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"Women make excellent leaders but, just like any other skill, leadership skills need to be learned."
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AUDIO - Gina Dorfman - HSP #117
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VIDEO - Gina Dorfman - HSP #117
It's never a surprise to find out women are immeasurably capable. Women leaders are all over the place. The fact is, however, they're not called "women leaders"; they're "leaders".
I am a practicing general dentist and the founder of Dentistry for Kids and Adults, a multi-location group practice with emphasis on family dental care and pediatrics.
After graduating from USC School of Dentistry in 2000, I spent several years working in private practices before opening my first dental practice in 2002. Later, I also started a software company. Our software is called YAPI and it's designed to help dentists transition to a truly paperless environment and streamline office workflow.
18635 Soledad Canyon Road, Ste 108
Canyon Country, CA 91351
Howard: It is a huge honor and privilege to me to be interviewing who everybody knows as Mopsy, her name's really Gina Dorfman, but on Dental Town she's known as Mops, which is the name of her cat. Gina, I think you're a rock star. I think that your office, I mean I've seen your entire office staff a couple of times, how many people work for you?
Gina: At least half of them.
Howard: At least half of them.
Gina: You're talking about 40.
Howard: 40 people. I hate to focus on this as my first opening question to you, but I have to focus on this Gina, and that is the fact that you are a girl. The fact that, when I was in dental school, the senior class had 1 woman and now 45% of these graduates are women. It's hard for me to address women leadership issues when you're a short, fat bald guy. You're the woman. These women dental students, they desperately need women role models like you because a lot of them walk out of school and all the dentists and all the teachers and all the articles are a bunch of old, fat, bald guys.
They need to know that some of the most successful dentists I've ever met in my life were women dentists. My first question to you is, I want you to answer the 1 question I can't answer. And that is, I have at least once a month a woman dentist say to me, "I got out of school and I work for old man Frank. Old man Frank would tell me give me a cup of coffee, do this and do that and they'd all jump. Then I bought the practice from him and I said the exact same thing, and they don't want to do it". Is it them, is it just an excuse to say that's because he was a boy and I was a girl, or is there something to this?
My first question to you, is there any difference leading a dental office team of all women if the owner is a man or a woman? Is there a difference there, or is that just an excuse.
Gina: Before I answer that question, can we touch on that short bald guy? Because, you know Howard, I hope you realize that this but God made only a few perfect heads and on the rest of them [inaudible 00:02:30] You know what, I'm actually glad you're asking this question because I get a lot of Pms from female dentists, it's a concern to them. Really I think, well I think there is a little bit of a difference whether you're managing a staff of females or white college male graduates or a team of millennials. There's always a different dynamic. As far as being a female, I'm going to say it's a fundamental [inaudible 00:02:59] error on their part. For listeners that are not familiar with this sir, a fundamental institution area is a way to explain other peoples' behavior with external factors or internal factors.
For example, when our neighbor's son doesn't do well on an exam, we say, "well maybe he didn't study really well, or maybe he just, he's not that smart", those are internal factors. But when it's our son who didn't pass the exam, we'd say, "well the exam is really hard and the teacher was hard on him, it was unfair", we tend to evaluate external circumstances judging ourselves. I think that's what happens with a lot of the female dentists. They simply don't have the leadership skills just yet and it's like any other skill. You learn to do a crown and you learn how to become a more effective leader.
I wish that female dentists did not build their own ceilings. Go understand the knowledge, become better at this, learn how to do this and no more excuses.
Howard: Gina, do you prefer to go by Gina or Mopsy? Are you a dentist or a cat right now?
Gina: I'm not sure, but let's try Gina.
Howard: Gina, I think of you as one of the most business savvy people because not only are you crushing it in your dental office world, you also have your own practice management software, Yappy, which stands for yet another practice management software. Where did you learn business? Is this something that you learned at home, from your mom and dad? Is this something that you were into books, when did you first know that you liked business?
Gina: You know when I went to USC, they had this 5 year program, which was the DDS and BA program through the Marshall School of Business. I really wanted to do this program, but about halfway through school I burned out and I didn't do my MBA. It wasn't until a few years later that I ended up doing my MBA in 30 days, it was actually a good friend of mine, a fantastic talent, Dr. Steve Poleroy, who sent me this box of VHS tapes. I still have them. I have nothing to play them on. When my kids found them I had to explain that and they were like, what is this. I said, "well, it's like a cd". They're like, "what's a cd"?
I learned from Tony. I was so fortunate. When I discovered Dental Town there were all these amazing people really sharing ideas. People like Tim Goodhart, like Sandy Purdue, like you. Milkers and back to Ed on the more clinical stuff. It was an amazing ride. And then of course I'm a big fan of books. I don't have time to read books, so I subscribe to audible, audible.com. There's so many amazing books out there to learn from. I probably do a few a week. I go on a hike or I cycle indoors or I drive to work and I listen to those podcasts, your podcasts and there's another great one with Dr. Dave Mallilly, the relentless dentist podcast.
There's so many great ones out there. That's where you learn. This is an amazing time to be a dentist because there's so much information out there and it's either free or very inexpensive.
Howard: I love the relentless dentist. That's where I learned about podcasts, him calling me up and wanting me to be on his. I'm like, what is that?
Gina: You were the first one, right?
Howard: What's that?
Gina: You were the first one.
Howard: Yeah, it's just great. I love his podcast, I'm a big fan. In fact the number 1 complaint of all dentists on podcasts is that there's just not enough of them because most people have an hour commute everyday to and from work. They need 2 hours a day, that's 10 hours a week. All the dental pod casters together, we all together can't give the market what they want, you know what I mean? Okay, so, ask me this, why do you think most of the employees in a dental office are women and, do you think that's changing because I've noticed from when I started in '87 to now, men are starting to come into the dental office.
