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Month: September 2020

Crippled CEO Blog #050: WAP is Genius

Crippled CEO Blog #050:

Holy crap. We hit 50. Can y’all believe it? And for #050, it’s going to get a bit weird. But hang in there with me. 

Because I wanna talk WAP. 

Yeah, that WAP, by Cardi B. 

Everyone’s favorite song about making macaroni and cheese.

Now, chances are, you have OPINIONS about the song. You either love it or hate it. I get that. I happen to think it’s great, but that’s not the point here. 

WAP did something genius. Something that I don’t think has been done before. 

And it’s not use controversial lyrics to get attention. That’s been happening since the dawn of time.

The last verse of the song feels out of place. It doesn’t fit the formula of the rest of the song. It has the strongest lyrics, the most memorable lines, but it feels like a unit unto itself. It has a very clear start, middle, and end, and summarizes the song as a whole. It feels like a standalone song within a song.

And it’s exactly 15 seconds. 

If you are a purveyor of the TikToks, the lightbulb in your head just went off.

For those who don’t know, a TikTok video can only be 15 seconds long. 

Cardi B deliberately designed a song within a song made specifically for TikTok. In fact, I would argue that’s the real song, and the rest is just the filler you need to sell it on iTunes and get it played on the radio.

Either way, it’s absolutely brilliant. There’s no question that a large part of the success of that song is due to the ubiquity of it on TikTok. 

What can we learn from this?

If you’re marketing, you need to adapt what you’re doing for the medium you’re using. You can technically put the same post on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, but those are totally different platforms, and they should be treated differently. 

You can upload your IG stories to YouTube, but they’re probably not going to do very well. It’s a different thing.

Cardi B knows that TikTok is the epicenter of musical culture in the US right now, so she designed her content with that specific platform in mind. 

It’s genius and I love it. 

I don’t love it so much that you need to get a bucket and a mop, but it’s very cool. 

(What is this interesting to you? Share it with somebody. You can make sure that you never miss the next one by sending a text message to the phone number 484848.)

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Crippled CEO Blog #049: IQ Doesn’t Help Success

Crippled CEO Blog #049:

What really makes a person successful?

We all have assumptions.

IQ, inherited wealth, good parents, health, good looks, charisma, EQ, education, who you know, luck…

Chances are, you think success is tied to one or three of those. 

Innately, I’m sure I always have.

But, apparently, that’s not the case.

Psychologist and educator Angela Duckworth did extensive research, studying kids in spelling bees, West Point Military Graduates, rookie teachers, corporate salespeople, and everything in between, and found that those aren’t the factors for success. 

Smarter kids don’t necessarily do better in school.

Charismatic, better looking, high EQ sales people don’t necessarily sell more stuff.

So, you ask, skeptically, what is it then?


Grit is the common denominator for success. The persistent, disciplined, ceaseless commitment toward improving your future and achieving your goals. The ability to get up, day after day, and do what needs to be done. Seth Godin describes this as “being a professional“ — doing the work, no matter what, even when they don’t feel like it. 

This is the factor that everyone who does well has in common. People who don’t see failure as a permanent state, but continue to get up and keep going. People who passionately stick to accomplishing their goals, not for weeks, or months, but for years. According to Duckworth, brains and talent have nothing to do with this. In study after study, smart people are just as likely to not follow up on their commitments as everybody else. In fact, smart and talented people sometimes exhibit LESS grit than their less gifted peers. 

You might be thinking this is bad news. No one wants to hear that hard work is the answer. But the ramifications are huge. This means that regardless of the hand of cards you were given, the disadvantages you may have been born with, if you can work hard, day after day, if you can be disciplined, then the odds tip in your favor. 

But what if you know this isn’t you? What if you know that you are lacking in grit? What if you have a history of giving up on your goals prematurely?

Welcome to the club. That’s pretty much all of us.

You are in luck, though. Because grit and discipline can be trained. You get better at it the more you do it. And if you know that this one characteristic is the fundamental key to your long-term success, you now have the motivation to go after it. 

Like anything, the key is to start small. Navy SEAL Admiral William McRaven famously told us all that we should start by making our beds every morning. This is a great start. Next, maybe add flossing to your oral hygiene routine. Keep stacking on these practices that you can succeed at doing every day. And the more you do it, the better you’ll get. 

To use myself as an example, I have written this blog every Sunday for the last 49 weeks. What are the odds that writing the blog is exactly what I wanted to do every Sunday for the last almost year? What are the odds that I felt motivated and excited for 49 weeks in a row? Not great. But I think of Seth Godin, about being a professional, and now 49 weeks in, I’m a lot better at doing this every Sunday than I was when I started. In the beginning, there were a bunch of weeks where I was up late writing this before going to bed, because I had put it off all day. Now, I finish every day in the early afternoon, typically before my 3 PM chess lesson. And I’m sure that will continue to improve as well.

