While I was driving through Eastern Kentucky one sunny day in 2001, my mom called to tell me my Uncle Thom Maass was looking for a business partner at Microcopy. I had taken the day off from work to look for a small business to call my own, so the call couldn’t have come at a better time.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at him but my Uncle Thom was a giant-killer. Thom was on a quest to make dentistry easier for the dentist and safer for the patient. He had observed back in the ‘80s that large companies, all of which offered only expensive, multi-use diamonds, dominated the business. The trick was in the cleaning of these burs – you couldn’t very well. He started the journey in 1989 with the introduction of the NeoDiamond. It was a challenge at first, he was relentless about matching the quality of the market leaders, and he did. But everything else about it was completely different.
With a drastically lower price, burs sterilized in individual packets on a roll of 25, all the shapes a little shorter than the competitors and with his own part numbering system, he was different. And then there’s the box: he called the box color magenta, but it looked pink to me. Finally, he didn’t like the thought of the bur being called disposable, nor did he like the term “single use,” so to take it the extra mile he created his own category called “single-patient-use.” Wow!
At first the big companies didn’t notice us at all. When they finally did, their response was to knock our quality, and did they ever. Big mistake. Thom had that nailed and with supportive independent studies and ever-increasing sales. The proof was hard to ignore.
Now, 25 years later, the Single-Patient-Use category that Thom created is used and referred to by competitors and industry analysts alike. Other competitors have copied our box design, packets, sterilization and even part numbers. With 100 million sold, NeoDiamond celebrates its 25th anniversary and is the market leader in unit sales.
I came on board about 6 months after that phone call in 2001, just when NeoDiamond sales were getting really interesting. Thom has long retired, but I’m continuing his commitment to innovation and safety... and to writing the next chapter.
We thank all of you for being a part of the “Story of the Little Pink Box.”
-Perry L. Parke