Now half of my dental assistants are men. It seems like every year, when I go lecture at a seminar, more front office, more assistants, more hygienist are turning, it's almost like the sexual roles of male dentist, women staff, they're just blurring away. Do you see that?
Gina: Yeah, I think so. It's probably, I'm guessing because the manufacturer's jobs are moving to China. More and more men are entering service industries, that's my guess. I don't think, I have a male assistant right now, and he's awesome. I understand you have a male office manager.
Howard: I do, I do. Yeah, Robert, I just love Robert. What I wanted was, I wanted, when I had an opening, the lady who had ran mine for 20 years had a grandchild and her husband makes 6 figures so she just wanted to be a grandma. I brought someone in from corporate who ran 75 dental offices. I figured that would be really, really fun. Instead of having to reinvent the wheel on all of these sophisticated systems, I just went and got one of their best guys. Robert has just been amazing. Last month 5,000 dentists just graduated from dental school.
If 1 of them was your child, what advice would you give them? They're out of school. I also want to ask you this confirmation bias. When we got out of school, if you said I'm going to get some more training, I'm going to go into the military. I'm going to go into the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, and I'm going to go in there for 2 or 3 years and learn how to do dentistry. Everybody would say, "get out you mate". Now if you say, "well I'm going to go work at corporate dental office just to get some experience under my belt", it's like oh my God, the evil empire.
If you were coming out of school, would you recommend going into a specialty? If they didn't go into a specialty would you recommend a residency? Would you recommend they just open up their own office? What baby steps would you give them Gina?
Gina: I think it's so individual, it's what you want. Pursue your own dreams, I'll pursue my own. That's the advice that I'm going to give my children if they ever ask for it. I think specialties are great. I think one advice that I would give to new graduates is, really learn as much as you can. Set a [inaudible 00:09:47] You graduated from dental school with just enough information to be dangerous with a rapidly rotating instrument. You just need to learn as much as you can, whether it's clinical or it's business management, leadership. And you really start figuring out what works for you. Create your own vision.
Pursue your own vision. I see so many dentists actually asking a lot of questions like, should I hire an associate? Should I buy [inaudible 00:10:19] Should I open a PPO practice? Should I open an HMO practice? My only answer to them is look, when you, 10 years from now when you sit down in your car with a cup of coffee and you're driving to work on a Monday morning, where do you want to go? And with that in mind, you structure your education and you learn and you create your own opportunities. It's a great time to be a dentist.
Howard: You just nailed it. Where do you want to go? What I've heard you saying is well should you be a specialist, or should you be a resident? Stay true to yourself. The best advise is always to stay true to yourself. Everyone else wants you to live their world. Look at religion. If you don't do what religion wants you to do, oh, you're being selfish. But if you're doing what you want to do, an economist would say you're following your own self interest.
Every talking monkey on earth wants you to live your life for them. All of the successful people block out 7 billion other people and say, "this is what I want to do". I can't believe that every year they fill up all the slots for people who want to become a pediatric dentist. I just think, wow, what was your other choice? Jumping off a cliff? If I had to pick between a pediatric dentist and jumping off a cliff, I think I'd jump off the cliff and leave the parachute up on the deal. If you want to be a pediatric dentist, thank God there's people like you because I sure as hell don't want to do it.
And also in my area, when the cosmetic dental revolution came along, I'm from Kansas, I'm a Cretan. I think one of the worst patients in the world is when some beautiful woman walks in with 30 pages of instructions on how her anterior teeth should look. You're looking at this beautiful woman and you're just like who could even care? If I had to be a cosmetic dentist on high maintenance women wanting veneers, I would shred my own license.
Gina: I would rather do pedo.
Howard: What's that?
Gina: I would rather do pedo.
Howard: You would rather do pedo. And then there's people that don't like blood and guts and I still, my happiest thing is the emergency room. I mean I like to go in there, someone's in pain, they couldn't go to sleep last night, I got to remove a tooth or do a root canal. I just like blood and guts. Stay true to yourself, do what you want to do. You say practice management 3 Ps. People, processes and product. Explain what you mean by that, 3 Ps.
Gina: You just named them people, process and product. Now, as dentists we're very technical so we tend to focus on a product a lot. We have, we want to make sure our margins are sealed and the crown is fit and looks good. Of course you've got to have the product. But you know what, you can put a banner outside of the office that says, "best margins in town" and that's not going to get a phone ring because patients don't know whether you have the best margins in town.
They don't know what your dentistry is like. They assume everything is great, until something falls out. The only way they can judge you is by how clean your bathrooms are, or how nice your receptionist is. It still blows me away. I have new patients come to my office and they'll say things like, "wow, your office is so clean and everyone is so nice". You look at my Yelp reviews, every single Yelp review, that's what they say. No one said, "oh you know the margin was so close and the cement was great".
As business owners, when we're dentists we focus on a product. But when we're business owners, we need to focus on creating processes that impress our patients and that make simple systems that work every single time, that are reproducible systems that anyone can do in the office. And we need to focus on hiring the best, the most amazing people. And then we have to train them. It blows me away, I see there's a business manager running a million dollar practice and she never had any business training. Or a doctor puts all of this money into marketing, and the receptionist is the person who answers the phone.
That most important person that sets the impression for the practice never had any phone training. That's what I mean by that. You bring the best people, you create processes, and keep an eye on the product.
