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Month: July 2021

Crippled CEO Blog #093: The Power of Home

I’m cheating this week. This week’s blog is taken from my response to an interview question I answered earlier in the week. I thought it was interesting, though, so I figured I’d share it here.

Crippled CEO Blog #093:

Where are you from and how did your background and upbringing impact who you are today?

I was born at Bethesda Hospital in Boynton Beach, FL. My parents lived in a townhouse in a neighborhood called Golf View Harbour — a funny name, considering that the subdivision has neither golf, view, nor harbor — less than a mile from the hospital I was born in.

As a baby, I moved with my parents to another house in Golf View Harbour. When I was 18, I moved out on my own — quite the feat for an 18-year-old with cerebral palsy who uses a wheelchair — into a house I purchased, also in Golf View Harbour. A few years later, I upgraded to my current home, also in Golf View Harbour. I have lived my entire life in this tiny subdivision, in four different houses, a stone’s throw from the hospital I was born at. I’ve traveled extensively, from Europe to Hawaii, but Golf View Harbour in Boynton Beach, Florida has been my residence for four decades.

Being so firmly rooted in my hometown has shaped the way I have built my companies. I have ignored the old adage warning against hiring friends and family. In fact, I have done exactly the opposite. Almost all of the office staff here are related to me or friends going back years, if not decades — friends that I have because I’ve been in one place for so long.

While growing up in Golf View Harbour, my parents started and ran multiple businesses. It was established early on that the family identified as entrepreneurs and business owners, much in the same way that other families might identify as Yankees fans or inherit a religion. The identities we give ourselves heavily affect our direction in life, and there’s no question that this family identity is the reason that I do what I currently do now.

(Your mom knows all about Golf View Harbour, too. I just whisper her the blog, but you can get a link of it texted to you each week by texting the number 484848 with the word CRIP as the message.)

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Crippled CEO Blog #092: I’ll be dead soon

Crippled CEO Blog #092:

I have 10-15 years of life left. 


There is a possibility that I might live longer, but it is far more likely that I don’t.

That means I probably have 10 summers left. I’m only going to experience 10 more Christmas vacations. 10 more New Year’s Eve celebrations. 10 more Fourth of July‘s. And so on.

I’m pretty much okay with this, but I do think about it, and knowing this reality helps me make decisions in my life. I thought you might find some of the rules I follow as a result of this applicable for your own life, because while the focus is sharper when the time is so finite, the reality is that we all have limited time. I’m just more distinctly aware of mine.

One. I don’t do things that I don’t want to do unless there is a huge upside. Period. I’m just not going to waste my time and happiness on unnecessary things that suck. And I have found out by doing this that the things you skip, that you thought people would be devastated over, or your career would be ruined, etc., turn out to be not that big of a deal usually. 

Two. Only top tier people get to be in my life. If I’m only having 10 more New Year’s Eve parties, I’m not wasting one with lame people. I’m not filling my days with pointless irritants and stupid drama. Pro tip: you have to be an awesome person to attract awesome people. And you can’t become an awesome person with awful people around you. There might be a spot between getting rid of the bad and attracting the good where you are on your own. This is scary, but it’s temporary, and it’s worth it. 

Three. I don’t get upset about things that don’t matter. It is a lot harder to care about what so-and-so said when I know that I’m dying soon. 

Four. I ask for and go after things that I want. Why not? What’s the worst that could happen? I’m going to die either way, and I would regret not trying a whole lot more.

Five. I really appreciate the good times and I try to live in them as much as possible. I try to make a point of calling out particularly great experiences, so they get remembered and catalogued that way. I know that I’m going to need those memories when things start to decline. My life is great right now, but it’s going to get bad before it ends. Realizing this makes appreciating what I have much easier.

Six. I think about the impact I’m going to leave behind. It is easier to selflessly give (time, money, energy) when you know that the benefits from that will live on in the recipients after you’re gone. 

Seven. I set up an estate plan. Even if you don’t think you’re dying anytime soon, this is important. Jennifer Gomez is my estate attorney and my friend. If you own stuff and think you might die eventually, you should contact her and get everything squared away.

Eight. I create things, like this blog, so that the people who care about me or want my advice can come back to it in the future. 

Nine. I imagine my funeral, and I try to be the kind of person who will inspire people to get up, walk to the front of the room, stand behind a podium, in front of a (hopefully large) crowd, and say great things about. Maybe hearing person after person telling previously unknown stories of acts of kindness will nudge someone else in the audience to do the same. 

Ten. I do work that matters. It’s not an accident that all of my businesses help people — both through the products we sell, and the way we treat our work family. Every day, I work on growing these businesses happily knowing that other people will get to experience the lion’s share of the rewards. And I do it with people who see the bigger picture, who know that doing the right thing is always the right thing, and whose company I am privileged to keep each day. 

That’s it. I hope at least a couple of these are useful to you even if you’re not planning on kicking the bucket anytime soon. We are all dying. We should live our lives like we know we are. 

(Do you know who’s trying to kill me every night? Your mom. I’ll be lucky if I make it 10 years at this rate with her. She also signed up to get a text message from me each week, that way she sees every blog before I’m gone. You can do the same. