The Multifaceted Dental Innovator: A Talk with Ryan Vet


Podcast Summary

In this innovator interview, Ryan Vet, a recognized professional in the field of dentistry, and Shawn Zajas engage in a comprehensive discussion on entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership within the dental industry. Vet shares his professional journey, highlighting his passion for dentistry and his vision to revolutionize the sector through innovative solutions. 

Throughout the conversations, Vet discusses his unique approach to handling the challenges within the industry, including his inventive solutions to staffing problems. He offers insights into the importance of fostering a healthy work-life balance and instilling an empowering company culture. Vet emphasizes that time is often more valuable than money, advocating for a more balanced approach to professional life. 

Vet also shares his experiences leading the Speaking Consulting Network (SCN), an organization committed to nurturing growth and development in the dental industry. SCN provides resources and opportunities for dental professionals aspiring to expand their influence in areas such as speaking, consulting, podcasting, and writing. Vet touches on SCN’s annual summit, an event open to all interested parties, along with other exclusive members-only events. These initiatives aim to help professionals enhance their businesses and further their careers. 

In the final segment, when asked about advice he would give to his younger self, Vet intriguingly responds with the question, “Does it really matter?” suggesting the significance of focusing on aspects that truly matter in life.  Zajas commends Vet for his tireless work in dentistry and his commitment to equipping other professionals in the industry with the tools and resources necessary for their success. 

Podcast Transcript


Ryan Vet, Shawn Zajas


Ryan Vet  00:00

The way you approach risk is the way you approach failure and vice versa. Usually people who are afraid to take risks that are also afraid of failure. It comes from two reasons. One is a pride issue, right? They don’t want people to know that they failed. And so they’re not willing to take a risk. And, and I think that’s probably one of the biggest things that gets in the way of most entrepreneurs. Risk tolerance is their own desire to look better than they are.


Shawn Zajas  00:24

The future of dentistry belongs to the innovators. Welcome to innovation in dentistry. I’m your host, Shawn Zajas. And I believe that the future of dentistry is going to be unbelievably great over the next decade in two decades. But the question isn’t that the question is, are you going to be part of what makes dentistry Great? Hey, guys, I’m here with Ryan vet, and I actually just had the honor of meeting him this past January, at Voices of dentistry. And, man, just hearing a little bit about your story, Ryan, I’m, I’m so intrigued how you ended up where you’re at today, where you’re leading? Sen. So yeah, just first of all, great to have you on the show. Really glad you could be here.


Ryan Vet  01:22

Good to be here. Sean, thanks so much for having me. It was great meeting you in January, in person. Thanks for being gracious as I literally check the founder, right advocate the Red Eye home. But it was great meeting you. And yeah, I’m excited to be on the show.


Shawn Zajas  01:37

So what I always say is like, I am obsessed with innovation, and it’s really not about clinical innovation. I’m not a dentist. And you know, being in dentistry, it’s kind of an awkward profession, because so many of the leaders so many of the people that make dentistry great happen to also be clinicians. And I think that’s where we have something in common because if I’m correct, Your background is not to clinical dentistry.


Ryan Vet  02:04

Is that dentistry or healthcare?


Shawn Zajas  02:07

Okay, so for people that may not know about you, which is probably not a lot of people, just how did you end up where you’re at right now doing what you’re doing in dentistry?


Ryan Vet  02:17

Yeah, so my background is startup world. I love the startup robots are bad startups in particular, and primarily software and enterprise software. And along the journey, I got placed into a venture backed medical device company. And I was one of the founding executive team members, they’re responsible for building this brand and running sales and marketing and kind of the go to market strategy. It was a big deviation from me. For me, it was not once and zeros encoding. And by the way, I can’t code, simple things. All the developers just cringed when I said that it wasn’t about coding was about the design and all that. So what I was transported with Fields was medical device companies. So I can totally do that. I the founder and the division for an Apple brand. And they really want to make the medical device something interesting and exciting, not just boring with, you know, chemical formulas and gears turning and everything else. So it’s a challenge. It just so happened that the main target market was dentistry, and my wife was in dental school at the time. So it just made sense. And all those things played together to me wanting to accept the role and try an industry I had never tried before. So I did that for several years. But that’s really my background, kind of the venture backed startup, ended up leaving that to go to another part of the family company backed by similar VCs did that for a period of time, then went to start my own then with the president at another larger company that was kind of exiting the startup world and kind of within the scale of faith. And then here we are today. So there’s a different version. There’s lots of details and finally in between, but that’s that’s the abridged version.