Howard: I think it was amazing how out of nowhere Jay Guyres started the scheduling institute and built up a multi million dollar business because he could actually spot, all he saw was this. All the dentists went to 8 years of college, I just went to 4, all the assistants went to 1. But the most important person up front didn't go to 1 day of school. He would start calling their offices and he was blown away. Then he figured out that, when you do your marketing it'd have to take 4 to 8 incoming calls before Margaret could close 1 and get someone scheduled to come in. How much is a crown? A thousand dollars. Okay, thank you very much, and they'd hang up.
Just amazing. How do you train your most important people, which is the business people, the front desk, the receptionist?
Gina: I'm a huge fan of Sandy Purdue so my team's been to many of her seminars. We took our team to Baton Rouge. It was probably the best training. I mean they're, just to watch their faces lit up as they were listening to her. That's absolutely amazing. They've been to your courses, probably quite a few times. I brought them to Dental Town meeting. We have frequent meetings at the office. There's just so many different opportunities out there and you've got to take them. You've got to train your team.
Howard: I got to take credit for Sandy Purdue because she was born on Dental Town. Did you know that? She was just the receptionist who logged onto Dental Town and start answering questions and now here it is 25 years later and she is the biggest name in practice management. Love her to death. Tell people, you took all your staff to go see Sandy Purdue, tell them, it was a 2 day course?
Gina: It was a 2 day course.
Howard: What low hanging fruit did Sandy teach them?
Gina: Oh my gosh, you know what, I don't know that I'd want to give away her farm, but there's 1 thing that I've been talking a lot about. With so many automated equipment confirmations companies, including my own, I think a lot of doctor stamps have put their equipment confirmations on auto pilots, or they say things like, "never print your recall list again, we'll take care of it, we'll automate it". Meanwhile, patients are not responding to those calls, or postcards. They really need for someone from the office to pick up the phone, reach out and say, "hey, we haven't seen you in a while". This is where Sandy really teaches your team members how to handle those patients.
We all want more new patients and meanwhile our patients are walking out of the door. If you want to close your back door, bring those patients to Sandy.
Howard: What I love about Sandy, it seems like the best people in customer service, they always come from small town rural America. She's just a Louisiana girl, just down home country girl. I look at most of the great companies in America, like Walmart started in Bentonville. Those policies, Sam pioneered the policy of taking back returns. They wouldn't do that in the big city. But when you're a town of 5,000 and you sell Mopsy a pair of high heeled shoe and the heel falls off 3 days later and she brings it back to you, you're taking it back. That's what real good people do.
Those are the policies that turned them into billion dollar companies. Everybody knows you also for Yappy, yet another practice management, what was the I?
Gina: Practice information software. Yes another practice information software. It was a working name when we first came up with it and it really stuck.
Howard: That's a huge venture you did.
Gina: Yes it was, it is. It's amazing.
Howard: Everybody I know, I'm not blowing smoke, everybody I know that knows you loves you to death. You don't have any body who goes, "oh yeah, she's a nice girl", it's like, "oh my God, I love her". It's the same thing with Yappy, all of your users, they're raving fans. So someone's driving to work right now, they've never heard of Yappy. What is Yappy? Why did you start it? What does it do? Walk them through that memory lane.
Gina: Yappy's a business automation software. You see we're talking just now a lot about having amazing people. Our goal with Yappy is to automate so many of the mundane processes so that your amazing people could do what they need to do best. Your sales and marketing and running your practice. What we found is that there are a lot of things throughout the day that your front office or the back office people will have to do on a computer and computer really was just nothing more than a storage device.
A lot of dentists are chartless. Instead of storing information in a paper chart, they store it in the computerized chart. But that information just sits there idle. What we wanted to do, we wanted to create a true paperless environment and paperless is datacentric. We wanted the data to work for the dentist. In the old days you would have your front office print a whole bunch of routing slips and then sit there with a highlighter and highlight their birthdays, balances, things to do and some actionable things for the day.
What we wanted to do with Yappy, we said look, the information is in the practice management software, it's sitting there in Dentrix, Legalsoft, Opendental. What we want to do, we want to bring it to the surface. When that patient walks into the office, there's a popup on my receptionist screen that says, "collect the missing email", or "collect the balance". You can look up this information in advance. We have something called a virtual huddle where you literally, 1 tap on an I-pad and you have all this information about your upcoming day.
Balances to be collected, patients who are in the office without scheduled appointments for hygiene. It's something that really frees up your staff's time so that they can do the more amazing things. We do appointment confirmations. We do recall. We create, we have a dashboard with lots of information about patients coming in. Their times in the office is tracked. We can see, you know are you, how long your patients are waiting? Whether you're improving your wait time or not? We can see how long patients are in the operatory. It really is a tool for doctors to improve, and of course, it's paperless.
Patients can fill out information on an I-pad. They sign consent forms on an I-pad. They can actually read them. On the I-pad nowadays costs just a little more than a signature pad. For patients it's an amazing thing to be able to read what they sign. Any paper that can be printed can be signed with an I-pad, and that's great. For example, when a patient schedules an appointment, and as soon as that appointment is placed on the books, that patient receives an email with a link to the website where they fill out the paperwork on the website, and the information goes directly into Yappy. Receptionist receives the information, looks at it, says okay great, presses a button, it all goes to Opendental.
No scanning, no printing, no shredding, no data entry. That's what we wanted to accomplish.
Howard: You just said Opendental, so Opendental is your practice management system, and then Yappy would be an extra layer, basically another layer?
Howard: How long have you been on Opendental because I thought you were on Softdent?
Gina: I'm actually using Dentrix in my practice, but we work with many different softwares. Eagles, Dentrix, we work with a lot of software.
