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Leading up to the Chicago Mid-Winter Meeting

February 9th, 2016

 

First, some visual greetings from the annual conference of the Israeli Perio Society

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For those wanting a breath of fresh air, this was the view from the terrace – And an interior view.

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Lectures like everywhere – usual hi-tech. At the expo, the usual happy mixture of visitors.

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For those wanting a breath of fresh air, this was the view from the terrace – And an interior view.

 

Chicago

I have been visiting, watching, experiencing, enjoying, admiring the USA for almost 50 years. My first visit, which became a 1-year stay, was back in Summer 1966. That was part of my 3-year apprenticeship into the dental industry, which had started in the Fall of 1964.

Later this month, I shall be in Chicago to attend the Mid-Winter meeting. My first was in 1967. What has not changed over the years is the potential weather situation: either freezing, snowy temperatures with that bitter wind from across the lake, or crisp winter sunshine, making that Lakeshore skyline one of the most beautiful in the world.

It sounds incredible that the trade exhibition was always a big success, despite the fact that it was located in a very complicated environment: the Chicago Hilton. It was held on several floors with many corners, rooms and corridors. Unquestionably, some booths had every right to complain (despite paying the same rent per sq. ft). But they didn’t. Because in those days, the visitors came with their order books at the ready.

In this days, there was a clear difference between the US dental market and most others. Brochures and flyers? Yes, they were available, but mostly ignored. If a dentist was interested in trying something, he’d order it. Why waste time, as in most other markets, with a frantic gathering of flyers, booklets, catalogues etc., lugging them home (rarely a short car ride) and then turning on the night light and reading it all in advance of a conscious decision to order one?

Wow, did we do good business in those days! Exhibitors really could rate their success based on orders taken at the booth.

And another big difference in US expos: small, functional booths. In those days, the emphasis was on product display and active demonstration. No flower pots and trees. No conference or rest area on any stand (which is still the case today actually – the unions don’t allow hospitality on the stands. That’s why you’ll see many visitors at American expos sitting on the floors, eating hot dogs).

In most other countries, especially Europe, which has been my main territory, it was never the case to expect big sales. Reading material was always popular – and samples, of course.

Today, the picture has changed unbelievably. In Chicago, for example, the trade show has been reduced from 4 1/2 days to 2 1/2. In older days, the first day was always a Sunday. Today, it ends on Saturday, and it sure gets quiet during those last few hours.

In Chicago. if a stand is large, it’s because the company is large. Usually in 4 categories: toothpaste, implants, equipment and…big companies. (They are almost forced to put on a ‘big image). Otherwise, the small stand remains the norm. A back wall, couple of stools, front counter, and that’s about it.

And US exhibitions are rarely in hotels any more. In Chicago, it’s at McCormick Place. (In New York. having been originally at the Statler Hilton, then the New York Hilton, their meeting ended up in the Jakob Javits Center).

Happily, the Midwinter meeting is still very well-organized. It is always combined with a highly efficient and respected conference which really does attract professionals from all over the country, and from abroad. Exhibitors are usually praising the number of delegates who do get to walk the expo floors.

See you there?

 

Smile – Promote your dentist

 

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Pre – IDS images

March 10th, 2015

 

It can be fun to arrive too early at an exhibition – especially the World’s largest, IDS in Köln, running 5 days from March 10-14.

First of all, unlike Chicago Midwinter 2 weeks ago, the weather has started out with the bluest of skies. The unexpected and unlikely high temperatures

caused the streets to be overfull with crowds, most of whom sweated in their heavy coats and jackets.

The Entrance to the Chocolate Museum – and two views of the Museum shop

Easter is close…

A typical IDS selfie

…But have you ever heard of a Mustard Museum? Cologne has one

Outside the skies really were blue….

But lunch was very red…

And while we were eating…

…strange happenings all around…

Crowds kept off the grass

We then fell in love again, walking the length of the Hohenzollern Bridge to be overwhelmed by the over 2 tons of love locks adorning every inch.

It is claimed that over 3,000 of the padlocks were placed there by dentists.

