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VIDEO - DUwHF #820 - Peter Boulden
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AUDIO - DUwHF #820 - Peter Boulden
Dr. Peter Boulden has been practicing dentistry for over 15 years and has built a very successful, FFS, 3-location enterprise in Atlanta, GA where he was raised his entire life. He is also the owner of a practice in north GA which he acquired but does not do clinical dentistry there. It has seen tremendous growth by using the systems and marketing practices created from his flagship practices in Atlanta - even though it's an insurance driven practice. Dr. Boulden is passionate about both clinical dentistry & the business of dentistry; creating systems and processes, developing marketing programs that WORK, and building an office culture that focuses on the patient’s dental experience. He loves talking about goal setting & work/life balance and sharing these tips and strategies with other dentists. He co-hosts the Bulletproof Dental Practice podcast with Dr. Craig Spodak, together they discuss these topics along with many others pertaining to working within the dental industry. He is married with 3 young kids.
Howard: It is just a huge honor for me today to be podcast interviewing Peter Boulden all the way from Atlanta Georgia. He's been a practicing dentist for over fifteen years and has built a very successful fee for service three location enterprise in Atlanta, Georgia where he was raised his entire life. He is also the owner of a practice in North Georgia which he acquired, but it does not do clinical dentistry there. It has seen tremendous growth by using the systems and marketing practices created from his flagship practice in Atlanta even though it's an insurance driven practice Dr. Boulden is passionate about both clinical dentistry and the business of dentistry creating systems and processes developing marketing programs that work and building an office culture that focuses on the patient's dental experience. He loves talking about goal setting and work life balance and sharing these tips and strategies with other dentists he also co-hosts the bulletproof dental practice podcast with Dr. Craig Spodak together they discussed those topics along with many other pertaining to work within the industry. He is married with three young kids. Dude,
I love your podcast that's why I called and also, what year did you get out of school, you got out 2002?
Peter: Two yep.
Howard: So you've been out fifteen years and what do you think it's like out in Georgia for kids come out of school these days? Your buddy your partner on the podcast Craig's Spodak he's in Florida?
Howard: Where is he in Florida?
Peter: He's in Delray Beach which is you know I guess in this in the South Florida area so definitely competitive space.
Howard: So what's it like in Atlanta, Georgia now? What would you be telling these millennials who are getting ready to graduate next year right now they're working as an associate somewhere, what would it be like starting a dental office today in Atlanta?
Peter: I think it'd be rough. I'm just kidding you know honestly Howard I thought you might touch on this because I've thought about this a lot and I honestly would have told a lot of grads that if I were them I would look at a more rural setting if it felt like it'd be something they could do and the reason I say that is because there's I think there's a lot more opportunity in that kind of setting. I think the quality of life is a little bit better. I think you can make a little bit better. I think you can make more of an impact. I mean, from what I've seen there's just a lot of saturation especially in big cities because unfortunately, everyone wants to go there.
Howard: Yeah and it seems like the only people that go rural are the people that come from rural. The deans of the dental schools have figured it out. At first they thought that, ‘well, if you double supply the dentists it'll spread them all out across the rural places'' and that's just clearly not true if you're born in a Hollywood you're not going to go to Bakersfield and now they're realizing if you want to add some kid to go to a town of five thousand you got to get a kid from that sandbox of five thousand to go to dental school and a lot of the dentists you know everybody always whines you know you're either optimist or a pessimist and you know I got dentist friends who are mad at their dad because they're alcoholics because their dad was an alcoholic. I got other dentist friends that watch their dad being alcoholic and decided age twelve to never have a drink of fire water their entire life and have still never had a drink and I know dentists in small towns that complain well you can't get a hygienist to come to a town of three thousand. I know another dentist that went to the high school and had an essay contest why I want to be a dental hygienist and if you won the essay contest he'd pay your way to go to hygiene school two girls send an essay so he sent them both the hygiene school and bada boom bada boom!
Howard: He’s got two hygienists I think it's a ton of like three thousand. So I mean at some point you got to make your own luck you know?
Peter: I mean it's a little crazy to me. You mentioned that I had to practice in North Georgia I don't work at that I bought that as just an acquisition investment, but literally, they've been telling me like, number one I can't find another dentist and we're at a capacity issue and they're like we can't see a new patient until September I mean I'm sorry seven months from now which to me as a marketing kind, you know that's kind of how I built my business it I'm like, what do you mean we can't see a new patient so it really it really bothers me at the core. So that being said I just you know I could a dentist for you know in town or in Atlanta super quick, but it's just crazy because I don't know I just find it bewildering to me a little bit.
Howard: How far away was this town from Atlanta?
Peter: It’s five or two hours from Atlanta so it's right at the North Carolina border and it's in a town called Blairsville and so it's awesome quality life, awesome people, awesome patients, but you know but to each his own.
Howard: Yeah so your first advice is to be rural. On your podcast, you were talking about so many systems. What systems do you think people listening to you today should be thinking about?
Peter: You know a lot of the systems. There's obviously clinical systems that you need to have on point and you know I'm big on creating manuals and videos and education on that because so I'm going to put it into two silos powered kind of some business systems you know KPIs and all that stuff I can go into and then clinical systems because they have to work in tandem and
so I'm a big proponent of really documenting the process so that people can't go rogue and figure out their own process I want to be the author of that process or at least have my team lead so we have a document that kind of goes around that that we are continually editing almost like a Wikipedia right like for our manual.
Howard: Can my homies see that manual?
Peter: I don't know man.
Howard: Is that proprietary?
Peter: That's been a fifteen-year curation of stuff I feel like that'd be a getting a secret sauce away if there was one I don't know you let me let me think about that
Howard: But for fifteen years, you've had like a word document going of all your protocols and manuals?
Peter: Not for fifteen years, I’d say it would say it’s been within the last three that we've had that going but it's been the culmination obviously of fifteen, some things have been just put into there and then the systems that I would really recommend is from a business standpoint because I know the old adage is, ‘We don't get told a lot of business stuff in dental school.' Which is true and I think a lot of dentists get very unhappy with the fact that once they get out of school they realized to run their own practice the dentistry is only about half the half of their job you know and so you know become versed and become skilled at kind of knowing what to do with running a business it's not just clinical.