Howard: You use Dentrix, but you said Opendental?
Gina: It could be Opendental...
Howard: You own Yappy and you own this 100%, right, you do?
Gina: I do.
Howard: If some kid was coming out of school now and said, "what practice management information software", knowing what you know, what would you recommend? I mean Henry Shine owns Dentrix. Patterson owns Eagle Soft. Carastream owns Softdent and practice works, there's opendental, what would you recommend?
Gina: I'm a huge fan of Opendental. It's easy, it's well written. It has a great entry point. A new kid graduating from dental school doesn't need to make a huge investment into software. You can have this great software at a very reasonable entry point. I believe it's maybe like $100 a month or so. It's a great, I'm a big fan.
Howard: Opendental seems to have, on Dental Town, which is coming up on 200,000 members. It seems like a lot of the threads on Dentrix and Eaglesoft are more complaining threads. Would you agree that's a fair assessment? And the ones on Opendental are more raving fan threads?
Howard: Did you say absolutely?
Howard: Yeah, I agree.
Gina: I think your, on Dental Town you have very technology savvy following. I think they probably gravitate to this great software.
Howard: Opendental, you say you can get into that for about $100 a month?
Gina: I believe so, I'm not 100% sure.
Howard: What would Dentrix or Eaglesoft cost?
Gina: I don't know. I'm guessing you would have to purchase the entire software and I know it would be a lot more. I don't know what they run for.
Howard: Thousands of dollars though? I agree. But you know what. I know you know this from my rants on Dental Town, but don't you think it's funny they call it practice management software, when it doesn't do payroll, it can't give you a balance sheet, a statement of income, a statement of cash flow. It can't even write a check to pay for itself. I mean can you believe that. You know what I wish everybody would do? I wish everybody when they would come in and they would ask for their supplies, they'd say here's your shine, I sold you Dentrix, I'm here to pick up the $5,000 for my deal.
Oh, I'll write that on Dentrix. Oh, I'm sorry, I can't write you a check, sorry. I bought the software from you and I can't pay you. Do you think that's an oxymoron to call it practice management software?
Gina: Yeah, it should be called patient management software, not practice management software. You and I we talked about the challenging, some of these companies are experiencing. What I want to see is I want to see more dentists demanding those tools. Again, you and I spoke about this. If Steve Jobs waited for someone to demand an I-phone, the I-phone would have never happened because I-phone could have only been born in the mind of a genius. I wish a lot of those companies would come up with more creative products.
I think what they're doing is they're providing what the marketplace is asking for. One way to push them towards that direction is for the marketplace to turn around and say, "we want practice management software, we want those tools, we want information". [crosstalk 00:26:54]
Howard: I still think the most dangerous thing in dentistry is, nobody knows their costs. I mean they'll sign up for a PPO plan having no idea if they'll make money or lose money on the deal, but they're monkeys so they think if they're busy and they're working really hard and they're running behind and they go home tired, that that's all a good thing. They'll go in there and they'll do a filling for 250, paid by Metlife and they don't even know if they made 1 penny on it or not. Dentists are so smart. They got "As" in calculus and physics and geometry. They know how many ATP come out of glucose on a [inaudible 00:27:30] cycle and then they walk out of a room and did a DO composite on 4 and you say, "buddy did you make 18 dollars or lose 28"? They're like, "I have no idea".
Gina: Not enough information.
Howard: Brought to you by Dentrix and Shine, you know what I mean? No idea, brought to you by Patterson. I mean it's just crazy. In fact the smartest supply company was Benco, they wouldn't even get into the game. Benco said we're not even going to get into practice management software because of all these reasons that it's very misleading. Anyway, I could rant on that for the rest of my life. Hopefully someday the dentists will make that change. I'm always going to be an optimist. You say leaders spend just as much energy on finding, training and retaining great people and designing process that work?
Gina: Yes, okay Peter Drucker, the father of modern management theory says that "management is nothing more than hiring great people, asking lots of questions, getting on the same side of the desk as the customer, and focusing on opportunities". Essentially it's just that simple. It doesn't have to be any more complicated. There's actually going to be a great book coming out. I can't wait to read it. Uncomplicated Business by this crazy guy from Phoenix, Arizona, you might have heard of him. Here's what happens with a lot of doctors, I think, is you know when it gets hard, when leadership gets hard, when management gets hard they say, "well, I don't know. I'm a dentist. Maybe I'll bring a consultant. It's not my thing".
Reality is, if you just take the time to learn how to be a better leader, a better manager, then it's just going to be like that crown prep. My first crown prep probably took 5 hours because I was removing 1 enamel at a time. It's gotten better. The same thing with leadership. You have to teach your team to make great decisions. When they come to you with a question, I always say, "my door's open. Any time you get stuck, come to me. But don't just show up with a question. Give me some solutions. I want to see your thought process. I will help you, I promise". It doesn't have to be a good solution. It just helps them troubleshoot and that way I don't have to micro manage every single decision that they make.
Howard: You know what I'd like to see you do? Your Yappy is really an extension of your creativity trying to put order into the chaos of a dental office where we're limited by such horrible software from Dentrix and Eaglesoft and Softdent and all of that stuff. Yappy was really born in the creative genius of your mind, you should create an online CE course for Dental Town that goes through all of the features and the functions of Yappy because it really wouldn't be a [inaudible 00:30:28]
It would be a [inaudible 00:30:28] is someone watching said, "wow, I'd like to have all of that stuff". Even if the person didn't want to buy Yappy or have any of those automated functions, they would get to see your reasoning because you own the company. You actually paid someone to write the code to do this. You explained why it was important, not what each feature is, but why is that important. I think you could explain practice management so eloquently just going by all the features. How old is Yappy, how long have you owned it?
