you can then move it. And the key aspect as to why this works. So you just said [00:19:20] you’re a raver in the 90s, then you can dance because we’re not doing choreography. [00:19:25] If you put me into a dance class right now, I’d be the worst person in there. I can’t be told how to move [00:19:30] and but I can move. I have rhythm that is the key component to this. [00:19:35] It’s allowing people to go back into their natural instinct, which is finding the rhythm. And [00:19:40] you.

Rhona Eskander: Think everyone has.

Emma Mashall: That? Yeah, they’ve done studies on babies. So there’s loads of studies on babies. [00:19:45] Um, to.

Payman Langroudi: The indigenous.

Emma Mashall: Thing.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, totally. Almost every single [00:19:50] one, almost every single, every single sort of culture has it exactly dances.

Emma Mashall: It’s [00:19:55] natural. And what we do is, you know, the ego is the stories, right? The [00:20:00] ego is, oh, I look stupid and oh, no, I can’t dance. And all these, all the stories. If you just [00:20:05] look at a baby, that baby will just move to music without any care in the world.

Rhona Eskander: Amazing when you see [00:20:10] that.

Emma Mashall: And that is what we have naturally inbuilt into us, but [00:20:15] we’ve basically forgotten it because we’re so in our heads. So the methodology is so centred [00:20:20] around getting people back into their natural rhythm, and when you’re in your natural rhythm, [00:20:25] you’re going to then move your body naturally without any kind of, [00:20:30] um, block or resistance. And that in turn, is going to allow you to process [00:20:35] what is really going on in your mind, because remember. The body is essentially the reflection of your subconscious. [00:20:40] That’s really what they’ve discovered. That’s the mind body connection. That’s also where we use the word psychosomatic. [00:20:45] You know, when somebody comes and presents with all these symptoms and doctors are like, well, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s like [00:20:50] it’s in the mind, but it doesn’t mean it’s not physically happening.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, and I hate that. That’s why I talk about medical [00:20:55] gaslighting so often. Like where and talk Payman about this, where, as I said, they can’t [00:21:00] see the physical symptoms. They’re like, you’re fine. It’s in your head, you know, and you [00:21:05] know, we had a podcast recently where someone said, you know about that expression as well. Like, I was [00:21:10] in my head, you know, like it’s it’s it’s, you know, it’s such a profound, uh, [00:21:15] statement. And I think the indigenous piece, like you said. And when will you go? Because I spend a lot of time [00:21:20] in South America and these countries, and I find it really healing, being around indigenous people that really connect [00:21:25] with their own culture. I recently went to a retreat in Costa Rica, um, [00:21:30] in a place called Brave Earth. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it. It’s like a really healing ground. They do a lot of ceremonies there, but we were there [00:21:35] for a retreat. I was with my partner, and there, um, it was called Activating [00:21:40] the Voice, which is the different but so similar to what you’re doing. So it wasn’t necessarily so. [00:21:45] It was about activating your voice because they were like singing lessons. And by the way, I’m totally tone deaf. I like cannot sing. [00:21:50] But it was also about activating your voice and sort of like finding your voice and like difficult situations. But [00:21:55] what I found really fascinating is one of the exercises of the day was think of [00:22:00] a song that you know from your childhood, which is related to your like, culture. [00:22:05]

Rhona Eskander: So I suppose like an Iranian, whatever for you? Like Egyptian? I couldn’t think of one [00:22:10] song. And a lot of the South American people did like, think of some [00:22:15] songs. And then there was one guy who was actually from like a little place near Cuba, and [00:22:20] he remembered a song and he actually googled what the song was. And he they had been singing as a childhood. [00:22:25] And in the song, um, it was actually he had no idea, but it was linked to [00:22:30] the ancestors that were shipped over from the slave trade. And as part [00:22:35] of torment, they had to pick up like a really hot stone and pass it around. And [00:22:40] if they dropped it, they’d get shot. And this is the slaves. And he got really emotional because as a child, [00:22:45] when he sang it, he didn’t know it was a bit like ring a ring o roses, [00:22:50] a pocketful of yeah, like it’s about the plague. Do you see what I mean? And like these things, like [00:22:55] born out of something. But what I’m trying to say is there’s such depth in, as I said, like these songs [00:23:00] and these movements that relate to ancestors, which is actually so important, like to who we are [00:23:05] now, 100%.

Emma Mashall: I mean, the drum is the most instrument in the world. [00:23:10] It falls across every culture because it was used in war. And so when we were all [00:23:15] well, when the British were out colonies and everything, you know, drum [00:23:20] was as part of every single war that existed. So when we’re talking about ancestral, [00:23:25] we do recognise the drum. And also they’ve linked the drum as well to, to our heartbeat. [00:23:30] So the music that we play in movement is medicine. I’ve basically just [00:23:35] modernised this concept where we used house music, we used drum and bass, we [00:23:40] used reggae, we used music that has got percussion. Um, because that is the easiest [00:23:45] way to connect people back into their body. It’s that simple. Because of the percussion is such [00:23:50] a felt instrument. Um, whereas if you’re listening to, um, [00:23:55] I don’t know, even like a saxophone, it’s much more emotive, but it’s you feel it in a different [00:24:00] kind of way. It’s not necessarily going to affect the way your body is moving. Um, so [00:24:05] with that in mind, like it’s all just been about like kind of, yeah, modernising this work [00:24:10] as best as possible because there’s no doubt in my mind it works. There’s just no doubt [00:24:15] in my mind. This is so inherently in every single person. It’s just about [00:24:20] activating it for them in a slightly different capacity. And like you say, the marketing and [00:24:25] the language. Like when I first started doing this, I was using words like trauma and healing, [00:24:30] and I don’t use any of that anymore because I don’t think it attracts [00:24:35] as many people. When you use that language. It’s not to say that and you.

Rhona Eskander: Think it [00:24:40] does, don’t you.

Emma Mashall: Think it does? Yeah, but it doesn’t.

Rhona Eskander: Because when you’ve done your own work and I think [00:24:45] it’s a thing when you’ve done your own work, you’re like, I’m going to attract the same people that want to be healed just.

Payman Langroudi: On this pod. [00:24:50] Yeah. These words have become normalised to me. Yeah. See, a year ago, a [00:24:55] year ago, you used to talk about trauma and all that. Like, what the hell are you talking?

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, exactly. And he was like, babes, you’re so damaged. I [00:25:00] was like, I’m not. He literally like damaged goods. I’m like, I’m not. Because, like, [00:25:05] I’m like. Because you think EMS. And like, that’s why we connected. It’s like. Because when you’ve done the work, these words [00:25:10] like even I’ve now been introduced to like, ancestral trauma. Do you know what that means? Like, that’s literally like your [00:25:15] ancestors passing down stuff in their literal DNA, you know, like that’s a [00:25:20] huge thing. Epigenetic epigenetics. Exactly. And it’s a massive thing. You can even get it on like 23 a meal or [00:25:25] something like that. You know, you can and it’s kind of shoved under the carpet, but it’s massively a thing. So [00:25:30] it’s funny, but I think you isolate people like as you said, and there’s like it’s like Payman [00:25:35] knows as well. There’s been a few. It’s been like, oh, not sure if Rona can talk about mental [00:25:40] health because she’s like been through her mental health. And I’m like, yeah. And I literally like actually screenshotted [00:25:45] on my stories. And hundreds of people were like, that makes you the biggest advocate. Exactly. [00:25:50] That makes you the biggest advocate because it’s like saying it. It’s like saying to someone, you can’t talk about a recession [00:25:55] because you’ve not been through a recession, because you have been through a recession. You know what I mean? It’s just kind of crazy. [00:26:00] But yeah, because.

Payman Langroudi: Take us through the the initial journey. Yeah. First class. [00:26:05] What happens.

Emma Mashall: So, um, the everyone is seated [00:26:10] for the first half an hour. Um, the music is at a tempo [00:26:15] of anything under like one, two, five bpm. So [00:26:20] from the off you basically get, I get everyone to put their hands over their heart and just start [00:26:25] to tap, tap and move. They get the instructions that the two rules that we have with movement is medicine, is that [00:26:30] you have to keep your eyes closed like you saw, and then the other one is don’t stop moving. And [00:26:35] the reason that we don’t stop moving is because if somebody freezes because they feel something uncomfortable, well then [00:26:40] guess what? It’s staying blockage. Yeah, you’re staying in it. You’re staying in the uncomfortability if [00:26:45] you’re constantly moving, which is why the music is so specific, then [00:26:50] whatever feeling comes to the surface, um, you will move it. [00:26:55] And so when we’re working with the body, we work from the feet all the way [00:27:00] up to the top of the head. And there’s a lot of science that goes into this as well, a lot of anatomy. So, for example, [00:27:05] the bottoms of the feet covered in thousands of nerve endings. If you’re stuck in your head, touch your feet. [00:27:10]

Emma Mashall: Simple as that, because it will awaken your nervous system to realise that you’re present. And when [00:27:15] you’re present and you’re present in the in in your body, that’s your anchor. That’s the [00:27:20] moment to know. Oh, look, I’m safe actually, because when we go into these responses, when we go into fight or [00:27:25] flight or even freeze, when we’re in overwhelm, there’s just a it’s just a signal to be like, [00:27:30] we’re not safe. So all you have to do is remind yourself that you’re safe. So the easiest [00:27:35] way to do that is by working with your physical body, because your body is always present. So, [00:27:40] um, start at the feet and then we work our way up. And so we go, um, [00:27:45] even to like, the backs of the knees, a place that no one touches. When was the last time you sat there and, like, touched [00:27:50] the backs of your knees intentionally? The reason being is because we’ve got loads of lymph nodes in the backs of the knees, and the [00:27:55] lymph is literally all it’s needed to work well is a bit of movement and a bit of touch. [00:28:00] That’s it. And it just shows you.