So we re-sealed our love in a romantic glass of grappa. What more can one ask….

Smile – Support your dentist.

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Dr. Che

February 6th, 2015

 

It is no coincidence that the current thawing of relations with Cuba came exactly when I was on a visit to that so interesting country.

Buena Vista, both in music and in sights. Such warm people, despite the strange atmosphere in which they live.

There appear to be 3 levels of society: those who are connected to the tourist industry, who understand the value of money, of marketing, of smiling just at the right time.

Then there are those who have family in Florida, and who receive valuable dollars monthly, enabling them to live a relatively high standard.

And then there are the masses who somehow survive, get on with their lives, despite their dollar-a-day existence.

They don’t know better. They eat, they do some work, get paid by the state, they are looked after by the state, with minimum education and relatively high standard of medical care. (There is even an export industry of medical manpower.

I mentioned the Dollar, but in fact, until now, the American currency has been only reluctantly used, with far more reference to the Euro, plus, of course,  the Peso and what is called the ‘kook’, which is the convertible Peso,. whatever that means. It’s very confusing, especially when shopping ‘in the street’, where our ‘cent’ is worth almost a ‘Euro’ to them.

You may know that Che Guevara is buried there, in Santa Clara. He was executed after being captured while helping rebels in Bolivia. This Argentinian, so popular in so many countries, became the adopted son of Cuba. His images are everywhere, usually together with his friend and mentor, Fidel Castro.

His mausoleum is magnificent. This is the main statue outside.

Inside, one can see and experience the man himself. It is a sombre place, demanding much quiet and respect.
Then, in one corner, images of his work on the battlefield as a doctor and, yes, as a dentist! Who would have imagined…
These are some of the instruments – and an inhaler – used by Dr. Che, the dentist. There’s a picture of him working – and he who holding the poor patient’s head looks remarkably like Fidel himself, although there is no confirmation of that.

So now you know. Being a dentist

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FDI to Dentex – Delhi to Brussels

September 23rd, 2014

 

I had never been to India before, although friends and members of my family have nagged me for years to visit this enormous place.

And then, what do I do? I visit Delhi. That’s of course not fair to India; that’s not ‘touring’.

But that’s the choice I had, and I grabbed it.

First of all, they call chipmunks ‘squirrels’ – so now I was ready for any misunderstandings…

Delhi is BIG. Talk of 22 million inhabitants, and I believe it.
And they’re not all in one area. The FDI was held in a suburb called ‘Greater Noida’, which is miles from the centre, and hours by any form of transport.
Bicycle rickshaw was definitely not an option, nor a bike, with or without motor. The auto-rickshaw, commonly known as the ‘tuk-tuk’, would have been a bum-destroyer for such a journey…
It’s safe, even for an unprotected baby…

There was also the option of the horse-driven cart, bull-driven cart, camel-driven cart – or being carried by elephant. We abandoned those options…

We were considering hiring this monkey, but he wouldn’t take us; he was waiting to give his whole family a ride to the centre.

Oh – I almost forgot…Yes we did attend the FDI…

Big stands, tiny stands. Internationally recognisable names and styles mixed with many local producers and traders. Sample-collectors and bona-fide quality dentists. I was told that India produces around 25,000 new dentists per annum. Can you imagine that!

This incredible country has a middle-class that is larger than most average countries. It has malls and yuppee coffee houses.
We read so much about the over-population, the masses. And they are a fact.
But our dental window also showed that this fantastic democracy is a powerhouse of energy and development.

And here it is – the unique selfie – my wife and I…

Flew directly to Brussels for their Dentex expo, which is held every 2 years. This year in September, a month earlier than usual, due to major construction work due at the expo centre shortly.This proved to be an unfortunate change, as the weather was wonderful, resulting in many stayaways.

One big hall – the ideal lay-out.

Every 2nd stand was offering refreshments, from Cava and cola to nuts and cheese – and a fantastic ‘hand=made ice-cream’, dipped in your choice of chocolate, nuts and little goodies…courtesy of Henry Schein.

But at the end, the end was the same as at any expo – total destruction…

Smile – Support Your Dentist.

Stephen

 

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The Streets of Amsterdam

August 21st, 2014

 

This is supposed to be a blog for Dental Tribune. Well, I’ve never really known the definition of blog, and I was given the OK to write about whatever I want.

But if you want a taste of dental….While crossing the busy Damrak street, a car driver greeted me in Hebrew (I live in Israel, buy the way. Please don’t stop reading…). Now THAT’S a surprise….When you think about it, the fact that it was perhaps the only dentist in Holland I know who is Israeli makes the coincidence even greater.

This is Summer. School vacations have started. Busy. And Amsterdam is one of those cities that is ALWAYS packed with tourists, at least in the central areas. Add to that the excitement of the World Cup, and you have noise, vibration, atmosphere. (I watched the semi-final is a pub, surrounded by young Dutch – half of whom were female. I recorded the last 2 minutes of the penalty shoot-out. My iPhone almost imploded).

But what’s special about this city is that when you take just a few steps away from the main street, you are confronted with….well, let me take you by the hand and walk you through the streets  of’ Amsterdam….

I started along Nes, which is said to be the oldest street in Amsterdam. (I lived on Nes for a few weeks, back in the late 60s. I had started my sales trips: Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland was my initial territory, and I did co-travelling – sometimes a week with each salesperson! I was 6 weeks in that Nes apartment, belonging to friends of mine I had met through my tennis club in London. But that’s another story).

Nes is parallel with Damrak; it runs into the famous Dam Square. And yet the silence is wonderful.

Every corner is a potential for a cup of coffee – This incredible chandelier, which I presume kids bump into all the time, is in the reception area of the Hotel V, a cute boutique hotel the glass entrance of which welcomes you with ‘From Amsterdam with Love’. At the back, a canal of course. And this is a busy day….

These first 2 images show buildings from the University of Amsterdam. Notice NOT so many bikes parked here…..school is out! And as you can see, they’re having fun…

Keep glancing up when you walk Amsterdam streets (and down, to avoid falling in). Rarely are two buildings the same, and often are they independent structures of beauty, The 2nd and 3rd  images above are actually on Damrak. The neighbouring white house must have something VERY interesting to cause the brown one to lean over like that.

Just ‘down the road’ is the very popular flower market. One side of the street are the coffee places, restaurants, souvenir shops and, as you see ‘cheese boutiques’. Facing them, backed onto the canal, are the flowers stalls. They show everything – with the exception of …cut flowers. Very few of those. This is for people with gardens, roofs, terraces and window boxes. (Just in case you’re having trouble deciphering the images, the 2 on the right are mini-cactuses..(or should that be ‘cacta’?)

And bulbs….every colour, every size, every shape – loose and in boxes and bags. If you want it, they have it.

And when you DON’T want it, when you want your peace and quiet, just turn left at the next little corner. Silence awaits….

Smile – Promote Your Dentist

Stephen

 

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Dentistry and Art

August 21st, 2014

 

Still travelling – still selling (American Eagle Instruments – and very successfully) – still thankful that I have a job and a life which I can really say I enjoy. Seems there’re not enough who feel that – or get the chance to say it.

This trip actually started on June 10, when I attended the 1-day conference of the Israeli dental hygienists. The location was Airport City, thankfully only minutes from Ben Gurion Airport, as I had a flight out in the evening. It was a ‘big day out’ for the hygienists. 550 attended. And of course, during the breaks, they piled out to have refreshments…

Notes:

  • The lady in the foreground in the first photo, in turquoise, is Adele Shevach from Hadassah in Jerusalem. She’s one of Israel most prominent personalities in the DH world.
  • It so happens that you can just see, in white, one of Israel’s approx 1,000 Moslem hygienists, from among the large Israeli Arab population.
  • Poor guy in the 3rd photo. Normally, as was also the case here, coffee etc. is served from big containers and sachets. His job was to keep the more sophisticated and trendy hygienist happy with his capos, espressos and macchiatos…
  • And the 4th photo shows the importance Colgate places on such meetings. They had 10 ladies ‘manning’ the stand.