Howard: Yeah and you look at you look at these dentists and basically, they say they didn’t learn any business in dental school, but they also didn't learn their politics, their religion, their dye, their food and that the biggest giveaway I see is if your mom and dad own their own business you come out of the gates running if your mom dad were employees and no one talked to business then you know I mean you go to dinner at anybody's house where mom and dad owned the transmission shop or the restaurant or the farm they're always talking about bills, overhead cash flow, but if your mom dad just clocking it out, there's no discussion of it at home.
Peter: One other piece of advice for new grads and I don't know you kind of I know you asked about systems, but you know there's something kind of intangible to talk about as well and so it's kind of like the self-awareness. I just did a podcast with Chris Ramsey, I don't know if you know him, so, Ramsey and Ritter, they're in South Florida and he spoke about one of the most important subjects as I am which is kind of a body language and empathy and kind of having awesome you know chairside manner and stuff like that which I think has been missed a little bit and I think that's the delineating factor if you can have those amazing qualities, that is what makes you an amazing enrolling dentist.
Howard: I couldn't agree more, It's the whole bag of chips. A lot of people ask me well, 'Why didn't you start a chain of dental offices?' and I thought well I didn't think the core competency was the location, the marketing, the advertising, I thought that the only core competency was the dentist and if they had a chair side manner they always made you feel good they always made you secrete oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin and you just like that guy you crushed it, but if you put them in fight or flight you talk down, you blame them and you don't have that chair side manner, they all run and there's not one person in America that knows what any of that alphabet soup shit is behind your name. I mean, you'll get a real estate agent and there's like seven different letters behind their name, no one knows what FAGB, MAGD, DDS, they don't even know what a DMD is.
Peter: Right, exactly.
Howard: And by the way, the DDS is the only real dentist, how you can tell? Now if I put your name in Peter Bolton, DMD in a Microsoft Outlook today, it makes DMD your last name and then Peter Boulden, but if I put Howard Frann DDS it'll put Frann, last comma Howard so it knows DDS is a recognized license.
Peter: According to Microsoft
Howard: And they know that DMD is just you know it's just a joke.
Peter: We need a call Hoke and talk to him, tell him to stop giving those out.
Howard: Well actually, all of the last seven new dental schools all went with DMD.
Peter: You know it’s funny, people always ask me like what's the difference. I'm like I don't know.
Howard: Well there shouldn’t--
Peter: I have no idea.
Howard: They shouldn't confuse the consumer because there are differences with some different last degrees, but if there's not a difference between the degree then you shouldn't confuse the market I think.
Peter: I told people online was just an online degree I got mine--
Howard: From the University of Phoenix online? Is that chair side manner that warm and fuzzy person the lady that just knows how to explain— I mean Einstein always said you know if you got to explain it simply and you know if you can't explain it simply, then you don't understand what you're talking about- do you think that can be taught or is that innate I mean, is that personality already there?
Peter: I think some of its learned and I think some of it's just the gift that God gave you or you know whatever it is, but I also think, unfortunately, that our society with all the technology, people aren't getting as much training real world like you or I had. I mean, the cell phones and that's how we do a lot of our interactions now is just on social media and not out in real world sometimes. So I think that's one of the detriments of technology, but back to your question, I do think it can be learned because I've seen it done by reading books like Robert Cialdini’s book is an awesome one to start with you know the in talking about--
Howard: Influence? What’s the name of his book?
Peter: Robert Cialdini, he’s got two. One's called persuasion and the other one's called, I think influence?
Howard: Yeah he was my teacher at ASU, an MBA school.
Peter: No way.
Howard: Yeah I went to Arizona State University that's where he still lives and I live in Ahwatukee so does he.
Peter: I'm a huge fan of his life, a lot of surprise.
Howard: He won’t come on my damn podcast because he's too damn busy he's like dude I'm too busy. I don't have an hour.
Peter: I bet he is.
Howard: I thought the most important thing in that book was you know when we were little and they had Charlie Brown whenever the adults were talking they always were, “wah wah wah wah” and then I had four babies and I was talking to my Eric so many times, my dad says Howard he doesn't understand 90% of the words you're saying. He's one and he's got like a ten-word vocabulary.
Howard: And I think, 'Wah wah wah wah' and he figured out that the word ‘because’ was the most influential persuasive word because when you're a baby sapien, you hear,'Wah wah wah wah wah because,” and then you're going to do something else and it's already hardwired in their brain that the minute you say because they go from, okay I don't know or care to believe all the reasons, but what I got to do and he has so much research that’s said that you know if you say, come in and buy this because or, when you're talking because of that I mean it was very powerful book.
Peter: Yeah they actually even give an example and I don't know if this was his example but have you ever heard the one where they did an experiment with a grocery line and someone was like, “Hey can I cut in front of you?” and they tested their response and people are like, “no you can't!” and then they tested it with, “Hey can I cut in front you because I'm in a hurry?” and the response was a little bit better, but when they said, “Can I cut in front of you because I'm late?” the response was like ninety percent yes but I don't know if the delineating factor was the ‘because' but I think it falls in that kind of vertical of what you're talking about for sure.
Howard: Yeah. I mean, you just see so many dental offices where they have every three patients come in with a cavity they drill, fill and bill one and that's 80% of practices and then 20%, three people coming with a cavity and they drill, fill and bill two and what's consistent is that nobody gets one out of three because you're dealing with crazy people. I mean, how many hypoglycemics are pre-diabetic or even started taking insulin are still drinking a twelve pack every night you know what I mean? How many how many places that you come in with an oxygen tube and they're smoking outside your office before they come in I mean, they're people you got to love them but they're freakin’ crazy and so, one out of three isn't going to do anything they're told, but the real difference is, are you going to be that do one out of three cavities or two out of three cavities and that's going to come from chair side manner, saying the right words.
Peter: Yeah, the law of thirds. A third always say yes, a third are decided and a third always say no. So really, your enrollment should be at least 66%.
Howard: Yeah, if you can learn that chair side— and then the other thing with the office is that that chair side manner is who's answering the phone and then they come in, it might be the assistant to take him back to the room and then there's the hygienist for an hour so there's like four relationship touch points that just takes one to go south and she's gone.
