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EPISODE 2 | Changing Digital Dentistry

The Dental world is in a constant state of change. Digital technology is driving innovation with new hardware and software tools that are fun, fascinating and sometimes frustrating. Join me as I engage various dental professionals to learn from them as we go on this journey together.


[00:00:00] Robert Laizure here with Eric Fisher.

 [00:00:02] He is the digital creative director of LMT and you focus a lot on the digital side of the business but also which is the Web site that people can log into and use as a tool.

 [00:00:19] I just wanted to talk a little bit about LMT in general and just kind of some backstory. So we know your mom Judy Fishman founded LMT magazine in 1984 which I believe [00:00:30] was before you were born. That's right. Yes. So she gave birth to LMT before you which is always came second. Oh my gosh. Your mom is a very hard working woman I know that. So that's that's been around now for 34 years which is awesome and it's grown to about 15000 people get it and its circulation as as a magazine. And I think when when most people think of LMT they think of it's either the show they go to [00:01:00] in Chicago every year or it's the magazine they get in the mail which is an awesome magazine one of the leading magazines. But it's it's much more than that. And you've built an amazing web site that you've been working on since 2009. And I wanted to spend some time just learning more about your efforts with that today and just kind of your history and so but also more introduction for you so you spent you spent a couple of years at Facebook and then we know you worked on some projects with Google [00:01:30] and Apple Air B and B Eventbrite Microsoft and you even gave a TED talk five years ago on social design which I watched and I found to be super fascinating super cool.

 [00:01:43] So just wanted to hear from you just in your just kind of growing up and your passion for technology and community and just just talk a little about your experience at those companies and just your your passion for development and technology.

 [00:01:57] Boy, A [00:02:00] lot of things to say very few things to say.

 [00:02:05] Yeah I I wouldn't say my passion is technology. I would say that it is community. That is true. And when I learned technology actually taught myself in college for web development I so it's potential from a social perspective of how it could connect people and makes certain processes much more efficient. [00:02:30] Essentially I am of the belief that there is a lot of friction in communication and communication skills for building community and technology has the power to alleviate some of the inspections which can allow for more freedom hopefully an expression and produce a more desired effect. I mean we're living [00:03:00] in a very particular time right now with social technology it's at least on the global side it's looked down upon for all the difficulties that it has manifested as well as all the good things but they're married to technology in general without any bias just looking at what it can do. So it really depends on what on how it's connected what it's used for and for LMT we're using it to just make the process of doing business easier [00:03:30] and simpler. I grew up going to the latter day shows where we collected handwritten cards for attendees to read and write down the same information every year and put them in a bowl and then we'd have to go through the thousands of and then look at handwriting samples and update a manual database.

[00:03:51] So we had less actually you have your your first memory as a child with LMT Magazine. How old were you and [00:04:00] mean were you like do you remember all the way back to sitting with your mom when she's cranking away at her desk as a child I mean what's your first number.

[00:04:09] I remember him wanting attention. She was busy but that's how it goes you know. She's a hard audience. You know I've always found the I've been going to that day since I was a baby so I've gotten used to it. But when I was older and I started helping out more I was like This is such a waste of time the way they're doing this. So since then I've just been getting more involved

[00:04:30] and kind of bringing some more efficiency to the operation in various ways. It's kind of fun.

[00:04:35] Yeah that's cool. I like how you say you know using the technology to make things simple. I think many times we we use technology and end up making something more complex and that's that's not the goal. Let's let's use technology to make something simpler and better. So LMT is they started a Web site in 2000 was their first Web site and [00:05:00] I imagine you your site and you had some opinions about it and then as you were doing some projects with Facebook and other companies I imagine there was a point where you were like Mom I want to talk to you about the Web site and I think I can help write it. How was that interaction when you knew she had a Web site but you wanted to make it better. At what point was that.