Shawn Zajas  03:57

So Ryan, it seems like your career path has really gone from, I don’t know seeming success, to seeming success. Again, with some of the startups you’re part of, I know you’ve experienced success with that. And then other doors opened up. You’ve been shared that there was a period of your life where you were getting interviewed a lot like on major news outlets, but I almost have a feeling wasn’t that more political? Like, like, just what was that snapshot of your life?


Ryan Vet  04:28

Yeah, so the startup that I ended up founding and selling was a startup that focused a lot on the gig economy. So gig economy is everything from Upwork to Fiverr, to Uber to Lyft DoorDash. Anyone that’s picking up a gig or a shift to do something. And sitting in the office where I am today, I used to have a a rack of blue jackets and different shirts. And like you said, Shawn, it was at the height it started before the pandemic but at the height of the pandemic when you couldn’t Travel, the way that a lot of the producers for shows would work is they would zoom you in, but they were one after another because the morning shows and talk shows or other thing time. And so I would literally which jacket to switch between to make it look like I was not sitting and hadn’t moved in days. But that that was a, say, a political as a not political as much as Ross was sort of the neutral voice is at a time when you know, we had to start that was growing in the gig economy. We were doing some of the backend for it. Right? We were making it if you want to start your own Uber Uber effects, we created a platform in which you can do anyway. At the same time Governor Newsom of California was putting forth some legislation or the five. And, you know, I mean, one statement wants about the implications, not good, bad, the implications. And next thing I know, I couldn’t even tell you how many interviews I did. But everything from shows, you’ve heard of two news channels, you’ve never heard of radio shows. You name it.


Shawn Zajas  06:06

So so much of what I share with dentists is I’m fascinated by what is it about a dental professional, be it office manager, hygienists or dentists that goes from I’m here in the OP, I’m doing clinical dentistry to all of a sudden, but there’s more. Now all of a sudden, I feel the need to step up and lead in this way or start this company. You know, whether it’s, you know, Tonya Lanthier, who started dental post, she was a hygienist. And then she successfully just sold that company for millions of dollars. And I’m so inspired by stories like that. Your Ark never seemed very conventional. Do you feel like that’s always just been something about you the way that you think the way that you’re wired? Like when you were in high school and college kind of were you just thinking like, Man, I’m the guy that’s just gonna follow this crazy journey. You always saw yourself kind of as as visionary as this entrepreneur.


