Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bill Strupp

Hi all,

Real quick before I get into it. I finished The Last Lecturer and I have to say I was disappointed. I didn't like it for a lot of reasons. I will tell you real quick. How can you have a lecture basically about dying and not talk about what happens to you when you die.
Maybe I am saying this wrong. The book was about his life. It was about how he dreamed things when he was a kid and how he made them all happen as an adult. He talked about all his successes in life. He talked about how he and bunch of students that have hit the big time.
Not once did he talk about heaven. It was sad really. I kept thinking to myself, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul." HE IS GOING TO DIE. Who cares that you were able to work at NASA for a summer? Who cares that you worked for Disney working on the first virtual experience ride. WHO CARES. YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. The Bible says, "Your works are like filthy rags to me." It is really sad.
I'm thinking about it, and I don't think I have like a book in a long time. Maybe it is me.
I started to read a book called Beyond Belief: Finding the strength to come back. This is an autobiography of Josh Hamilton. He is the baseball player that is a crack addict. He was the one that hit the 28 home runs in the home run derby.
It is an easy read because he uses very easy words. He talks about how when he was a senior in high school his English teacher told him that if he would sign 12 baseballs for him he would give him an A and he wouldn't have to do any work. Hence the easy words.
I saw a great movie this weekend on was called A Perfect Getaway. Worth the rent.

Topic of the day,
I now have a new favorite lecturer and his name is Bill Strupp.
You know I have had some issues with some lecturers in the past. You know my big thing is identifying with the guy. A lecturer is typically either a guy that gives a lecturer and then goes behind the curtain never to be seen again or is he like Bill Strupp.
Let me give you a for instance, or two. He starts off the lecture by telling you that he has big time ADHD so he is going to move fast. He says, "so if you have a question just ask it." He goes on to say to yell "QUESTION". He wanted to answer your questions and was happy to do it...imagine that.
He also tells us before the lecture starts that he has rented a room on the water across the street at the local yacht club. He says, "I will have all the beer and wine you can drink and all the shrimp you can eat." He went on to say that his wife made the cocktail sauce herself.
The course was $1300. I counted 255 people in the audience. That is like $330,000 (for a two day course....damn.)
So I think they could afford to buy the cocktail sauce? Yeah, but that is the kind of people they seemed to be.
So immediately my guard went down. If you want to know why my guard is up so high please see my blog on Frank Spear. and

So my guard is down and he says, "why should you listen to me?" He says, "Not because I am the founding father of such and such or that I am a member of the muckity muck club. No, it is because I have done 48,000 units of crown and bridge."
Damn that is impressive. I started to count up what I have done and it is not even a 3000.
Okay so now he has my guard down and he has told me his real credentials.
Now I can listen.
So I start to listen and it is like I am listening to my friend. He is talking in a way that is not like, "I was talking to the president of this company and we came up with a formula that we think is going to work". It was more like this is what works in my hand.
Now, not everything he says I agree with. Not everything he says I am going to do.
But when he says he is working with something and it is working for him....I believe him.
He does his dentistry like I would do mine.
You know the expression, "I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care."
Well this resonated with me. I could tell he really cared about his patients. Sometimes when he was telling us about a case it became more about the patient's story instead of the dentistry.
Oh, remember the happy hour thing at the yacht club? All the patients that he showed in the slide presentation, he invited.
So you saw his patients roaming around the happy hour.
I have to tell you he restored my opinion about CE guys.
Here is the kicker for him. I imagine he is doing pretty good for himself. Let's say his overhead on his lecture is 80%. I mean is he really making $66,000 for the weekend. Damn.
So then he goes on to tell us that he now has a partner. A 31-year-old dentist from Kentucky.
They meet and greet the patients together (even though they are all coming in to see Dr. Strupp) and they treatment plan together. Dr. Strupp does most of the closing and when it is time to work...the young partner starts the work.
The kid numbs them up, the kid removes all the old dentistry, the kid removes all the decay, the kid does all the build-ups (Dr. Strupp is really into building up), the kid does the initial prepping and then ol' Bill comes in and does a "fine-tuning" of the preps.
He didn't push a single product in the whole two days. His material was good. His delivery was refreshing. I liked him.
I e-mailed him yesterday, and he e-mailed me back in about an hour.
His lecture was about complex cases. All he talked about was full mouth reconstructions.
That is great for him, and it is great to learn about it for the 2 or 3 I might see in a year.
But ever since I have been back, two days now, I have heard "I hope I am not getting x-rays today because they really aren't in the budget."
So my clientele are just regular people. My peeps are being hit hard by the economic down turn. Some of my patients can't afford x-rays and you know what...I am still honored to be their dentist, and if I have to put an IRM in that hole for a couple of months for them to afford the filling I will.
So I loved hearing Dr. Strupp, but it is what it is. When I do do another large case I will be more equipped, but for now it is going to be "No, Mrs. Jones it is okay for us to wait on your x-rays this time."

Have a great Wednesday


Anonymous said...

The best was the last hour and thirty minutes of Strupp's lecture where it all came together and made sense. What are your thoughts on that?

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel, you see a great CE course, you know you have the skill and experience to treat your patients that way, but as soon as you bring up this new manner of treatment to one of your patients, they laugh at you and the cost.
Keep plugging away - confidence in yourself and your techniques will automatically convert many of your patients. I am sure you are a very accomplished professional, but like most dentists, you probably have a little guilt making money in healthcare. DON'T.
You have worked hard to achieve your knowledge, skill and experience. It wasn't easy. Not everyone could do it. Your big cases will walk through the door, sooner or later. Just keep plugging away and treat everyone like they WERE your big case and you will be surprised just WHO will want your elaborate treatment plan.
At least that's my experience and I am in a very similar situation to you.

Great Blog, always read even though I don't always comment.


Cesar said...

Hi John

I LOVED what you said about being honored! that's the exact word I use when refering to my clients ( i don't have patients, I have clients...clients choose to see you becuase of your SERVICE, patients see you when/becuase they're SICK)

keep up the good work!


stephanie said...

As a new dentist (class of 2012), I really appreciate these reviews on CE speakers. After working for 1.5 years and chipping away at loans, I have started to set aside $ for CE because I know how important they are. Thank you for blogging.


PLEASE NOTE: When commenting on this blog, you are affirming that any and all statements, and parts thereof, that you post on “The Daily Grind” (the blog) are your own.

The statements expressed on this blog to include the bloggers postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), nor do they imply endorsement by the AGD.