Gina: 6 years.
Howard: 6 years?
Gina: 6 years.
Howard: You have 6 years of thinking so purposely on all of these little details that have nothing to do with [inaudible 00:31:14] or a retro fill or a bone grafting or an implant.
Gina: I almost never thing about bone grafts or an implant.
Howard: I would like to see, I would like to see the course on why, showing the feature that Yappy does, but not in a sales piece way. But in a way, well Gina, why is this important? Why would you even want to track that? Why would you need that note? Why would this bother your creative mind enough to have a programmer sit down and make this? I think that would be an amazing, because these 5,000 kids that walked out of dental school, how much practice management education do you think they got?
Howard: How many of them just learned to log onto Quicken and generate payroll?
Howard: How many of them will know the difference between a statement of income, a statement of cash flow, and a balance sheet.
Howard: And then they'll think their Patterson rep is their Godsend and then they'll sell them Eaglesoft which basically won't even tell them which way's north or south or if they made money, lost money, just nothing. You, that would be, that might be the most amazing prac5ice management these graduates ever learned, was you going through. You might not even be able to do it in an hour. That might be 1 of a 3 part series. I think that would be amazing. How many dental offices do you have now?
Howard: 2 offices, 2 group practices. Do you have any partners, or are they all associates?
Gina: All associates.
Howard: You and I agree on that, that when you marry a person and you have sex and children and babies that that fills half the time. But when you marry a dentist you don't have all those social glues of sex and children and holidays and vacations and those fail just as often as a marriage does. Would you ever marry a partner dentist?
Gina: You know what I remember talking to 1 transition consultant and he said that he dissolves more partnerships than he ever helps put together.
Howard: Was that Jason?
Gina: He's not anyone from Dental Town.
Howard: Okay, but he said he dissolves more partnerships than puts together?
Gina: Yeah. I think it's sad. I like to have my own show. I don't know if partnership is really something that is going to work for me.
Howard: I still think it goes into our evolution. The 400 pound gorilla is programmed to control the herd and nobody comes down out of the trees and walks across the plains until the 400 pound gorilla nods. Now you're saying, well let's get 2 400 pound gorillas and get them married. Well, they're programmed to fight each other. You put 2 400 pounds gorillas together, what are they going to do? They're not going to sit there and let's dance and get along. They're not even programmed that way.
I've also heard this on the corporate dentistry world. These chains that have hundreds of offices, when they go in and put in 1 doctor, 6 operatory, 2 assistants, 2 hygienists, 2 front, they have no management problems. Then they try to get a little bit bigger and they'll go to like 12 ops, they'll have 2 doctors, and the minute they go to 2 doctors, the chaos just goes through the roof. You have these dental assistants are saying, they're looking at 2 different 400 pound gorillas and they'll say, well Gina always does it this way. Well, Howard always does it this way. Well, Gina does it this way.
They're programmed to follow their 400 pound gorilla and it's just management chaos. You're saying you're the only 400 pound gorilla in your office?
Howard: It's probably closer to 40 pounds, but I make up for it. I got your extra 100 pounds. What clinical dentistry do you get into, or do you have associates do clinical stuff that you don't like to do, but your office in general, what clinical do you provide and, of that, what do you do versus your associates or refer to specialists?
Gina: My office I like to be 1 stop for the whole family under the same roof. I got into having my own office because I wanted to lower barriers to care. I thought that having specialists and having general dentists providing a variety of services under the same roof is going to facilitate care for a lot of people and also have better cooperation between doctors. I think we have 2 dentists working. We have a root canal specialist. We do implants. Crown lengthenings, bone grafts. We do some ortho, Invisalign.
Of course general dentistry. I do mostly restorative.
Howard: How many different types of specialists do you have rotating through there?
Howard: Do you pay the specialists and the associates the same type of deal, or is everybody on a different negotiated plan?
Gina: Everyone is different.
Howard: Everyone is different, so there's no one size fits all for all the specialties?
Gina: No, and because they bring different things to the table. My [inaudible 00:36:27] brings his own implants and supplies and general dentists don't. It's slightly different for everyone.
Howard: Do you put anybody to sleep?
Howard: You don't have any IV stations?
Gina: We used to, we used to. I used to have a nurse anesthesiologist actually come out to the office. It's something that we got out of. We got really busy and it's not something that I want to be involved with right now.
Howard: We used to do that and we stopped because all of a sudden the malpractice people decided that that was a real high liability because you can make money on doing IV sedations. Say you did 1 every week for 40 years, but then you had 1 guy die. That would be a disaster. We used to do that and then our malpractice told us if we were going to continue doing that, my malpractice premium would go from like $1600 a year to like $80,000 a year. We said, okay, we're done with that.
You know that lawyer you're talking about that dissolves partnerships? Will you email me his contact information? I would love to see if he would do a podcast. The reason I want to do a podcast on that is there's so much noise about you should do a partnership, brought to you by people who make money selling partnerships. I always feel it's a journalist's job to bring you that information you're not going to make money off this. There's 2 sides to every story. What if someone wants to learn about Yappy?
What's the best way to demo Yappy?
Gina: We do internet demos. It takes about 20 minutes and you can request the demo at our website, yappycentral.com.
Howard: Yappycentral.com? So I take it Yappy.com was already taken? Y-A-P-I.com.
Gina: It was taken. It's meaning something in some other language.
Howard: It sounds Yaqui Indian.
Gina: Probably something along those lines.