Ryan Vet  07:04

Yeah, I think I joke, but I joke with a element of seriousness that it all started with a lemonade stand growing up. It was in that lemonade stand in Chicago that I called the Daily Herald, which is a local newspaper in Chicago, and I asked for a full page, full color back page, and they came back with a price like 15 or 20 grand, definitely not my lemonade stand budget. And so define, you know, being the entrepreneurial spirit, as you know, as still probably in the single digits, maybe really double digits as far as age goes. And I started to start my own newspaper. And that lasted until my parents printer ink ran out, which was about two issues. And I put it all around my neighborhood. Now I joke about that. But the element is that that newspaper landed on the desk of a local business person. And I had my gmail email at the bottom of it. And they reach out to me for graphic design, because it lays out the nutrient was I had no idea that I was, you know, probably at this point, we’re talking about 10 years old, 11 years old dialogue via email. And that’s how I got my first marketing company that ended up serving over 200 clients and 25 different countries, aimed to help them fundraise for nonprofit NGO, you know, opportunities, so starting leadership academies, and in Kosovo or hospitals and Togo, West Africa, you know, you name it, kind of philanthropic opportunity. So that was that business and what I read through that, learn how to build a business, how to manage a team, I had 16, or at age 16, and 13, people working for me, in three different countries at this company, where I didn’t know was that you can sell just about anything, I could design services or web services. But I didn’t sell that company. I didn’t want to go to college. So I just kind of slowly wandered down and stopped taking new clients and looked at other ones kind of fizzle out. So I learned the importance of being able to sell, but that was a very sellable company. It’s a profitable company was doing well, didn’t know that I just wanted to kind of do my own thing. So that was kind of the lesson I, I learned there. But all that to say, the journey that you said is unconventional, might seem a little bit unconventional, but it is more linear than people realize. For the most part, I think at the core, there are two main things that I like to say. One is my goal is to inspire others towards a positive change whatever they’re doing. So whether that was, you know, with the design, I wanted people to be able to invest their money or donate really, but we call it investing right into something bigger than themselves positioning, but invest in this project in Africa or in this project in Eastern Europe or in Southeast Asia where it was. And so towards other sorts of positive change, whether it was the medical device company, we were helping patients, we were helping practitioners, whether it was one of my software companies, we were improving processes, making things more streamlined, whatever it is. So that’s kind of been the underpinning or the thread that runs through all that. And then the second part is to create experiences worth sharing. Uh, every single time you go to, you know, the restaurant, whether it’s, you know, the high end five star local restaurant or McDonald’s, you have an experience. And oftentimes, it’s an experience that you’re going to share whether they’re positive or negative, right. And so my second, the underpinning of all that is help people create experiences we’re sharing and everything that they do, which stems from an awesome brand experience to an awesome event experience to an awesome customer experience or patient experience. So all of those has been consistent. And just like your stock portfolios, not all invested in tech stocks, or automobiles or energy, it’s kind of diversified. I would say my career kind of the same way it all follow that thing. Why is it that some option?


Shawn Zajas  10:47

So Ryan, I love the fact that we didn’t do a ton of prep ahead of time, meaning I didn’t know your story. I didn’t know that when you were young. Did you actually say 16 years old? Okay, okay. So, this, this is why I, this is why I interview people, because I’m so curious about, like, I’m just trying to think back in my life and as a 16 year old. And with all my peers, like, I feel like I was a little different, like, you know, I was reading self help books. As a freshman in high school. You know, I went to a leadership conference, you know, in DC, maybe in sophomore year, but I didn’t start a company that was successful. Like, was this odd for you? Were you an only child? Did your parents like, oh my gosh, we have this prodigy. Like, how did that affect even the way you saw yourself?


Ryan Vet  11:37

Yeah, I think it first, it was normal for me. If I wanted something, I had to work hard to get it right. Nothing was ever handed to me. When I say that I did not grow up in poverty I had, I never needed or wanted anything. But I also never had the extra, you know, trips that that people would take or frivolous birthday parties, you name it. But that was fine. I didn’t know any different in my life was perfect, adequate family and home life. But my parents both challenged me that if I wanted something, specifically a PS to buy one of that PS two, then I had to work for it. And I actually looked for jobs delivering newspapers or other things. And unfortunately, it either wasn’t old enough, or whatever it was. So lemonade stand fake watches, carpet, you name it. Anything I could do to trap together money. Not agreed but out of I would even say necessity. But I’d have one right. I enjoy work. I love work. I I think work has a place. And I think, you know, time aside from work or work life balance is important. And I think time aside from work is important. So I made all this money. I think like 199 went to Best Buy. I’ll never forget the checkout line. But the PS two in my hand, it was like the most exciting thing. I think I had Midnight Club. So that will tell you exactly when this was a long time ago, which is a racing game, right? It is a racing game. It was a racing game. And this was like before the tar here we’re talking, you know, writing PS two came out. So I bought this brought it home and probably played maybe a total of five hours of my life. And it just showed me you know, material things aren’t that important. But all the way to circle back to your question, what? Why am I the way I am? I think my parents always told me if I want something go work for it. It’s not given to you, you don’t cheat your way through do with integrity. And, you know, the rewards come in. Sometimes it’s in learning lessons, right? It’s in learning the lessons of things that, yeah, you want to be as soon as you feel the needs that you thought it would or your desires.