I am writing this from Prague, attending the Open House of Dentamed, the Czech Republic’s leading dental dealer

which has to be one of the most beautiful cities in the World. Despite the tourists – and there are many – the place always offers so much to see and do. And it is so photogenic…

For example – I am here with my wife Aviva, one of our 2 daughters, Shira, and her 21-month baby girl, Maya. We have taken an apartment, only 200 meters from the famous Astronomical clock (made in 1410!!). In fact, we are located in the Old Jewish quarter, and this is the view from our bedroom window, the famous Old Jewish Cemetery…

Yesterday, in the 37C heat, we saw many of the most famous sights, including the Old Town Square, the incredible Charles bridge, and beyond and above it, the castle, which comprises many important buildings, including the incredible St. Vitus Cathedral….

But for us, being art lovers, the big surprise for us all was a still-unsung exhibition of Alphonse Mucha. Most of us know him from images/posters like this..

But, unless you study the subject, there is so much more to learn, in this case, about Mucha. I was not aware of his ‘Slav Epic’ series, 20 monumental paintings, executed over a period of 20 years, which he was commissioned tp paint by the city of Prague, back in the early 20th Century. Here they were, at one of the main galleries. almost as an ‘aside’. Little publicity, few visitors, and a stunning experience. (A city like Paris, New York or London would be making millions out of this) –

(I left Shira, Maya and the museum ‘guard’ in the photo, to give you an idea of the size of these things) – and I have included a couple of ‘close-ups’ or ‘details, showing the intensity of this fantastic experience.

The dental world is wonderful – as long as you remember to mix it with all the other pleasures of life…

Smile – Promote your dentist.

 

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Different Dental Expos in Europe

April 4th, 2014

 

Having recently attended Chicago’s Midwinter meeting last month, I was reminded of the standard format in the USA – no entertaining on the stand (booth).

Most stands are small, a few – especially the toothpaste guys – are larger.

But try to get a coffee or a cola – or perhaps some snacks, and you’d be wasting your time.

I was at Dental Expo last week, the annual exhibition in the Netherlands (known as ‘Holland’ to some of you).

I have to say that the expo was a nice size. Not frighteningly large, but large enough for stands to display their products attractively and practically.

And there was plenty of ‘entertainment’. For example –

Ice cream for everyone

Background piano to make you buy more…

Not a fully-stocked bar, but beer, sparkling wine and cocktails were popular.

Here are the Multident and Schein stands…and there was a coffee bar that could drive away  (if the union reps appeared?)

This guy was rather large, but this the the Netherlands, and cycling is quite normal – but at a dental show?

This company had 2 of these very special bikes on display. Not sure they could be offered as a bonus such promotions have been banned lately in the country.

Also not sure how the Lamborghini brought more business, but they certainly took many photos of future playboys…(On another stand, 2 gorgeous ladies were modelling a Formula 2 – or perhaps Formula 1 – I’m no expert)

This was the stand opposite us, ready to welcome clients, nuts and all. And, last but certainly not least, American Express had green and gold-card-clad ladies walking the aisles. Not quite sure why they had the van on their stand, but they certainly were among the first to pack up at the end and drive away…

Smile – Promote Your Dentist

 

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Almost 50 Years of New York

March 11th, 2014

Just spent a couple of days on USA’s east coast. Happily avoided most of the disastrous winter cold, but, for one who is now used to Israeli sun, not so easy.

But I spent a little time on a nostalgic jaunt through Manhattan, and came up with a few views, both visual and observational…

I landed first time in NYC in August 1966. I was just a week away from my 21st birthday. I was entering the 3rd year of my dental sales apprenticeship with the US dental export agent, Robert H. Sittig Associates. In the humid heat of mid-Summer, Sittig held a 2-week sales meeting, as reported herewith in the October 1966 issue of ‘PROOFS’ magazine. (The article was written by Mrs. Roselle Sittig, who, as Roselle Ross, was a successful author of children’s books).