Payman Langroudi: Playing and yeah, and your sort of guiding. [00:28:05]

Rhona Eskander: We’re gonna have to try it. We are going to try it. Yeah.

Emma Mashall: I’m guiding this.

Rhona Eskander: Whole can we have a guided bit in like a little bit. [00:28:10] Let’s do it. Pay. Yeah. What kind of music do you like? I know Emma has to decide. Um, question [00:28:15] for you then. How does this differ to ecstatic dance? Do you know about ecstatic dance? [00:28:20] Emma can explain, but she can do so.

Emma Mashall: These are. This is one of the terminologies that I don’t use. Okay. [00:28:25] Um, and yeah, I’ll tell you why. So ecstatic dance. Um, and and [00:28:30] that kind of community, it’s just based on the fact of the more ancestral tribal kind [00:28:35] of, um, cultural aspect of the fact that dance can be used for healing. It’s like sober [00:28:40] raven. Right? And, um, it works with people. It’s got a beautiful community, etc. [00:28:45] we don’t have necessarily the same ethos [00:28:50] as Ecstatic Dance because of the first bit. The first bit is the real solid [00:28:55] like moment of the method. Every single part of that method is taken [00:29:00] from science. Um, there’s data to back it as to why we’re doing it. I also [00:29:05] tell people why we’re doing it as we move through it, um, so that they can take it away and [00:29:10] use it in daily life. Now ecstatic dance goes to an ecstatic dance class. You’ll just be told to get up and start dancing. So [00:29:15] like you just said, oh, I feel a bit awkward and you know, that kind of thing. And you’re, you’re, I guess your role [00:29:20] or your job in ecstatic dance is to break through feeling uncomfortable and just get on with it. We take [00:29:25] away the aspects of feeling uncomfortable by putting people into their physical body so [00:29:30] deeply that by the time their eyes are open and that they stand up and we go into the dance [00:29:35] segment, they don’t care. They don’t care who’s in the room. They’re just they’re feeling connected, feeling [00:29:40] free. If they also want to continue to shut their eyes, they shut their eyes. And there’s there’s always just like, [00:29:45] um, there’s a really funny episode of Peep Show that people love.

Rhona Eskander: Peep show.

Emma Mashall: Peep show. [00:29:50] So good. Um, when, uh, he takes Mark to Rainbow rhythms, you know, that’s ecstatic dance. [00:29:55] And they get people to go up to each other. Have you seen that one? You kind of.

Rhona Eskander: Do these, like, movements, but you’re really. You’re [00:30:00] really like this. Yeah. And then, like, can you imagine like my fiance, like in Costa Rica, it was [00:30:05] the first time. But he’s so open. Like he was so amazing on the retreat. But I felt like a bit awkward because they do this [00:30:10] kind of like, you’re like this. Imagine me doing this like. And like I’m a I’m a sober dancer. Like I’m a sober raver, [00:30:15] you know that. But I’m never going to be like this, you know what I mean? Like, it’s just it.

Emma Mashall: We don’t do any of [00:30:20] that. Yeah, it’s what we encourage is, for example, when you’re stressed, [00:30:25] you naturally make your body small. So it affects your posture, uh, because your muscles are [00:30:30] going to contract and especially as well your hips and your lower back. And then that affects the rest of your spine. [00:30:35] So what we do. Is to get people to do opening exercises again, [00:30:40] all actually backed by science, to really stretch out and open their bodies up. So [00:30:45] even when they’re standing up and they’re moving and they’re dancing, they’re going to naturally [00:30:50] just I’m not telling them how to move. They’re moving now, however they want to move. Some people, it [00:30:55] might just be a little like, you know, and for other people it might just be a little two step. There’s no [00:31:00] rules. But what I’m kind of guiding people to do is like, make your body big and like, [00:31:05] you know, the more you move, the more you release the like. It’s that kind of just [00:31:10] freedom and letting yourself go like you would at a rave or a festival, which is where I got [00:31:15] so much inspiration for this, because even though hedonism is rife within [00:31:20] that culture, like if you go to certain raves and you go to certain festivals and you’re [00:31:25] not focusing on the hedonism and you’re just focusing on like, look at the joy. Yeah, you know, [00:31:30] you don’t you don’t drink or anything like that’s just your, your life. It’s not it’s not any different [00:31:35] to you. And you’re not somebody that can go to these things and just be like, well, I’m not having a good time. You’re there to connect to the music [00:31:40] and you will move and dance as, as you will, and.

Payman Langroudi: Also to each other, right? To each other.

Emma Mashall: Yeah, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: I’ve [00:31:45] ever felt to being part of a tribe. There we go.

Rhona Eskander: Right when you’re out with your mates, you mean.

Payman Langroudi: And that [00:31:50] back then in the 90s? Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Lol. And 6 a.m.. Yeah of course.

Emma Mashall: Totally. [00:31:55] But this comes back to Polyvagal theory. So Polyvagal theory is this again is [00:32:00] this component of like how do we build safety and resilience within the nervous system. So it’s written by this guy called Stephen Porges. [00:32:05] And it’s just such an amazing body of work because he looks at the vagus nerve. And the vagus nerve is such a huge thing now [00:32:10] in mental health. But the vagus nerve, one of the components of building this like connection and [00:32:15] safety is by doing things in a group. So one of the things that we want to do when we’re anxious and depressed and [00:32:20] low is hide, like I know as well. For me, even now, yeah, I get to points where [00:32:25] I get very stressed and overwhelmed and I my default is anxiety. And [00:32:30] I know what’s happening on a logical level, but there’s still elements to me that’s just like, oh, and I [00:32:35] hide. And then as soon as I go out and as soon as I have a dance and as soon as I see my people, [00:32:40] I’m fine. Like, it’s like night and day. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Like sometimes you actually like, oh, I really don’t want to go out. [00:32:45] And, you know, when you force yourself to do it and you’re like, I’m really glad I did. It’s a bit like therapy. Yes. Like you’re like, tonight. I’m [00:32:50] like, oh my God, I got therapy tonight. I’m so tired. I just want to sleep. But like, don’t cancel, don’t cancel. Because when you’ve had therapy you’ll feel so [00:32:55] much better, you know?

Emma Mashall: Totally. And it’s the same thing with.

Payman Langroudi: This therapy.

Emma Mashall: As well. Um, I [00:33:00] don’t do therapy anymore. I’ve had a lot of therapy. Um, yeah, I see my.

Rhona Eskander: Tribe, [00:33:05] my people.

Emma Mashall: Necessarily. Um, I’ve had a lot of therapy with different kinds of therapists. [00:33:10] Um, I’ve had everything from eMDR through to counselling [00:33:15] through to hypnotherapy through to talk therapy, like standard CBT, [00:33:20] talk therapy. Um, I think it’s absolutely got its place. I think it’s so [00:33:25] important for people to understand like a level of awareness in how they feel. Um, what [00:33:30] I will say, though, is that I think that it necessarily needs to exist alongside [00:33:35] something to actually physically release. I think that those two things are super important to coexist [00:33:40] between each other. Um, you can’t always talk your way out of a feeling, [00:33:45] um, you can intellectualise a feeling and understand why it happened and where it came from. But you can’t [00:33:50] always move that feeling so true. That’s why the two things need to coexist. [00:33:55] And so that’s also for me, like, I was so sick of talking about what happened to me. You know, I [00:34:00] went I went to this therapist and that therapist, and then I’m repeating the story and just get to a point where I’m like, [00:34:05] I can’t talk about this anymore. I need to just release it. And [00:34:10] that was also a huge, you know, part of my work for me and why I needed to [00:34:15] do it. It was about me releasing these, these very difficult [00:34:20] and very traumatic experiences that had changed me. Um, but [00:34:25] I didn’t want it to change me for the worse.

Emma Mashall: I didn’t want to end up this anxious, afraid [00:34:30] of the world, you know, human being, which I easily could have gone into that that realm because [00:34:35] it was very extreme what happened to me. And it was also, um, medical trauma is [00:34:40] a very interesting type of trauma, because medical trauma is essentially done [00:34:45] by people that you’re meant to trust and these doctors that you’re being completely vulnerable [00:34:50] to. And, you know, I’m not here. I’m not trying to demonise doctors at all. It’s just [00:34:55] that with that type of trauma, it’s such a complex thing of having to unpack [00:35:00] because you are literally giving your whole body to somebody and trusting that they’re going to do the right thing [00:35:05] or do the right, or do their job properly. And for whatever reason, I just had a whole myriad [00:35:10] of like, failures that ended up and resulted in me, you know, nearly losing my life and like, [00:35:15] that kind of thing, to have to process just by talking about it. Like, even now [00:35:20] I can feel myself. I’m like, I’m getting emotional internally. I can feel it. And it’s like, I can’t [00:35:25] keep talking about it. You know, talking about it is not going to help me process it and move [00:35:30] forward, because I don’t want to be stuck there for the rest of my life, but in the past.

