[Special] A Parent's Perspective on Our Work (Art Jee) - KNN Ep. 100
Updated: Jun 7, 2022
Today is the 100th episode of the KNN podcast! I wanted to do something special for this monumental occasion. Taking a page out of Lex Fridman's book, I brought my dad Art Jee in for an interview. This may sound like a weird choice since he is an oral surgeon and has very little to do directly with the data domain, but honestly, this conversation is one of the most meaningful ones I’ve had in my entire life. I was able to learn about my family history and take dedicated time to document the experiences that shaped who my dad is and his relationship with me. I don’t think I’ve ever had quite as much of an appreciation for his life, his work, and his individual philosophy as I do now. For those tuning in, I hope this is a window into how our parents and loved ones view our work, our happiness, and our decisions. I also hope that this inspires you to take the time to truly get to know the people in your life before the opportunity to do that dissipates.
[00:00:00] Art: The hardest part of children, raising a child, my opinion is to really understand.
[00:00:07] Ken: Is it, they take videos of you sleeping and put it on YouTube.
Today is the hundredth episode of the Ken's Nearest Neighbors Podcast. I wanted to do something special for this monumental occasion. So taking a page out of Lex Friedman's book, I brought my dad Art Jee in for an interview. It might sounds like a weird choice since he's an oral surgeon and he has very little to do directly with data and the data domain.
But honestly, this conversation was one of the most meaningful ones that I've had in my entire life. I was able to learn about my family history and take dedicated time to document the experiences that shaped who my dad is and his relationship with me. I don't think I've ever had quite as much of an appreciation for his life, his work and his individual philosophy as I do now. For those tuning in, I hope this is a window into how our parents and our loved ones view our work, our happiness and our decisions.
I also hope that this inspires you to take the time, to truly get to know the people in your life before the opportunity to do that dissipates. I hope you enjoy the episode. I know it was pretty meaningful and monument.
Dad, thank you so much for coming on my podcast. This is a very special hundredth episode for me. You know, obviously you've known me my whole life, right. So I couldn't think of anyone better that I've learned more from throughout my life. And I also think that anyone listening can get a lot about the out of this conversation because one, you know, you've given in my mind some really incredible advice to me as I've grown and developed, and especially those that navigated my career.
And also a lot of people there, they probably have parents that have no clue what they do, have no clue why they're trying to get into the data domain. And I at least I think that you approve my career and you come in from a traditional career as a doctor, as his neurosurgeon. How you sort of wrapped your head around that. So again, thank you so much for coming in and I'm excited to dive into your story.
[00:02:13] Art: Well, I'm actually very honored, you know, this is kind of a unique experience. And the fact is this is an epic episode of your podcast at this time. So I'm truly honest. So this is something I was looking forward to when you made a comment to me as well. Yeah. I'd love to, so yeah, I'm more than happy to join your podcast.
[00:02:35] Ken: Excellent. Was, as everyone can tell listening, I get my sense of humbleness and humility from you. So, but so, so jumping in, you know, I usually ask people about their background and how it relates to data. Right. But I'm really interested in just your background in general, you know, you were an immigrant, you had, you know, not the easiest life growing up, what is something from your childhood that is still really prominent in your memory? You know, like when you look back like, wow, that's something that happened. That's crazy.
[00:03:10] Art: Well, you know, you're right. My bet is unique, but not really unique to immigrants in general. I think if you look forward to it, you know I was born at a time when it was just at the end of the World War II. It's just the beginning of the Korean war.
So that time period, it was a very awkward time in America and Asian history. And so at the time that I was still very, very young we were still in at that time occupied a ... as China's they call it. Now, people don't realize that in the 1949 - 1950 era that China was not totally, shall we say completely occupied by ...
There were segments within China and China is a huge country in landmass, larger than United States. So you could imagine the areas of ... Yeah. So we were one, my mother and myself who were one of the few people that were able to get out of China at the very last airplane and fly into at that time a coastal Chinese community.
And then we were able to navigate from that coastal area with boats into Hong Kong. And I was very young, so I don't have a lot of memory of that. But what I do have memory of it is the rushing and being unkind that it got to be there at time. And I think that that concept has always instilled in me that always be on time, be early, if we can, just from that kind of setting in my background once I was in Hong Kong then we lived there with some relatives and, you know, I think I explained to him once before, is that your grandfather.
My father was a U.S. citizen, a Chinese person who was actually born in Hawaii. And I, and I'll go to that story later and therefore became a Chinese citizen, a U.S. citizen, and he had been, believe it or not placed into the military. And you know, once they had solicited him into the military because of a U.S. citizenship, he came to United States.
And so my mother and I were alone in China, I then migrated, as I just said, Hong Kong. And from there, we were trying to make her with Hawaii and then obviously from Hawaii, which is a territory, not a state at that time. And then meet my father in United States where he was a physician in the U.S. army.
And so that early childhood kind of instilled in me some real ideas of, you know, I guess timing. And then once I reached Hawaii. I mean, I had vivid memories of being on a boat and looking out and seeing nothing is forever. I mean, just absolutely nothing. And once we were in Hawaii unfortunately my mom be the wife of a U.S. citizen was able to go to the United States.
But the immigration laws, especially for Chinese were so strict that they would not allow me to go into the United States because I was ... non-citizen. And we are in a time of that beginning Korean war and the anti-Asian sentiment was huge. So with that in mind, I was able to then slowly stay in Hawaii and I had relatives there.
So I stayed there by myself for many years. My mother was finally able to go to ... with a relevant and from there she went to ... You know have a reunion with my father then. So I was stuck. I was stuck there. And so I remember clearly, you know, being on my own and I remember wherever they, when I did return it, I was able to get in the United States, you know, that first meeting with my dad.
And then, of course, they had my siblings and that they may know about. I knew all of them, but I understand that. So those are my memories that I have early childhood as far as growing up. And I think the lesson learned is I can only be one kind of lesson of being independent on my own, self-reliance. So those are really kind of the key points that I've taken away rather than it being a negative. You know, I use it as a positive in my life...
[00:07:59] Ken: I apologize for the airplane noise here. It's a little unavoidable, but you know, I think that those are really important lessons that even still in me, I mean, from a very early age. I mean, you've preached to me that, you know, working for yourself or having control over your own destiny is something that is a really powerful thing.
You never want your life to be controlled by someone else. And you clearly felt that when you were a child, because you know, you're, you're escaping an oppressive government, you know, you're being taken all over the place. And there are things like the law of the country with immigration that are out of your control and unbelievably frustrating.
So it's kind of cool for me to see like, Okay, this is what shaped, you know, some of the thought process behind that. And like why he thinks in this certain way or why that was such a core value to you as you were, you were growing up or even as you like maintain as a tenant going forward. So you're in Hawaii for some time. How did you eventually move to the continental United States? Right? Or like the mainland as we call it here.
[00:09:10] Art: So it's very interesting story. And in fact it could be well documented. But what had happened is I had mentioned before that my father and grandfather was a physician in the U.S. army.
And at that time as a physician he had gone to medical school in China, and then he ... to come to the United States. He actually ... a residency in the United States and my father who was very enterprising and in his own way, very bright about doing this look at an area of medicine that he could practice.
That they weren't that many specialists and therefore he would be unique. And it ended up being, of course, he chose pulmonary medicine. So pulmonary medicine is diseases of the law. And at that time, you know, they were just that not many pulmonologists at all. The people were internist people, cardiologists, orthopedic surgeons, but pulmonary hold on.
It just, which is not unusual at that time. So I went into pulmonary medicine and they assigned him to go to Colorado at Colorado Springs or the U.S. army base there. And when he was there, of course, there because of Colorado is it's a well known that the atmosphere and the environment was better for respiratory diseases.
And when he was there, he happened to have many patients that were well-known soldiers, as well as statesman. And he met Senator William Morton. Senator Morgan was in Kentucky. He had a respiratory disease of CLPD. So at that time he treated Senator Morgan and he really appreciated my dad's treatment.
And subsequently the secretary of state, likewise had a disorder with asthma or the adult onset asthma, which was unusual. And somehow or another, they collaborated, and they found out about my being in China, in Hawaii. And because of my Chinese birth, I was unable to come to the United States to the mainland.
And they actually instituted with a bill in Congress, a special privilege bill that was added to war preparations bill, and that allowed for me to enter China under special conditions and getting special citizenship. So that's how I got to the United States. It's very interesting. But yes, that's how I came here to the United States and that bill was initiated in 61 way around in the sixties. It was, it was an issue.