Howard: If you go to yappycentral, Y-A-P-Icentral.com, there would be a demo on that?
Gina: Yeah, there's a little cartoon demo that shows a part of our product and then you can request a live demo with one of our trainers.
Howard: And you're dentist.com, that's for your dental office?
Gina: That's my personal webstie.
Howard: That's your personal website, or your dental office website?
Gina: My dental, I'm sorry, my dental website. Anyone who wants to contact me, I am on Dental Town every single day. I am, it's like a job. PM me and I will actually respond.
Howard: Take us through your private message, what are your top 3 most common private messages?
Gina: A lot of people ask about Yapi. I also hear a lot of questions from...
Howard: But what are they asking about Yapi? Is it more of the same that, once Shein took Dentrix and once Patterson took Eaglesoft, they left so much on the table that you had all these other businesses pop up, like DemandForce, like Lighthouse. Things that you just would have thought would have been in Dentrix. Are they asking you about Yapi because their practice management system is inadequate? Also, what would you say to somebody who said, "well what's the difference between Yapi and Lighthouse, or Demandforce, or some of these things that you hear about"? What do you call those types of softwares, like mid range?
Gina: Softwares of service. It's an add on software, piggyback software. I think that there's not a lot of difference except that Yapi's probably a lot more comprehensive product. We do some of the things that they do, most of the things that Lighthouse or Demandforce does, but we also do a lot more. Actually some of the most common PM on Dental Town to me is, I wish Yapi also did this, I wish it also did this. Because there's definitely a lot of need out there for business software.
Howard: Do you agree that if you did a practice management course, walking through all of those features that you were passionate enough to program, because in economics, when I think of you and Yapi versus, remember back in the '80s the big rage was focus groups. They were doing all of these focus groups. They only lasted for about 10 years and the Fortune 500 cancelled them all because people would always say things that they think you want to hear and then they would never show up in the marketplace.
Like they would say, "would you pay 1 penny extra if it was made in the United States and not Communist China"? "Oh, absolutely". Then you'd take them to Walmart and go, "would you pay 1 penny extra if it was made from recycled stuff instead of seal's moms"? They're like, "oh, absolutely". But when they go to Walmart, they just buy only on price. There tended to be no relationship between what monkeys would tell you and how they would shop at the store, so they lost them all. What I like about your practice management is, you probably for every feature you program, that was probably the low hanging fruit of 10 things your programmer could be working on.
In 6 years these would have been things in your office that mean the most to you. And walking through each one of those, don't you think that would be pretty powerful?
Gina: Absolutely, and we have actually some pretty exciting additional things in the works and, for me, it's always been about addressing my pain points as a business owner, as a practice owner. I think a course would be amazing. It would be so much fun. It's something that I definitely want to, I'm going to call Howard, the other Howard and talk to him about this so that would be fun.
Howard: How long do you think you could do it? You think it would be an hour course, a 3 part series?
Gina: I could talk forever.
Howard: Well no because what you and I are trying to do is correct a market failure. These kids walk out of dental school and the undergrad people just are convinced that they need to learn calculus, geometry and trig, but not Quicken or accounting. I don't know who makes these decisions, but these kids walk out of school exhausted and they have no idea what they're doing. Now it's got to be a free market solution like us to go in there and say, "I'm sorry you had to learn geometry. I apologize you had to learn trig. I wish I could go in there and delete everything I know of the creb cycle out of my head to free up some space for anything". I don't know if you could teach them all of that in an hour.
How long do you think it would take to teach someone? I'm thinking this could be a curriculum. This could be maybe a 6 part series, 1 hour each to actually download, dump Gina's mind into a graduate that just walked out of school on the business of dentistry. I mean, you can't do that in an hour. I don't think you could do it in 3 hours.
Gina: No, I don't think I could do it in 3 hours. Honestly I have no idea. I've never tried to get it all out of my head and into 1 small bucket or page.
Howard: Take as long as you want and do it as long as you want and I think it would be great. Sandy Purdue, if you're listening to this, Sandy darling, you promised me that you would hold your 2 day course in Phoenix, Arizona. What's that?
Gina: I'm coming, if she's going to Arizona, I'm coming.
Howard: Okay, because there's 6500 dentists in Arizona and half of them are in Phoenix. I don't know if you realize this, Gina, but Phoenix is, it's only a million people, but the metro is 4.4 million people with 3500 dentists. Sandy Purdue, if you're listening and you email her to that we're talking about her. She told me that she would come to Phoenix and do her 2 day course. I want to bring my crew. That would just be amazing. I love Sandy to death. So what else did you want to talk about today?
Gina: You keep bringing up those kids that are graduating from school. It doesn't matter whether you're a kid graduating from school, you've been doing this for awhile and maybe you're losing some energy. I think the best advice anyone ever given me is to surround yourself with positive people. There's so many of those sky's falling, gloom and doom threats in Dental Town and GSO's and HMO's and Yelp and what have you. You really got to be around people that infuse positive energy into you, that make you believe that things are possible, that make you dream bigger.
If not, if you just reading those threats about DSO's, then you put yourself in a position when you have no option, you just have to go there. So, surround yourself with positive people. Another thing, and I love what you say, failure is feedback. Don't be so risk adverse. Don' be scared. Nike thing, just do it. As you're doing this you're not going to have all the information, but if you think you want something really bad, just go for it, do it, learn from your mistakes, it's not going to be the end of the world.
You're going to learn something and it's going to be amazing.