Rhona Eskander: And that’s the thing, because I, you know, I was speaking to [00:35:35] someone recently and they were like, you know what? I don’t know about how unpacking the past will actually help because we can [00:35:40] all like delve, delve, delve, delve, delve. And as you said, you can go as far as epigenetics. Like, I’m so traumatised [00:35:45] because like my ancestors were this or I come from like war inflicted countries, [00:35:50] but it gives you an understanding. So I think it’s important. But like you said, it doesn’t necessarily [00:35:55] help process the present. And that’s the thing. The present is one of the most important things to be in. And we [00:36:00] all know from so many philosophers that our state of happiness as being in that present [00:36:05] moment. And I think you’re right, this changing your physiological state is really important. [00:36:10] And I think the most dangerous thing now is that when people get more anxious, they get on the phone, which then gets more anxiety, [00:36:15] and then they continue to scroll, and that creates even more anxiety. And they actually don’t want to move. And like you said, [00:36:20] just putting it down and either moving or like going to meet friends can just make such a huge [00:36:25] difference.

Payman Langroudi: Could you see your Mexico experience as a positive one or a negative one in [00:36:30] the hospital?

Emma Mashall: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Because it didn’t.

Emma Mashall: Work. It didn’t work. No, I would [00:36:35] say it was a necessary experience rather than positive or negative. [00:36:40] Um, because it it was like, okay, I’ve been in Western medicine. [00:36:45] Right. And that didn’t work. I’ve now gone into functional medicine searching for all the answers that didn’t [00:36:50] work. It allowed me to understand how much we pedestal people and [00:36:55] look outside for the answers. So true all the time. And then [00:37:00] the levels of like, disappointment and, you know, even just pain or it’s like, oh my God, you’ve made it worse. [00:37:05] Like what? How has this happened? And on top of that paid a lot of money. You [00:37:10] know, so much money. This is the side of illness that people don’t really discuss very often because we don’t tend [00:37:15] to talk about money. But I lost everything. Like I nearly went bankrupt, you know, and I had a really [00:37:20] successful career. And so I’ve been having to rebuild from then and [00:37:25] these kind of things. They also have an impact on your mental health, like going from somebody who [00:37:30] is stable, who is okay to somebody that now is having to speak to like debt collectors. [00:37:35] And, you know, it was there was just so many aspects to how much this [00:37:40] changed my life. And so I wouldn’t say it was positive or negative, I would just say it was necessary for [00:37:45] me to reframe how much I was putting my health into other people and [00:37:50] their hands. Um, where in turn it was a case of actually, what can I do? [00:37:55] What can I actually do for myself? Take the matter.

Rhona Eskander: Into your own hands.

Emma Mashall: How can I feel a bit more empowered? And [00:38:00] then did.

Payman Langroudi: You take care of all the other stuff as well? Nutrition.

Emma Mashall: Rest. Totally. Sleep. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. [00:38:05] I mean, I would also say that at some point it probably went to a bit of an extreme.

Rhona Eskander: Really?

Emma Mashall: What way? [00:38:10] So, um, there’s a rise of orthorexia. I don’t know if you’ve [00:38:15] heard.

Rhona Eskander: Of course I think I have, I think I had orthorexia, so.

Emma Mashall: Did I, yeah.

Rhona Eskander: When you over. [00:38:20] You’re obsessed with being so healthy. So you think that all of the choices that you make are really healthy? You [00:38:25] get really defensive when people questioned you because everything’s like, in the name of health. So, for example, you’re obsessed with like, [00:38:30] calorie counting, eating zero sugar, eating zero fat. Um, also overexercising [00:38:35] and you also justify all of your health reasons because you’re so healthy and [00:38:40] everyone else is a bit jealous because you are in such a space of control, and no one else [00:38:45] can be that my body is my temple kind of energy, but it’s actually very it’s an unhealthy way to [00:38:50] mask addiction. Yeah.

Emma Mashall: And it’s like you just said there, it’s a complete coping mechanism for control. How can [00:38:55] I make as much control in my life as possible? It’s like.

Payman Langroudi: Anorexia, but with exercise and yeah, [00:39:00] no.

Rhona Eskander: It’s fine. Like you’re not completely depriving your body, but you are doing the opposite. You’re doing the opposite. But you’re [00:39:05] like, I’m only gonna eat like.

Payman Langroudi: So much as anorexia, as a control mechanism. Yeah, yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Emma Mashall: So [00:39:10] and it’s not about. Yeah. It’s not about what you look like either. It’s very much about what you’re putting [00:39:15] in your yourself. Yeah. So for me it was a case of yeah. Like, you know, tiniest [00:39:20] bit of gluten. I’d freak out and like going into supermarkets and checking every label and organic. [00:39:25]

Rhona Eskander: And this and that.

Emma Mashall: It’s just a lot of fear mongering. Yeah. So much fear.

Payman Langroudi: Mongering these [00:39:30] days. Must be very.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, yeah, I think and I think that that like, that toxic narrative, [00:39:35] like it really upsets me now. My mum, um, called me the other day to tell [00:39:40] me that she saw my ex and I was like, great, you know what I mean? To tell me how, like, wonderful he looked with his new wife. [00:39:45] I was like, thanks mum. Classic. My mum, she’s entertaining. Like my mum needs her own show anyway. [00:39:50] And it turns out my mum was like, oh, you know, they’re so controlled, like they’re apparently they don’t [00:39:55] eat dinner every night and they go to bed and they, they the last meals at 6 p.m. and they go [00:40:00] to bed every night at ten and all this stuff, it’s the same as that guy, actually, Steven Bartlett had on. Did you see [00:40:05] the guy that was like, no. Attempting to be the youngest man in the world. Did you see that? And he got his [00:40:10] son’s blood injected into his body. Have you not seen it? And he’s this multi-billionaire.

Emma Mashall: I’m [00:40:15] so anti.

Rhona Eskander: Him. Yeah. So he’s this multi-billionaire. And what happened was, is that he got his bloods like [00:40:20] PRP, got it injected. He wakes up every day at 5 a.m.. His last [00:40:25] meal of the day is at 11 a.m. he then has like 1,000,001 like IV boosts [00:40:30] and everything.

Payman Langroudi: He’s trying to reverse ageing.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, but he also looks really old. Ironically, I.

Payman Langroudi: Saw the clip. [00:40:35]

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly. But the issue.

Emma Mashall: Right. He’s a great example of somebody with [00:40:40] a severe mental health condition who is promoting it under the guise of health because he’s under [00:40:45] the guise of health.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah.

Emma Mashall: It’s like none of this behaviour is healthy. And actually, when Stephen [00:40:50] was talking to him about his story, he literally says, like, my dad got sick. And, you [00:40:55] know, I want to keep my dad alive and I’m trying to figure it out for my dad. And it’s like, that’s the issue. Then that’s [00:41:00] clearly the problem. It’s not the fact that you want to live forever, because also life [00:41:05] is not about living, right? Yeah. That’s the purpose of being a human. You come you [00:41:10] you do your you do your time and then you go. And so having [00:41:15] this person that is under the guise of I’m doing something for the, for the benefit of health, no [00:41:20] you’re not. Plus you’re his protocol is like three grand a month. Yeah. So who are you benefiting because you’re not benefiting [00:41:25] the poor. You’re not. This is a big thing for me. It’s the ideologies [00:41:30] that exist within the wellness industry where it’s like, yeah, be healthy for [00:41:35] X amount of money. And it’s like, okay, so we’re really making health now [00:41:40] a class system. That’s really what we’re doing. Yeah. And that is such a problem in the wellness [00:41:45] space.

Rhona Eskander: So the thing is I’ve got a couple of comments on that. Right. We are undergoing at [00:41:50] the moment an NHS crisis. Like there is literally like a pandemic within the health care [00:41:55] system. And that’s because the system is flawed. But my issue is, is that although [00:42:00] there are so many tools that are free and available, number one, they’re not promoted. [00:42:05] But number two, there is a massive issue and massive obstacles for people, right? So for example, Payman [00:42:10] knows very well with dentistry. Okay. There’s a huge issue. A lot of dental diseases [00:42:15] are preventable, but people don’t know how to brush their teeth, they don’t know how to floss and they don’t know what to [00:42:20] buy or what to eat. Now it’s all very well. We can provide those tools and I’m [00:42:25] sure it would make a difference. But we’re also completely ignoring the socioeconomic status [00:42:30] of people in this country. If you’ve got a woman who has five children [00:42:35] from five different partners who’s, you know, on the welfare system, and she cannot keep [00:42:40] her kids quiet, who probably have ADHD and another plethora of health issues, [00:42:45] you know, telling her that she shouldn’t smoke, it’s probably the only thing she wants to do. And going downstairs [00:42:50] and getting a McDonald’s and a pack of fags, it’s much easier for her than, you know, to post something [00:42:55] or to make easy health choices. Don’t be like that. Don’t be classist.

Payman Langroudi: It’s [00:43:00] a bit. It’s a bit, um, what’s the word? Not judgemental, but like, um, [00:43:05] you know, the what you’re saying is all well and good. [00:43:10]

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, but we have to make it easier for them. We cannot assume that they’ve got these choices. So.

Payman Langroudi: But [00:43:15] look, the choice the choice that you’re talking about, put one song on a day. Yeah. [00:43:20] Also, everyone’s got a phone. This is.

Emma Mashall: Education. Yeah. This is the key because. [00:43:25] So my whole business model is built on [00:43:30] education. So when people understand why [00:43:35] it works, they do the how exactly. Otherwise they don’t do it. It’s all well and good. [00:43:40] We know that smoking is not good for you. Of course we know. But yeah, everyone’s still smoking and eating McDonald’s. [00:43:45] Yeah, we’re still doing it if you’re actually somebody that’s looked into it. [00:43:50] But if you’re somebody that’s actually looked into certain things [00:43:55] or studies or whatever it is, and you start to understand why something is good or bad [00:44:00] or what they found, etc., you’re more likely to either do it or not do it now. For example, [00:44:05] for me, I use gluten as an example. Right when I went through this whole like, I’m going to be so [00:44:10] healthy and I can’t eat any gluten and whatever. When I got so fed up and realised that the orthorexia [00:44:15] tendencies were probably there and I went kind of the reverse, I was like, I’m eating all the gluten I’ve ever. [00:44:20] All I’m eating is pizza, give.