Shawn Zajas  13:44

So So tell me what, like, how do you see? How do you view risk? Or how do you view failure because I’m fascinated by people that are high achievers that are more entrepreneurial, like their relationship with those two things. Because I think that is really insightful, and can really help our listeners kind of unlock a little bit of the way that you’re wired. Because I feel like that’s where I see dentists struggling. There’s scared you embrace risk, because you don’t really want to embrace risk on the clinical side, you know, like, you don’t want you want to reduce liability. And then when it comes to failure, that just sounds horrible. Like, but I could fail and failure means like, I’m not enough, especially again, if it’s clinically. So how do you how do you see those two? Those two ideas?


Ryan Vet  14:36

Yeah, I think the way you look at one is the way you look at the other right, the way you approach risk is the way you approach failure and vice versa. Usually people who are afraid to take risks that are also afraid of failure. It comes from two reasons One is a pride issue, right? They don’t want people to know that they failed, and so they’re not willing to take a risk. And I think that’s probably one of the biggest things that gets in the way most entrepreneurs are Risk tolerance is their own desire to look better than they are. Now. So far, you’ve made me look really good because you only ask me positive questions. But the story has probably for every once that’s by has 100 failures, right? None of them are huge failure. Some of them are a little itty bitty failures that you just learned because you, you did something not in the best way. So I think that’s one relationship between the failure and risk. I think the second thing is some people just don’t have a risk tolerance because their content. And so put aside your pride for a second, some people are happy with the way their life is and want the world to be better, but doesn’t feel the need that they’re the ones to actually make the world a better place. And that’s okay, too, because other people have a huge place in the world and fulfilling other people’s missions and dreams. So everyone has to be a dreamer, and a driver and an innovator. I think everyone has a place in the world, but the ones who are afraid of failure, and don’t take a risk because of pride. That’s an issue. And it doesn’t matter what other personality attributes you have. You know, if it boiled down to you being too prideful, you’re not going to be successful and much in life, because trickle over into your non risky job.


Shawn Zajas  16:07

Man, okay, so that is incredibly profound, and yet, almost like convicting because I feel like my wrong thinking and my immature thinking, or the last 15 years, that’s what I’ve run up against, at times. I’m like, I’m really scared to start this. Because what if it doesn’t make me look at my best or what I’m capable of. And it’s 100%, pride and ego that has kept me from doing things, actionable things that would bring fulfillment. So the fact that you unlock that early on, like, that is amazing, Ryan, and yeah, I might be making you look good, because I’m asking good questions. But I actually think you’re gonna look better when I asked the tough questions about where you struggled, because it’s the humanity of your journey, and the ways in which you hit obstacles and overcame them, that actually makes you I don’t know, that makes the victories. And the triumphs that much more amazing. So I want to know, where did you hit obstacles? Maybe, what was the low time in your career? And how did you not either give up or like what led to you getting back on the horse, so to speak?


