Arnie and Brad - Three Years Later

It’s hard to believe, but three years ago I wrote a blog post about my “lil’ bro’” Brad and I reconnecting after ten years.  If you go back to that post, you can read the story of how he and I met back in Baltimore when he was just a little kid, and how, after being out of touch for ten years, we reconnected.  Not only did we rekindle our friendship, I decided to hire him!

I figured it was time for an update.

When we first reconnected, I have to admit, Brad was a bit unsettled.  He had moved to the northeast from Florida, and was staying with friends in Atlantic City while getting his living situation and his job situation figured out.  A talented DJ, Brad was freelancing here and there, doing an occasional gig, some freelance graphic design, and some freelance computer assistance work.  When we reconnected, I anticipated resuming the role that I played twenty five years earlier: the supportive friend/big brother.

He hadn’t seen my practice, so I gave him a tour.  We easily fell back into the groove we had years ago.  He shared the issues that were going on in his life, and I offered my perspective.  Our friendship has always been a two-way street.  I shared some of my issues with him, both personal and professional, and it was helpful to get his opinion on things.  Brad is probably the least judgmental person I’ve ever known, and these folks make the best friends, I feel.  I shared with Brad some of my concerns about my business, and how technology was moving at such a rapid pace that I felt I was being left in the dust, unable to devote enough time to certain aspects of my practice because I needed to concentrate on the cats themselves.

As fate would have it, during the time Brad and I were separated, Brad had acquired amazing expertise in social media marketing.   All of the practice management magazines that I read were touting a strong social media presence as being necessary for marketing your practice and attracting new clients and being successful.  The days of the Yellow Pages were long gone.  Brad was an expert in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many other social and professional networking sites.  He knew how to design business cards and brochures.  He understood e-mail contact lists and e-newsletters.  I hated all that stuff, but my practice needed it.  It was a no-brainer.  I needed to join the modern world quickly, and Brad was going to be the guy to lead me there.  I was happy to add “employer” to “supportive friend/big brother”.

Brad’s effects on our hospital have been truly remarkable.  We have a nice Facebook page with many followers.  Our website gets thousands of hits a week.  Our client base has expanded dramatically.  Our clients love our quarterly e-newsletter.  Clients are always asking me “Who does your Facebook page?” and “Who does your website?”   Brad does cool, funky graphic designs to keep our hospital looking fresh.

Brad regularly shows me the statistics concerning our place in the social media rankings, and frankly, it’s a bit over my head, but I can see from the pride he shows at the numbers that we’re right at the top of the pack.  He does more than our social media stuff, by the way.  He maintains the entire hospital's computer network and database.  He is our Information Technology (IT) guy. He monitors our food inventory, makes sure our equipment is working, etc.  When Blanche, a client-owned cat who was boarding with us, got sick and required regular visits to Blue Pearl for chemotherapy, Brad was the one to lovingly transport her to and from Blue Pearl.

Best of all, it’s nice coming to work and seeing a friend.  It can be a fine line to negotiate, being a friend and being a boss.  But I think we’ve figured it out perfectly.  Being so internet savvy, Brad is constantly sharing funny videos, photos, and internet stories with the staff, which keeps things lighthearted and happy at our hospital.  It’s gratifying to me to see Brad, who was so unsettled when he first arrived to NY, now doing so well.

Normally, I’m the only one who writes this blog.  But I’m going to turn the reins over to Brad, and let him be a guest blogger today, so I can hear his take on life in NYC and at MCS.  Take it away, Bradley:

..... I have been chained in the basement for over three years and I am whipped every time someone doesn't LIKE the kitten photo I posted to Facebook.  SOMEONE PLEASE SEND HELP.

Joking, joking. I jest.  Yes, Arnie (a.k.a. Dr. Plotnick) has been two of the best chapters in my life; In the adolescent chapter, he was there as a father figure, and also a role-model, a guru of sorts.  Also, when we met, he was 30, so Arnie was still young at heart; very much a "cool dude."   Now during this current chapter in my life, Arnie is right in the mix, enabling me to do the things that I want to in life.  I could not have asked for a better situation where my best friend is also my boss, and we're both excited to perpetuate Manhattan Cat Specialists.