Howard: You know I think I'm starting to call that, "the sky's falling", the human condition because I notice my family was crazy Catholic. I mean my 2 older sisters became nuns straight out of high school. When you go into religion, it's the 80/20 rule. About 20% think the end of the world's in their lifetime, the Great Rapture. Every time they open their mouth, it's the Rapture and the end of the world. Then I became an MBA. Same thing, it's the 80/20 rule. About 20% of the economists, the whole market's going to collapse.
They tell you all the risks and derivatives and the sky was always falling. Here I've been out of that MBA program for a decade and it's the same ones who are still up there everyday preaching the end of the world is coming in economics. Then you go into dentistry, it's the same 80/20. 20% of the dentists think that Heartland and Pacific Dental are going to be Walgreens and the CVC and we're all going to lose our business. When we got out of school, remember, it was capitation. Capitation was the big evil monster, remember that?
Now capitation's gone. You're right. 20%, at least 20% of all the talking monkeys on earth are completely bat shit crazy. You are probably going to think of product of about the 5 people that you hang around with the most. If you hang around with positive charismatic exciting people that have just got the world by the tail, life is so fun and eagles fly with eagles and turkeys fly with turkeys and if you hang around with 5 people and one's a priest who thinks the Rapture is going to be Monday and one's an economist who thinks it will be the Great Depression on Tuesday.
One thinks we'll all work for Rick Workman by Friday, then life can be very dreary.
Gina: Absolutely, there's 5 CVS offices right in my backyard. We started Yapi in 2008, can you think of a worse year to start a business. You know what, it's been a great ride. It's been a great ride. I have amazing family and friends who are supporting me and it's been, oh my goodness, my Shepherd.
Howard: Oh what a beautiful Shepherd. Don't be embarrassed of your dog, that's a beautiful dog. A German Shepherd.
Gina: A German Shepherd, yes. You know, I'm Russian, he's German, we get along great.
Howard: Are you German too, I thought you were Russian?
Howard: Oh, so you're Russian and it's a German and you get along great. Now that's a positive attitude. Not many Russians get along good with Germans.
Gina: I think he wants to be a part of this podcast.
Howard: It's funny about the dog. Do you realize that every dog that's ever came out, when we were little, the German Shepherd was the mean dog. And then it was the Doberman Pinscher. Now it's the Rotweiler. There's always some new dog who's not going to be very nice and then they always find out 20 years later, if you raise them nice, they're good with newborn babies. If you raise them bad, all bad people. I also thought the most interesting thing about dogs is how many people who don't have children and their dogs are more well behaved than at least half the people that have children.
It's like why is it that people who don't even have kids have better trained dogs than half the people that do have children, they can't even train their children.
Gina: Very true, very true.
Howard: We are out of time. No, no, no, we have more time. I'm sorry. I thought that was 59, it's only 49. So you're going to do this Yapi module and you're going to put up that curriculum?
Gina: Yes, I will. I think it sounds amazing. Actually one of the requests that we get from our users who said they also want a training seminar and I think that would be amazing for them and for their team members to see that we're not just doing things, there's a purpose, there's best practices, there's a reason to the madness. I think it's going to be a fun course.
Howard: You haven't put one of those on together yet?
Gina: Not for Dental Town, no.
Howard: A training seminar?
Gina: For Dental town, no.
Howard: Oh, you're talking about a digital?
Howard: You're looking at stuff, you got to go?
Gina: No, no, no, I'm going to close the door so he stops coming in. Sorry about that.
Howard: On your last 10 minutes I want to ask you a question that a lot of these kids are stressed with. I'm just trying to ask the questions I see the most on Dental Town, I get the most. One of the biggest questions I'm getting is, "Howard, I just walked out of school for $250,000, to be a great dentist do I need to spend $150,000 on a CAD cam and another $150,000 on a CBCT and another $75,000 on a [inaudible 00:51:01] laser.
Do I need to take my dental school debt and double it so I can be good like Gina too?
Gina: First of all, let's talk about dental school debt because that's one of those subjects that does come up a lot. I know that kids are stressed out. They're graduating with a $500,000 loan, but think about it. They're going to graduate, they're going to start working. They're going to probably make 450, 500 a day just to get started. When I graduated, my loan was $260,000 and I was probably making $300 a day and I'm debt free now. I didn't get into any fancy toys or technology. It's not the high tech, it's the high touch.
That's where the money is. Any dentist who wants to be successful has to learn people skills. You have to make every person in your chair is going to feel like a million bucks, and that's where you find success. You know what, stop stressing about the school loan. I mean, would you rather be the guy with the school loan and an awesome education, or would you rather have no education, no loan, no prospects. Which one do you want to be?
Howard: I just wish I would have married 1 of the girls in my dental school class. I don't know how I missed that. That was just like, what the hell was I thinking? I went for beauty instead of marrying a dental degree. What about specifics, though. Cad cam, do you use Cad cam?
Gina: I do not. Like I said, my practice is actually very simple. We're all about relationships. It's not to say that I don't use technology. You know what I believe is absolutely the best technology a dentist can open, can own, is an [inaudible 00:52:46] camera. I bought my first one for like $15,000, but now I buy them on ebay for $125 and there's 1 in every operatory. You know it's actually amazing because I walk in to do a hygiene exam for example, and I go in and I'm like, "oh, it's Holly, how are the kids, are you having a great summer, so how was your exam, how was your cleaning". The hygienist will say, "well, you know, he does really well. He started flossing a little more and I'm happy, but I did notice this 1 tooth so I looked at the picture of it and I showed it to Louis. I'm not a dentist, but I just don't like how dark it is so I told him that you would come in and take a look".
