You ain't got no kind of feeling inside
I got something that will sure 'nuff set your stuff on fire
You refuse to put anything before your pride
I got something that will knock all your pride aside
Tell me something good, tell me, tell me.....................
TSB thought it would be interesting to table a forum whereby all of our readers can contribute their knowledge and expertise in response to our famous commentator whom continues to bad mouth TSB and this blog. Let's just call it something creative like, well, The Spine Technology Summit. You don't have to fill out any forms, or pay an entry fee, nor do you have to wear a monkey suit and sit through a mediocre dinner listening to the state of the union. As for our famous commentator, well, let's just say that for someone that criticizes TSB, this dude never logs off of this site. Could it be an addiction to their predilection as to where they get their news? So after attending AANS, what is it that is so innovative? Don't tell TSB, tell our readers something good. Tell them what is so great about this industry?
In order to brighten up our famous commentators day, let's take a serious look at the state of our industry. Based on Biomets and DePuy's recent earning reports, spine is down. Even the analysts with their crystal balls, are modifying their forecasts. Why? Because the industry is a microcosm of a greater phenomenon. As markets get saturated with more products that really aren't improving the outcomes for patients, we have commoditized ourselves to near death in terms of real growth. The industry has become its own adversary. TSB knows someone will blame the POTUS for the current state of affairs in healthcare. But what products are making a difference, and what company is separating itself from the rest of the pack? I would venture to say not one company can claim the throne, unless one looks at pure marketshare. If that's how we measure success, then Medtronic is the hands down winner. The reality is that this is a tremendous business to be in considering the angst surrounding capped pricing. The margins are still north of 60% and that's taking general sales and administrative costs into account. So why aren't we that great anymore.
The industry and its leaders have become one-dimensional. What have any of your so-called leaders done to provide you with a competitive advantage in the field? NADA. Spare the reader how innovative your company is. Without consulting agreements, a majority of you would be out on the street selling copiers. The art of the deal, is the deal itself. The fact that you have to pay surgeons to use your product tells you how the industry's wounds are self-inflicted. We talk about nefarious dealing in international markets, yet we really aren't that different. We just do a better job of hiding it. How do you run a successful company when you have multiple interests outside the company? Name one CEO today, that is innovative and thought provoking? Dvorak? Paul? Lukianov? Orsinger? Vater? Binder? This industry spends too much time worrying about the analysts and the Street. Don't believe it. Remember how nervous John Brown and Dave Simpson use to get when the analysts were coming to the booth at NASS or AAOS? Maybe it's time that the industry return to the basics, or maybe, the industry is too far gone? Territories have been cut. Downsizing has occurred. Some companies are so top heavy in management that they spend more time in meetings, than they do actually doing something constructive. Engineering can't coexist with sales and marketing, and sales and marketing can't get the necessary tools to get the job done because everyone is worried about cutting corners so that they can provide the shareholders with an acceptable return on investment. Ever try to increase sales without the necessary tools? You can't make beef wellington out of BS.
The markets will eventually stabilize themselves. The result will be less money for everyone, meaning middle management, sales, and even surgeons. Because in the larger picture, you are the bottom of the pyramid whether you like it or not. Until people realize that its 2012 and not 2007 nothing will change. So old wise one, tell our readers what is so great about this industry and what does the future hold?