Peter: 100%, I totally agree that
Howard: So how do you coach your team on your new patient experience, your customer service? I know you're really big into the customer—
Peter: Well I'm into the experience because I think that's where you know— there's a huge talk and you know I'm sure you hear way more than I do even about that the fear of corporate takeover and this and that you know with dentists and stuff like that and I say that really I think the single solo dentist has the advantage. Number one, they have big advantage of being the relationship and the experience because I can beat the pants off of a corporate experience all day long and so, I'm big on creating that experience especially with millennials as they're coming up because they're big on that they're big on the experience and the quality and the value not so much the price point which is what some generations has been I think my generation I guess is with Gen X it was more on what's the cheapest price you know because we were a product of our parents, but I think the upcoming generations are going to value experience and you know the ecosystem and the process much, much more than in other generations of.
Howard: Well I think it's funny how everybody thinks corporate' is the bad guy and corporate is number one, they're the only ones providing all the jobs to the six thousand graduates each year so the graduates are thanking God for corporate. Number two, the only practice you can sell is right at around a sweet spot of about seven hundred fifty thousand plus or minus one hundred so if you build your practice to two or three or four million only Heartland can write you a check today for that so they provide liquidity and what's always best, but no one ever wants their advice is competition. Every fortune five hundred company has been begging Washington to keep out Japanese cars, Germans because they've nobody wants competition and what corporate bringing is competition on hours, availability, better websites, better hours, better command and that’s it. So competition always makes the whole industry healthier.
Peter: Totally agree and I'm not insinuating by any means that corporate is not good batter and different I'm not saying that. I'm just saying that I hear of people being scared a lot of something like, 'Oh well, I'm going to give up. I'm not just going sell because they're going to win.” I'm like well I don't know if that should be your attitude.
Howard: I mean, my gosh what I would fear is if you were across the street, not three corporate dental chains.
Howard: And a lot of these demons that everybody throws at the corporate dental chains is industry-wide like they always say well corporate can't keep their associates. Well, free enterprises can’t keep their associates; go ask all the associates how they like their associate job. I mean, you can measure you can really sum up the whole damn thing in two things macro and micro. Macro, nobody ever stops needing new patients. So most dentists by telling you the five thousand _____[00:17:51 unclear], four thousand are not scheduled for anything on the computer which in my definition, inactive so you go to some man in a small town of Georgia only five thousand people and he practices from 25-65. Forty years! And you go meet him say, “Hey buddy, what do you need?” “I need some new patients.” Dude! You've been here for four decades there are only five thousand people, you've pissed everyone off at least three times.
Peter: Yeah you're done.
Howard: I mean, nobody keeps their customers for life. Every single dental office I've ever seen still needs new patient flow for cash flow so nobody kept their patients. I think corporate keeps them less than that, but that they could be advised. Then why associates don't work, I'll just summarize it to burs. I mean you go into any group practice it doesn't matter if it's a spinner or just one group practice four guys. The assisters are like, okay we have four dentist and every one of them needs seven different burs to do a filling and then they need eight different burs on top of that to do a crown and then you sit down and half the time they're saying, “I can't do it this bur go find me that bur." and they're just like, “Hey could you guys just all agree on a round bur block with five burs for all fillings." and they say you're out of your mind that's impossible I mean what are you going to say next so you just saw a big fly by the window?
So if you can get three dentists in one building to agree on five burs for a filling, how the hell are you going to run corporate dentistry? You can't get dentists to agree on anything.
Peter: Right, right and I don't know if having equity or not having equity is a staying factor these days, but like I know that you know just the churn is what happens in corporate, but obviously you just alluded the fact that it happens in private practice too— failed associate ships just as readily so.
Howard: But you just you just summed it up, it is the equity. The lawyer started group practice fifty years before we did and all these big international law firms and they realize that all their lawyers quit unless you make them partner and so you come in there and you work your ass off for five years, you bring in new business you hustle, you’re humble you, you listen, you get the corporate culture and we decide okay, you're one of us. You're humble, you play nice in the sandbox, you bring new business, you run this thing like an owner, so we're going to make an owner and it's called a partner and that's how they do it in those big consulting firms and then you go work at corporate they say, “Oh you're an employee today and if you stay with me for forty years, you'll still be an employee.
Howard: And so, that didn’t give a--
Peter: That sounded good to no one ever right?
Peter: So obviously, the best business model for corporate I don't think has been discovered yet. It's still evolving.
Peter: No, I think we're going to learn lessons from companies like Amazon and Uber and I think there is going to be an evolution in dentistry it's going to follow suit pretty quickly, but you know our economy, our society has changed and dentistry is the same cottage industry typically that it was since inception.
Howard: If I lined up a hundred and said, what is your biggest problem? What keeps you up at night the most? It's always the people as you ___[00:21:27 unclear] either the employees or the patients, it's usually their employees. My hygienist hates my assistant. I told the whole staff we're going to go bankrupt next week and after the meeting, three of them ask me for a raise.
What is your HR skill? What advice could you give people because they're coming out of an associative job they want to start a noble practice and they're going to have to start hiring some employees they're going to find out that if they thought their family around the Thanksgiving table was crazy and insane, wait till they have a bunch of employees. Would you say employees are crazier than family or would you say they're equally insane?
Peter: I have a big team. I have over thirty-five people and I kind of dig my team and maybe that's the culture that's been created or the culture I created and it just kind of keeps out any kind of bad behavior, but it really is a team effort and I just don't have that drama, I don't even deal with much HR believe it or not.
Howard: Because the fish rots from the head down so just like you have a chair side manner and you love talking to people about what they need, you love your team it's your culture, when there's dysfunction and chaos and whatever there's only you know, Harry S. Truman had a sign on his desk the buck stops here. It's your team so that's just your skin.
Peter: You know organically, Howard like those people who cause a lot of problems end up finding their happiness somewhere else and it wasn't because I did, but the team will alienate them and we'll find that not on purpose or mean, but I mean like if they're just like, “Hey!” Do you remember the Under Armour commercial? Where a long time ago it was like, ‘Who will protect this house?’ It’s all the athletes— no one ever remembers. I did a lecture for Mark Costas and I said this on a stage and everyone kind of looked at me like what? Anyway, there was this commercial and I don't know who the athlete was, but he was yelling at everybody they were training. He was like, “Who will protect this house!” You know and this is our house no one can get into the stadium, Protect this house. So I kind of used the same mentality with my team like you guys have you love where you work right now, protect this house because someone can come in and ruin this environment they can ruin your life that you spend they can ruin half of your life because you spend about that much here so protect this house protect this culture treat it right.