I look at it and I say, "yeah, and Louis is like what do you think, what do you think, should we do something about it, how are you going to fix my tooth"? I say, "well, I think we should act on it. We should protect it. We're going to put a crown. We're going to make sure that this fracture doesn't propagate". I really didn't do anything. Between my awesome hygienist and my [inaudible 00:54:01], the patient really just decided on a treatment himself. Then I'm going to take him to my front office, Shauna and she's my people coordinator, and she's going to close the deal. This is as simple as that. That's the best piece of technology.
As far as the other expensive toys, if that's what your practice is, get them. It depends on your practice. It depends on what you can afford.
Howard: But that to me, because what do you charge for a crown in your office in California?
Gina: I take a lot of PPOs. Let's say an average, $800.
Howard: That was the skill, the high touch, the hygienist, that was the $800. It doesn't matter if you're the 9 out of 10 dentists that didn't do it with a CAD cam in office or just took an impression and sent it to the lab and 2 weeks later did a crown seat. Warren Buffet says something interesting. He says, "95% of CEOs go to work everyday and spend all day just trying to figure out how they can raise their overhead".
Gina: Very true.
Howard: He says, "only 5% will go to work every day and say, how can I make more net income than the other day"? Everybody just always tries to make a mountain out of a molehill. What about a 3D xray machine?
Gina: I don't have that either. There's a lab nearby where they can go and get one if we're doing some implants or something. It's really just, it's a lot easier for me. Again, I'm not saying that this is not, I have a digital camera, but that's all. I'm not saying that those aren't necessary. I'm just saying that I don't see a need for it in my practice just yet, that's not where I'm spending the money. When Louis comes back for that crown, my awesome hygienist is going to numb the patient.
My extended function assistant is going to take care of the cord and the impression. My team is my asset. This is where I'm putting everything that I have. I have good tools. I have fun toys, but I'm not necessarily getting all of them.
Howard: But look where Gina's putting her money in, she built a second office.
Gina: I did.
Howard: Some people will buy a CAD cam and a CBCT and a laser, Gina goes out and builds another dental office. How do you like having, now that you're 2 practices instead of 1? Do you split your time both ways, or are you just in 1 office and the other one's ran by an office manager? How does that logistically work for you?
Gina: Yes, the other office I'm pretty much absentee owner. I go in, I have really good team there. Actually several of them came from the original office, so I worked with them for years. They know my practices. If you have great people, the rest will fall into place.
Howard: So you got out of school in 2000, so you've been out of school 15 years. Do you think in 5 more years you'll have 3 offices? In 10 more years will you have 4? What are you thinking right now?
Gina: Right now I'm really excited about Yapi. I love being a dentist and I love having this playground, this lab. I don't really see myself getting out of dentistry, but I really want to do amazing things with Yapi and so that's probably where the focus is going to be for the next couple of years.
Howard: I think you should do that. I think that your position primed to be a rock star, woman, business owner, role model for the 45% of the graduating class that are all women now. They do not want to look up at their elders and see a bunch of guys that look like me. They want to see the girls like you. There's girls like you crushing it who are role models for guys like me. I really think you should, you know what we don't have on the internet? You know what, I'll challenge you this.
In America, whenever you tell me they're the best, you can usually take out the word best and put first and it works. Like Coke's better than Pepsi, well Coke started 12 years earlier. If I say, "what's the greatest University in America"? You'll say, "Harvard", which was the first university. And first to marketplace is a damned good strategy. I think right now we are entering an age where all the big brands like say Brand Mark or Carl Mesh or Gordon Christian, they built their brands doing these dog and pony shows every weekend for 40 years.
Dr. Brand Mark just died. He built that reputation by sleeping in 8,000 Holiday Inns around the world, you know what I mean? Nobody has ever put up the first online practice management curriculum. There's 2 million dentists on earth and they're just as starving for this information in Catmandu as they are in Kansas, because I've been there. I think it would just be amazing for you to come out with the first full curriculum. Like I say, I think your curriculum would be best because each one of those features, you probably had 15 things you wanted to program.
For 6 years, think of the clarity of each decision you've made by saying, "okay, well there's 15 things our programs are working on, but the next thing we're going to work on is this", because this is important to your creative mind, why? And walking through all of that would be a powerful transfer of knowledge.
Gina: Thank you. Definitely worth working on. You gave me a big to do list. I don't know if you realize this.
Howard: We're out of time and what I'm bummed about is I know you as Mopsy named after your cat, but all I saw was the dog, and you didn't tell us his name?
Howard: How do you spell it?
Howard: Like Axel Rose?
Gina: Like Axel Rose.
Howard: From Guns and Roses? Did you name him after Guns and Roses?
Gina: I'm a rocker.
Howard: You named him after Guns and Roses. Were you stoned, or drunk on Jack Daniels when you named your dog Axel Rose? Well Gina, we're out of time. I'm a huge fan of your 4,000 posts on Dental Town, going all the way back to day 1, 2000. I think of you as my sister. It seems like we both grew up the last 15 years on Dental Town. I'm a huge fan of your posts. You taught me so much. I know my team always quotes you on there. My President Lauri Zalowsky loves you. My assistant Jan loves you.
You just had a huge influence on my career. Thank you for all that you've done for me and my team personally. Thank you for sharing 4,000 posts on Dental Town. That you for Yapi, just thank you for everything you've done for dentistry.
Gina: Thank you for everything you've done. It was great talking to you. Thank you for having me, it's an honor.
Howard: Okay, and are you going to end with a Guns and Roses song? All right, see ya. And, call Sandy Purdue.
Gina: I will.
Howard: And that attorney that dissolves partnerships. Thank you darling.
Gina: Talk to you soon.
Howard: Bye, bye.