Rhona Eskander: Me bread, bread.

Emma Mashall: Every day. And I ended up feeling terrible [00:44:25] because I, I definitely don’t do very well with gluten. Yeah. Like is that simple. They said to me for coeliac recently [00:44:30] just to see. So I think that when you kind of go [00:44:35] through this like it’s like a roundabout, you’re just like, oh, is it this is it, that is it, this is it that. And you try and [00:44:40] find like your balance within all of this stuff, of taking it back into a space [00:44:45] of empowerment where you’re making the choice for yourself, rather than if a practitioner [00:44:50] told me, which they did at one point, you can’t eat any of these foods. What do I want to do? [00:44:55] I want to go and eat the foods that they’ve told me I can’t eat 100%. But the thing is.

Rhona Eskander: Like Payman when they were talking [00:45:00] about because, um, I spoke to many TV channels in the summer about [00:45:05] when it was like suddenly the doors were closed on children on the NHS, as in, like people, [00:45:10] kids couldn’t get an NHS appointment. And there was a huge debate, I think it was with BBC [00:45:15] and the debate was is it the parents fault? Basically, you know, with the child that’s like developing [00:45:20] all these cavities. And it was really sad because I think it was quite remarkable to see that so many [00:45:25] parents didn’t actually have a basic knowledge. And some of them, as I said, because of their socioeconomic [00:45:30] status. And they have this screaming child will put a bottle with Coke in their children’s [00:45:35] bottle. And I’m not saying. But like, who are we to judge? We don’t know their circumstances. I get it, I get it, [00:45:40] you know what I mean?

Payman Langroudi: Of course I get it.

Rhona Eskander: Of course I get it. Great. I’m glad.

Payman Langroudi: But a little bit condescending, [00:45:45] man. You know, the the the the important bit of education [00:45:50] with with sugar. Interestingly, we haven’t managed to get out there.

Rhona Eskander: Totally. [00:45:55] Jamie Oliver tried. What is it?

Payman Langroudi: What is it? It’s not to do with the amount.

Rhona Eskander: I mean, it’s [00:46:00] with frequency.

Payman Langroudi: People don’t know this. It’s to do with the frequency. Totally. Yeah. So in in dental terms, [00:46:05] you can have a gigantic amount of sugar in one go is fine compared to tiny [00:46:10] amounts every day. Every day, every ten minutes. Every ten minutes. Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah. So that bit [00:46:15] of information we haven’t as a profession managed to get out.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah. But I still think I am not being condescending. I’m [00:46:20] actually being empathetic to people’s situation. And what I’m trying to say is I get it.

Payman Langroudi: I get it, I get it.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, [00:46:25] fine. We argue a lot on this, by the way.

Payman Langroudi: And people get it. People get it. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Um, um, [00:46:30] but Emma, obviously it’s wonderful that you created this method, but I want [00:46:35] to know a little bit about any mental health struggles on the way of creating this business. You talk to us about [00:46:40] going from basically bankruptcy, where you’re working in the music industry, investing everything into [00:46:45] your house, then building the movement is medicine method. Uh, how did [00:46:50] you what mental health hurdles then did you have when you had the actual business?

Payman Langroudi: I also I also get a [00:46:55] feeling you’re not 100% comfortable in the business space.

Emma Mashall: No I’m not.

Payman Langroudi: Is [00:47:00] that right?

Emma Mashall: Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: How did you know that?

Payman Langroudi: Just feeling.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Emma Mashall: No, I struggle [00:47:05] with business. Um, I put out a video a few days ago saying [00:47:10] that.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, maybe that’s.

Emma Mashall: Why saying how much I struggle with it. Because I [00:47:15] really am good at creative and ideas and making this happen [00:47:20] and figuring out how to, like you said, about marketing, like, what’s the language we need to use to get this person? [00:47:25] Like, what’s the psychology around getting this person through the door? And I’m really good at all of that. I’m really [00:47:30] good at creating decks and making things look nice and and whatever else. I’m [00:47:35] also really good at researching, and I’m really good at making science sound easy. Um, [00:47:40] it’s something that I taught myself when I was ill. It’s like, how do you translate this into layman’s terms? So I’m [00:47:45] really good at all of that. And then I’m good at, you know, creating the content around that so that people can understand it [00:47:50] business and having to make all the decisions, having to [00:47:55] do budgets, having to figure out, I hate it. I just really, [00:48:00] really struggle.

Payman Langroudi: You’re very creative. You’re so. But she doesn’t seem to have any guilt [00:48:05] around the business, which I kind of feel like.

Rhona Eskander: What do you mean, guilt?

Payman Langroudi: I feel I.

Payman Langroudi: Feel guilt.

Rhona Eskander: What [00:48:10] do you mean guilt.

Emma Mashall: Though? I think it’s because, as well, I’m just. I’m in this zone at the [00:48:15] moment of. One of the things that’s been really challenging has been [00:48:20] separating me from the brand, because I am the face of the brand. It’s like, it’s me. Yeah, [00:48:25] it’s really similar. Um, but at the same time as well. Chelsea Dental [00:48:30] it’s, it’s, you know, it’s yours. But at the same time you also have all these [00:48:35] other projects. I just have movement is medicine right now. And it’s not to say I don’t want to go on to do other things, [00:48:40] because I do. I’ve got all these ideas about how I want to build things out. However, at the moment everything [00:48:45] goes into this business because I believe in it so much and it’s my it’s my passion, it’s my baby, it’s everything. [00:48:50] But what I’ve struggled the most with is finding [00:48:55] the balance between the business and the actual vision. And [00:49:00] I have done this on my own. So when I started as well, there’s, I call it, [00:49:05] um, shiny Magpie syndrome. So when people get really excited by shiny [00:49:10] things and they’re like, oh my God, it’s really exciting. People lie, you know, they lie, they tell [00:49:15] you, oh, I can do this, and I can do that, and I can, you know.

Rhona Eskander: She’s been burnt.

Emma Mashall: So many times, like [00:49:20] count like beyond.

Payman Langroudi: By partners or employees.

Emma Mashall: No, no no employees. Employees. [00:49:25] Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: But that’s just the nature of.

Emma Mashall: No. It’s been really extreme, but it’s been really extreme. [00:49:30] It’s not just been somebody, like, not really doing their job. It’s been fraud. Yeah. Somebody [00:49:35] really came in and there was a there was a fraud situation. Um, I [00:49:40] had on the week of my TEDx talk, um, the assistant that I’ve been working with for a year, ghosted [00:49:45] for no reason other than the fact that she’d done no work, um, with no explanation. [00:49:50] Um, I had to get somebody on really quickly to come and, like, kind of wipe it all [00:49:55] up, and it was just the wrong person. It just got worse and worse. So when you [00:50:00] have a business that the ideas are all solid and the ideas are all there, but structurally [00:50:05] there’s no foundation. It doesn’t work. It just doesn’t work.

Rhona Eskander: You know that.

Payman Langroudi: Any business [00:50:10] owner. Okay, so.

Rhona Eskander: I’m gonna I’m gonna listen. I’m gonna I’m gonna try I’m going to chime in, like, first of all, [00:50:15] and trust me, like, it’s an ongoing process. And I think that, like, one of the reasons why I feel really [00:50:20] passionate, I used to say I had a lot of people [00:50:25] that I looked up to. Now, unfortunately, in dentistry, despite the fact there are a [00:50:30] lot of females, there is not a lot of female led stuff within dentistry. And I hate to admit it, [00:50:35] but I’m going to say it the. Most of my role models were in dentistry were men. So there were certain men like [00:50:40] Christian Coachman was up there. Miguel Stanley, this was like 12, 15 years ago. These are huge names in the industry. [00:50:45] This was literally about 12 years ago. And I was like, how did they did it? And what I loved about them is there were connection [00:50:50] with their audiences and their connections with human beings. And I very much [00:50:55] was like, oh, you know what? Like, I don’t get why people make such a big deal about like, women [00:51:00] in business or they make I think it’s fine. I think if you show your value and you [00:51:05] go into like a boardroom or a situation, you can do the same for yourself. Payman knew me [00:51:10] when I was like a baby.

Rhona Eskander: Like I literally was like 1 or 2 years graduated. And he also knows, because I met him on [00:51:15] a course like I wasn’t actually the most, like, clinically gifted person in the world. And he loves a clinically [00:51:20] gifted person. He does. But I drove home with him that day because we lived near each other [00:51:25] and I was like, how do I make it? How do I do this stuff? And, you know, we like exchanged ideas [00:51:30] and I definitely like manifested the position I was in because what happened was, is that I was working [00:51:35] in a bad NHS practice and then I CV dropped in all these other practices. And then [00:51:40] I took on Chelsea, which had changed hands five times, and then I bought Chelsea [00:51:45] and completed a week before national lockdown. And what I’m trying to say is, is that I always feel like there’s one obstacle out the other. [00:51:50] Yeah, the difficulty was obviously you build a team, but people come and go and I think that’s one of the most difficult [00:51:55] things for me is that I’ve been extremely loyal, and what I recognise is that people are transient. [00:52:00] There are some that stay for a while and some that don’t, and I think that’s the most difficult thing because you sometimes [00:52:05] feel early days.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, early days is like that.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah. And that’s the thing like the thing is, is [00:52:10] that you also have to accept, like, as you know, through your own healing journey, the only thing that we can [00:52:15] guarantee for definite is that nothing is permanent. Nothing is permanent. [00:52:20] And I think that’s a blessing and a curse, because sometimes you want to be like cruising with the same team for [00:52:25] ages, but sometimes they have to move with you. And unfortunately, in the last couple of years, I’ve [00:52:30] also recognised my role with as a female within the industry. That’s kind of like taken [00:52:35] me aback. And I was like, wow, it is real. Like the things that people talk about that happen to women. Like [00:52:40] it’s true.

Payman Langroudi: Do you think being a woman is being part of this?

Emma Mashall: Hmm. Um, [00:52:45] as a business owner right now, I don’t know. I can’t say [00:52:50] yes or no because I don’t feel that there’s been any situation that [00:52:55] I can say yes. This is where a good example of where I felt blocked as a woman. However, [00:53:00] in the music industry, 100%. Yeah. Cool. Yeah. Tell us more.

Rhona Eskander: About the music industry.

Emma Mashall: Glass ceilings [00:53:05] beyond glass ceilings like there is. So there [00:53:10] are so many different structures in that industry. You know, it’s known as a boys club for a reason. [00:53:15] And there are so many different structures within that industry that are built so that women are always going to [00:53:20] be kept here. Um, give us an example. I mean, like [00:53:25] you look at any kind of person in a leadership position in a global record label or [00:53:30] booking agency, they’re going to be a man. Like there’s very few women in global leadership positions [00:53:35] in the music industry. And the ones that are are they’ve really [00:53:40] had to pave the way. And I was actually very fortunate. In one of my jobs, I [00:53:45] worked in a very female heavy booking agency. Um, and the experience [00:53:50] was definitely, I would say, easier because the [00:53:55] person in charge of that whole office, uh, is one of the greatest agents [00:54:00] in the world, and she’s a woman. And so it’s a very, very diverse, [00:54:05] um, makeup of men and women in that agency. You walk into other agencies? [00:54:10] No way. It’s like 90% men. Um, and [00:54:15] obviously.

Payman Langroudi: And what does it mean? Does that mean that the, the the business itself is kind of testosterone [00:54:20] driven? Yeah.

Emma Mashall: I think it’s just, um, do.

Payman Langroudi: You are you saying actually people will hold you back [00:54:25] because you’re a woman?

Emma Mashall: I think that there’s, um, maybe an internal [00:54:30] bias that people have, um, whether or not they believe in it or not, um, [00:54:35] or are aware of it or not, I think that there’s an internal bias of a woman [00:54:40] can only get to this point. I think that that really does exist. And I think that, you know, this [00:54:45] comes also from recognising traditional roles like the the nature and the notion [00:54:50] of women in business, in leadership positions is a very new concept. Um, this is I do.

Rhona Eskander: Think it’s been overdone [00:54:55] though, like, because then like I do think as well like we’ve again like I new words for you [00:55:00] dictionary out like the female and the masculine energy as well. Like I think is something [00:55:05] that we’ve over we’re like women are also like hyper focussed on like really [00:55:10] kind of embracing the masculine energy, which I think is important in some circumstances. But also being in [00:55:15] your feminine sometimes is not a bad thing either. It has to be balanced. Do you know what I mean by this, or is this Gaga [00:55:20] stuff to you? But like, you know, like for example, like.

Payman Langroudi: As in to succeed being a woman, you have [00:55:25] to act like a man.

Rhona Eskander: No, not not really. Like there’s a female masculine energy. So like some behaviours [00:55:30] that women now project are very like masculine, archetypal [00:55:35] masculine. Niches and some would say that’s bad. I think it’s bad in some circumstances. [00:55:40] I actually think it can make you ill. I think it made me ill. I think it burnt me out because I was so obsessed [00:55:45] with being this, like CEO figure like this in control a little bit. Bolshie. [00:55:50] Yeah, exactly. And to be honest, it drove me to a certain extent lol. Um, [00:55:55] so, um, it drove me to a certain extent, but then it bounced [00:56:00] me out. And sometimes, like when I’m at home now with my partner, my God, I just love it when he takes [00:56:05] control. I’m like, you can’t surrender. I just want to surrender into what we call like a more like feminine [00:56:10] sort of energy, you know, which is totally fine with me. Look after me. I’m cool, I’m cool. [00:56:15] Look after me. You know.

Emma Mashall: That’s. I’m gonna say now that is what I’ve struggled with, what she’s just described [00:56:20] there in business. That is exactly what I’ve struggled with. Where I don’t have a business partner, [00:56:25] it’s just me. So I am the face, the voice, the marketing, the socials, the researcher, [00:56:30] the curriculum builder, the teacher. I’m everything, and I don’t [00:56:35] have that other person there to just be like, huh? Can you just yeah, can you just [00:56:40] take this because and that traditionally.

Payman Langroudi: Even I’m not sure.

Payman Langroudi: That’s to do with [00:56:45] being a woman.

Emma Mashall: No, I think that that’s just to do with.

Payman Langroudi: Because I don’t think I could do a business by myself. Yeah.

Emma Mashall: I think [00:56:50] that that’s just to do with the nature of what we need as people. Which brings us back to the community aspect, which we [00:56:55] don’t really have as much.

Payman Langroudi: There are some people that are the opposite.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. Like, I don’t know in Chelsea. Would [00:57:00] you want a partner?

Rhona Eskander: No, but I often get told, um, that I [00:57:05] don’t. I got told recently, even though I was like, maybe you should step down from being [00:57:10] a director at Chelsea just because you are really good at, like, podcasts and [00:57:15] like doing all the creative stuff. And I was like, I built this brand on my own. And like, I struggled [00:57:20] to assert authority because I really do struggle to assert authority within the business space. [00:57:25] And the thing is, as well, because I’m an empath, I take everyone’s energy constantly. So I’m drained [00:57:30] by the end of the week. Um.

Payman Langroudi: I am it’s really early days.

Emma Mashall: It is.

Payman Langroudi: It [00:57:35] is really early days. You have no idea how.

Payman Langroudi: Early it is.

Emma Mashall: No, I do, I do.

Payman Langroudi: And what it is that the the [00:57:40] rhythm and the processes kind of work themselves out. [00:57:45] Yeah. Around the person you are. Yeah. The fact that they haven’t fully worked themselves out is.

Payman Langroudi: Because [00:57:50] they have.

Emma Mashall: Now this is what.

Payman Langroudi: I was saying. Business. Totally.

Emma Mashall: It’s a very young business. And the thing is, [00:57:55] I think that we all need mentors, right? We all need people that are in a much more advanced [00:58:00] position than us. That can just be. And if you take the guidance or not, it doesn’t matter. There’s somebody [00:58:05] that I haven’t had one. I’ve not really had any mentorship for the business. [00:58:10] I’ve had mentorship for my health and my research and all of that kind of stuff. Definitely [00:58:15] for the business aspect, I’m still on the hunt for like a mentor figure. And [00:58:20] recently this is where I put this video out, where I was like, I can’t do this anymore. Like, I just can’t do it on my own. [00:58:25] And then since I put that video out, it was a bit like exposure therapy because I’m [00:58:30] a big believer in exposure therapy. Yeah. Big exposure. It could be anything. It’s like [00:58:35] if you have a fear around this thing, go and do the thing because then you’ll break through your fear. And I had [00:58:40] a massive block with social media because when [00:58:45] you’re in a position where you’re helping people, people, um, [00:58:50] can become problematic for various reasons. Co-dependent it [00:58:55] I mean, we can use that word. Yeah, but also more so delusional. Um, yeah, [00:59:00] I would say delusional is probably the better word to use because they make a personality for [00:59:05] you, you know, and I’ve had to I’ve had really serious incidences with people that [00:59:10] are, you know, they’re mentally not not very well. And given the nature of my work, there’s a level [00:59:15] of understanding as to what’s happening.

Emma Mashall: But it’s also, with all due respect, it’s not my problem. You need to go and get professional [00:59:20] help. I’m teaching a class and you can either take part or not take part. I’m not [00:59:25] going to solve your trauma boundaries, huge boundaries necessary for this. [00:59:30] And but the thing is, is that this stuff has impacted me in, in ways that I don’t want to speak [00:59:35] about publicly, but it’s just like, yeah, it’s impacting me in a lot of different ways because of the nature of what was being done and [00:59:40] said. And so I think that that side of it and not having [00:59:45] a partner, both professional and personal, I don’t have a partner, so [00:59:50] I’m doing it on my own. So when I’m in my flat on my own and I finished teaching and I’m having to deal [00:59:55] with another delusional person with nowhere to go with this, it’s [01:00:00] had a really severe. I’ve basically developed social anxiety for [01:00:05] the first time in my whole life, and this is where it leads. Back to your original question of like, how was how [01:00:10] was having a business that affected your mental health? I’ve never had social anxiety. I don’t have a problem with. I [01:00:15] love people, I’ve spent my whole life around loads of people and community structures. When I was younger, [01:00:20] I used to be an athlete. I was in and out with different people all the time. Now I’m literally a bit like, [01:00:25] oh, who is that? What did I want? Same. And I don’t like that.

