Spineophiles, if you haven't had the opportunity to watch the Newsroom on Sunday nights, take the time to surf over to HBO and give this series a look with an objective mind. Is that possible? By now many of you are wondering, is TSB becoming a television critic? In order to assuage your cynicism, the answer is unequivocally NO. In many respects, "The Newsroom" is an indictment of the current state of news, regardless of whether you are a liberal, conservative, or independent, but who cares about labels, hey? Just ask some of our readers. The Newsroom questions our objectivity as we transition from a nation state to a market state, more concerned about sponsors feelings rather than delivering the truth. It questions accuracy, our insanity as a nation, along with business, politics, the media, and the government's failure in reporting the truth, even if it means offending some peoples feelings or beliefs. So how does this pertain to Spine?
The vast majority of people that work in this industry are hard working professionals. It is the 20%, a minority, that truly tarnish our industry. These are the same few individuals that snicker and sneer, while espousing free markets wrapping themselves in the American Flag, as long as it doesn't hinder their ability to game the system. Ever read a comment and wonder how someone can go off on a tangent and introduce a topic unrelated to the blog? What does it say about that individual's ability to focus, let alone do their job? Why can't TSB challenge this unholy industry when it is warranted? Where have all the geniuses gone from the last ten years which TSB calls the lost decade in spine. Have we learned anything from the pitfalls of success? What began as an innovative industry led by young visionaries has mutated into an industry that is bloated and bureaucracy laden. Spine is about as aberrant of an industry as anyone can work in. Our industry rewards executives that strangle ideas rather than reward creativity, because creativity or out-of-the box thinking may threaten the established order of things. Today, the start-ups and early growth stage companies are mirror images of their big brothers. Fiefdoms and internal politics have emerged as a key to ones success and longevity. God forbid you point out a deficiency or inadequacy of a system or implant, or ask why the company is spending capital with no return on their investment? Some of our current CEO's would better meet the criteria for psychoanalysis rather than an expose in Harvard Business Review. No one individual is bigger than the sum of its parts.
Turnover has become rampant. Rather than sustain continuity and realistic growth expectations, many of these companies go five steps backwards to go one step forward. Question my decision making, you're fired, even if the individual's decision making SUCKS. If you don't listen to your customers needs, you will never succeed. But then again, it is always easier to blame someone else than take responsibility for ones actions or decisions. Just ask Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling or better yet the former CEO's of Vertebron, Archus, CardoMedical, or IST. It was always someone else's fault. Never have I heard anyone admit, "I just wasn't prepared." Even the BOD and Investors buy into their BS. Some of our readers believe that they know TSB or our motives for this blog. Those are usually the smartest guys in the room accusing TSB of being anti-business. On the contrary, those that contribute to your blog love making money. The difference is that we do not justify making money by behaving unscrupulously with no conscience. Our response is that those few individual are entitled to their opinion, and they could keep reading OTW the mouth piece for the industry.
The industry has lost its nimbleness, it has lost its passion. It will blame everyone else except itself. It's the FDA's fault. It's Obama's fault. It's the sales persons fault. What about the people that truly drive the industry? What about the greed exhibited by our illustrious CEO's and our surgeon customers? "You bring no value. You are overpaid. You are the cause of the United States healthcare crisis." But what about their own contributions to an industry once revered now loathed. Where are all the visionaries that lacked the wherewithal to properly assess where healthcare was heading? It's churn and burn baby. What happened to all the innovation? Another pedicle screw? Another cervical plate? Another inter body device? We no longer innovate to improve clinical outcomes? We are now focused on improving existing technology asking the question, "how are we going to use this to make more money?" Today, at day's end, you are more concerned with your stock price and whether it has gone up or down than whether you had a productive day.
The reason you read TSB is because we make you think. We stimulate you to ask the right questions and hopefully hold your companies accountable for what they do well, and what they do poorly. You are the engine that drives the machine on a daily basis, not the shareholders or hedge funds that play roulette with your companies shares. The reason Spine is in this state is because shareholders and BOD's place more value on bean-counters than the individuals that understand the clinical and development side of the business. They don't want a product guy, they want a businessman or woman that can cut a deal or put another marketing spin on a me-too product. As we enter the dog daze of summer it will be interesting to assess where we are and how we intend on adapting to an ever shrinking market place? Vacation time is over and its back to the grind. Have a great week, and sell something will you the investors are getting antsy.