1999. Dentaltown appears and everything changes

Dr. Howard Farran had an idea. I remember we were both at some dental meeting and he came up to me talking 100 miles an hour (those of you who know him can attest that this is his normal operating speed). He was very excited to show me something. What was it?

It was an artist rendering of how his new website, Dentaltown.com, was going to look. He took me through the whole site (on paper). I was impressed and told him so. What I didn’t tell him is what I was privately thinking to myself which was, “Dang, he beat me to it!”

But any kind of envy on my part quickly dissipated. I realized that he was probably the only person in all of dentistry who could pull off something of this magnitude. Why?

You see, Howard can draw a crowd

He was enormously popular and was the most sought after speaker on the dental circuit (he still is). At every meeting he’d deliver a smashing performance which would invariably lead to a standing ovation.

And when he left the stage he would always be mobbed by dentists, wanting to pick his brain about every subject you can think of. I’ve even seen dentists follow him into the men’s room just so they could get more “Howard time.”

I was already contributing articles to his newsletter, The Farran Report, and now he wanted me to contribute articles and other content for the new website. Of course I said, “Of course!”

Dentaltown goes live

One midnight, exactly twenty years ago (as of this writing), Howard called me at home. “Howie! Dentaltown’s live! Jump on!” I did. As did many others. Most of these people are still my friends to this day.

It was a lot of fun to connect with other people in the dental world. Eventually Dentaltown grew to be the largest online dental community in the world. It still is.

I’m happy to say that, aside from the Dentaltown staff at the time, I was POSTER ONE on Dentaltown.com

The Farran Effect

I met Howard 10 years before he launched Dentaltown. The first time we actually met in person he embarrassed me in front of 1,500 dentists. At the same time he gave my career a boost that continues to this day. He was up on stage. Just Howard being Howard, educating while making the audience laugh so hard it hurt, when he abruptly stopped. “Where’s Howie Horrocks? Stand up!”

At that time I had not yet conquered my extreme fear of being in front of audiences. But I stood up (didn’t want to) and suddenly 3,000 eyeballs were on me. I was petrified. Quietly I was hoping for a mild heart attack so paramedics could wheel me out. Seriously.

He held up my first book and yelled, “If you don’t have Howie’s book just tattoo the word LOSER on your forehead!”

Not surprisingly I sold a ton of books at that meeting. The effect this had on our company was profound.

Looking back it’s hard to believe that NPI went from one person in a freezing warehouse in Seattle in 1989, to today with a team of 43 dental marketing experts, who have been helping thousands of dentists for the last 30 years.

Thank you Howard. Feel free to embarrass me any time you want.

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