[00:11:54] Ken: So there you have it, my dad a part of the U.S. history.
[00:11:57] Art: That's correct. That actually, if you look it up is actually in the congressional records in library congress.
[00:12:04] Ken: That's really cool. And so, you know, you got home, you see your parents out for quite some time going back.
How do you think your parents would describe you? Or how would your siblings, or maybe each one of your siblings describe you differently? But you know, like, well, what was that experience like essentially like rejoining a family after being gone for quite a period of time. And like, you know, was there a dissonance because of that, you know, you're used to being independent and you're going back into a household and Asian household where there is like expectation. How did you manage that?
[00:12:39] Art: Well, it was difficult. My father has moved that time. The whole family had moved to Cleveland, Ohio where my father was a physician and is now a physician with a clinic and a university program. And so they had moved to a place called Sunny Acres, right outside of Cleveland.
And it was this classical 1950s suburban area that you actually see on TV where the homeless are all settled in. It was a plant home area. And I remember coming there and the first thing I felt when I came there was I was cold or the heat coming from Hawaii. And then all of a sudden going to Cleveland, Ohio, and even though it was late, it was early fall at the time.
You know, I remember one is that, Oh, this looks bleak and I am ... My reason was my family. I actually, it wasn't that complicated. I mean, I was really happy to see my mom again, of course, and then meet my siblings. I have one brother, two sisters that you have two aunts. And my father, you know, was, I think he was probably more concerned than I was.
And I think looking back and then talking to him all the time, my father always sort of had an idea that I was on my own. He really did interfere with my life significantly. I mean, he would offer advice to comment, but from a standpoint of being disciplined or a standpoint of typically being a disciplinary associate was not to make.
So I think there was some dichotomy between how I was treated and compared to my other siblings. But on the other hand, I think my other siblings looked at me just a little bit differently as well. And so, yeah, I mean, even to this day, I mean, they're there, you could tell them, Oh, we'll have a good relationship.
In other words, should a family relationship is that I'm treated just a little bit differently just because of my, and you know, they're all aware of my background. And so I think my, one of my sisters made a comment that she didn't know who she could have survived and she was totally on her own without mom and dad there and whatnot.
So I think the reunion was, I remember it as being anything but happiness and I think that. Oh, my both ends. It was really kind of nice to see another person. And I think if you're thinking about it yourself, all of a sudden you realize, Oh, I have this and they're coming over. I mean, all happy. So yeah, I think it was in today's world.
[00:15:42] Ken: Well, so, I mean, it seems like obviously the cold is a big thing, like relocating to a new, a new place. I mean, uprooting, you know, I think you had friends and things like that in Hawaii and making that adjustment. How was it integrating with school? How was it integrating to other aspects of your life and how did that drive your, your future of like what you wanted to do with your life?
Right. So you come in, every story I've ever heard about you during your younger years is that you were like unbelievably motivated. You're in the band, you're playing sports. You're the best student who were doing all these things at an early age. Where did all of that come from? Like, why did you to excel and all those things. Why did you want to take on so many things? You know, what was the motivation behind that?
[00:16:33] Art: Well, there were a couple of motivations that I felt, and I had a discussion with my mom and my mother made a comment that, you know, it's different here than in China and in Hawaii. And that here in Hawaii, or especially in China, everybody's Asian, everybody kind of looks like you or not.
And then Cleveland, Ohio I went to a high school and that high school was not a large high school in that area. And I was literally the only other Asian there. And I realized that everyone sort of look at me differently. Yeah. So, you know, I took them on the thought that I would try to integrate myself to be like everyone else.
And my mother made a comment and you know what? You're never going to be like everyone else, because you don't look like everyone else. And so you have to make your own way. And I thought about that and it clearly occurred to me that to make your own way, you have to establish yourself and to establish yourself.
Then you have to be as good as everyone else and even better. And I learned that lesson really early in life. And so I was motivated to do well, and I was motivated to Excel and I was motivated to do the best I could do. And I learned very quickly that, you know, if you are at the top of whatever pyramid you want to go, Then people respect you more.
They look at you more equally and they look at you from the standpoint of being inclusive. And I think that that's key to the part of my entire outlook philosophy is that if you do well and Excel, and then of course, you know, now as an adult, you look at and you say, you know what, that internalizes as well.
And there will, that internalization allows you to have a certain amount of pride, a certain knot of self-confidence. And if you will allows you to have, you know, whole identity of yourself and so issues of who you are, your differences really don't matter. So I think all those areas of being where you are, one of many that looked at the same head, same passage, same culture, because Hawaiian culture is roughly a lot Asian culture.
That's mixing with American culture. And when you come, obviously United States, you know, in the Midwest, like Cleveland, Ohio, you know, that culture changes dramatically. And, you know, in order to navigate those types of different types of cultures, you have to be able to have a certain amount of self confidence to do that. And that's so common, it emanates and other people are aware of that. And so that allows you to be your own self.
[00:19:42] Ken: Yeah. It's really interesting that you have that experience at that age. I mean, I felt like in a lot of ways, in a very strange way, I felt something very similar, right. You know, going to high school, going to middle school, whatever it might be.
Once people start to identify like, Oh, this person looks different or whatever it might be. I mean, like we were things start to happen. Right. So it wasn't that I was the only Asian person. Right. I mean, there's plenty of Asian people. There's plenty of Chinese people. I went to high school. My upper end is very diverse, but you know, the thing is I'm like half tracks.
I'm not totally Chinese. And the Chinese kids, I didn't speak Chinese. Like I didn't fit in with them. Same with the white kids. Is that, or any other, any other group is that I'm not completely them or I'm not necessarily affiliated with them. And so I found myself very much like you were the only Asian person.
I feel like a lot of the time I was the only person that fit in with my specific subset. Right. And to me, I think that was really, it was scary because I felt alone a lot, but at the same time, it was unbelievably liberating to say, Hey, I can define my own category. I can like establish my own identity.
I don't have to fall into any of these neat groups. And that's helped me be significantly more entrepreneurial it's helped me think about a lot of, a lot of the situations that I run into is I don't have to think about it like XYZ person or this other person. I can think about it and I can completely on way, because I don't have to fall into this very neat little group either.
I obviously didn't find that you know, the ability to separate myself from those groups as easy or like the path to doing that as early on. And when I found sports was like a very easy way for me to establish my own category and largely individuals sports as I, as I grew older. Right. But it's, I don't, I wouldn't say it's poetic, but it's really interesting to see that mindset that you cultivated, which I think I also have the sort of fierce independence and wanting to control your own destiny.
It was shaped by our backgrounds and our experiences that were different, but similar in the way that there was some, I wouldn't say isolationism, but you have to look at the world very differently when you're the only. You have to approach problems very differently if you're the only one. And I think that that's, you know, a lesson I'm very happy that I learned at the time.
I probably wasn't as grateful, but now looking back, I'm really, really appreciative of it.
[00:22:27] Art: Well, it's hard to identify individualism and have the confidence of utilizing that at an early age. And I think I was probably luckier. If you look back at it and looking at the positives, that admitted being fiercely independent and on my own for so much, so many years.
And I, you know, I live with an aunt, a very loving aunt who didn't have any other children or she was never married. So she had no experiences as far as raising children. So quite frankly, it really allowed me to do almost everything I wanted to do. And. Probably allowed me to have a fatter, a faster trajectory growth.
And so, you know, I look at all of those issues, even though at the time as a young child growing up, you're wondering what's going on, but a lot of do as a positive note, it really expedite your trajectory in life in a lot of ways.
[00:23:29] Ken: Yeah. Well, you know, it's sort of funny. That is almost the opposite of very contrary to traditional irritation parenting. Right. And, you know, I saw this myself, I think you'll probably agree. And I wouldn't say you guys were like the most strict disciplinarians, but I mean, there was things that I could definitely not do. And there are things that I could do. And I was your as his first child and only child. And so I think that there's a little additional level of, of like protectionism or things like that.
And you know, it wasn't until I left where I had that independence. That I found who I was, and it took some time after that. And you know, I think that that is something that I I've relished in American culture is the, like the need to understand or learn yourself. There's obviously other really benefit, huge benefits of, of the Asian cultural elements of hard work and those types of things. But hopefully, you know, I find both, both of those in myself and I've been able to really like build those tenants into any of the successes that I've, that I've had so far.