Ryan Vet  17:20

Yeah, I think. I mean, there’s probably too many I can kind of like this, this is probably on a hand, the failures, I don’t even know where to start with. You know, I think one of my first lessons that I learned is, and this was back when I was probably probably 14, when I actually first started that business. I didn’t have people weren’t coming to a 16. But 14, my dad had to go to the courthouse with me, and we had to hit this a cosign the incorporation documents, because it wasn’t legal to do that. But I think it was in that business that I learned the importance of doing business, honestly, and with integrity, and with kindness, and I’ll kind of hit on each one of those things, the honesty and integrity to do what you say you’re gonna do. And then everyone agrees with that. I don’t think anyone disagrees with that, whether or not they live it out. I think everyone agrees. But if for whatever reason you screw up, admit that. I think that was the biggest lesson I learned it was hard, because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. You know, I’m not saying that I’m, you know, pride lifts or humble, I’m just saying that I’ve had to learn that it gets in my way more than anything else. And so I think when I, when I missed the deadline, especially think of printing, printing back in the day was a disaster, we did a ton of printing, we did, probably over a million printed postcards a year, just a lot of postcards, and the times we’ve missed deadlines, and not get to the printer, get something wrong or a typo on the thing. But you can either cover it up, you can brush it off, or you can say, I own that I’m sorry. And every time I said I own it, and I’m sorry, almost almost every time I should say that people were like, okay, no big deal. But every time you started, like him all around it, people would buy back and it costs more money. So just own it. You know, there’s a great book called Extreme Ownership that came out, you know, 15 years after I started the business. So I think that’s, that’s number one, I think, the kindness component that I just talked about, treat people like people this was before I had division, I wanted to inspire everyone towards a positive change. I think that a lot like time goes by. That’s why I do love speaking and writing. I’m an adjunct professor, like, a lot of things that I love inspiring others. But I think the thing that really has stood out to me more recently is creating a positive experience for everyone that you come into contact with. So in the context of a dental office, I make the joke. You know, when I’m speaking I’m like, hey, you know, when you get that phone call, whoever it is, I don’t care if it’s your mom calling if it’s your Henry Schein or calling. Make sure that they have a good day and they book an appointment before you hang up that phone. That’s kind of kind of my joke, but the reality is every single person To become into contact with has an opportunity to either put a smile on their face at the end of the day or not. And I will never forget this one, scathing email I wrote, and I was probably I was probably 17. Maybe it was just venomous, because I was mad at someone. And just this woman probably at the time, probably four times why he might be gracious response firm. That was basically like, that was inappropriate, out of line, unprofessional. I forgive you. Do you want to try again? Something to that effect? That that was powerful to me. So those are some of the lessons but how do you get up when you fall down? I think was the really the question that you asked three people, I’ll keep this brief. But I would keep three people around me. The first person is someone who’s a couple steps ahead a mentor. And I always have someone that I can call that can check in on me. That is, has been where I’ve been, that’s in my marriage. In my personal life and my professional life, someone that can speak in truth into that, because they’ve already walked the road and they know where the potholes are. The second person that I was keeping alongside of me is my running mate. And I’ve learned, the older I get, the more running mates I need. Because it’s easier to the more you’re involved in the to do to run, running mate to the people that now are on either side of you. And when he gets out of there, like you become and you keep going. When you you know, when you’re running, other ones cheering you on when you’re out in front of them. When you fall behind, they’re the ones pulling you forward saying you got this, you’ve got this. And sometimes they’re just holding you up. And so I’ve, you know, I talked to one person have since 2009. So we’re at about 14 years, sometimes reporting every single week. Granted, there’s always work that when things don’t work out, but let’s say even 40 weeks a year, for the last 14 years, how often we talk and then I’ve got another guy who check in probably every six weeks. And they know they know stuff about me if I knew their names, they would have a list of Blackbell. But taking part in my personal life in areas where I’m struggling areas in my marriage areas, which are the parenting areas, just in my community areas and business business notice I said was last. And so that is the running mates and then the most fun for me, because it you know, they knock you upside the head and so to mentor. So sometimes you get a little beating from those first two, but the most fun, you rarely get a beating if ever, it’s the people who are a couple steps behind, right. And it was, you know, a couple people a couple of steps behind me that I get to mentor I’m on the business school board at university, those people there as a professor at Peace University, so I get students there and then just team members, employees and others that make myself available. I’ll never forget, I will use this person’s name. Mark Sanborn, author of The Fred factor. I went up to him after a presentation in like 2007 at the Georgia World Congress Center, and he you know, timing he sent me a gift of you know, how to beat CDs at the time and DVDs. I’m pretty sure that VHS we’re past that face. And he sent me all these free resources got me into the NSA National Speakers Association of students stayed, you know, occasionally would reach if I reached out to him instantly on personally called me on a birthday once like just amazing example of always pouring into the next generation. And just he didn’t know me from anybody that was in person to crowdfunding books. But just that however, and so being able to do that when possible.


Shawn Zajas  23:44

Okay, so as you’re talking, I can’t help but think of like, like an iceberg, where, instead of it being ice, though, thinking like, it’s like a mountain on top, like you’re this mountain of a man, mountain of a figure. And yet, it’s what’s underneath where there’s so many core values, there’s such alignment with those values. And there’s so much virtue that you’ve spent such a, like a lifetime, making sure that I don’t know like you, you, you. You say yes to those difficult decisions that you’ve chosen to live by when when no one’s looking, you know, it is integrity, and it just comes forward in such an overwhelming way, Ryan, so I just want to honor you for that, like, thank you so much for making those decisions for playing the long game in relationships, where it’s all about trust and not a quick little shortcut or who who can I get, you know, you know, step over to get to where I want to go. And I think I can see that’s why you have had such success is because of the way you choose to live your life. So that was just some wisdom that you dropped there about those three different types of people. It’s clear to me as I listened to you, that you love learning, and you’re a very learned individual. And I think part of that is that you I also love books. So what would be a book? Or? Okay, so a book recommendation to a dentist that is wanting to be maybe more entrepreneurial. What would you advise them to read?


Ryan Vet  25:18

That’s trying to be entrepreneurial oh man, there’s so many books, I would say. I love the book, Shoe Dog, story of Phil Knight making, you know, he originally was going to be a journalist. That was his goal. And I’m paraphrasing a little bit here, but he actually wrote his own memoir, an autobiography. And as far as anything I can find, points to him writing almost all of it. So you know, CEO of one of the biggest brands of the world, writes his own powerful and less than well written story. But I think what inspires me about that story is a couple of things. One, entrepreneurs have to have grit. And grit usually, is at the expense of pride, right? You’re living on a mattress on the floor in San Francisco apartment. And, you know, it’s Phil Knight talks about in his book, they had a cardboard divider that when it rained, the opening window would get like, you know, probably getting the details a little bit wrong, but you have to set your ego at the door. And so I’d say it’s an abnormal book. It’s not your business book, but it’s the journey and brand that you know, and you recognize, starting with very humble beginnings. And so I think that was just it’s because we’re almost summertime, and you’re looking for that summer reading book. I think that’s an interesting journey that you can learn from someone else, not again, not not a how to book on how to be an entrepreneur, but just looking through the eyes of, you know, Brandy that’s well loved across the world and their failures, and plenty of the plenty of foreclosed houses that almost made them take off to the next level.


Shawn Zajas  26:54

So right, as I’m hearing you, I’m like, man, so much of the struggles that you’ve overcome so much of the path that you’ve walked. It’s something that can just be incredibly valuable to dentists. Do you feel like you’re getting to, like, completely express all of that and pass on that kind of value with what you’re currently doing with Sen. But and just even I would love you to also to talk about what it is that you’re doing and the value that you’re bringing to dentists because I really want dentists to be aware of?


Ryan Vet  27:25

Yeah, so speaking consulting network was founded by Linda miles in the early 90s. From a 90 minute mile, you don’t know her. She was really one of the pioneers in dental practice management, speaking and consulting. I mean, if you go through history long before she ended up CNN, she was one of the first eight females as well as non dentists to speak and please map national stages and the systems and processes she put into place that really made practice management and dentistry what it is today, she a lot of that’s attributed to her. And like any movement, there’s a lot of other people. And we spend a lot of time talking about all the influences, but she had a big impact. Well, she joked that she was having so many calls after her session she did was number to call them that came up to her afterwards. And like how do I speak like you have to admit. So finally, after hearing that, for 10 or 15 years, she’s like, I’m gonna start an organization. Instead of giving the same information over and over again, I’m going to do it once. So she created the beacon consulting network, and 9697 and started off once a year meeting where buttering speakers and consultants would come to speak. And back then, in the early 90s, she would charge almost five grand prix to be able to come because she says, and you can watch the video clip on our website. She has one for mantras, but I love hearing it in her voice and her southern drawl. It’s, you know, nothing is cheap, nothing cheap is good. And that’s kind of her mantra. And she believed that she has a whole philosophy on why it was so expensive. But over time, hundreds of speakers and consultants, many of whom, if you flip open any magazine dentistry be good at any trade show, whether large or small, or any Sunday club, a lot of the speakers have either been trained by Linda, or at the end, or our current members at the end. That’s word to 2014 2015. I went as a part of sponsor at the end with the medical device company. So the company and I’ve been thinking for years I’ve been speaking since 2007. So as part of National Speakers Association and just on my own, and I fell in love with this organization. I’ve been to all sorts of organizations and meetings but the people there were just different. And so, you know, after after I left that company didn’t really think tons of Sen. But every once in a while going to be in a group or on the road speaking somewhere. I was like, Man, I miss I missed that group of people that community and then 2021 for the 25th anniversary of the closing keynote. So I did the closing keynote at Sen and then kind of rejoined, if you will as a member this time Have a company as part of rejoined as a member and really, really fell in love with the organization and found out that it might be available for sale. So, you know, I took that opportunity to kind of partner with load and take over the majority ownership loves about it for Wanda, and really take that down. And I wouldn’t say a new direction, but reinvigorating it back to its original roots, which were, you know, equipping the next generation of speakers, consultants, influencers, podcasters writers, with excellence, and integrity, it all comes together in the dental community. So the the tails of people that were providing this great content education, you know, through the lens of excellence and integrity, were being trained up and so brought it back to its roots there, but also expanded it to talk to podcasters, other influencers, social media influencers, people who just have online courses, education is changing. And we had a dozen or so meeting planners come down. But now we also have publications that are trying to pay influencers to post on social media or by podcast, it’s changing. And so I’ve really brought it, if you will, to this current century. And we’re moving forward with great speed, you know, from one event a year and it six to 13 events, even now, people you know, the public knows about one right the annual summit, which is open to the public, but there’s 12 other member only events every year, and enriching and equipping the best of the best in dentistry to share their knowledge.