Rhona Eskander: Thing is is life humbles [01:00:30] you? But these experiences, like I’ve read a quote the other day that said my trauma didn’t make me [01:00:35] stronger because, you know. They say what? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It goes. It made me more guarded. It made me [01:00:40] get on. And I was like, that’s how I feel. Like a couple of things have happened to me in the last couple of years. And I’m like, do you know what? Like, [01:00:45] I never used to think people had bad intentions. And now I’m like, [01:00:50] your intentions are pure. And unfortunately, that’s what like life has done to me. Question for you as well is [01:00:55] this movement is medicine been explored in schools? I’m sure that there’s. Yeah, great. That’s fantastic. [01:01:00]

Emma Mashall: So, um, I am also training. I’m really big [01:01:05] on training other people. Right. So that’s so key to me. I’m one person, right. [01:01:10] So I’m sure that you’ve got, you’ve got your own methods as well that you’re like, oh, if I taught this to more people, then [01:01:15] more people would understand my way of working. Right. So with this in mind, [01:01:20] I’m like, where are the primary school teachers? Where where are the teachers? Because if I teach this to a teacher, [01:01:25] then that’s usable in their whole school. Yeah, right. And I don’t then have to go and do it. [01:01:30] But of course, until we get as many people as possible through the door to do this training and also [01:01:35] looking at things like government grants and, you know, other ways in which we can fund this. Um, [01:01:40] I do go into schools, um, and I, and I do a lot of for the younger ones, [01:01:45] it’s just kind of we just random. Yeah. But for the older ones, I teach [01:01:50] the science and I teach the theory that I teach in businesses. So I go into corporates, I go into companies, and I teach [01:01:55] the this is this is what stress is. This is how it affects you in terms of your mind and body. And here [01:02:00] how to utilise dance and music in your own body to release it. And I teach that in schools and it usually [01:02:05] is very well received. And people, you know, they really do remember it. And I also [01:02:10] do these workshops for teachers so that they can then apply that to kids they’re working with.

Payman Langroudi: I love that you said you haven’t [01:02:15] got a partner in the business, you haven’t got a partner in life. So on.

Payman Langroudi: Purpose.

Emma Mashall: No, [01:02:20] no, no, I, I mean the business partner side of things. [01:02:25] I’ve only just kind of opened myself up to that possibility. Um, because of all of these [01:02:30] ups and downs with the business, I was a bit like, yeah, don’t trust anyone. I’ve now got a really beautiful [01:02:35] team. I’m really happy with my team. Um, so I’m therefore in a position where I can open myself [01:02:40] back up again and being like, right, this is all cool. So let me see. And I’ve got somebody who I work [01:02:45] with. She is just like, she’s like my right hand. She just gets me. She understands my vision. So [01:02:50] I can also now have somebody that I can talk to and bounce off a bit in regards to that stuff and [01:02:55] in return, in terms of like life again, illness takes [01:03:00] everything. Um, I wasn’t with somebody while as [01:03:05] I was getting ill, you know, I had like kind of non serious relationships on and off things, but, um, [01:03:10] yeah, when I got ill, I wasn’t with anyone. So that was another element of like, [01:03:15] you’re doing it alone. And I had my family, but my family as well, you know, they struggled [01:03:20] with me being ill.

Rhona Eskander: Um, Emma, thank you so much for being, [01:03:25] like, so open. I think you’re such an incredible human being. And it’s been [01:03:30] such an amazing chat. I could literally chat here for like, hours and hours and hours talking to [01:03:35] you. If anyone wants to find you online, um, it’s. Do you want to tell them your handles? [01:03:40]

Emma Mashall: Yeah. So Emma the Alchemist on Instagram and then we’re also under movement is medicine [01:03:45] UK. And that’s also the website okay.

Rhona Eskander: That’s amazing.

Payman Langroudi: How did you get to the Ted?

Emma Mashall: Ted, [01:03:50] um, if you type in, um, Emma marshall Ted talk, it will come up [01:03:55] on YouTube.

Payman Langroudi: I really recommend.

Payman Langroudi: That. Thank you. We recommend that you like it.

Rhona Eskander: Do we have do we have can we ask, do we have [01:04:00] time for a little like dance? Do you want to ask. Yeah, because Rich is like giving me [01:04:05] the looks. So yeah he’s giving me okay, fine. So. Okay. And that’s so sad. Okay. Well [01:04:10] anyways, we probably have to do an Instagram live. I love you messaging me at midnight being like, you’re like, can I, [01:04:15] can I? But honestly, thank you so much. It’s been such an incredible conversation. [01:04:20] And you know, I’m one of your biggest supporters. And I really recommend, you know, checking her [01:04:25] out, moving your body because it really change your physiological state to change a psychological one. [01:04:30] Exactly. That.

Emma Mashall: Is that like that?

Rhona Eskander: Thank you so much. Thank you. Take care. Bye.

Laura Horton relates her journey from dental nurse and TCO to practice owner and growth consultant.

Laura gives a clinic-eye view on the invaluable role of TCOs in shaping patient experience within the practice, shares wisdom on team growth and development, and discusses the highs and lows of practice ownership.

Enjoy!   

 

In This Episode

00.50 – Backstory

07.00 – Nursing, TCO and consultancy

12.00 – Practice workflow insights

17.20 – Practice ownership

29.25 – Professional relationships and career development

35.00 – The TCO role

44.00 – Team training and development

01.26.00 – Friendship Vs professionalism

01.36.30 – Trust and karma

01.54.00 – Fantasy Dinner Party

02.01.10 – Last days and legacy

 

About Laura Horton

Former TCO and dental nurse Laura Horton owns and runs Flagstaff-based clinic Dental Smiles. She is the founder of Laura Horton Consulting, which provides practice growth and development support. 

Laura Horton: We want patients to get their treatment plans quickly. Momentum is key. If they’re just sitting there in a pile on the dentist [00:00:05] desk, we’ve become nagging, nagging wives at work as tcos if we’re female, have you done it [00:00:10] yet? Have you done it yet? Have you done it yet? No one wants that. It’s another system. It’s another process. It [00:00:15] does improve your conversion rate, not necessarily the speed of it, but it does increase your [00:00:20] conversion rate because of the way that it the way that it’s done. But slow is best. Sometimes things are just too fast. [00:00:25]

Intro Voice: This [00:00:30] is Dental Leaders. The podcast where you get to [00:00:35] go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your [00:00:40] hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki. [00:00:45]

Payman Langroudi: It gives me great pleasure to welcome Laura Horton onto [00:00:50] the podcast. Laura, I’ve known for a long time, so I think the first time I met [00:00:55] you was at, uh, Ashland. Uh, Rahul’s practice in Hartford. Yeah. [00:01:00] Back in it would have been my estimation of that is 2010. Were [00:01:05] you there?

Laura Horton: No earlier than that.

Payman Langroudi: Are you left by then? Yeah. Oh, wow. Yeah. All right then, 2008 [00:01:10] call it.

Laura Horton: Yeah. It might have been maybe more 2007, [00:01:15] 2008. When did you start enlightened?

Payman Langroudi: 2001. But I remember coming to the [00:01:20] course with our Cosmedin stuff and Cosmo. Then we started around 2007. [00:01:25]

Laura Horton: It probably was around then. Yeah, yeah, I remember that. That’s where I first met Prav [00:01:30] as well.

Payman Langroudi: I think what I remember was a well-oiled machine. Um, [00:01:35] I’d seen practices like that in the West End and stuff, but never, never in [00:01:40] the middle of nowhere. Like, by the way, I know Hartford’s not the middle of nowhere. Yeah, but, you know, as a local practice, [00:01:45] I’ve not seen a practice like that. And I’d been to loads and loads of practices. And [00:01:50] I remember meeting you first. You were the first person I met, right? And [00:01:55] I remember thinking, wow, what a team these guys have, like what training they’ve done. [00:02:00] And I don’t know, later on I listened to your pod with Sandeep. [00:02:05] I think I got out of that, that you were the reason why everything was so good in the practice. I [00:02:10] can’t remember, I can’t remember exactly. Um, but anyway, since since then Laura’s, [00:02:15] you know, done a bunch of jobs, but now Horton consulting really probably [00:02:20] the first sort of academy, if you like. The first organisation that would teach people [00:02:25] how to become CEOs. And timing was excellent, I guess, Laura, because [00:02:30] Tcos have become a gigantic part of Dental practice. Um, I’m sure [00:02:35] you know, there’s now lots of different people doing this sort of training, but you [00:02:40] were the first that I remember doing it. Yeah. Um, and we would definitely [00:02:45] get into that. But let’s just start with the backstory. Where did you grow up? How did [00:02:50] you end up in Dental? Why?

Laura Horton: Um, [00:02:55] so how I ended up in Dental was purely [00:03:00] because I had dropped out of my college course, and [00:03:05] my dad went mental. Yeah. And said, you’d better get yourself a job. And [00:03:10] I was like, okay. And I where we lived, there was like a community [00:03:15] centre. There was a Sainsbury’s Chinese fish and chip shop. I used to [00:03:20] work in the fish and chip shop, dentists, doctors and that’s where we were as a family in this [00:03:25] dental practice. Tiny little place. Where was it in Bishop’s Stortford. And [00:03:30] also there was a pub and I’m going to admit to underage drinking. [00:03:35]

Payman Langroudi: And.

Laura Horton: Fake ID was a thing back then. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Still is is it? [00:03:40] Yeah, of course.

Laura Horton: So I don’t know. I feel sorry for kids these days because I just used to photocopy [00:03:45] my driving license and changed the it’s got.

Payman Langroudi: No it’s got to be more digital isn’t it. Again.

Laura Horton: Um, [00:03:50] so I was going to the pub and I saw in the window they were looking for [00:03:55] a receptionist and I thought, oh, I can do that easy. And I went in and [00:04:00] applied for the job, got to Bradbury, got to be, as we used to call him. Um, [00:04:05] he said, would you like to be a dental nurse? And I thought, yeah, why [00:04:10] not? And I fainted within a few days, passed out on the floor. [00:04:15] And he wasn’t only a dentist, I don’t know how old he was when he actually started [00:04:20] working, but he did dentistry. Medicine. Max Fox [00:04:25] I think his parents were loaded, so I reckon he’s probably about 32 [00:04:30] by the time he actually finished uni. And then he just as you did quite easily just [00:04:35] set up this practice. Yeah. And he also used to get a lot of referrals. So the [00:04:40] reason I fainted is he was showing me this impacted lower rate or.

Payman Langroudi: Drilling [00:04:45] the bone.

Laura Horton: Yeah. And you know he’d he’d got it all ready you know have a good look in here [00:04:50] and you could see it lie in there and that’s it. Oh I was gone on the floor and the [00:04:55] patient was sedated and everything. And the dental nurse, Alison, who’s one of my great [00:05:00] friends to this day. Yeah, she put me in the recovery position. I remember coming round and her [00:05:05] taking my gloves off, and they were soaked with sweat. And then I felt really ill afterwards, I [00:05:10] got this horrendous headache and went home, and I was so embarrassed to go back the next day [00:05:15] and my mum was like, you’re going back? And I was like, oh, but I’m just really embarrassed. My mum really embarrassed [00:05:20] and she said, it doesn’t matter. My mom was a nurse. She said, everyone faints in this line of work, get back to [00:05:25] work. I was like, okay. And I went back.

Payman Langroudi: Your mum sort [00:05:30] of the enforcer in the house or.

Laura Horton: No, my dad.

Payman Langroudi: My dad was. Yeah. [00:05:35]

Laura Horton: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Is it you, by the way, in your house?

Laura Horton: It is Payman. [00:05:40]

Payman Langroudi: I kind of figured that, but I.

Laura Horton: Try to be very delicate. [00:05:45] Mhm. Well, maybe come back to that. Okay. Um, but yeah, my [00:05:50] mum I guess if my mum, she’s always had a message which is do [00:05:55] what makes you happy. And this was, you know, one of those times with this college course I wasn’t happy, [00:06:00] I hated it, it wasn’t what I expected it to be. And I was [00:06:05] like.

Payman Langroudi: What was the cause?

Laura Horton: I was like, travel and tourism. Um, I decided to do it because [00:06:10] I liked holidays.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, that’s a good a reason as any, right? Yeah.

Laura Horton: I didn’t know what I wanted to do. [00:06:15] I had no clue what I wanted to do in life. So I thought, well, I like holidays. I’ll go and do this. [00:06:20] Travel and tourism. Oh, it was the most boring thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.

Payman Langroudi: At what point did you [00:06:25] switch from someone who drops out of courses, didn’t know what you want to do with yourself to this sort of hyper focussed person [00:06:30] that I met.

Laura Horton: I, I would say when I started working as a dental [00:06:35] nurse. So Doctor Bradbury and then. Yeah, straight away Doctor Bradbury said, right, all my nurses are [00:06:40] qualified. You don’t have to be qualified. But all my nurses are qualified. So you’re starting [00:06:45] the course. So off I went and did the course. Welwyn Garden City every Wednesday [00:06:50] I had my driving license and I took one of the other girls from the practice who wasn’t yet able to [00:06:55] do the course because she couldn’t drive. So we went together. So that was quite nice. So I did [00:07:00] that. And I kid you not, the day I got my letter through saying I’d qualified, [00:07:05] I actually had to go home at lunchtime to check the post because that night [00:07:10] I was starting my radiography qualification at, um, Hertfordshire University. [00:07:15] He’d already booked me on it. So you’re.

Payman Langroudi: Fast tracking?

Laura Horton: Yeah, he was really into [00:07:20] progression and development of his team and this is way back when. So [00:07:25] I loved that and that’s why I wanted to work there. I really enjoyed that. [00:07:30] Mhm. That you know he wants to keep pushing you on. And then while I [00:07:35] was there two of the nurses went on to do one hygiene, the other [00:07:40] hygiene and therapy. So he was very much about supporting and moving you forward. He [00:07:45] didn’t just want a dental nurse or being a dental nurse.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. So I really want to ask [00:07:50] you this question because you’ve seen dental practice from lots of different angles. [00:07:55] Then you’ve seen a lot of dental practices, albeit I reckon the ones that you’re seeing, they [00:08:00] probably skew a certain way because of, you know, TCO. Right. So you’re not going into [00:08:05] loads of full on NHS places anymore. No, but I guess you must have worked in a few, right?

Laura Horton: Yeah, [00:08:10] definitely.

Payman Langroudi: So the question of progression. Yeah, I come across too [00:08:15] many dentists that when I ask them this question they sort of say no, the best nurse is one who doesn’t want to [00:08:20] progress and, you know, someone who will turn up, do the work, learn how [00:08:25] to to handle that dentist and not want progression. Because there isn’t [00:08:30] much progression in most dental practices, is there? I mean, you’ve just outlined a nice sort of, you [00:08:35] know, radiology qualification or hygienist or I guess there’s dental health [00:08:40] educator type things as well, therapists and all of those. Right? Yeah. [00:08:45] But the question is, having seen lots of practices, have [00:08:50] you got an idea of best and worst practice? And what are some of the stories of bad [00:08:55] practice? I mean, this one you’ve told of good practice? Yeah.

Laura Horton: It’s interesting [00:09:00] because that first practice that I worked in, it was your bog standard general [00:09:05] dental practice, NHS, NHS Monday to Thursday, Friday [00:09:10] was and Saturdays were private. But it was the same thing, just a different price. [00:09:15] Yeah. It was, you know, the same materials. There was no. What are we talking.

Payman Langroudi: 90.

Laura Horton: Something [00:09:20] talking. Yeah. Late 90s. Yeah there was, there was nothing different in it. Doctor [00:09:25] Bradbury’s no longer with us. And, you know, I don’t think it would be being [00:09:30] disrespectful to say that he did end up [00:09:35] at the GDC because of the dentistry. It was fast paced. Rct in 15 [00:09:40] minutes. What on earth that about? Do you know what I mean? But when it’s your first practice that you’ve worked in, [00:09:45] you don’t know that anything’s wrong. And there were things like, we had to wear [00:09:50] the same pair of gloves all morning and just wash them with alcohol. So when I started this college course [00:09:55] and I’m like, hang on a minute. And me being me, I’ve always been very outspoken. Say what [00:10:00] I think, going back to him and saying, doctor B, we’re not meant to be doing this. We’re not meant [00:10:05] to be doing that. We’re not meant to be reusing this. He’d say, it’s my practice and that’s what [00:10:10] I’m doing. And it did cause me to leave. Mhm. And [00:10:15] I felt really bad because he’d paid for all this education, but I knew there were things in that practice [00:10:20] that were wrong.

Payman Langroudi: So interesting isn’t it. Because you wouldn’t imagine someone who’s saving on gloves [00:10:25] would pay for the nurse’s education. Yeah. But he was doing that. He was very forward thinking [00:10:30] in one way. Yeah. And yet he was pinching pennies on on the other end. Yeah. [00:10:35] So interesting.

Laura Horton: Yeah. Really interesting. Like his his mindset I don’t know, it may [00:10:40] just be the culture that he’d been ingrained into I don’t know. And what I can say [00:10:45] is two of the dentists, including doctor B, who no longer are no longer with us, both of them ended [00:10:50] up in, you know, at the GDC. I don’t know, was it the pressure on the NHS, [00:10:55] 70 patients a day, you know, it was mental. And I used to get told off for talking to [00:11:00] patients, you know.

Payman Langroudi: That was all free. So it’s the one thing we encourage [00:11:05] now. Yeah, yeah.

Laura Horton: Laura what are you talking to this patient for? [00:11:10] Oh, they’re just really nervous, you know, and you get instruments thrown at you and things. [00:11:15]

Payman Langroudi: Uh, back then, back then.

Laura Horton: It was fine. Yeah. You know, and.

Payman Langroudi: But [00:11:20] other examples you’ve seen, I mean, for instance, other examples, this focus on the price of stuff. Yeah. Obviously [00:11:25] in our world it’s a major issue isn’t it. People. People worry about how much each thing costs them. Yeah. [00:11:30] So on um. It’s weird. Because it’s one of the only sort of moving parts that a dentist’s can [00:11:35] can touch. It’s hard to reduce staff costs or building costs, but somehow [00:11:40] material costs you can. I had a buddy. He had the bright idea of stick 3 [00:11:45] or 4 of those pink mouthwash tablets into a jug. You know, fill the [00:11:50] jug up with pink pink water, then pour it out to save on mouthwash tablets.

Laura Horton: So [00:11:55] silly. It’s so silly because I’m sure we’ll get to this. But if you implement [00:12:00] the TCO role and use my methods, you just make money easily. There’s so many ways practices [00:12:05] are losing big bucks. Like stop concentrating on these little cuts here and there. It’s silly. [00:12:10] But back to your question. I think it’s really important to progress [00:12:15] your team. It’s all about culture. And I think as dentists, you’re [00:12:20] your hickory professionals, your course junkies. You’re always learning. Yeah. And [00:12:25] isn’t it great if your team are inspired by that and also want to do well? Don’t get [00:12:30] me wrong, if there are people that don’t want to do anything, fine, leave them to it. The world is made up of different people, [00:12:35] but I think it is really important to offer progression. So after I [00:12:40] left doctor B, I went and temped as a nurse and.