[00:24:43] Art: I think one of the other issues too, that we're bringing up is there. I think my whole tenant on education really comes from my parents.
My mother actually graduated from college in a social ... Father was a physician. And so their belief was that education was the leveler. Education was the leveler in everything. And that education is something that never be taken away from you and education in fact, would allow you to succeed in all sorts of areas.
And I think that or my thoughts about being academically strong and to this day, as you will know, I mean I'm my main tenant is being educationally strong and knowledgeable is it comes from them. And that resource log in knew that area. And luckily, you know, I was fairly athletic. So, you know, I have an athletic background.
I, you know, I love sports. So I was able to, you know, succeed fairly well in both areas, academically athletics. So I think, you know, I was able to pick up pearls of wisdom all the way through. No people will walk in, ask me your mentors or whatnot. I mean, you have so many mentors that allow you these pearls as you move forward, as long as you're willing to accept what people were telling you, and then try it in your own mind or try it to see what works for you or not. I think that those are key elements of success in life.
[00:26:24] Ken: I mean, that is something that in your younger years, maybe not as much as you've gotten older, that I, that I've always admired about you is your willingness to experiment and try and learn about what you like and what you don't like. I think that that's something that, you know, you've even encouraged me to do.
I played so many sports that I did not want to play growing up. I went to all these different classes and these types of things that I didn't enjoy, but I wouldn't have known that I didn't enjoy them unless I tried them. Right. I don't think we left too many things on the table or it's like, Hey, I didn't at least try and experiment.
And there are a lot of those things that I did try eventually really did. Like, I mean, that has been something that you know, that I had to pick up. I mean, as a kid, I can't think of too many things that I just like wanted to go out and try. Right. I needed to get that little kickstart. And as I've gotten older, I try, you know, if I could, I would eat a new food or I'd literally eat something different, every single meal, because I enjoy the experience of largely food, but trying, trying new things on that front, which I think is really cool.
[00:27:36] Art: You know, my father, your grandfather had this philosophy that you should learn something new every year of your life and it could be anything, but you learn something new, whether it's a language whether it was joggling, whether it was a new talent but something that's absolutely new to you every year. And, you know, I really try to follow a lot of that. No one is because it's the uniqueness too, is the curiosity. And three is that it's really kind of invigorating to learn something new and not that you have to master it, but you could actually say, you know, really I enjoy this and therefore I want to continue it.
Or you can say, you know, I tried that and I don't want it. So similar to eating, you know, new, different styles of food or not, it's the same kind of ..., but that curiosity and that virtuousness that I think allows you to grow your mind and grow you as a person. So that whole concept we recall, and I said, try something new every year and you know, comes from your grandfather. And I think he got it from his father to be honest about.
[00:28:52] Ken: Well, so, you know, I never got to meet my grandfather. I met my grandmother, obviously when I was very little, I have some memories, but I think she passed away when I was, what, 10, something like that. Probably younger. Three? Wow. I guess that is my memory is a little fuzzy, but I digress. Tell me about my grandparents. Like how do you remember them without going into like, too much depth, but like.
[00:29:20] Art: Well, I think when you look at your grandmother, she was fiercely loyal, loving, caring. It was amazing, but she grew up in a home that was a well to do for her father. Great grandfather was a physician and it's very interesting that he is, was a physician in Chinese medicine and then subsequently discovered Western medicine.
And he actually went to United States. Went to Harvard and taught anatomy there at the same time, getting a medical license, a medical degree at Harvard. And it's when they left Harvard after being there for I guess, eight, nine years. And they came going back to China to show what he had learned. There's is he has the experience in new English.
And because of that, he actually went into China and outside of Shanghai is ... So ... is a beautiful city with all sorts of gardens and he built an American style home. And because of that, he really was creating a unique that he not only built a hospital, but he also built a dairy farm and then subsequently a form to sustain.
So within that hospital, he was able to sustain. All of the necessary elements sustainability goals. And with that, my mother grew out of that home and she had experienced with being a nurse, helping life. Other as she was, she had five siblings as well. There were six in the family. She had I'm sorry, five sisters, siblings, and two male siblings.
So it was a rather large family. And from there she herself went through college, which is very unusual. And, you know, again, 1920s China, 1930s China. So you can imagine. So, so she was very unique. And when she came to America, I mean, she was used to living well, of course, during the war, it was difficult, but you know, she learned everything on her own, how to cook to 10 housekeeping racetrack.
Where in China, where she was growing up, she would have Liberty trying to serve it's called Walmarts. And so it was unique. So she was firstly able to adapt, adjust and make a living. My father, your grandfather was unique in his way. You know, he came from a family where his father passed away. Very young.
Your great grandfather passed away, I believe is very early forties. And he left my father was the only, only son, six siblings. And so he was the youngest and apparently he was independent as well. My great grandmother who raised him work, and she also learned English. And it's unique also that the history is.
Your grandfather's father was the fact that he also was a physician. He also preface in Beijing and he practiced for at, at time the emperor, his family. And they sent him to the United States to learn a Western medicine. And he was in Boston university at the same time. Other great-grandfather was at Harvard and they can met and unknowingly, but nevertheless and then when he came back to China, he had died prematurely.
And my great grandmother raised the children and she gave English lessons, piano lessons, she tutored, and she was very well known for her singing. And so she would put on exhibitions that she would train Sears. She was a little known in Beijing as being the music. And my father couldn't carry it to the state was life and nor can I have ..., but my father himself as a young man was a career for the U.S. army.
And he learned English that way. He put himself through school because obviously they didn't have a lot of money. And then he himself went to medical school and worked in the anatomy department in order to, for that he would deliver food. He was he's actually, he was to did laundry. I mean, he will follow the data with him.
And then when he was enlisted not listed, but he was actually in the army because he was a U.S. citizen and he continued the interesting thing about your grandfather, however, is that after you left the army and went to Cleveland clinic, he decided on private practice. You can have a medical license in military, and you're gonna know, and you're gonna have a license where you go to university, but if you go into private practice, you have to get your own licensed medicine.
And because he didn't go to medical school, although he did a residency, they wouldn't allow him the privilege to sit for the exam to take the license. And so he fought tooth and nail. In fact he actually got an attorney to petition to the Ohio state at that time to get a license in medicine and he was able to petition it.
And so they gave him a one-time only Africa to pass the exam. Yeah, my poor father at that time, you know, if you recall, as a pulmonologist, that license, medical license exam, Including OB GYN, pediatric medicine. So things that my client had not studied or looked at for many, many years, and to his credit, don't under the, you know, those a dire circumstances of eating or not eating, you know, practicing medicine or being a doctor.
And he was able to pass those exams. So, you know, it was quite to his credit to be able to, and at the same time you got to remember, now he's got four children, he's got to put food on the table. He had to work. So he is the head of the study. And likewise, if people remember that in those days, they didn't have testing agency, he was able to have help book read it.
And so he had no idea what the exam was, what he had no idea. And he didn't have any connections that he could like ask people about what's this exact bite or questions they focused on. So he did it all on his own. So that was to it. So again, independent, adaptable, resilience and ...
[00:36:45] Ken: That's awesome. I mean, it helps to paint a better perspective. Obviously. I wish I could've met them, but you know off the books now, but you know, switching gears just a little bit, you know, when you were a kid, when you were growing up, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you have any ideas about profession?
I mean you know, obviously there were a lot of doctors in the family and we'll talk on, on that and be not going down that profession a little bit, but I'm interested if that was really what you were excited about or if there were other things that you were fascinated with?
[00:37:26] Art: Well, the time I was 8 years old until I was say 16, 17, I want to be a cashier with the New York Yankees. That was my sole goal in life was I wanted to be a cashier at New York Yankees. And I worked furiously to add it to, I mean, you know, obviously, you know, those days size didn't matter as much. I mean, today's world baseball went on, you know, the athleticism, you know, if you're not 6 foot tall and weighing at least 185-190 in those days, I mean, you either have to wait, but in those days, so it wasn't all around. And I worked furiously in it, you know, switching vetting right and left so that I think that'd be reversal. But yeah, that was my goal from about 8 until 16, 17.
[00:38:24] Ken: And what happened at 16, 17?
[00:38:26] Art: You know, I actually got interested in engineering. I had read several books, one of the criteria. I digress, but one of the criteria. My mother had always wanted us in the summertime.