Howard: Yeah that is nice and once you get the culture going if you're in it for fifteen, twenty, thirty, forty years sometimes you'll see a new person come in and start to create a cancer of dysfunction and that's the other thing that the greatest leaders do is when they spot that this person and a lot of times there's nothing wrong with them— you see in the NFL all the time where a player is horrible on this team he gets traded and then he's an all-star.
Peter: He's amazing.
Howard: Yeah so I'm you got to be able to spot it and so many dentists— I always see it my own eyes and I was here about it from staff where you know when the root canal is done he goes to his office and shuts door and there could even be you know a yelling screaming match and sterilization and he walks right past you know he's not involved, he just wants to bury his head in the sand so he doesn't have the natural curiosity or involvement. You know I was talking about the NBA, during the whole NBA and NFL game where's the coach walking with the whole front line up and down the field where's the dentist? Oh, in his office with the door shut.
Peter: Yeah I mean that's a great analogy honestly you're right you I mean I think that's engagement on a whole lot of levels and that's that makes the difference and yeah I mean that makes that makes a whole lot of sense.
Howard: So you talk about goal setting. Do you believe the old cliché that if your goals are written down you're more successful than the guy with the goals not written down?
Peter: A hundred percent a thousand percent I do and not because I like a secret and put it out in the universe kind of bowl, but simply because I think putting your subconscious to work putting your subconscious to work is the most powerful thing that we humans have and I think--
Howard: Putting your subconscious to work?
Peter: Our subconscious.
Howard: Our subconscious to work.
Peter: Yeah so I review sometimes at night to actually utilize my sleep and so I can wake up with sometimes solutions and sometimes I do, but every morning I wake up with a with a sheet of kind of what I want to accomplish either that's the year and I ask myself literally Howard what am I going do today that's going to move the needle forward just a little bit, but I totally believe in writing them down totally. It keeps you accountable to yourself as well.
Howard: Yeah I always say you know lying to other people that’s what monkeys do to survive, but when you start lying to yourself that's the real problem.
Howard: Yeah, what I like about the goals its communication, communication, communication and I love it when people even post their goals on Dentaltown because you know they're trying to put out there that, ‘Hey I'm holding myself to that.’ And they want to create their own environment.
Peter: I like that too and also creating that transparency people always want to align themselves and even the help of that you know like I let my team know some of my goals because I know that they can foster that acceleration faster and vice versa.
Howard: So what creating systems and processes, just go through some of the bulletproof technology like what practice manager software did you go with?
Peter: Eagle soft.
Howard: Eagle soft and their stock just got downgraded today did you see that in the newspaper?
Peter: No, I don't even look at the-- stock market puts me in a bad mood and my day used to live and die by the stock market so I'm not into stock market
Howard: And you know, that's why the podcasts on Dentaltown have been exploding and I am so grateful that you put yours up there because that's what all these millennials— some say I just can't commute an hour to work listening to all this negative news. I mean, if I hear Trump in Russia in Putin and North Korea and Isis one more time I'm going to drive off the road. You listen to us up an hour a day you're in such a bad mood, how can you go in there with a sparkle in your eye and complement your assistant and get that grandma to do it, I mean how could you putting all that negative thought in your head and when they drive to work and they listen to you for an hour they come to work with more bulletproof dental practice ideas I mean it's just the power of positive thinking.
Peter: Yeah I don't listen to that anymore either just because you're right like you can't help even the most positive people if you get the message of doom and gloom all day long from the news or you know the sky is falling like you can't help but be a little negative. I don't really get much value from that and I'm a big value proponent of like if you know I need to make sure I'm getting value with my time and so I'm a big proponent of podcast too even outside of dentistry I'd say half of them I listen to maybe even more outside of the field of Dentistry.
Howard: What are you listening to?
Peter: So I'm a big fan of a guy named Peter Diamandis and he talks about actually the contrary to what you were just talking. He wrote a book called abundance.
Howard: Oh yeah.
Peter: Did you heard of it?
Peter: Man, that's like the greatest book ever. You hear about you know what's on the news and you think this is the worst time in history that we lived in, it's actually the best time on a whole lot of levels; education, health, politics, war like all these things and he dispels that with data and he's kind of just a moon shot thinker so I like just listening to people like that because it gives me my own little micro moonshots in my lane of Dentistry.
Howard: Peter Diamandis.
Howard: Well, the other thing is that the news is you know I always tell my four boys, “Don't spend any time focusing on something that you can't change anything.” I mean, if I thought about the Middle East crisis a hundred hours a day for a thousand years I would have zero point zero impact on it.
Howard: But I can change my house, my boys, my office, my relationships, so if you have no effect on it, you're wasting your time and if you're wasting time— like I waste a lot of my time in football season and I know the NFL is a complete idiotic deal and anybody makes fun of reality TV shows it's like okay well you know reality TVs more intelligent because when you watch reality TV you know why Shonda is mad at Amy. I have no idea.
Peter: Yeah but it's a waste of time. I tell you, my wife's been on several and I've had to partake in a couple and she had a couple series and--
Howard: Your wife is on a reality TV show?
Peter: Yeah two.
Howard: No way.
Peter: Two series, two.
Howard: What were they called?
Peter: So one was on lifetime called pretty wicked moms.
Howard: You can't make this up.
Peter: You can't make it up and they were trying to make wicked like wicked cool but it ended up being like people construed it in a different way and then she was on one on a network called FYI and it was named after her clothing store so her store’s called swank and so it was called get ‘swank'd’ but anyway I had to do appearances all the time on it and they would literally just tell you what to say so I'm reinforcing the fact that reality is definitely not reality.
Howard: Yeah but the point being I was going to say it's like, you know, I have some friends I just don't want to talk about politics because when you talk about politics, your breathing goes up and your arms are flinging and you get mad you get upset, but when you talk about football you don't act that way. I just don't want you to talk about anything that works you up into a frenzy.
Peter: I mean yeah I don't know football people can be just as fanatic especially in the south.
Howard: Yeah but I'll tell you what the craziest sports fans on earth are not in America, it's the soccer crowd.
Howard: Oh my god that's completely at a whole different.
Peter: It makes the entire Brazilian soccer game.
Howard: Yeah sometimes the ref dies I'm serious.
Peter: Some of the fans of the opposing team die like there's literally-- well you've seen all the stuff.