[00:05:24] We we took control of the Web site after college while I was [00:05:30] working at Apple and then continued on working on it while I was working at the other companies as well. But it was built a certain way like CRM. It's kind of like a WordPress or something. And so it was limited in its capacity to do things and it was after that I was towards the end of my time at Facebook as I was promoting the platform to developers how to design a social system. What is a social system that I realized [00:06:00] that I really needed to kind of rebuild what I had made that it could be done a much better way for the purposes of kind of never ending expansion and opportunities and features and tools. And it was very much in line with the ideas I was promoting on behalf of Facebook. That was my project. What is what makes a good social product. So when I left a rebuilt totally new system that we have now and it's [00:06:30] just over efficiency since then rebuilt it from scratch built from scratch with these hands. That is a multi national corporation with content behind the scenes.

[00:06:43] So are we sitting in your development room right now where all the magic happens.

[00:06:49] This is my room. As of this year and last year was somewhere else the year before was somewhere else. The year before that was someone else I guess you'd like to say it's been still the same and just growing.

[00:06:59] That's awesome. [00:07:00] That's awesome. So talk a little bit about I know it's hard for you to synthesize it but you gave a TED talk on social design just talking about sort of the important things to focus on with social design and sort of the foundational layers of how we as individuals interact with one another trying to find community and just talk a little about that. And what were you what was the main point you were trying to convey [00:07:30] in your TED talk that you gave.

[00:07:34] Well it depends on who I'm talking to here who wants to know do you want the mindfulness and enlightenment answer or do you want the business you know citizen answer I can give you either you can give us both you gave us the boot version and the business version and the business version is that identity is very important as a currency in a transactional [00:08:00] culture which is what we have and that the root of identity is connections over time which creates a narrative. So you know when we're when we're doing business as one another we have to we have to figure out more ways to trust you know where the identity that we create is not necessarily a facade it's more authentic and we can do that by being more transparent and more expressive and educating [00:08:30] rather than selling OK.

[00:08:33] I agree with that. I like that. What. So what about the other answer. Now I'm just curious.

[00:08:39] The answer and the other answer is that one's sense of self is merely a product of social conditioning and therefore is an illusion. And we know or have to be tied to our emotions if we can practice mindfulness and present.

[00:08:57] I hear say mindfulness. I [00:09:00] know it's going to TED Talk. You use the word Nirvana right. So there's this idea of like knowing myself. Yes what you're after and achieving self-awareness and you think that you can help people find ways to do that through social connection with tools you build.

[00:09:21] Yeah well my main contact is the project director and co-owner of this cool website an online community [00:09:30] of like five times the size of LMT called High existence which is a lot of philosophy and philosophy and history and sociology about consciousness. And we also hosted offline retreats. In which we do a variety of workshops and exercises

[00:09:52] Well when you say off line retreats you mean like you're in person together right.

[00:09:56] Yes. The term in the industry it's online offline. The idea [00:10:00] the idea for social technology in my opinion is online to offline. You are sitting at home you don't know anybody and you want to. You want to learn you want to grow something right. So you go online which is a treasure trove. It has everything you need. It's hard to find but it's literally got everything and I'm hoping through a building and under one roof which is to say an LMT site that we kind of create a sense of community and a sense of safety and how we facilitate the communication and the interactions. It's [00:10:30] no longer the vastness of the open web. You have like your profile information you have your information you know your number is tied to your profile when you register for a seminar. You know it's sort of effortless. A lot of the conversations that need to be had can go out of the way so you can focus on the ones that matter. And we are particularly able to do it on LMT as opposed to larger social networks because we have the benefit of context. You know this isn't just tools that are made to [00:11:00] necessarily exploit your personal data. They're tools that are made within a context. It's just me. Hello. We don't connect to the outside Internet. And that say we're just using tools to efficiently connect people together.

[00:11:14] That's cool. Let's go So with all of that then you I you had a I'm sure you had a vision of what you wanted to accomplish and set out to do with the new LMT that you've been working on now for since 2009. Right.

[00:11:29] So nice [00:11:30] to know I know this has been since two thousand twelve.

[00:11:34] Ok. So the new version we're accessing today is only six years old almost seven. Yeah

[00:11:40] So it's tough the first year that we launched it. We started doing registration for Chicago digitally and we tried to let everybody know you should. You had to start ahead of time but a lot of people didn't. So there were lines show and people were upset some people were upset. However here we are now you know sometimes changes difficult [00:12:00] but you do it for the benefit of the long run. Here we are now people walk up and look themselves up in the database they press a button they print out a badge I mean that's awesome.