Shawn Zajas  31:38

So this is, I guess, just one of those questions, you kind of answered some of it. But under the topic of innovation, as someone that is a visionary, just over the next 510 years, what is part of the future that you see in dentistry that that you’d like to share?


Ryan Vet  31:57

I think Dentistry has always been behind it. Some people get offended, by my opinion, not chance. But behind medical about 2030 years, just everything it’s done. We’re seeing the DSO movement. Now in the last 10 years or so, in dentistry, it’s been even longer than that. We found that with consolidation medical 2030 years ago. So just as an example, there’s so many other things with technology and paper charts, like everything is a little bit behind. What’s interesting now is there’s so many innovators in dentistry, dentistry is accelerating at what I would argue with a faster clip than medical ever accelerated due to less regulation and more focused niche. So we’re seeing technology and innovators come in the advantages, lots of new ideas, the disadvantages, usually a lot of private equity and venture capital money with startups that come and go. So you do have to be a little bit careful, but very thing innovation, at the Education dramatically changing as well. Magazines aren’t going to be what they’ve been made, some trade shows are already changing. There won’t be big gatherings, but how the education classroom works. You know, Yankee dental did the trade show for podcasting things that need to be now they’re doing networking dinners with influencers, there’s just different things. So as the industry shifts, I think the traditional speaking, consulting is not going out the window, but changing and for those that have done it successfully for so many years, they’ve got to pivot because, you know, the average age and we’re actually we have this huge state of the industry survey that will come out in June. What’s been consulting network we have every year but it basically says the average age of dental speaker thing consultants. And right now the average age of like, late 50s, early 60s, of dental speakers and consultants. And that’s not just a fan by the way that is across. That’s everyone speaking at midwinter, Yankee Inman, you name it, that tells you a lot about our industry, and doesn’t mean that younger people don’t have great ideas, also doesn’t mean that every young person that thinks they have a good idea does so there’s a fine line to walk. But that’s some of the stuff that we’re trying to capture at Sen. And I think with the future of dentistry, we want to whether it’s a micro influencer with, you know, 20 followers, one of them’s their mom, you know, or the biggest influencer, that ever podcasts and online learning and, you know, the whole nine yards, I think we’re definitely gonna see some exciting innovation and at a rapid pace in the next couple of years.


Shawn Zajas  34:24

Well, well said Ryan. So so much of what innovation in dentistry is about is the either the mindset or even like the heart beliefs, and how kind of we overcome them. So just in your journey, if could you think of one mindset that was either harder to overcome or that was more of like a wow, like, I don’t think I realized. Like it was just really impactful in your journey. So either a mindset or just a limiting belief that you had to overcome.