Howard: So Peter Diamandis in abundance and that's a huge in dentistry too because when you're a little kid and you go to that small town and there are twenty dentists in there, half of them are going to think of fear and scarcity and they wish you didn't come there and they don't want to know you or anything the other half like, "Come on let me buy you a beer, let's talk.” And you'll see each other's patients, you'll go to see e-course together and those guys the problem is another dentist in this town, it's just everybody bought a new $800 iPhone. I mean, this country spends more on hair than teeth so I would just look for a dentist. Same thing with specialists, some orthodontist if you did Invisalign case they wouldn't even look at you at the Study Club. Well, screw that guy. Go find the orthodontist that says, “Hey if you ever have a problem come by my office.”
Peter: Peter Diamandis, going back to him and then I'll tell you about one other guy that I really love his podcast- let's do it daily. Peter Diamandis and a guy named Craig Venter started this thing called human longevity corporation. It's out in La Jolla and because I'm such a fan of him and his acceleration of extending quality of human life to about one hundred twenty is what they're trying to do I went out and had genome mapped in like full body MRI and just to get a ton of data on a body so that just shows you what a raving fan of his I am I kind of just followed like a disciple indicating like,
Howard: That’s Peter Diamandis?
Peter: Well he started the company with a guy named Craig Venter who is a famous geneticist who had a couple huge you know it's a billion-dollar company pretty much now, but anyway that was a cool experience
Howard: And did you post that on Dentaltown?
Howard: I wish you did. Did they go through your DNA and find out that you might be susceptible to a certain disease?
Peter: Yes, it wasn't just like twenty-three and I literally had every base pair mapped.
Howard: What did that cost?
Howard: $22,000 and what percent Neanderthal were you?
Peter: So that's a twenty-three and I don't know I was like--
Howard: I was four point five.
Peter: With my family, I was the least Neanderthal even my mom and dad so that was the joke of the family, but you asked me the price now I need to back it up with why I did that because the people are going to be like what the hell. So I thought I had some health issues a long time ago. They thought I had Crohn's and some speculations so I always had this preconceived notion that something was wrong with me and I had to get clarity on my life cycle especially having three kids and stuff like that. And because I come from the background of science—I was a biochem major I really just wanted to get data in my hands and I wasn't getting it through just blood work so that's why I went into next level aggregation of putting bio hacking my own health and so that’s the disclaimer because I know people work what the hell they're spending money like that, but it actually did serve tremendous value for me and there are some other things that came from it but I won't bore you. The other podcast to jump leap subjects is a guy named Gary Vaynerchuk.
Howard: At the wine house guy
Peter: yeah the Wine Library
Howard: yeah library yeah I love that guy
Peter: So he has a askgaryvee show and I'm just a huge fan of him and he's just no-nonsense no bullshit just practical business advice
Howard: And how long is his podcast?
Peter: It's quick. I mean it goes from how long are the actual podcast how long has he been doing it?
Howard: How long are the podcasts?
Peter: I mean they're anywhere from an hour and a half because sometimes he will record his keynote to someone or their twelve-minute rants, but it's pretty awesome you know, I dig his authenticity. Let's just put it that way
Howard: Yeah, you know it's they always say you're a summary of your five best people so if you let these negative people in your life, they’ll just spew all this toxic crap that takes you down and it's so cool that with a smartphone and a TV and a podcast, you can have like Garyvee into your head every day
Peter: Yep I agree so you know those are a couple of my favorites and I didn't mean to spend too that long on that but yeah
Howard: So back to your genome though there was another big breakthrough yesterday did you read that, when almost homo sapien left Africa seventy thousand years ago, that there's probably at least five different groups a sapiens walking around just like there's different groups of tigers I know there's you know there's lions and tigers and cheetahs and Dilma's and they know that Neanderthal was big and that we bred with them and that they're probably four percent of our genes and all that stuff there was another group that they didn't know hardly anything about and they only had a finger bone and two molars, but they found a baby tooth and they were able to get the DNA out of there and it was a two hundred thousand-year-old baby - did you see that story?
Howard: Because it's because the best the hardest substance in the body is the enamel and if you're ever going hide DNA somewhere it'd be in a baby tooth and talk about the most undifferentiated DNA. I mean two hundred thousand-year-old baby tooth reveals clues about mysterious human lineage and it sees a Denisova cave in Siberia. I really have loved reading and following the anthropologists because they have pointed out the most obvious thing which is the entire orthodontic profession none of these malocclusions are found in skeletons going back three hundred years so the question isn't is your daughter class one class two class three does she need for bicuspid extraction it's like how come from three hundred years ago to two hundred thousand years ago, there are no malocclusions and the anthropologists, they're not dentists and they're already saying well you used to throw your daughter a Mastodon bone and she's sitting there trying to chew cartilage off of the bone now you're feeding her applesauce out of a jar there's no forces on her face back in the day you had a nurse for a couple of years today when you start nursing your baby the minute the baby farts or squirms or cries just ask her this switch a bottle with a sippy cup so they're saying these babies have had no force and your baby should be expending energy and sweating when she's eating. She's fighting for that little scraping that marrow out of a bone
Peter: On that Mastodon bones
Howard: Yeah and since we've applied no forces to their face they're messed up and I think that's going be a big market if I was a millennial I’d be an orthodontist I'd be having all these deals in your office in their waiting room come to my presentation so that your baby won't need ortho forget about having to give her ortho let's get in an anthropologist from the school and let's talk about you know how to prevent nurse for a whole year you know give her something she actually has to chew on instead of just you know pure a blended crap in a jar you know
Peter: I think I'm guilty of getting my kids pureed crap in a jar
Howard: Yeah but it really I mean even Karl misused always talk about that stress is just force over area and you need something to spread that face you need something to spread that maxilla and all that kind of stuff so you also talk about a work life balance so your wife owns her own business
Peter: She does
Howard: And you have three kids?
Peter: We do
Howard: So how do you how do you do a work-life balance and why is that important to you because in our generation I mean seriously when I grew up I wanted to see my dad I had to go to Sonic drive-in he was there when I woke up and he was there when I went to bed and he was there seven days a week and there was just most all my friends like if I went over to my friend’s house I mean dad wasn't sitting on the couch he was out in the barn trying to fix a combine there you know back in the day real men worked all day every day
Peter: My wife's favorite restaurant is Sonic she's from rural Mississippi. I'm going tell her that we spoke because every time we're driving somewhere she's like is there a sonic nearby? I'm like, no not even close
Howard: Oh my god that's where I cut my teeth and my dad had five Sonic ______[00:41:15 unclear] and four other ones out you know, Abilene Kansas, Kearney Nebraska, Childress Texas, Louisville Kentucky and I just had no idea how much business I was learning until I got out of dental school and realize there's no difference between the business of burgers and onion rings and the business of fillings and crowns I mean businesses--
Peter: Business is business.