[00:12:12] Yes I've stood in one of those lines and then I've also experienced the benefit of pre registering and I still think the way to go. So what were some of the things that you set out to accomplish some things obviously the the pragmatic concerns of online registration is easy. But what other big ticket items [00:12:30] are visionary plans for the Web site. Did you have in mind to build.

[00:12:36] Well it's important to note that the Web site is not specific to LMT it's actually a platform that makes many communities than I run one of which is my other venture.

[00:12:49] And so therefore they are a set of generic and expandable tools that can be can be strung together in specific ways for [00:13:00] a given context which is to say LMT has specific needs compared to my other community compared to traumatic. So once you have a foundation of useful flexible robust tools you can kind of do anything when you're using existing web sites out there that have ulterior motives which is to say they're making a business off of you using the tool they're only going to give you a set of tools and that's it. And you pay for it. But in our case we it's easy enough for me to create any number of custom [00:13:30] configurations with very little effort because of the tools that. So I'm in a phase now where I'm just trying to respond to what the industry needs. How can we make this more efficient technology we make communication more efficient. What do people want should we do courses. So I'm open now. Ready.

[00:13:49] Yeah. Like one example is I I made a request to you of Hey Eric we've got our our online registrations how about checking them in through the Web site and you were able to deploy [00:14:00] that enhancement in a couple days.

[00:14:02] That's right. Yeah. If you're hosting a seminar at the show and people are showing up you can just point up on your phone and see the list and press the button to check people in here and here and I'll tell you who's you know how many people have been checked in versus nine. Give the statistics about people an average age what kind of lab they run, etc.

[00:14:24] Yeah. So I mean last year we printed off Excel spreadsheets for all of our courses [00:14:30] and we had people you know that we did pre registration through just a different database sort of sign up page and then it dropped them do a Google spreadsheet that we then printed off and then made it print those off and then bring the paper and then sign people up and then people wanted to sign up at the door which is always a pain in the butt because it takes so long and it's inconvenient and so we've really enjoyed all that you've done and so from what full content is doing this year we're hosting nine [00:15:00] different C courses and they're all listed on LMT or pushing all of our registrations through those so we get implications. Anytime someone registers and you even did a development effort on integrating payment to allow if you want to charge for a c course. And I think this is super cool because not only could you charge for a cause like we are in Chicago we're doing a course with Dr. Valerie Cooper the denture. We actually know it's Dr. Valerie [00:15:30] McMillan. She just got married last week. Congratulations to her and John McMillan. But we're charging ninety nine dollars for their two our c course which is going to be super fun and yeah. So you develop the ability to for for us to collect payments. I want to you just have you describe that it's been really user friendly we set up an account and we get paid and it's a pretty awesome tool Yeah.

[00:15:57] Yeah it's for company accounts. You get a company [00:16:00] account and you create a company profile and then you connect to your company accounts to strike which is a very popular developer friendly payment interface.

[00:16:08] They handle the transaction and security savvy enough to worry about that. And then when people try to sign up for a seminar or course they're taking through kingdoms flow they provide the credit card information safely and securely to strike months and months and you get an e-mail confirmation you can check on the [00:16:30] dashboard.

[00:16:33] Yeah.

[00:16:34] Yeah we we set up our stripe account very simple very easy does had to tell him where to deposit the money to and we get EMA notifications and it's been great. And one thing that I think would be a really cool feature for dental labs all throughout the years so let's say that LMT Chicago shows over and now let's say a dental lab wants to host a paid hands on course they're going to invite some doctors in to do a hands on course or some other lab techs and to do a hands [00:17:00] on course and they want to charge for it. So that lab could set up that event on LMT mag dot com and and host online registration and then even facilitate payment through stripe. And is there any fee for the lab to use all those tools. We don't have any current language to distressing. So just just the credit card processing fee which is a couple percent which is normal. So if I'm a lab and I wanted to do courses [00:17:30] all throughout the year I could use LMT Max to host the registration of those courses if they're free they're free and if I want to charge for my can I can do all of that.

