THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

The mother of invention



“Amazon is what it is because of invention.

If you do it right, a few years after a surprising invention, the new thing has become normal.

People yawn.

That yawn is the greatest compliment an inventor can receive. When you look at our financial results, what you’re actually seeing are the long-run cumulative results of invention.

Right now, I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition.”


So said 57-year old Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, as he announced yesterday that he is stepping down as CEO of his own company, at a time when their financial results are the best ever.


Whilst remaining "Executive Chair" he is handing over the day to day reins to the head of his cloud computing business, Andy Jassy.


I appreciate that Amazon is a company that has had it's fair share of criticism but there is something very cool about Bezos standing down when he is at the top.


There have been so many conversations I've had in the last 12 months with dental practice owners asking my opinion on whether to sell their practice.


I've written here many times about all of those conversations being driven by similar emotions:

  • Financial distress - paying off tax, loans or a former spouse;

  • Emotional distress - enough of other people's shenanigans;

  • Health distress - physical and emotional harm caused by ownership;

  • Regulatory and legal distress - the patients, HR, the CQC, the GDC, the NHS;

  • Covid distress - plain and simple Coverload.

It is perfectly OK to jump ship for any of the above reasons - life is too short to tolerate a work environment that brings you down.


However, if you are not in distress, think about what Bezos said and ask yourself a question:


"What do I want to invent before I finish?"


Plato said "our need will be the real creator".


Later, this was translated to the now familiar phrase that "necessity is the mother of invention".


That invention might be a new surgery in your practice, an extension, a move to new premises, the acquisition of more practices.


It might be the development of your post-graduate skills to invent a new capability to your patients.


Maybe inventing a new clinical and/or management team to take the weight of working IN or ON the business off your shoulders.


Perhaps inventing the complete integration of digital dentistry and the digitised patient experience into your workflow.


Or even something so innovative that some around you will proclaim "that will never work" (always a good sign).


Last night, on our weekly client call, we listened to a fascinating and persuasive presentation on how to introduce health screening in to your service offer for patients. Innovative now - and perhaps a yawn in a few years time?


Amazon is "the long run cumulative result of invention".


Are you inventing?


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