Howard: I know its employees for building relationships with people and customers. It's all the same, we're all the people business
Peter: Yes 100%. So you’re asking about how do I work-life with balance?
Peter: I side tracked you with the sonic _____[00:41:54 unclear] so Howard in 2015 I had a really— I know your podcast is called uncensored, but I don't cuss right?
Howard: No you didn’t cuss all day long man, this is HBO. This is Dentistry uncensored
Peter: It was like the G-rated. I'd tell people, the shittiest year of my life was 2015 I got embezzled from half a million dollars
Peter: I had a partnership breakup of that I had to take my life savings and pay off and business was just crazy and disrupted because of that scenario and my son was born six weeks premature and all this kind of happened within a six month period at the end of 2015 and I was under the most clinical strain meaning I having the biggest clinical year of my life which would sound like a good thing if I wasn't just being pulled in a hundred different directions. so going back to corporate, I was literally about to sell the entire practice at the end of the year because I just couldn't take anymore. I was burnt out, I was done, I had a dislike for dentistry as a whole because of all that was going on so I kept telling myself like you know I'm going to do one more day and I would tell myself that every day because I really literally wanted to quit every day and so I told myself look every day just one step in from the other I'd sit on the end of the bed and be like just do today and let's talk about at the end the day and I've had these conversations with myself. I said alright let's get to the end of the year so this was around Thanksgiving I said, look I can get to the end of the year and once that break hits I'm going reverse engineer my life because my life is controlling me and kicking my ass right now so I'm going take 2016 and kick its ass and totally reverse engineer so I totally modified my schedule and my priorities and all these things to gain control and luckily I had that you know that that couple week period to kind of reverse engineer and totally be systematic about the enroll about the deployment of it
Howard: Wow well let's go through the first. What lessons were learned on embezzlement? What did you learn after getting embezzled that would prevent that second time?
Peter: Oh man don't ever trust someone no matter how much your gut tells you to trust them you know I think
Howard: Was it was an office manager?
Peter: Yep and you know and I always pride myself on being like, oh I know my business and I know this and that and you know unfortunately I was a little distracted because my partner and I were fighting at the time and so you know our eyes were shifted away from balances and checks and all these things so there was an opportunity for a fraud that presented itself just unfortunately organically so the lessons I've learned is to have multiple accountabilities, multiple checks and balances, not one person responsible for a certain role you know so my office manager now is involved in it yes but I also have a bookkeeper that has to check her work and then my CPA has to check all that work and then I check the reconciliation of stuff you know just to make sure everything lines up and because I trusted someone emphatically you know I paid the price
Howard: And we're you able to get criminal or realtor to prosecute?
Peter: It's actually ongoing right now I'm kind of in line apparently there's lot of white-collar crime in Atlanta
Howard: And you know what back in the day when I got out thirty years ago, it was all paper pegboard systems, everything was a check, everything is a hard copy everybody embezzlement says that now that it's all gone digital, there's literally a hundred more ways to embezzle. I know people that can tell you twelve different ways you can embezzle from your boss just with the taking a credit card in the credit card machine. Do you use a CPA that only does dentistry or to use the CPA where you're the only dentist
Peter: Yes I mean I use a CPA that I'm the only dentist, but I'm this is my own personal belief, I don't want to be lumped into because I think it can become very cookie cutter if you're with someone who does that all day every day with the same niche industry so I like to bring different thinking from different industries into dentistry so I've had some dental CPAs and it didn't really work out so well for me
Howard: So how long you been married?
Peter: Nine years
Howard: And how long were you with your partner before you guys broke up?
Peter: Ten years
Howard: Yeah I mean I agree that you know I learned so many positive things from my dad, I watched him go from delivering rainbow bread for ten years, making $11,000 a year and I and my five sisters are so poor, we were so damn poor we didn't know we were poor. I mean, we had no idea we were poor. We didn’t know we were poor until dad quit his job bought a Sonic drive-in franchise and went from making $11,000 to $60,000. When we got to the suburbs, I remember me and my sisters just walking down the neighborhood where all these new houses were and we're just like, are you kidding me. we didn’t know that part of _____[00:47:22 unclear] existed, but the thing I learned the most from him- I mean he was great with so many things, but where'd all his problems come from? His partners and my mom, I heard a thousand lectures from Mom, I wish he had one restaurant where he owned it all why do you have to have nine restaurants with three other guys and it was just it was always a partnership. What I learned the most from my dad is, I don't want a partner. I mean marriages fail and my god you have sex and children and that still doesn't work out half the time so now I got a partner that you don't screw, you have no kids to glue you together and that's going work out? and all the noise about how great partnerships are is because everybody talking about it sells it, they sell the contracts so they're always out there saying come to Disneyland, come to Orlando and get a partner and we do partnerships and then they’ll advertise. dude if you want to marry another dentist you need to see a shrink. rule number one, don't marry a dentist I mean a non-platonic I mean, not two dentists getting married in school, but to male dentists I mean God just little things what if you want to go into cad/cam and cosmetic dentistry and he wants to go into implants, I mean they can't agree on anything
Peter: Well I have to say that I do have another partner. He's not an equal partner, but I did I do have one and it goes back to what we were talking about earlier kind of the equity position and he and I are super aligned with our objectives and there are some other things that make it work but I agree with you that some partnerships are doomed for failure I disagree that all partnerships are bad
Howard: Yeah just like marriage
Howard: Half of them are a nightmare ship wreck and a half of them are dreamboat luxury cruise
Peter: Yep half of them are better because of each other and half of them are worse because of each other
Howard: Yeah and you should only marry a woman who picks you because they seem to pick better mates than men. Men always get the best-looking woman at the Waffle House and Men always sit there say, ‘Does sky have a job does he get along with his mom?’ They're interviewing you like an MBA student would interview you. Men are like, ‘Could you take one more spin in those Jordache jeans? I just want to look one more time.’ I mean it's great well, ____[00:49:57 unclear] classmate thirty percent of the women married a dentist in their class and thirty percent of the men married someone who worked at Walmart or the Waffle House
Peter: Yeah I mean--
Howard: You don’t wanna touch that centuple. How says, ‘Howard you’re an idiot and I’m not gonna acknowledge anything you say.’