Once you know the real source of success, all of your excuses get stripped away. You can’t blame it on the disability you were born with or your parents or the money in your bank account. Consistent and sustained hard work, treating life like a marathon instead of a sprint — grit — is the great equalizer, and is the chance you have to prove everybody wrong. You just have to start.

(What if this will help that person you are thinking of? You should send it to them. And you should also send a text message to 484848 with the word CRIP so I automatically text you each week with a link to the latest blog post. It’s a smart investment.)

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Crippled CEO Blog #048: I Do Things I Suck At

Crippled CEO Blog #048:

I take chess lessons from Russian International Master and chess coach Vitaly Neimer. 60 minutes every Sunday, and recently 45 minutes each Tuesday and Thursday. 

For homework, I complete 9-18 challenging chess puzzles per week.

I play several games every day online. 

My goal is to be a National Master in five years. 

You are probably thinking right now that I must be pretty good at chess.

I’m really not.

I get beat by low rated players every day.

I do incredibly stupid moves that make me wince almost immediately.

I’m kinda bad. 

So, if I’m not good, if I don’t have some natural chess talent, why am I doing all of this? 

Because I suck at it, because it’s hard, and because every time I do something stupid and lose, I have to talk myself out of quitting entirely, that this is a pointless pursuit and a waste of my time.

That feeling of being bad at something, doubting myself, and continuing anyways is literally the point. I am training that muscle.

I am teaching my brain that if you don’t quit, success is on the other side of failure.

This isn’t a concept that comes naturally. Our brain wants to protect us from failure. When we were cavemen living in the forest, being bad at something and failing normally meant that you died. 

We are evolutionarily hardwired to avoid that feeling. It takes training and practice to get past it.

Also, learning hard things — like chess, or a new language, or dancing, or jiujitsu (what I would have picked if I was physically able) — actually improves the health of the physical structure of your brain. You are enhancing your neuroplasticity. 

And, just like learning to suppress and overcome that feeling of wanting to quit something we are bad at, when you have examples you can recall of being bad, practicing, improving, and then succeeding, you can lean on that the next time it happens. Getting better at new skills is a skill unto itself, and it’s better to get good at it when it doesn’t really matter, when the stakes are low (with something like chess), so you are ready for when it really does matter.

I don’t know if I will be a National Chess Master in five — or ten — years. But even if I do achieve that goal, the process of getting there will be far more valuable than the goal itself. The reward is in the work, not the prize at the end. 

PS: If you’re interested in also learning from International Master Neimer, he is accepting student applications at

(Maybe you found this helpful. Maybe it wasn’t helpful for you, but you know exactly who it is helpful for. Be a good friend and send it to them. They will appreciate it, and so will I. If you have benefited from three or more of these blog posts, you should take nine seconds and send a text message to the number 484848 with the word CRIP as the message. That will subscribe you to get a text from me every week with a link to the latest post. Making a commitment to learning new stuff is good for you.)

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Crippled CEO Blog #047: I Suck at Your Job

Crippled CEO Blog #047:

We knew from the beginning that we wanted a full wrap.

The first truck for our fledgling pool service business wasn’t going to have a magnet or a decal like these other companies. It was going to have a complete, glorious graphical wrap. 

After taking pictures and measurements, the wrap company asked us for images they could use. Not just our logo, but photographs we wanted used, as well as bullets of text describing our various services. 

I called the designer, Justin Mesteller at Kauff’s Vehicle Wraps. 

“No bullets. Those are tacky. And for the design, do whatever you want. Do you something you wanted to do forever but no one else would let you. Go nuts. We are a pool service, we clean pools, and our staff wear shirts that makes them look like superheroes. Just take that and run with it.”

Instead of telling him what I wanted, I gave him permission to be creative. And the results were awesome. I’m going to attach the pictures here. It really came out great and I am super excited. I can’t wait to see it driving down the road, our new business officially in action.

Besides using this opportunity to show off my awesome vehicle graphics and low-key promote my new business, what is the point of this?

The vehicle wrap turned out so spectacular because I gave a professional the freedom to do his job, without any input from someone who has never done this before (that’s me). I gave a creative person permission to be creative. I gave him ownership over the project. And because of that, not only did he have the freedom to make something really cool, he took ownership of the project and poured more time and energy into it.

My good friend Ashley Bissing, founder of One Love Social Media and fantastic dog mom, creates a lot of the original content for all of our social media channels. I very rarely direct her on what to create, and as a result, she does fantastic work. She has had the freedom to try different things and figure out what works best.

Let the professionals do the work you hire them for. Let creative people be creative. Get out of the way. Not only will the results be better, but it is also less work for you. This is one of the few scenarios where the easier route is actually the most effective. What’s not to like about that?

(Someone you know can use this. Why not look super smart and share it with them? You know what is also smart? Automate your life and make sure you never miss my next post by sending a text with the word CRIP to the phone number 484848. I will send you one message with two sentences and a link to the new post every Sunday. And it is totally free. For now.)

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