We had actually moved from Cleveland now and my father was a private practice. And then we moved to a ... right outside of Cincinnati. And my dad had breakfast. And in the summers there was no such thing as real summer school then. Yeah. So my mother had said that everyone really needs to keep up with education by reading.
And so one of the things I decided I wanted to do was I wanted to read the entire encyclopedia Britannica or the course of a couple of summers. And I, and I got involved with engineering. I fell in love with Michelangelo, Leonardo DaVinci, and those drawings. Yeah, so I decided that'll go generic.
And so I just kind of moved in that direction and engineering. And so when I went to college, I applied to college in generic. That's what I really thought in my mind I really wanted to do. So I moved in that direction.
[00:39:47] Ken: How did your parents feel about you looking into studying engineering compared to [laugh]?
[00:39:54] Art: Well, you know, there was never, ever any real pressure about going into medicine. I think my mom and dad felt that medicine was an honorable profession that you know, that you would do something good. And I think my father had made a comment to me and I make that, I think I make the same pop to you. Is that as long as you do something in your life, that is through welfare of. No, it's for the best interest, you know, and you enjoy it. I mean, you got, you have to go to a professional and passionate.
They believe that you got to have passion. You could do anything you want to do. And if you have passion for it, then that's good for you. You go into professional, you have no passion, you really shouldn't belong there. So if you decided like he wanted to go into medicine because of me, for example, and that wasn't your passionate.
And then I will tell you don't do it. You don't go into a professional that you love that you enjoy going to do every day. And you feel like you're doing good at it. Then you should put something else. And I, and to their credit, that was exactly. Yeah. My father would love me gone to medicine. In fact, one of the things we'll talk about later is the fact that, you know, if I'd gone into medicine, he and.
And my uncle at the time, my mother's brother, who's also a physician, you know, they would love from his own practice with us. Okay. But, you know, they really didn't pressure me present where they clearly would said, if you go into medicine, you're going to practice on this stuff. So it was a different type of subtle type of pressure, but it wasn't specifically my being a doctor.
[00:41:48] Ken: So, I mean, you're starting an engineering. How do you end up in medicine actually?
[00:41:53] Art: So I got a separate, a couple of engineering schools and obviously one of the big concerns about was that kind of the cost. And so I got a small scholarship in Ohio because we lived in Ohio. Yes. I went to case is to do engineering. Yeah. And it's combined with, you know, at the other college called a Debra college. And it's a combination of case...
[00:42:23] Ken: So why didn't you go to Harvard? You had legacy. I'm realizing now that I also have...
[00:42:27] Art: One is I didn't get accepted to Harvard. I applied to Harvard, I did it with legacy, but it wasn't legacy because someone had attended, it was that there was someone who actually talked to him.
So this is a little different from that standpoint too. And also what happened was is that I hate to say it, but Harvard, Yale, some of the other schools, and I wasn't simply the Yale. Those are the schools had limitations and quotas on patients attending the college. And I was told, in fact, I don't think my mom used that letter.
I was told that I was an alternate list for an Asia position. So in other words, if one agents dropped out that wouldn't be on the, on-premise go there to army. Which, you know, fair or not fair, that's the way it was. You know, you're talking about the 1960 seventies, you know, but that's, that's the way it is.
And so, no, I didn't go to Harvard and I didn't go to Yale because I got no scholarship and the cost was ... to my parents. So I went to case and a finished case, enjoyed it. I was a mechanical engineer and I really, really look mechanical engineering now in those things, it's pre-computerized.
So one of the big issues which I excelled in was the meticulous drawings and those meticulous drawings, or, you know, took out so weeks to do. I mean, and it was something that I enjoyed and then you'd have this beautiful draft drawing, a building, a bridge or whatever you wanted to create. And I love that.
Unfortunately, when I graduated, I looked for a job in the mechanical engineering. There were no jobs, there were ... positions, and I couldn't afford to go out to shop myself. So that summer, I mean, I'm really kind of desperate. And obviously I know my mom and dad can't afford to keep me around. And my college roommates got him a Roman Rangel who was a really great guy, funny and great.
But anyway he was going to dental school and his father was a dentist in in Cleveland, outside of Cleveland. And he says, good enough school with me, mess it up. I said, nice, you know, you got the grades, you got everything you can do with, go ahead. And you know, all you need is take organic chemistry, you take it in summer. So he says, you know, flying and taking exam. So I said, fine, I'll take the exam and we'll see what happens. And after that it was history for what the dental school got the second. So the ... university of Louisville gave me almost quite a full scholarship as well on what's better than this, you know. So I went to dental school.
[00:45:49] Ken: You know, it's funny. So for those listening, I've seen some of your drawings from dental school over your notes, and like, they should be in a museum somewhere. I mean, you really carried that over, but they sound so different, right. Engineering and dentistry. But the part that you loved about the engineering probably was the drawings.
That was something you had passion for working with your hands, dental school surgery, like the form of medicine that you do. You're working with here. All the time. And I think it's, it's really interesting to see that those two really far disciplines have that thing in common that you really enjoyed, and I've seen you work. I've seen you talk and you, you clearly have a passion for what you do now, which I think is pretty incredible.
[00:46:35] Art: Well, yeah, it's interesting. You brought that up because what happens, I went to dental school and once I got into dental school, after the first two years of dental school, I said, why am I here? Because I don't wanna enjoy this. And then my third year I was actually, I was speaking to my father and I was explained to him. And he said, well, switch over med school is a, you know, got the grades, go to medical school. And so I actually went over to the medical school and talked with them about switching over.
Was it for that decision occurred? I took a rotation and oral surgery and all of this. I said, whoa, this is really interesting. This is really unique. And the area of oral surgery, which is unique, that people don't appreciate is that most you, the pocket of solicit oral surgeon, Oh your dentist, you know, you take our TV, they go with their deal.
Or that's true for a office space practice. But the other side of oral surgery, which is called oral maxillofacial surgery is actually reconstructing the entire face. And that is after trauma post cancer surgeries. And also, you know, you talked about being official, you know, these formatives and that whole area became now all of a sudden, a very interesting area because it had all my mechanical engineering background to now go forward with pre-construction with.
So you could take a face and you can imagine in today's world, you know, a person in a motorcycle, and this was an actual case, was riding, doing weaving back and forth. Slides on the gravel bike gives away and his face smashes into a sign. And then every bone in their face was broken, smashed in. They're still alive.
The brain is intact, but every bone in their face, or not only the cheapos rather I orbits how to say their nose and the whole jaw is your smash flap. And so to reconstruct them back to where they were originally putting all the bones in place, building the scaffolds to support it also became my mechanical engineering background that supports all this.
It's all sudden, I thought to myself, wow, this is something that. And so all of a sudden I was reinvigorated and I said, you know what, I'm gonna do this. And where am I pass background? A lot of being tenacious academically strong allowed me to be a little forward to it because, you know, it's obviously an area that it's a highly sought after very competitive.
And that also inspired my juices. So while, you know, it's dependent and inspired to get in the area, so all of a sudden him and that came became my focus. So that's how I moved into progress, facial surgery.
[00:49:46] Ken: That's awesome. I didn't know that the history behind that decision, it seems like it was very skill and passion oriented. I mean, I talked with on, on this podcast, a lot of people who have navigated their careers and it seems like there's some sort of secret sauce between not just passionate about. Which you found in that specific subset of the discipline, but also aptitude, right? Like you have this sort of unique blend of skills that I would imagine most people in dental school did not have an engineering background. Right. That could make you excel and understand it in a different way.
[00:50:25] Art: You know, just give me an imagination on this issue. Let's just assume that, you know, you break your jaw here and here. Well, the job on itself is just home by itself. There's a joint here, but there's nothing that hangs this bone to the rest of your body, rest of your school, other than its attendance.
So this piece breaks or this week's breaks, even nothing hanging. So in order to have that support, it is no different than the suspicion bridge and the bridge goes over and you've got two pillar points at one spot. Well, depending on the length of the bridge, you have to be able to support it in the middle of.
And the easiest course has put a cover, but what if you can't put a pillar in, how would you support them? So now you've got a suspension bridge, same concept. You're supporting the mandible with no little pillar and you're doing it by suspension. And so that mechanical engineering background and knowledge Princeton, right to this table in that note, we smashed it.