Peter: I’ve got nothing to add to that. I'm not saying I've got that figured out either
Howard: So when you say you have a partnership, it sounds like you have an org chart where you own more stock than the other and that's what it comes down to. When you talk about, the dentist spouse works in the office well that's half the time a nightmare and half the time, the best thing ever. If there's an org chart- I mean, you go into the Catholic Church, they have a Pope, a Cardinal, a bishop, a priest a Monsignor where everybody knows their place. You go into the military, he's a general Colonel, I'm infantry that's why I'm cleaning the toilet with my toothbrush so everyone gets it, but they going to a dental office and that the dentist says red and then the dentist's spouse up front says, “no it's blue” or they go into a partnership and you say we're going to do this and the other says, let's go that way. If there's no org chart, it just crumbles down. There has to be an org chart
Peter: Yep I completely agree and you know you need to familiarize yourself with things like drag-along rights. I have certain rights that are inherent to me being the founding partner, but the cool part is the guy who bought in. He's amazing and he knew he bought into my vision just as much as the company
Howard: I like the way that you're humble and hungry I mean, most people that get embezzled from would never even let anybody know. They just keep that secret in the closet. What do you think gives you the self-esteem enough to say, “yeah I got embezzled from, I don't walk on water and I'll admit it.”
Peter: I think I've just learned- I mean I'm forty-one years old I think I've just learned that you got ego is not that cool. I mean there are times when confidence and ego are cool, but other times where– it's life you got to be authentic and transparent otherwise it's all just for show. I don't know it gives me that self-esteem, but I think too that the more that people talk about something the more the other people will feel comfortable talking about something
Howard: So your dental office is in Atlanta and the other one is two hours away. Where's the third one?
Peter: No, so there are three under one brand so one’s in Alpharetta, one’s in Buckhead and one’s in kind of Midtown area under the brand –Atlanta dental spa. There's another one outside of my brain, it's not it's not associated with my brand. It's a completely different entity about two hours away
Howard: So you have three in all– those cities named, they are all suburbs of Atlanta right?
Peter: They're all within fifteen miles of each other
Howard: And where did they film the deliverance that's what I-
Peter: Anywhere that's probably you know
Howard: The Macon County line?
Peter: Isn’t that the (inaudible 53:13)
Howard: No. I forgot you're too young, you probably remember that movie. When I was a kid, the scariest movie that ever came out was the birds and the deliverance and the deliverance was filmed down in Georgia and of the time, it was the scariest movie. Did you ever see it?
Howard: Oh my god so then
Peter: I'm not a huge horror fan I don't like horror movies
Howard: But what's funny is, I was telling my boys that 'The birds with Alfred Hitchcock' was the scariest movie of all time. I didn't realize that they grew up on all this high-tech computer stuff and I remember I was so excited to show them the birds and they're like ten minutes into it, they’re like do we have to watch this and I'm looking at this little black and white movie, but the deliverance just that lasts scene where he goes down with his hand in the water we’re all just, AH!!!
Peter: That was in Georgia it was probably nowhere near Atlanta but–
Howard: But the movie–I think they kept saying it was the Macon Dickson County Line, but anyway so the Atlanta dental spa, what are the three bills? Buckhead–
Peter: Buckhead, Alpharetta which is a basically north of
Howard: So I imagined Buckhead as a deer. What's Alpharetta, a flower plant?
Peter: Alpharetta, I think I have no idea
Howard: Then what's the third one?
Peter: And then Virginia Highlands
Howard: So do you have like a headquarter team of like five people like; HR, marketing, finance– how do you logistically run three offices? Do you do clinical in all three?
Peter: I do but I spend my time and that's – we're going back to quality of life thing. I work a week and then I take a week off, work a week and I take a week off. So what you were just referring is like how do all the logistics work, its’ because I have the bandwidth now to help do some of that.
Howard: Well basically, what you're doing is you're saying is, when you don't work for a week you're still working you're just not doing clinical
Peter: I'm sorry. I should have prefaced that, yes one week is clinical, one week is admin, growth, vision, hearing and all that stuff.
Howard: Well did you just see that the new movie that came out, the founder about the making a McDonald's break right–
Peter: Yes, I loved it I loved it.
Howard: You know the thing that I never want to say because it's so truthful and it's so brutal. Everybody listening to you went dental school because they want to do surgery with their hands and operatory and fix broken teeth and tooth aches and pulpotomy and that's why we went to dental school, but the people who are the most successful haven't touched a patient twenty years. Rick workman owns five hundred dental offices because he doesn't waste any time seeing a patient and Ray Kroc destroyed probably a hundred thousand family hamburger stores because they were all so busy trying to just serve their customers that no one ever thought of a drive-thru, marketing, advertising, can we make the French fries not soggy, how come every time we need three pickles Mary has to walk back to the refrigerator and unscrew a jar? I mean, they didn't work on any business and that was why the book, the ____[00:56:29 unclear] was so successful that the guy was pointing out that everybody who spends all their time working on their business crushes it and everybody spends all their time working in the business loses it and what you're saying is you spend half your time working on your business and what the experts would say you need to go you need to work all your time on your business you know, someday droids will do you know the fillings and crowns and you already see evidence of experimental prototypes of machines doing things, but the bottom line is I like the CEO of Pacific– tunnel that's the second biggest corporate dental chain. His dad's a dentist, but he said I'm not going to dental school. I can hire a dentist on Craigslist in five minutes so he spent all of his time and he's working on his processes so I think that's cool that you spend half your time on your business and half the time during clinical because this is what most of us say I mean we know our homies they work four days a week and on Friday they're going to do all that business stuff and they wake up Friday morning just freaking fried say screw it I'm going to the golf course and play golf and eat hot dogs and drink beer and they just they never work on their business
Howard: In fact I would say that most have to be so much more successful if the most stressful time in their whole life is Mondays if you're ever going to pick to work on your business it'd be Monday morning because Monday morning, you're going in there and do it Friday after day I mean you know you're not–
Peter: Which is why my office hasn’t been open Mondays in fifteen years?
Howard: And why is that?
