I was lucky enough to go to a Cub’s game with Derek Bock this weekend. The Cubs lost but it was an awesome experience and I learned a great deal – as I always do when I spend time with Derek. The most interesting thing he told me was the story of the rooftop clubs surrounding Wrigley field. These are a series of buildings that are next to the stadium and tall enough that their rooftops have a view of the field. At some point the owners realized they could set up stadium seating, offer food and beverages and charge a premium for an excellent experience while watching the game WITHOUT having to buy a ticket to Wrigley or deal with the crowds.
Apparently the family that owns the Cubs took exception at the lost revenue but instead of threats they offered premium prices to purchase these buildings. Almost all of the building owners sold but a couple refused to sell (as was their right). Of course the owners of Wrigley Field had some rights of their own and a ton of money besides so they built a large scoreboard in right field that just happened to block the view from the rooftop buildings that refused to sell.

Whoops.

The rooftop businesses that no longer had a view of the field were instantly defunct and I’m sure the property values suffered. Of course the owners of these buildings sued but the owners of Wrigley Field were well within their rights to modify the property they owned and the view into their property.

So what’s the take home message here?

Perhaps it’s that all have the right to do what we think is best with our buildings, our businesses and our lives BUT so do others.

Maybe it’s that actions have consequences and sometimes they can be severe.

It could be that those who have more resources will generally win when there is a dispute.

Who knows? I do know that Americans don’t like winners. We prefer underdogs! And we love the one in a million stories where David actually overcomes Goliath. And that’s fine. Just don’t forget that the other 999,999 times Goliath crushes the punk kid and no one ever hears of him again.

In this changing dental landscape it’s vital to always remember that:

  • We are all playing for keeps.
  • Pride is expensive.
  • Actions have consequences.

The good news is that the motivated, progressive owner/operator will almost always win as long as they remember to offer what people want, at a price they can afford in a manner that they enjoy!

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