Bill Esteb Bio and a Brief History of Patient Media
I grew up in Olympia, Washington, just south of Seattle. I remember a wonderful childhood, spending long summer days building forts in the woods.
My brother and I had the good fortune of growing up in a family that instilled a strong work ethic. We didn’t get a television until I was in Junior High School, so we were a family of readers. Every Tuesday after dinner we’d go to the public library and each of us would bring home a stack of books. Later, I went on to work there, first shelving books and then later as the Periodicals Clerk.
I enrolled in the first class accepted at the new Evergreen State College in the Fall of 1971 with the goal of becoming an architect. The campus buildings weren’t done and the chaos was discouraging. However, as part of my communications studies I landed an internship at KITN Radio, a now defunct local AM 1,000 watt daytimer. It was there that a radio newsman by the name of Jack Dempsey from Albany, NY took me under his wing.
Jack was trying to put his life together after a divorce and a bout with burnout. He brought his big city broadcasting skills to sleepy little Olympia. He taught me how to ask questions, conduct interviews with newsmakers and how to write for clarity. Because of him, I found radio so stimulating, I dropped out of college after a year and a half to work fulltime at the radio station.
When I moved to Denver two years later I discovered that you can't jump from small market radio to large market radio in one step! So, since a job in radio wasn’t in the cards, I remembered that the best radio commercials came from advertising agencies. So I started knocking on doors and landed a job at a small advertising agency. I was there long enough to put together a portfolio so I could land a job at PRACO Advertising, a larger agency in nearby Colorado Springs.
That's where I matured as a writer and met Paul Franklin of International Media Systems, a film production company that I often used to produce our larger-budget television commercials. After six years of advertising agency experience in Colorado, San Francisco and Seattle, I went to work with Paul.
Soon after is when I was introduced to chiropractic.
Drs. Riekeman and Flesia of Renaissance International leased the office space next to International Media Systems on the second floor of the Plaza Building. Back then, home VCRs had just come out and they had this idea of creating the world's first chiropractic patient education video. The idea being, if you put a carefully crafted message on a video, new patients would get a consistent orientation and explanation of chiropractic.
Would we like to participate?
To understand their take on chiropractic, they suggested that someone from our company attend one of their Renaissance seminars. In January 1981 I flew to Spokane, Washington for a three-day chiropractic seminar co-taught by these two incredible speakers and chiropractic visionaries. What I heard "connected the dots" and I fell in love with chiropractic. I recommended to the rest of the production team that we help them with their videos.
I began my own chiropractic care about a month later. Mostly as a research project for the first video. Nonsymptomatic, I didn't have any miracles (that came later), but I could tell that my overall health had improved. I went on to write the Peter Graves, Russell Erhardt and Jayne Kennedy chiropractic videos for Renaissance.
I got an incredible education in the process!
Later, I was invited to be a guest speaker at the advanced Renaissance seminars, launching my career as a chiropractic speaker in 1985.
In 1987 I was approached by Dr. Michael Parrish, a Colorado Springs chiropractor who owned seven, associate-run chiropractic practices. He wanted help with his practice marketing and upgrade his daily, half-hour, live, call-in TV talk show called Back Talk.
It was a great opportunity and I learned what it takes to get people into a chiropractic practice and to persuade skeptics to give chiropractic a try.
By then, I was seeing my fourth chiropractor.
Soon after, Dr. Parrish and I joined up with another chiropractor and launched Back Talk Systems and the report of findings magazette was invented. I finally had an outlet for combining my advertising agency skills with my passion for chiropractic. It was a great 10 years. I met a lot of special people and got to travel around the world. Occasionally, getting a glimpse that I was making a difference.
This is when I started conducting one-day office visits to consult with chiropractors. Over the lunch hour I would conduct a patient focus group (55 of them so far) and find out what patients thought of the practice and procedures.
One of the highlights of my career was addressing the February 1995 graduating class at Palmer College where I gave each graduate a copy of Dr. Seuss's, Oh The Places You Will Go. If you ever need a doctor, I recommend Dr. Seuss!
In April 1999 I sold my half of the old company and started over. It’s been the most difficult, scary, exciting and fulfilling thing that I’ve ever done. I have a new appreciation for what it must be like to open a new practice! As challenging as it can be, I highly recommend "reinventing" yourself every so often.
Most recently I've become interested in how to best use the Internet to spread the chiropractic message. That has resulted in a wonderful collaboration with my Perfect Patients website design business partner Steve Anson.
These days, I’m seeing my ninth chiropractor, and since the very beginning, I still pay cash. I’ve written my eleventh chiropractic book, documenting the many facets of the doctor/patient relationship. And traveled over 1.9 million miles sharing the patient’s point of view with chiropractors around the world.
Writing chiropractic practice blog posts and each week publishing Monday Morning Motivation, I am humbled by this incredible profession and the individual chiropractors who bucked the mainstream and chose the narrow, more difficult path.
It is an honor to serve beside you.