She pointed you got to pull it out, but how do you keep it out there? Okay. So in order that bowl, cause they'll just kind of collapse. They just kind of fall in, we pulled back out again, the muscles, the cheeks, as soon as you smile, they'll pull back again. So again, how do you support that? And that's all mechanical engineering in this learning.
And so in a lot of ways, my backbone allows me to see the picture quicker than some of my biology colleagues who studied biology. And the way that they approach it in a way I would push it is significantly different. Now the results of some cases, maybe the same, but I like to think my results or that much better.
And obviously I've been very successful at it. And therefore, you know, there, some of my techniques are being accepted by others. And so yeah, that background has helped a lot. And I think I pride in that background.
[00:52:26] Ken: Well, I mean that is just a recurring theme with almost everyone I talked to is that like the things that make us different, they're often things that make us better at our work.
Right? If everyone has the same skillset, we're not improving, we're not in a meeting. I mean, the thing that makes progress in nature is randomness is defects actually, right? And if the defects or that the evolution or the mutation is positive, then it sticks with the population. If it, if it is not positive, then it'll die out.
And I think in this, in this circumstance where you are dealing with structural elements, like I wouldn't say I have to go as far as teaching an engineering class and, and in your in dental school, but taking from those concepts and figuring out how to integrate them in would probably be useful until physics at the end of the day, in terms of what can hold weight.
And so, I mean, that, to me, it shows to me that this is a universal concept, not just something that's specific to the data domain, which is, I think one of the really cool things about, about having a conversation with you is that I get to see this acted out over the course of my entire life, your entire life, a completely different profession, and see so many common threads at the same time.
This episode of Ken's Nearest Neighbors is brought to you by Z by HP. HP's high compute, workstation-grade line of products and solutions. Z is specifically made for high performance data science solutions. And I personally use the Z Book Studio and the Z4 Workstation. I really love that the Z workstations can come standard with Linux and they can be configured with the data science software stack. With the stack you can get right into doing the data science work on day 1 without the overhead of having to completely reconfigure your new machine. Now back to our show.
So with your career, how does progress to the state mirror you're technically retired now? Would you gone about it any way differently, you know, with the things that you've learned or is it like, Hey, I enjoyed this career, I wouldn't have wanted to do anything else.
[00:54:34] Art: Well, as I reflect on it and the answer is yes and no. I mean, I love my career path. And I think that one on step led to the next step, the next step in. So, you know, it's hard to say how you would change that. And if you're looking at it from a pure science efficient standpoint, if you change one factor of so many of the factors changed, but what I would have done differently if I were to do it over again, is a couple of decisions that, you know, I would, in my own mind, I would been better suited though.
You don't know because a current, I mean, I did a fellowship in Cardiff, Wales and cleft palate surgery. And I had an opportunity to go to France, to study with one of the most well-known renowned surgeons in the sea. And I decided not to go and I'd already been away a lot for six months on. And you were dating my mom at the time I was taking your mama.
[00:55:35] Ken: She probably wouldn't have liked that. And my mom was invited to come on the show. She respectfully declined. So we're focusing on this guy.
[00:55:43] Art: Yeah. So that was one issue. And I was also running out of funds to be honest about it because otherwise I was getting some type of stipend in kind of, I wouldn't have had a stipend in, in France. So that was one one decision that I had written that inmate. But other than that, I really don't have, you know, really misgivings about anything. I mean, I would look the same, like again. Yeah. I mean, I may want to have a daughter that's a separate issue altogether.
[00:56:17] Ken: There's a whole, a whole nother can of worms that comes with that. So if you were to have a daughter, what would you have named her?
[00:56:26] Art: You know, in all honesty, I would push for Victoria after my mom. I mean, you know, your mom would add a lot to say so about that, but nevertheless, I think, you know, she was an exceptional woman in my mind. Yeah.
[00:56:44] Ken: That's incredible. I mean, it's interesting what you say about in retrospect, and I probably developed some of this mindset from you as well, but like there's no way to know how it would have gone otherwise. Right. And every decision that I've made, everything that I've done has made me who I am now, assuming, you know, I like who I am now, then I guess I probably wouldn't change anything because it could have turned out completely different and we never would've.
We never would've known what it would have been either way. There's you know, from working with data, I know that like, if we're running a simulation, there's hundreds of thousands, millions of times you run it. And very, really, if you have enough variables that are, they come out the same and then.
So hard to predict. Why, why would we hinge all of this on a, on a single decision or anything along those lines? So you were talking about your, you know, we're talking about your career, but your career isn't just singular, faceted, right? You've worked as an oral oral maxillofacial surgeon. You've had this engineering background and you've done a lot of these things, but now your world is actually quite different.
You're doing significantly less oral surgery is you're doing, I won't call it politics, but as you're doing advocacy or working with making the profession of oral surgery, surgery, dentistry, and medicine, a better place, how did you get in to that? And what does that even entail? I, you know, I'm being intentionally vague about it, so you can explain it because I could not explain it very well.
[00:58:21] Art: So what happens is that. And he's profession that you belong to their parameters. And those parameters are just governed by outside forces, for example, the insurances and how they affect, you know, medicine and dentistry. Another parameter is the law and, you know, definitions and whatnot. How do we regulate dentistry regulations and all those issues?
And so they come to play. So the first area that you look at is, and all massive by his surgeon is the fact that it's that, how do you judge criteria, background, I mean, are all oral maxillofacial surgeons equal? And so you take a person in today's world, you could do a four year residency and have maintained a single degree.
In my day. You would do a six year residency and you would go to medical school and then you could either get a medical degree or not depending upon what you wanted to do. And then in today's world, again, You could do a six year residency and get a medical degree if you choose to go here. So you also have a medical degree.
So I did not have a medical degree. I went to medical school, so I took the op not to get the medical degree at that time. And again, the question is, well, are you happy with that? You know, well, number one is a methyl makes no difference in my scope of practice. However, it makes a huge difference in malpractice insurance.
So if I practice my dental degree, then my malpractice insurance is 50% less than if I practice within medical would read it as well. So there's a lot of time factors and economic factors in my day in practice. But those concepts of how you regulate equality are usually done by the professional organization.
So for example, if you're a pharmacist who belong to the American association of pharmacy, And then associated farmers then regulates basically how you practice pharmacy in the big world picture and art. My profession is oral massive facial surgery and in oral, my special surgery, what I was seeing is that I was seeing that there were trends that were going on that were trainers that in my opinion it was not really for really kind of guessed those trends.
And one of those trends or factors is that they really wanted to keep the education of world surgeons, narrowing focus as being us on. Well, there's a big world out there. And the education that we just talked about earlier about studying in Europe and abroad with Tessie over days, or, or, or whatever is you should be able to bring that kind of education into.
Your your curriculum and into your own personal CV and they should be counted for, whereas, you know, that was not being allowed. So here you have a person who has graduated in the United States at four years of weather, and then decided to go study abroad for five years and run the Ford. That's five years of intense study was not a second.
So that's one of the issues that I was really against. And so I decided to be involved with the association in order to make some and make some changes. And I was lucky enough to be involved. Now I'm saying that sarcastically lucky lab, because all of these areas of professionals are usually very competitive machine processes.
So you need to not only be a representative of your. Which means that you'd have to join your state society and be elected by all your peers and your state society to represent the international society. So you take a, you know, a state of Maryland, you've got several hundred plus or muscularly surgeons, and they all belong to the society and they happy to lucky in order to move forward the way they want it was actually, and also function as is if you don't belong to the association, you don't have a lot of approvals to be an oral surgeon.
For example, this kind of insurance rates, for example, access to a lot of information journals important. So it's critical that almost every professional loss of association and that association dictates. And so that's why I got involved. I got involved because I want to see if I could make a change. You know, one of the things of making a change at a doctor terms in the cellular level or at different levels.
So, yeah, I think one of the positive things I think is that it changes individually to patients to treat, but I was thinking, you know, why not try to make a change at a different level as an organizational structure and a macro level. So that's why I went into that area. And so I was lucky enough to not only get elected for my state, but eventually become president on the, your entire organization, the national organization on best surgeons.
And with that, I guess I became well known enough and respected and whatnot that I was also involved with an international one. And with that, you know, I brought up normally now we're looking at an association level, but what about that regular. And I was asked to be on the board state dental board.