Peter: Because I've noticed that there were a lot of cancellations Monday morning because patients get into the freak out mode of like, ‘oh my gosh I had the busiest week, what can give? I'll cancel this dental appointment.’ so I picked up on that because salons are always closed on Monday so we've been closed Mondays and open Fridays for over fifteen years
Howard: Well, go back in time. Where was your journey going where you started this podcast– bulletproof dental practice podcast? How long ago was that and talk us through your journey–
Peter: Of podcasting?
Howard: Yeah how did you end up creating a podcast? I think there's now like forty dentists on dental town uploading a podcast and the podcast section is just amazing and I just get so many emails saying, ‘I get now in the car, I can't listen to talk radio so I go to the podcast’ and I see the data, I see the views, the clicks. I know what they're doing, they're watching all of this podcast.
Peter: Yep, it's definitely grown so my purpose, I tell people that I'm not selling something why did I start a podcast?– my wife asked actually asked me that like, ‘why are you doing this like because you didn't have enough to do, right?’ to me it's a two reasons our one is I was getting so much value from other people's podcasts like Mark Costas podcasts– he's a good friend of mine and listening to his stuff and always wanted to kind of chime in to what he was saying right and so number one I felt like I had some value to give to people from my own experience in my ecosystem and a different twist on some things that I may believe and number two, I did it really to hold me accountable because I talked to all these awesome people all these awesome business leaders and dentists and stuff and then I have to be accountable to deploy that debt stuff into my own world and so it holds me accountable, but I'm not doing it with any kind of expectation like, oh now sign up for my consulting or whatever and maybe there will be one day, but right now it's an altruistic thing. I want to give back and pay it forward to all the good shit that I've gotten from other people.
Howard: I like Mark Costas too; I'm out here in Phoenix, Arizona. He’s in Prescott
Peter: Yeah Prescott yeah.
Howard: And what's he up to now, like seven offices
Peter: I think he has eleven now. He's was on a rapid acquisition pretty–
Howard: And what?
Peter: I would say it's eleven or something.
Howard: So next time you talk to him, tell him I'm going to hold his feet to the fire. What I love about what he does the most; you walk in there, I mean the only secret to lower prices lower cost and Herb Kelleher again, he wasn't a pilot. I swear to God, if he would have been a pilot he'd gone out to all the pilot Institute's and got all the pilots’ ____[01:01:13 inaudible] They spent their whole life trying to get the most Alpha-B suit. He was a drunk lawyer, he smoke four packs a day in Love Field, never flown a tie in his life but he's so genius simple he's like, look at these guys they are flying six different planes, they going to have parts for six different planes they going to have training and this and then I call in sick and you can't come in because you're certified on a Airbus and he's on a 7:20 and he said, we're going to have one damn plane and every planes going to be a Boeing 737. In fact, the only reason they still make that plane is because it's the only one Southwest will buy and they're 27% of seat miles flown. And Mark Costas did that with his operatory, you walk into any office he has and you open up that third drawer, it looks the same like every drawer. So if I have a dental assistant call in sick and I send in Suzy Que over to replace Johnny, she walks in there– I mean he is so organized. I think he's brought Southwest Airlines to corporate dentistry unlike no other
Peter: I would agree. He's all about systems driven dental practice and it makes a whole lot of sense because you don't suffer the pain when you lose that key employee or someone has to move or whatever you know you can literally step someone in and their entry into being awesome in the organization.
Howard: And the other thing about him has all the qualities of success; that they're always humble, so they listen to other people on podcast, they listen to their employees or patients, they're always hungry, they got a work ethic from hell, they're like five coyotes who have never eaten in a month and the third quality, probably maybe the biggest one is that he's so intellectually curious and those are what I saw with the dentist that took a hundred hours of dental continuity– they were curious about everything. When people say, ‘well I can't decide if I should go to panky or quoise or sphere or Dawson.’ I said well, ‘then go to all four of them. Go to all four and then tell me which one was better and why.’ You're working on cars your whole life. Who cares if you go to a transformation course, an electrical course, I mean just go to all of them I mean you're not going walk out of any of them dumber.
Peter: Yeah, absolutely there's value through all of them. I completely agree.
Howard: Yeah and cross-training that's why [01:03:46 unclear] I say, ‘why you?’ I mean there's all these guys are going to implants why do you think you were the best? What do you think your breakout was? And he said, ‘because I was first a prosthodontist making removable dentures and then these guys were doing implants so wrong that the implants are breaking and then they blame it on the implant. He's like; on the implant you didn't have a bit–
Peter: I see what you’re pointing right?
Howard: Yeah and he says it was the cross training in removable that made him get an A in fixed and if you don't have an A in removable, how are you going to get an A in fixed? You need to know both sides, but man I’m just a big fan of your podcast, Big Show. A big fan of your website Atlanta dental spa
Peter: Well, Thank you, Howard I appreciate that I have to say– you know I don't say things like this flippantly, but you know you and what you've done for the industry has had a big impact on my life. I connected with a lot of people and when I was in dental school on dental town, and just you providing the conduit has been probably one of the most important things in our industry, so thank you for all that you've done and when I see guys like you and–
Howard: Can you say that again to Ryan? Because he's my son and he thinks I'm a complete idiot. When I told him I was 4% Neanderthal, he said is the other 89% orangutan? I'm just kidding, but thanks for the kind words and good luck on the show and tell Costas and all the other podcasters to make sure all their shows are uploaded on the deal because we're going to be at doing a big cover story on it on dental town and thank you for being humble, hungry, intellectually curious and that's why I think that number one best thing about these podcasts are these little kids in small towns, their study club has one deal a month. They get to meet with their homies and listen to someone talk and with the podcast, they can listen to ten different people a day for free on their iPhone from around the world I mean it's just a game changer of making information a commodity.
Peter: And what's cool about this, and it's really just yours for the taking. You can choose to consume it, but people give like their cookbook of how they did it and it's there and you can either use it or not, but don't complain in the meantime. I think that’s what is super cool about people is just being totally raw and authentic and giving back and paying it forward and they're literally telling you how to do it if you want to do that and so man it's just cool.
Howard: It’s going to be humans’ finest century. Going from a world of 89% can't read or write to the world that now everyone can access a smartphone and they have access to all the information well I mean the planets never seen this going all the way back to that baby tooth they found two hundred thousand years ago
Peter: That's abundant
Howard: It’s abundant, it's yours you can make your own luck. Thank you so much for coming on the show.
Peter: It’s my pleasure, Howard. Thank you for having me.