Inventor of the Molar Media Mount. Edison Award Winner. Dentist and Practice Owner at Mill Creek Family Dentistry. This is his story.
Regret is a tough thing to live with. Fourteen years ago my brother returned home from Germany with a present for my then two-year-old daughter. It was something I had never seen before… a trainer bike.
You have probably seen little kids riding bikes without pedals, using their feet to propel themselves like Fred Flintstone. They master the balance and steering of a bike at a crazy young age because they don’t have to learn the much more complicated art of pedaling. Well, fourteen years ago, no one knew about these bikes. One day we went for a bike ride around Green Lake in Seattle, WA. As my daughter was gliding around the lake we were stopped by about fifteen people who were utterly amazed that a kid so young was riding a bike.
It wasn’t until years later that I saw these bikes springing up everywhere. I felt regret creep in. Why regret? Well, it was because I failed to recognize the potential this idea had after so many people were amazed when they saw it. Just a few years ago, I saw these bikes on the TV show, Shark Tank. Perhaps I had too much going on at that time in my life to not pick up on those cues pointing to a great product. I had just graduated from dental school, was looking for a practice, and had a young child and another on the way. After missing out on that opportunity, I promised myself that if I ever found myself in that situation again, I would not sit around and do nothing.
Fast-forward ten years, I am trying to place a composite on a small child in my dental practice. He was squirming like he was feeling some discomfort. I asked him if he was hurting. He said, no and that he was just trying to see SpongeBob better. You see, in my office, we had TVs mounted to arms from the ceiling. The problem is, I knew the TVs weren’t in a great position from the moment they were installed. The squirming kid in my chair just made it obvious.
I thought to myself, there has to be a better way. Then the light bulb went off in my head! The light is always shining into the patient’s mouth. Peoples’ eyes are always located right next to their mouths. What if you could put a screen right next to the overhead light?
I had always heard stories of people building the start of their business on their kitchen table. Well, that night I was that guy. With some PVC from the hardware store, I built my first working prototype. It was crude, but it was enough to try out in my office. Guess what, patients loved it.
It turns out my friend is a prototyper, so I asked him to make a more refined version to use in my office. Keep in mind; this whole thing was done to provide a better experience for my own patients. Then it started happening…Patient after patient started commenting on how amazing the experience was. After about 6 months of these responses, it reminded of that day riding around the lake with my daughter on her trainer bike. It was then that I decided I was not going to let another opportunity like this pass me by. Regret would have to take a backseat to action this time around.
I jumped in head first to this project. I found a local designer, went through a number of prototypes, and finally came up with a design that I loved. A thousand units were ordered, a website was created, and I even made a funny commercial to help launch the product into this world. Would people like it enough to buy it? I had to wait and see.
I still remember my first order I received from a dentist whom I didn’t know. Sure my dentist friends all bought them in the beginning, but this guy stumbled upon it online and decided it was something he wanted for his office. That was an amazing moment because it validated this crazy idea I had in my head years ago. It made the year of hard work worth it just in that one sale. I wouldn’t be lying if I said I still feel excited every time an order comes through.
Since that first sale, the Molar Media Mount has gone through some design changes, a version 2 has come out, and we have added a few accessory products. In 2015 the product won an Edison Award, which is considered the ‘Oscars of Inventions’, and I also obtained a full utility patent. It has been a wild ride, however, I still haven’t quit my day job… Just yet!
To learn more about the Molar Media Mount please visit the website by clicking here!
Dr. Culberson is also a user of our software, YAPI. He recently transitioned to an entirely paperless office with our “True Paperless” plan. Here’s what he has to say …
For what I called a ‘paperless’ office, we sure seemed to still have a lot of paper floating around.
Health histories and consent forms were filled out on paper and scanned into our system. Sure, new patient info was filled out online, but it got faxed to us and we had to manually type it in the computer.
With YAPI we are now truly paperless! Online forms are directly inputted into our practice management software and all other forms are signed on an iPad. YAPI has also seamlessly replaced our expensive patient email/text appointment confirmation system we were previously using. Thanks again YAPI!
Want to know more about YAPI’s True Paperless plan? Click here.