It was held at the Beacon Hotel, then a dump! Rooms were small, air-con not always working. Half of the sales meetings were held at the premises of the manufacturers whom Sittig represented. Half were held in the basement conference room. The room’s air-conditioner was so noisy, that we had to switch it off if we wanted to hear what was being said. Reuslted in some very hot lectures – or cool ones that no one heard…


Today, The Beacon Hotel, like so much of the Upper West Side, has been beautifully renovated…Here is today’s image (located at Broadway and 75th)..

And it contains the very popular Beacon Theatre, featuring, nowadays Johnny Hallyday among others (Ringo, Smokey Robinson, Dion etc.)

You have to be at least my age to remember the name, Johnny Hallyday. Actually, I see he was born 1943 – not so ancient. I saw Paul Simon on stage last week, and he was born 1941. He was fantastic, appearing at Madison Square Garden with Sting – born 1951. A great evening’s entertainment.

Digressing, I can expand on that story – The last time I saw a show at the Garden was in 1977, 37 years ago. (I did see Ice Hockey in the interim, but that’s different). I was coming from Whaledent’s midtown office, on my way to the Statler Hilton, just opposite the Garden. Luckily, before going up to my room, I checked what was on: QUEEN! I was somehow able to get a ticket. I joined the almost 20,00 youngsters in my suit and tie and had one of the best evening’s entertainments ever.

And last week, I did the same – even staying at the same hotel (now the Pennsylvania – over 100 years old – the origin of Glenn Miller’s ‘Pennsylvania 6-5000’). Also came in from a visit with Whaledent – well, with Stephen Rubinsky, who had been Whaledent’s V-P. Checked what was on – saw ‘Paul Simon and Sting’ and the rest, as  they say, is history.

Let me list some of the great dental companies represented by Sittig in those days (over the years, there were around 100):

Aderer -Brunswick (Monoject) –  Black Dentaprises – Ceramco – Cosmos – Dedeco – Foredom – Handler – Healy – Jelenko – L & R – Mizzy – Niranium – Opotow – Star – Torit – Whaledent – Wolf – Young ..

During the interim weekend, 2 birthdays were celebrated, including my 21st. We had dinner at the King Neptune Restaurant in Ridgefield, Conn. (which I see just recently closed). This picture of me (actually eating Alaskan King Crab) was taken at the time – and then used as an ad. by the restaurant. My fee? 4 free dinners…

The Sittig office was a dusty, cockroach-ridden collection of offices on the 2nd floor at 2255 Broadway (at 81st). Today, have a look…

– Lookin’ OK.

After the sales meeting, I then spent 1 year based in the Broadway office.

I lived at a lovely building, looking today even more special than it was then: The Ansonia, between 74th and 75th on Broadway –

My landlady was Mme. Breisach, interpretation instructress at the Met. Opera. Her late husband had been a conductor at the Met.

In 1966-67, the opera was celebrating it’s first year at Lincoln Center, and I became an official Met Standee…

Here’s the official sweat-shirt, worn by someone very special – Kurt Sittig’s niece, Nancy. (More information available, upon request).


And this is the Met. Opera today…

Smile – Promote Your Dentist

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Chicago Midwinter Meeting 2014

March 11th, 2014

 

The older I get, the more I am being pushed by my colleagues to do silly youthful things…like writing blogs!

In this case, it’s the famous selfie..Here, you are seeing 4 very important dental personalities, each of whom would throttle me if they find out I’ve pasted this picture on this blog. Happily, no one ever reads this…

On your left, Joachim Siegler, boss of perhaps the only bona fide dental wholesaler in Europe.

The next 3 are regional sales managers of American Eagle Instruments: Pia Rossel covering Latin America, Elizabeth Noll, covering eastern and southern Europe, Middle East, Russia, India and Jupiter, and then there’s me.