And so that's elected by your peers, but appointed by the governor. And so I was lucky enough to be appointed by the governor at that time. And therefore I got into regulation as well because of my background now having knowledge and regulation and having association level knowledge. I also, part of my Batman, you probably may not remember, but I was also vice chairman of the department or mess with Sergio Washington hospital center.
And so I was for almost 10 years, not only in private practice, but I'll also, they're really involved with the education of residents, teaching residents, full-time residents in that time and doing those cases. Yeah. So with that in mind, I was appointed to be on the commission of a democratic station, the current commissioner of dental Christian, which is called codas UDA, actually governs regularly as their credits, all the dental schools in the United States, all of the residents programs, all the hygiene assisting and nursing programs.
And so I was able to then determine accreditation issues. And so just recently I had been asked if I wanted to be participating as one of the, on the board of check your joint commission was our hospital accreditation. So there's a bunch of these issues that are involved with now that has nothing to do with corporate clinical oral surgery or medicine also because of my background in medicine.
And also because of gone to medical. Even though I don't have the actual relicensed, you know, I'm also a liaison to the medical board as well. And so I'm able to then cross over a bunch of different issues. Another part of oral meds, special surgery, which a lot of people don't realize is that you have to have significant training clinically equivalent to an anesthesiologist.
And so you'll see that in many oral ... surgeons and especially board certified programs, they are taught anesthesia. So when you go to the office and for example, an office surgery, you have anesthesia. So you're taking I wasn't tooth, you know, the oral mass push certain will actually give you the IB regional sleep.
We do it. So that Batman anesthesia, and then I did take the boards and anesthesia as well, just to give myself some more credibility. And therefore now I'm asked to be a consultant for the American board of seizure. And then when you see. So the Bronx, these different areas that have kind of broadened into just background and experience and knowledge and, you know, it's interesting comment that one of my colleagues have said is if we've been around long enough, and then nothing's all of a sudden you become an authority.
So, you know, some of these areas is where I'm going into now. So, and obviously, you know, they're not longer clinical, but they're clearly, you know, from experience.
[01:07:26] Ken: Yeah. I mean, I think it's so fascinating to contrast this with like my domain in data, right. There is virtually no regulation, right? There's very few of these these unifying bodies that are regulating things and they're probably should be in the future because of artificial intelligence and like the ethics associated with that. How do we govern these things? How do we keep up to date? How do we, how do we keep pace with the technology.
It's interesting to me how, like the stakes are significantly higher in a one-to-one like medical scenario, right. Where it's like on the surface, me writing on a code is probably not going to kill someone on the other hand, if someone makes the wrong decision because of we're on policy and medicine, like they're, they're alive directly at stake.
The scary thing to me though, is that with the data profession, with a lot of the decisions that are being made, I don't really see it as being that different. Right. If, if we put something into the world that is like devastating to human life or like is, you know, ethically, absolutely terrible. What are the repercussions of that?
And how, like, how do we regulate that? How do we respond to those types of things? That's, that's a scary issue. And hopefully we can learn from other communities like the medical community that do have more organization around that. On the other hand, Like, what are some of the challenges with this really sort of rigid structure of regulation?
Right? Like medicine to be part of gone has doesn't move that fast. Right. But my domain, like there's new innovations and I mean, medicine, there are new innovations every day, but you have to go through FDA approval.... In data, things happen like this. It's like, boom, boom, boom. And it's going, and there isn't the slow down process of approval it's just released into the world. You know, how do we, how do we circumvent some of the negative parts when, when this is happening so fast?
[01:09:36] Art: Yeah. The hard part about what's happening in today's world is hard, is the speed of lightening of the information is being doled out. And the problem being in the old days in traditional ways, you know, there's always. The way the science works is that it has to be repeatable information. So if you turn out some data and it's repeatable and reproducible and same format, then that data is really kind of verified. Unfortunately, today's world, it's not. And I mean, you look at today's world who like false news. I mean, you know, it's released by whatever source is picked up by whatever news channel and it becomes news.
[01:10:21] Ken: And it's bastardized. They say, it's like, Oh, you know, they could be like, this person was able, you know, this model was able to do X, Y, Z, and then it's a game of telephone.
[01:10:32] Art: So, the real answer that I think that's happening is is self policy policing about what you're doing and the way the self policing, the fact is show the data you need to show the data and what you do. And what I understand you do that. Well show a project and you show the data as you do it.
And that data is out there for everyone to look at, not necessarily the copy, but they're replicated. They could replicate your same data. Then in reality, that data is accurate and that's, that's the only thing you can do with that. And that's how the world, so in data science, the way I look at it, and you understand my knowledge of data science, it's minuscule.
But from what I can tell in data that we use in medicine or dentistry or in science is the fact that that data has to be reproducible, the same circumstances, and that becomes now has credibility. And so if you could repeat your study, you know, and this is one of the big issues going on with conflicts of data and tomorrow you'll say coffee's good for you. And then our data comes out as it's, coffee's not good for him. The next day...
[01:11:41] Ken: This one is the glass of red wine.
[01:11:43] Art: Exactly the glass ... And so the issue is. If the scientists would come up with their data and how they got their dad and, you know, instead of trying to deceive the person receiving it, because I could say that I did 600,000 study know popular study on this issue, and this is the data I get, but without showing the data and how to achieve it, the question is credibility. Cause it has to be reproducible by that source.
[01:12:15] Ken: I mean, that's something I didn't think about. And you raised a really good point is that in my profession it moves faster. Right. But it's so much more vettable right. Like I can see if a model responds in a certain way that people are saying it will from my computer upstairs within like 20 minutes of the paper coming out.
On the other hand, when you put policy into play, you really don't know the repercussions of it until almost maybe a year later, two years later, when you see when people have like made the mistakes and that's terrifying.
[01:12:44] Art: Our downstream as much longer.
[01:12:47] Ken: Interesting. So shifting gears just a little bit, I want to touch on two more, two more like main topic areas. So one is like personal philosophy and those types of things. And the other is like, I guess me coming into your life at some point, and having, having, having children regarding your personal philosophy or like things that have had a tremendous impact on you, was there what you would consider to be like a pivotal moment in your life, something that changed the course of your life forever. And that, yeah.
[01:13:22] Art: Yeah. Well, you know, I definitely have a little bit, but he was in dental school when I realized that I really didn't want to do clinical dentistry. As most people would think about dentistry in the dental office to switch it over, to do or less special surgery. And to me that was pivotal because.
I really wasn't happy in dentistry. I wasn't happy with the limitations there and it produced one of the big areas of oral mass specialist surgery. And this is what I tell students. and people that come to me for advice about professional careers or whatnot, is that all mass special surgery has a full spectrum of scope of practice.
You could practice in anything in that area and get free. So a lot of people don't realize that, or I'm asked to push a certain district or the primary people that you see were head neck cancer. Now they are the primary people that now do reconstruction. They're the primary people that you will see her trauma.
So you go into a hospital, you know, people used to think like, I'll go to the ENT doctor. I go to a plastic surgeon. Well, those people are usually downstream. And the auntie Nora has really gotten out of those areas and across the country. And then. Yeah. So the scope of practice is what's huge. And again, that pivotal moment in my life is being able to discern that where I was going with that the other pivotal moment of his eyes were getting married.
Once I got married, you know, one is police, locale, Rouse, and the state in some respects, the decisions, no longer my decisions, which I was fiercely dependent on, but now is learning how to adapt and make decisions with another person. It was best with us versus best for me. And so those are pivotal moments that you, you think about what occurred.
[01:15:17] Ken: What do you think the most challenging thing that you've maybe ever had to do was?
[01:15:23] Art: I think if I look at the most challenging thing, I will say I'm running for president, blah, blah, blah. They read the association of all my special surgeon. I think I lived there earlier. The fact that it is an elective procedure and you have to be elected by your peers. It's a structured similar to like, you know, like most organizations, there's a general assembly. That's represented by a world citizen of every state, and then there's a body, that's the governing body.
And then there's the leadership and the assembly is who votes for you. And the makeup of the assembly is usually about a little over a hundred people and they come from more diverse backgrounds and communities of practice, their normal surgery uniquely. However again, this body is mainly all male occasions.
There may be one or two that are women. And during my time on the assembly, when I belong, I was the only Asian at all, normal, the Chinese when I ran for the organization present there was one other Asian in California and there were two. Three women who are actually on the general assembly, but in order to garner votes, it's a political campaign.