Payman Langroudi: Loved lots and lots.

Laura Horton: Of [00:12:45] loved it. Yeah. Did you loved it? I was the kind [00:12:50] of nurse I can nurse with anyone because it’s all about communication. So I was quite happy to come [00:12:55] into your clinic for a day. Right? Okay. Payman, this is the list. What do you need do do do do do and [00:13:00] sort of run the show, as it were. Which is what dentists want. Dentists want their nurses to run the show. They should [00:13:05] do. If they don’t, that’s another discussion. Yeah, but I love Tampin, so I [00:13:10] could be in community in Hackney. I just used to drive into London in my little car with my A [00:13:15] to Z on my steering wheel, you know, and I’d pre-planned all the pages I needed to turn over [00:13:20] the night before. And I just think that’s mad now. I couldn’t do that now, driving with an eight, is it.

Payman Langroudi: Do you think you [00:13:25] turn up to a practice? Sometimes within the first five seconds you get a vibe of [00:13:30] is it a happy place or isn’t it?

Laura Horton: Totally. And I’m really impacted by [00:13:35] that as a person. Wherever I go, I can be like, whoa, this isn’t good here.

Payman Langroudi: Sometimes you can just [00:13:40] feel it straight away. You can feel it. And the opposite, of course.

Laura Horton: Absolutely. You can just get excited by it. [00:13:45] So yeah, I think if people don’t want to progress their team, [00:13:50] I think that’s I think that’s an issue and I’m recruiting at the moment. So I’ve got [00:13:55] a practice that’s opening in a few weeks. My first practice. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Oh, amazing.

Laura Horton: It’s [00:14:00] opening in a few weeks. It should have been open sooner, but that’s down to the CQC. Amazing [00:14:05] that they’re so. I am just currently, right now [00:14:10] inundated with applications for trainee dental nurses. [00:14:15] And I’m like, whoa, I’ve had to think fast on my feet about this, because the amount of applications [00:14:20] that have come through has surprised me. We already have one outstanding [00:14:25] dental nurse experienced. Fantastic. We were going to [00:14:30] employ a second, but because we’ve had this delay, we were like, should we go back to our original plan now [00:14:35] of looking for a trainee because we’re going to have the time. And so I’ve had to think on my feet, and [00:14:40] I will confess, I’ve stolen this from a client that I worked with for many years. Her name’s Naomi, [00:14:45] and she’s a lovely lady, but she once did an event for our trainee dental [00:14:50] nurses. Get them all in one room, tell them what it’s about, what their progression is, how it’s going to work, [00:14:55] and then move forward with interviews from there. Really sort of screen people. Yeah. [00:15:00] So I’m screening them already or indeed with a few questions. And [00:15:05] I’ve put this very quickly, put this event together 530 Tuesday night, fill in this application [00:15:10] form and confirm you can come. So what I’m putting together for this presentation is actually [00:15:15] about progression. We don’t just want to support you to qualify. [00:15:20] We want you to qualify and be an amazing dental nurse. From that moment you qualify because [00:15:25] that’s a problem as well. It’s a bit like driving. I feel some people are taught just to pass. [00:15:30] They’re not taught all the skills they need. So we want you to be an amazing [00:15:35] dental nurse, working with all the clinicians within our practice. And then from that moment [00:15:40] you qualify, get your GDC number. You’re then contracted as a dental nurse and this will be [00:15:45] your progression path. There’s already one who’s put I want to be a hygienist. Fantastic. [00:15:50] Come on then.

Payman Langroudi: Work towards.

Laura Horton: That. Brilliant. Because we’ll have you back as a hygienist. [00:15:55] Yeah yeah yeah. And and that’s the type of person I am. I want [00:16:00] to work with people that want me to do well. I think that’s really important. [00:16:05] I remember one practice I worked at and they brought in appraisals, [00:16:10] so it’s the first time we’d ever had appraisals. And I’m going back in time. And [00:16:15] one of the questions were, oh, you know, what are your goals for the next five years? And I said, [00:16:20] whatever. I said, you know, I’d love to go travelling. I didn’t mention anything about hygiene or therapy, [00:16:25] but I know I definitely said I want to go travelling. And then from the appraisals they gave everyone a [00:16:30] pay rise and. Me with my skills got the lowest pay rise because of course [00:16:35] there’s a team. Let’s not forget, we all discuss this. I was livid and I said to the manager, why [00:16:40] have I got the lowest pay rise? She said, because you’ve said you want to go travelling [00:16:45] well. And I was like. Ridiculous, you [00:16:50] know. I then left yeah. I was like, right have that is my [00:16:55] notice. Goodbye. I’m not working in this place any longer. On that you went. Yeah. It was like the icing [00:17:00] or the cherry on the cake, I say. Anyway, working there, I was like, just go away. I [00:17:05] just can’t be in this place. It’s toxic. Yeah. Um, at that time, I was also doing my oral health education [00:17:10] qualification. I was funding it myself. There have been really difficult about it. So [00:17:15] there were lots of things. And that was the final. I was like, oh, why.

Payman Langroudi: Tell me more about this practice? [00:17:20]

Laura Horton: So I am opening a practice in Colchester with [00:17:25] Free Dentists and partnered with them. Yeah, all equal partners and [00:17:30] myself and Katie are going to be working in the clinic. Andy and Daniel, [00:17:35] well Andy will for some implant cases. Daniel’s not at the moment, but [00:17:40] he might see the bright lights and be swayed over. We’ll find out. And [00:17:45] yeah, they’re really lovely. I’m the eldest, which I find quite hilarious. Um, [00:17:50] but yeah, they’re really great. And I had an opportunity to work with them for a year, actually, not with [00:17:55] treatment coordination. I was supporting them with their management and restructuring. They’ve got two [00:18:00] clinics, and I worked with them for a year right up to the pandemic. [00:18:05] So probably a couple of weeks before it’s probably the end of the February [00:18:10] before. I was sat with them and we were all like, is it going to happen or not? And I [00:18:15] remember Andy had just exchanged on his house and I was about to exchange on a house, and [00:18:20] me and Andrew were both like, shit, we’re both about to double our mortgages like [00:18:25] it’s the world’s going to end and all this stuff. Yeah. So I worked with them right up to them, [00:18:30] but I had a fabulous insight into how they ran their business. [00:18:35] Yeah. And it was fantastic. There weren’t any recommendations [00:18:40] I could make to them about their partnership, their set up and the way that they ran their [00:18:45] business. They’re already doing it all. And Andy and Katie are brother [00:18:50] and sister and they’ve all known each other many, many years. So they’ve got a really successful partnership [00:18:55] already, which I thought was how did.

Payman Langroudi: The conversation come about to open a new business together?

Laura Horton: So [00:19:00] I’ve always kept in touch and actually we’ve all moved there as a family to [00:19:05] the practice as well because it was local, so it was a right result as well, working with the local practice instead of travelling. [00:19:10] So what’s happened is since I had my little boy, I needed a new dentist [00:19:15] and I was saying to ash, like, it’s a two hour round trip. Like, I can’t [00:19:20] keep coming to see Luke for a check-up for a two hour round trip. I can’t bring a child like that distance either. [00:19:25] So I politely moved practice and all my family’s gone there, and [00:19:30] we’ve always kept in touch because I really liked them and got on really well with them. And I’d say that about [00:19:35] a lot of my clients. You do end up having a relationship on a different level. It’s not just [00:19:40] purely business friendship. Yeah, it’s a friendship. You know, one client who I’ve worked with for years has messaged [00:19:45] me today. My little boy was in hospital yesterday and he’s seen that and said, oh gosh. And you [00:19:50] know, he’s his daughter’s unfortunately in hospital and he’s oh my gosh, what’s happening? And he’s [00:19:55] sharing all that with me. So I feel really lucky to always work with such fantastic people. [00:20:00] So we’ve always got kept in touch. I’d say Andy and myself have always got on very [00:20:05] well because we’re very similar in personality, quite direct people.

Laura Horton: And he called [00:20:10] me up and said, we’ve got this situation, and the situation is that they’ve bought [00:20:15] a building for a third clinic in Colchester. The idea being Katie’s going [00:20:20] to be the main person working there. She lives in Mersey, so it’s like 20 minutes. She’s [00:20:25] got three young children. It’s going to be better for her work life balance, but it’s not [00:20:30] happened. It’s not come to life. And the reason for that is her son has got cystic fibrosis, [00:20:35] so he’d been quite poorly. So this is 2022. So he’d been quite poorly [00:20:40] in hospital a lot. So it hadn’t sort of got off the ground. So he said to me we are [00:20:45] looking at getting a fourth partner. And I wondered if you knew any dentists. And [00:20:50] I said, oh, I don’t know. I said, it might be quite uncomfortable because people I do know [00:20:55] are more associates, so I wouldn’t want to upset any apple carts. But let me have a think [00:21:00] about it. I then went on holiday, so it was. Yeah. October 22nd [00:21:05] went on holiday with my husband just to Centre Parcs and I said, this phone call with Andy, [00:21:10] this is what they’re thinking of doing. And I’m thinking, why can’t I be the partner? And [00:21:15] my husband said, well, why can’t you? And I said, well, of course I can. And I’m still GDC registered. So that’s [00:21:20] not an issue, you know? Of course I can.

Laura Horton: But it took me probably about