The day before the exhibition starts, we, the trade, especially the international members, have a chance to meet, talk, view, without disturbing our professional colleagues. The Dental Trade Alliance (DTA), previously the Dental Manufacturers of America (DMA) hosts their ‘Preview Show’. Each exhibitor has a table, on which to show their wears. Visitors grab a snack in one hand, a drink in another, and then shake hands with whomever he meets in the many aisles. It’s clearly a very informal affair…

My first show was back in 1967 (I was 2 years old), when I was at the end of my 3 years’ apprenticeship with Sittig Associates, the then-leading export agent for American dental suppliers.

I’ve been to most since, though bright early Spring sunshine and horrible snowstorms that have kept us Chicago-bound for days. Always something to talk about.

The next 3 pics shows Chicago on the day before the expo starts: empty streets, empty corridors, and artistic teeth, yet to be installed.

Was able to walk a little along N. Michigan, along The Magnificent Mile, Chicago’s terrific main shopping street. That’s the Sears Building in the first picture, with the very diminutive Water Tower, dwarfed at its side. And of course, I had to pop into Victoria’s Secret. Didn’t buy anything of course, but that’s not the point. Anyway, my wife prefers ‘others’.

Now I’m going to risk something….Saturday night, the same 4 of us ventured into Kingston Mines Blues Bar. If you’re in Chicago, put this place next to the top of your list.

Of COURSE, it’s loud, or COURSE it’s squeezed (Saturday night – although the air-con appears to be working fine…never felt anything but OK). But Joanna Connor (pictured below) and Duke Tumatoe fronted 2 great blues bands – on 2 separate stages, in 2 separate rooms (you have to shift from one to the other).

Fan or not, connoisseur or not, you sway, wave and shout on command. It’s very special.

Now to the risky bit. The following images show strange behaviour between 2 men at the venue. One is me, and the other is none other than Torsten Oemus. If you do not know who Torsten is, then I’d better not say.

There, I’ve done it.

Smile – Support Your Dentist

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Last Dental Tango in Paris

November 28th, 2013

 

The title is provocative….The ADF expo in Paris, held always at the end of November, is usually the last of the major exhibitions to be held in Europe in the year.

It is held at the Palais de Congrès at Porte Maillot, one of the last ‘of it’s kind’.

The old among you will surely remember trade shows held in venues full of corridors, side rooms, extra halls and on several floors.

In the States, hotels used to be popular venues, such as the Conrad Hilton in Chicago of the New York Hilton.

Now, theoretically, no exhibitor can complain that he has not been treated fairly; hals are as symmetrical as can be.

But here is Paris, it’s still the old system. Very little symmetry, 4 floors, some stands in strange corridors.

And don’t think there are no complaints; there ARE. But it won’t change anything. (Remember, France is one of the only ‘modern countries’ with no dental hygienists).

So why do I love this meeting? Well, this has been traditionally an ‘international’ show; here you meet those you want to meet – and some…

And why do they come to Paris? Because Paris is a great city. Take it from me, an Englishman.

You’ve seen all the classical views of Paris – thanks to Marlon Brando and Woody Allen. Here’s a few more images…of the La Défense area, where my hotel is located.

A ‘good view of Paris’ in partly possible because, in the city, there is only 1 skyscraper – in Montparnasse. By clever design and planning, the high office buildings etc. are all in La Défense, and that makes them magnificent. Intermingled among them are examples of fine art sculptures….

Thumbs up to the architects..

Paris at Christmas is lovely. I hope to see more before I leave again..

Paris at Christmas is lovely. I hope to see more before I leave again..

In the morning, the office workers arrive – hardly noticing La Grande Arche and the partial face..and when I catch the Metro – I am quite clearly ‘against the flow’.

Just a reminder that the fantastic ‘Grande Arche’ is a stunning office building, located in a straight line that divides Paris perfectly. First, you go past the Bois de Boulogne and the Ave. Neuilly, past Porte Maillot (and this expo), travelling along the Ave. de la Grande Armée to the Arc de Triomphe. The straight line continues along the Ave. Champs Elysées, past the famous Fouquet to the Place de la Concorde, with that special obelisk in the middle. Continuing along the Tuileries Gradens, you hit the Louvre in all its glory.

One straight line….

Only in Paris…

Smile – Promote your dentist

 

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