Today, one of our surgeon readers opined about how this blog has "regressed into a dark place where former allies, reps and surgeons, hide in cloaked veils of anonymity to routinely lash out at one another. Before we elaborate on this post and the state of our industry, one must remember that it is absurd to discuss how one hides behind an anonymous post, when the individual opining is writing anonymously themselves. But let's be honest with one another, whether you like it or not, this blog has never regressed, it has always been a referendum on the state of our industry. As TSB has stated, "for years it was our dirty little secret," and contrary to what anyone thinks, it has taken some courage from some individuals, god bless you whistleblowers because sometimes it takes a woman to show a man that it takes balls to step up and call out the nefarious arrangements and greed that slowly has become the norm rather than the exception. Thank you Blackstone, you set a great example.
Contrary to our commentator's opinion, surgeons and reps have always had a mutual respect for one another, at least our generation did, unfortunately somewhere in the journey, there was a change in personal and industry related dynamics. "If my mentor could do it, why can't I? I'm just as smart, I'm just as talented. If they could start a company why can't I? Some investment bank told me my company or IP is worth gazillions." Could these individuals be part of the entitlement generation, could some people be delusional, maybe some of them are nothing more than dreamers? It is difficult to place one's hand on the pulse of how a once respected industry has become so scrutinized in the public arena (thank you Mr. Carreyou), considering that there are many hard working young sales people and surgeons that do their job in a professional manner respectful of one another everyday. Unfortunately, the current state of the industry may sadly be a reflection of what our society has become, greedy. There's just never enough. Just like Democracy is for sale, spine has taken on the persona of its masters. There is never enough, because what were once vices have now become habits. And contrary to what Gordon Gecko has said, greed is not good when there is no balance in your lives. TSB believes in capitalism, but one must understand life's priorities. Today, company's still have unrealistic expectations when it comes to growth and market penetration. 20% is a thing of the past, of course unless you are dealing in a POD or POC. Zero-sum means zero-sum, unless you have breakthrough or emerging technology, the question becomes where are you getting your growth from? Your competition? It's difficult to understand the present or the future, if you are stuck in the past.
Yes doctor, the industry is truly in a sad state, and you are correct that life can go on without a rep, just like life will go on without your existence, but before you cast light on the reps, one should look at one's own profession and accept the fact that the patient has a malignancy that has never before been seen in this industry. Maybe what some people need is a good old fashion whipple? Chemo will not cure this malaise. So, who's fault is it? Is it the sales rep who earns on average $120-$175K, covers their own expenses, has a mortgage and family to feed, just like you and your peers? Free-markets means free-markets, not a specific set of rules that only benefit me and screw everyone else. Is it the surgeons fault, who has spent countless hours educating and honing their craft with the expectation of being compensated commensurate with their expertise, only to find out that enough is not enough? The reason this insanity exists is because of the lifestyle you choose, the personal decisions you make, and that you believe that you are the straw that stirs the drink. There's only so many LeBron James' or Kobe Bryant's and then the rest of you are bench warmers. But in the end, there's no special dispensation for you just because you are a doctor. When the world suffers, you too suffer. We have become so consumed with money, that it has led people in both our profession and yours to conjure up more schemes and business models in order to make that almighty dollar.
So before you make an off the record statement, Doctor Anonymous, maybe you should look at your peers and wonder what in God's name are they doing? Believe it or not, there are many sales people that are as disgusted as you are about the current state of affairs, the question is who and how are we going to do something about it before we get back to doing the things that made us all proud to be affiliated with this industry. TSB wants to know, what will you do?