[00:17:39] Yeah yeah. So the benefit is that at this point we have almost I think 30000 thousand people in the industry when members of the community so pretty much anybody you're going to want to target. It's in there somewhere and they're in there with proper verified information. And [00:18:00] so like by offering it through the system they just kept a log into their account which they normally do anyway to register for the show and they find your event and they click a button and off you go.

[00:18:11] That's amazing. That is super cool. I think that's an awesome feature. Actually I have a good friend of mine who he is hosting some paid CEO courses and he was a guy I got I got to find something I got a flyer he wanted to send me a PDA ethanol's like well whereas a link for someone to register online is like I don't have it yet.

[00:18:29] So then I [00:18:30] told them what you're doing with LMT Magda. Comedy is like well wait. How much does he charge for it and I was like I think it's free because they just want to build a community for the lab people and people to use the community and which I think is super cool.

[00:18:46] Yeah this is coming Chicago show will be like the dream I had the phone that the fullness of the dream. We even are allowing seminar sponsors if they opt in to get a special scanner to scan badges at their seminar [00:19:00] room and that correlates to the data on the website and marks people as checked in. So you have Wall check on the website after and it should and should match.

[00:19:10] So the little device or handheld laser thing that beams at their badge will check them out online and if someone else has got their iPhone they can see who all been checked in.

[00:19:22] That's awesome. And when they when they when they scan badges in the exhibit hall then it converts to. Kind of like a lead [00:19:30] on the website. That's awesome. Those are big ideas. See the technology works behind the scenes. It takes care of tracking everything recording everything. Finding patterns all the things that are left brains are supposed to be doing in business right. I'm hoping it will free us up to be kind of more on the emotional side. The human side saying we can actually talk and be human because the technology will do all the things all like annoying hard science stuff.

[00:19:56] Yeah it's like the guy the DA like don't talk to me. I can have a conversation I'm [00:20:00] checking everyone in and say he's just that sucks. Clicking one button and now he can greet everyone just like we're even just scanning your badge.

[00:20:09] That's just effortless. That's the kind of fiction that we're trying to remove.

[00:20:13] You know I love it. I really I love that. I love that. So is there anything you wanted to show us on the website.

[00:20:22] What would be. I don't know. People like to see.

[00:20:29] Maybe [00:20:30] just show us the where the courses can be set up and then just just click your screen here and do it click share screen. All right. Do you see this.

[00:20:41] Yep I see it. So so this view right here is the seminar review seminar view for Eric.

[00:20:49] So are these all the seminars that you might be interested in now.

[00:20:53] These are we're just on the show page looking at seminars browsing them. Which ones you might like. You can say I'm interested in this one book [00:21:00] market.

[00:21:03] As I look more similar and I can also say I'm actually gonna register for this one I want to go to this one you get a pop up to select which session you want.

[00:21:13] I want the Friday 1 so if I have a CDC number I can put that in whatever the number is when the register and now I managed to forget so if I go to my lab [00:21:30] day schedule Manuel and here it is knowing my schedule and I can email this to myself and have it on my phone as I'm walking around the show that is super cool. It's not the ones I bookmarked.

[00:21:50] You haven't registered for any full contour seminars so will pull you into one of those. Eric Awesome things you've got developed [00:22:00] on the LMT Web site. Super cool stuff. So what's next. What are some. You said you made some some great strides and have some awesome tools for this Chicago. So what are some things that you want to be working on over the next year or two.

[00:22:16] With LMT specifically if we want to make sure we have a smooth process as it comes to land day and then also we'd love to try and get more people to participate with one another to share information to share educational content.

[00:22:29] It really [00:22:30] is the central content repository for everybody to contribute and in doing so also build up their credibility which as I mentioned earlier is useful for a transactional culture. Yeah no but at all you know it works when people participate and the tools and tools either way for sure.

[00:22:50] Well that's awesome. Well thank you for sharing Eric. We appreciate all you've done for us as a company and the you know all the development [00:23:00] that you've done and so enhancements that you've made just in the past couple weeks. And just wanted people to know out there some exhibitors to know there's some really awesome tools that they that are free that are really useful custom and specific to lab day which I think are super exciting. I just want to people know about yes or no.

[00:23:21] Awesome. Well thanks for being with us Eric. Well I'm sure we'll be seeing you soon.

[00:23:25] Okay sounds good. Thank you.