And that's why he brings out the politics. I mean, I literally had to go to every state organization. I meet with their quote unquote membership and as subsequently elicit their representative vote for me. And every state is different, but one state would have the state organization tell the representative who to before.
In other cases, the representative would vote whomever they wanted regardless of what the state wanted. And so you really had to navigate, you know, the situation from state to state. And, you know, there are some states like California that obviously there are a lot of Asia's or even like Florida, but you go to a state like Arkansas or even Alabama.
They're not that many patients there and they're not used to the nation being a quote unquote. And unfortunately, you know, one of the stigmas that stood modest that occur the most Asians are leaders and academics. A leader is, are educators, but you don't see any Asians that are particularly leaders of an organization, president of an organization.
And you do see some that occur for usually those are not because they were elected positions, but usually they are hierarchical. So in other words, once you become secretary, you automatically be vice-president. And so you'll see some Asians or minorities be involved, but when it comes down to actual elections of this type is very difficult and required politics who are being able to go out and meet and greet.
And clearly it required me to really kind of go outside of my normal comfort zone, which is to go to this meeting where, you know, And then immediately try to win over the crowd. You know, I think the number of regular one-on-one, I think small groups is easy to speak to, but when you start talking in a state assembly of two or three or 400 or surgeons and try to sway them to that time with, you know, literally 10 minutes or 15 minutes of time, they give it that's a little bit different.
And so that's something I had to learn how to adapt, learn how to speak in front of an audience of that type. So it's not an organized, you know, it's all extemporaneous and often there'd be a rapid fire questions. And you know, if we know the personality and, you know, not being in, in medicine or, you know, personalities and such as that various type personalities in order to be in all the mess search, you know, you'd have heard of her wrestle personality, brilliant personality, You're dealing with a lot of people that are just like yourself. So that becomes a little bit more complicated. So that was one, I think one of the greatest challenges I had.
[01:19:39] Ken: Is that something also, you would probably one of the things you're most proud of is being able to go through. And even if you didn't win, you just, you know, you did win, but just going through that process of getting out of your comfort zone.
[01:19:53] Art: I think if you're talking about pride that probably ranks four or five and my pride, I think if you talk about personal pride, obviously having you as a son, it will be my personal, but my professional pride, to be honest about it now that I'm retired is the fact that I've had practice 40 plus years.
And I've had no idea about ..., morbidities, modalities. In other words, I have not to my best knowledge and over thousands of medical reviews have not had any type of. Issue where I was the cause of Rader pain or discover or death of a patient. And, you know, if you talk about office space, you know, at a minimum, we'll say eight to 10 surgeries a day.
And you know, you're looking at the neighborhood of eight to 10 surgeries, this 40 patients a week, you know, you're looking at 200 patients with a month over kind of a year. It's, you know, you're looking at about 1000 patients over the course, like 57,000 patients. And they add to the fact that, you know, a hundred, 150 major surgeries a year for the last 40 years and not to have harm everyone, but police that you do professional blood for every one of them. That's that's ... professional product you got.
[01:21:17] Ken: That's incredible. I think my last question regarding like personal perspective is related to like fear. Like, is there a, like, is there anything you're afraid of?
[01:21:31] Art: Yeah. I think the fear that it's encouraged me the most is not being prepared enough. I, you know, I think you'd only want enough that meticulous and detailed to make sure that I understand what's going on. Understand the circumstances, never underestimate the set of circumstances. I'd rather overestimate, but the key on anything more there is business, whether it's professional raising a family or whatever it is not being prepared. And to me, that's my big fear in life, you know, is not being prepared well enough. So, I mean, you're not about fearlessness, the fear I have.
[01:22:10] Ken: So how do you get past that? Because I think that in anything, every, every single thing that we could do, we could always be more prepared, right? Like how do you know when to like, switch it off and just go and do it versus to stop preparing, like, you know, like when do you know is enough?
[01:22:31] Art: So I think that again, you know, me very well, I'm a real organizer. So to me is that once whatever project, whatever set of, so whatever survey comes up is that I have zero time that I start start time and I have zero time in time.
And with that, I spent probably the first 20% of the time organizing what I wanted to prepare with. I also have a bid prepared state to see where I am a status check and see what else needs to be done. And then I have a final check and, you know, I rigid, I am absolutely original those issues and.
You know, that's the best ... That's the best you can call it at a time. That doesn't mean that something new comes up and awesome. You know, you know, you've dealt with it. I mean, there's, there's no question that occurs, but the point being is being rigid and structure and rigid in your organization and really falling your, your game plan originally, you know, a lot for depth ability toward the year.
And so, you know, there's no really, really no that you've totally prepared, but, you know, without that organizational structure in the game plan, I mean, you can't do it haphazardly because then you will forget some.
[01:23:59] Ken: Yeah, it's interesting. I think, I wouldn't say we divergent philosophy related to this, but to me, like preparing for individual tasks, isn't as important as preparing for like the broader task, right?
Like, let's say I'm giving a speech and I think it's important for me to prepare for that school. But the life preparation I've done to know that I'm a good speaker is what I feel is like the most important is like, Oh, I've had these experiences. I know that if something doesn't quite go to plan, I'll still be fine.
Like there'll be comfortable. I, you know, I think you're a hundred percent, right. The preparation is important. And I think that I prepare adequately for almost everything, but I think that, Hey, I think you also agree with this to a certain extent, but I put a little bit more premium on the like broader life preparation than on the individual event preparation than you do.
You know, like, yeah. I'm planning this big trip. And I think that if you were in my situation where like, I don't exactly know when I'm coming home, you're so pissed off. But to me it's like, Okay, I know, I know I'll figure it out. I'll get to ... to be doing those types of things, which I think is funny.
[01:25:18] Art: Yeah. I, you know, if I'm, if I were applying to the same trip you have coming up you know, I would have all of it organized. I would have my ... all set up. I would clearly know you might be getting time and time. And I would have everything mapped out to the detail, including, you know, all my Uber ratios for rental car, where it was and whatever to the detail that I, if we, I would have to take a break and pick a tee time, and my golf tee time will be exactly a 2:10 on Wednesday. I mean, so in that respect, that's me I don't play quite as loose as you do, you know, you prepare and you you're organized and you get it set up, but you allow for a lot of, shall we say a festival to.
[01:26:11] Ken: I don't inspiration, inspired time.
[01:26:14] Art: Yeah. I don't, I don't, I allow for it to be exempt. In other words, if I'm going to have inspiration time, it's going to be exactly this time. It just steeped in this time period. So I know April. So, so from our standpoint a little bit more animal than you are.
[01:26:33] Ken: Oh yeah. I think it is important that yeah, like I, if I viewed the world the exact same as you did, I think that that would be a flaw in your parenting, right. Where it's like, if we agreed on a Remy, we agree on those things, but there's definitely things that I do differently.
You know, something I would ask you, I want to move more into like a parenting and our relationship is like, what's the most difficult part of being a parent. What's the most difficult part of raising someone or seeing them develop.
[01:27:07] Art: The hardest part of raising a child, in my opinion is to really understand.
[01:27:14] Ken: Is it they take videos of you sleeping and put it on YouTube.
[01:27:21] Art: It's really understanding your child because if you don't understand your child and accept them for who they are, and that occurs very early in life, I mean, I was already talking to you about, for example, your cousins, niece, who's six months old and she's already exhibiting her personality. And part of that personality is her attitude and how she reacts.
And if you don't see that and understand that that's part of a child's personality and develop it, then it's impossible to establish standards and limits and establish, you know, allow for your child to grow through the way their child should grow. So the hardest part is really learning that because I think knew.
The parents in general, they want to establish preconceived notions of how things are done rather than watching how a child grows and adapting to them in a, given him the best type of education experience in growing up they camp. You know, so I'm a real believer in that. And so that's, that's hard to do. It's really hard to be, you know, not allowing your child to be who or she is.
[01:28:36] Ken: Yeah. Well, I mean, I remember very distinctly when I was growing up, I played, I was very serious about baseball and my senior year of high school, I decided to stop doing that, you know, after being like, after basically going through all the college recruiting and stuff for that, and just deciding to play golf.
And I know that was a decision that you did not understand. Right at th at the time, I mean, I grew up playing baseball at something I loved. I mean, it was a huge part of your life. I mean, we talked about how you wanted to be the catcher for the Yankees until you were 16. And you know, I realized that individual sports were a lot more compelling to me.