Ryan Vet  34:55

I think for me, one of the earliest shifts for me I don’t think I ever subscribe to the get rich fast or get rich quick schemes. But I did like the idea of getting rich sooner rather than later. And kind of fighting for that, whether that was spending more time working. Early on, especially I equated time of work to value of work, which I don’t anymore, I work less than I have ever worked timewise still work hard. And I would say I’m equally or more productive than I’ve ever been, I think what change, I tried to drop out of college, and my girlfriend now wife at the time was like, Yeah, you do that? And yeah, I’d say bye as you walk out of college. That’s a little extreme. She didn’t quite say like that. But she’s the one that definitely motivated me to stay in school. And, you know, Do I regret that one way or another? Not really. But what that taught me was the importance of work life balance. And for a long time work was number one for me. It was my identity, we talked, we didn’t really get into identity, which is a whole nother conversation. But it was a part of who I was and how people perceived me and I liked it. And which the pride thing, right. And so being able to work less, I definitely didn’t achieve some of the things I think I could have had I kept going at the clip I was going on. In fact, I know there are certain opportunities that I missed some I can actually point to, because it didn’t drive it the way I had previously driven out. But I can say, without a doubt I am more fulfilled, and rich in ways far beyond anything money can ever explain. Because I started to understand work life balance. So I think, for me, is kind of that work mindset of where the biggest thing I had to get over was more work doesn’t equal more value, because you bring yourself out. And all that I think pride we already talked about private once once you can lay down your pride realize that you know, this is temporary, it can bring people over. I mean, can you name all the 44 presidents or have different for me, can you name all of our presidents? See, we don’t even know the number that’s really embarrassing. We can cut that part out and you don’t have to that’s a failure. Because one of them a failure. So anyway. Yeah, we don’t remember all, Alexander Hamilton, who could ever talk about that person. And people would say he was a president, you know. And it wasn’t until Lin Manuel Miranda wrote the musical that he became famous. So we get so wrapped up in our identity here. And now that we forget the big picture and the things that lasts far longer is how I was as a dad or a husband, or how he treated the people that worked with me. You know, those things lasts far longer than your business, your brand, or your wealth or anything else.


Shawn Zajas  37:52

Okay, so there’s a chance that what you just said, kind of answers my final question. But before I ask the final question, what? Like someone wants to hire you or someone wants to get involved in Sen. Where do they go? Like, how do they get a hold of you? How do they follow you? Or how do they they plug in?


Ryan Vet  38:10

Yeah, I’m probably too easy to find. Just Google writing that. And that’s the 80 people try to add more letters. It’s really simple. Just three letters. The spellings of three letter last name, you’d be shocked. But yeah, just Ryan bet you can Google me find me on social media. Pretty easy to find their student consulting network. If you’re interested in membership, there is an application process. So you can find that at speaking consulting You can always attend anyone’s welcome to come to our annual summit, which is every June usually the first weekend in June. He was able to attend that the 12 members only events are obviously members only so you have to join but more information videos what it means for you How can help you grow your business or even your exploring, maybe of speaking consulting podcasts and writing influencing. It’s a good place to check them.


Shawn Zajas  39:01

Okay, so here it is. Ryan better today. walks by Ryan vet of 16 years old. And you’re just passing by you have one sentiment you can leave with him. What do you say to him?


Ryan Vet  39:21

Probably ask the question. Does it really matter?


Shawn Zajas  39:28

Okay, Ryan, again, there’s so much we could have gotten into, like you said about identity. The the basic gist of everything is that I love what you’re doing in dentistry. I love the way that you’re taking your successes and the gifts and skills that you have. And you are actually dedicated to equipping those in the dental profession that want to be able to level up, they want to be able to lead. They want to be able to innovate. You are a leader of innovators. So I applaud you for that. Thank you so much for your time today. It has been an honor and again, I’m behind what you’re doing at SDN. I love it. Any way I can ever help, just let me know. But again, thank you so much for your time today.


Ryan Vet  40:13

Awesome. Thank you, Sean.


Shawn Zajas  40:16

Thanks for listening, and be sure to follow so you never miss an episode. To learn more about what’s going on in dentistry, check out innovation in

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