I had a lot more control of my own destiny. I saw that in a, you know, in a weird way, like I had a coach in high school that I didn't see eye to eye with. And like, I wasn't going to get the opportunities, doing things as part of a group where I was evaluated in a non-objective way. Whereas golf for me, everything was quantifiable.
Right. I shoot a score it's on paper. It doesn't matter how I got to that score. That's what matters, right? Like that's how I place. It doesn't matter how big I am. How hard I grow, how, how hard I hit the ball, it matters without comes are. And I think, you know, again, I don't think you were happy with that.
Like you mean you let me do it. And I think it turned out pretty well for me in terms of even my career and all these things. And, you know, I respect that it was difficult for you to see me do something that you might not think was necessarily the best at the time, but it was still my choice and I was able to go through it.
[01:30:13] Art: Well, I think at the time when I looked at it, I thought there are other factors that are involved there. So I was not as negative as you may have thought it was. I mean, one has to be remembered. You had a labor repair on your shoulder, you know, clearly what affected your baseball also is that, you know, I realize very quickly that you really had a drive and your passion in golf and your had a winning passionate in baseball.
I mean, I could see it then I could tell that. I mean, that's one of the things that was going on. As much as I like baseball and I love baseball. And as you want, I still follow baseball very closely. You know, I hated you to not participate in baseball or being involved with it, baseball or loved baseball like I did, but going into golf.
I mean, you know, that was your choice. I mean, you know, you had to live with it. I don't have to live with it. And a lot of these decisions. And so, yeah, I just, I was more hopeful. They do still love baseball and be involved with baseball, but making the decision only dissolve that was your call. And then I was not pointed in any way.
If he will deter you from what you thought was the best for you at that time. I mean, there were things that I wanted you to do in those early lives in middle one. And I could tell you a couple of them more. Yes. I was really kind of pushing you to do more weight, but then you'd be more than the gym, you know, but, you know, I didn't, I do now I didn't push it, but the point being, I thought that was a better choice.
And likewise, another decision that I really was trying to get you to do, but you didn't want to do it. And that was up to you. And that was applied to the more different colleges or even division three schools and some other things you know, and you know, some of the schools in Virginia, but, you know, you had strong opinions that you didn't want to do it.
I, wasn't wanting to establish an authority saying you do this and do that. I mean, you have to make your own way. And whether there is a goodness in your last time or a bad decision, again, you know, you're going to have to live with it. And so I'm a real believer that you make a decision you're going to have to live with it.
And you'll learn from that because I think that you learn a lot from negative, even more so than positive decisions. And whatever decisions you make, even now as an adult or whether I agree or disagree, doesn't weigh into it. It's just a fact that you have to live with it as long as you learn from it.
That's all I care about. Yeah. You know, if it was a positive for you, great. If it's a negative for you putting you learn, but I think more negatives, you learn more, really the different positives. So, you know, that's where I am with...
[01:33:08] Ken: I mean, I think, you know, I just had a jujitsu tournament this past weekend and it did not go as I would've liked in terms of my outcomes. You know, I won one match and I lost two matches and I learned so much more from losing matches than I would have if I had just won, it would have been like a good outcome experience, but about learning experience. And I evaluate almost everything by two criteria is like, what's outcome, whatever. And was the learning, like how much did I learn from it?
And this again was like maybe a one or two on outcomes, but a 10 out of 10 on, on learning. And I don't think if it went better, the learning would have been as valuable to me. So that's something I'm always interested in is like, what do you think about my career?
[01:34:01] Art: Well, for sure. It's your career. I mean, you know, that's up to you. You're the one that had, again, just as we said before, you gotta live it, you gotta deal with it or not, you know, as a traditionals. I mean, I don't quite understand the career. I mean, I don't, you know, I am for, you know, the older generation, you know, I'm pretty current in a lot of the electronics and navigation.
I mean, I don't speak the land language if you will. I mean, if you put in those terms, I mean, I could communicate, but I can't speak fluently. So. Yeah, I understand. I agree. Deal with what's going on, but I really don't quite understand all of it, you know, but the area is that if you're passionate about it, an area that you feel comfortable or you feel successful about it, and if you're enjoying it, then Hey, go for it.
I mean, that's all I can tell you. I do believe, and I've told you this before that whatever career you choose, you want to maximize your education, maximize the, your credentials. You want to maximize the preparedness and organization and that in no way, can your credibility or your abilities in ever be jeopardized because you don't have the right credentials or they're right. You know, a lot of credibility, you know, it's you know, you make the call, you live with, you know, and, and you get all the perks.
[01:35:36] Ken: Well, so, so what would you tell someone you know, maybe a fellow parent that doesn't understand what their kid is doing, what their kid is passionate about it.
Like, how do you, how do you evaluate that or make that decision? I think so many parents care about their kids' success and the reason why they push them into specific professions is because it's consistent. They want their kid to have as many opportunities as possible. I mean, from a pure entrepreneurial perspective, like I think my profession is almost risk free, not completely risk free.
I think it's significantly less risky because I have so many options in how I can make money and how I can grow. You know, if I'm in a working for a company or if I'm a doctor or something like that, same a surgeon I hurt my hand. My career in surgery is virtually over, right. If I am working on my line of work in a business.
I get banned from YouTube. I still have all these other different things that I can do and have opportunities with. You know, how do you view that? How do you describe that to someone or it's like, you know, if your kid's happy, that's, you know, that is kind of what's important or how do you mitigate some of that risk recurrence?
[01:36:50] Art: There's a couple of factors that issue. So number one is that, you know, for your audience, I, you know, I'm an older parent and so most of the data scientists that I've seen or I've seen you with, or, or dealt with in various professionals, cause we use data analysts and data scientists all the time in every area that we work in.
And most of them are all in their twenties and thirties. So those parents are usually now in fifties and sixties, not quite as old as I am. And so they should be a little bit closer to this whole world. Electronics and communications that are a little bit more than my generation. So they should be a little bit more knowledgeable.
And basically what goes on now in today's world is such as that the world is not like it was 10 years ago. It was not like it was 20 years old. Clearly it's a different world 30 years ago. And it's in a different time zone, literally 40, 50 years ago. And so what we thought was successful is no longer what's successful and there are limitations to traditional professions.
You take, for example, medicine, medicine is totally limited by the, by all the insurance that goes forward. So medicine and the practice of medicine is kind of overlay of changes that occur and limitations and scope limitations. Law is the same thing. I mean, look at the number of lawyers are out there and the type of laws being passed.
And, you know, what are the big things they talk about is that they're more lawyers than there are anything else, more rats. I mean, I hate to say that, but that's literally what they're saying. So, so, so, so the bottom line is this stage of the game is that it is a whole new world. And in this new world, there are whole new professionals and these new professions or just as credible, just as real, just as viable as the old professions, there's no difference.
And so, you know, that change over is something that you have to say. We look at kids in grade school, they're using computers already. You know, I know when you were growing up, you know, computers in high school was a big deal. I mean, I've got a grand niece now who was in the second grade and she has her own computer that she brings her school.
You know, I thought it was a Plato. And I was told no, I mean, she actually takes her school. They use it and then that's how they use their math is fine. The computer, they don't use it on writing. So this is the new world. And I think, you know, professionals like yours, a data scientists, that's a new profession is just as legitimate as being a doctorate, lawyer or Indian chief. They're not leaving new chiefs and even less now.
[01:39:49] Ken: So one last thing is, you know, are there any questions that you've never asked me that you, that you'd like to ask?
[01:39:57] Art: You know, I still don't know how to hit a sand, shot out a fluffy sand and make a spin. And I still don't know how to do that. And then even though you've told me, you never showed me how to really do it.
[01:40:09] Ken: Maybe I just show you. Well, dad, thank you so much for doing this. This is very special to me. I actually, I learned a tremendous amount. I'm so happy we can have you on the show and I think everyone, so probably gained quite a bit from premier experience.
[01:40:28] Art: I enjoyed it. I mean, this is a great experience for me as a screech to sit down and talk to you about what's going on. We don't have conversations like this per se. Our compensations as usual are snippets, you know, or different topics and different areas of, to day-to-day kind of stuff. But it's just sit back and talk about it. And so I'm honored very honored to do this. And again, this is an epic episode, you know, you're 100. So I think that this is really a big honor for me. So I thank you. And I appreciate that.
[01:41:01] Ken: Awesome.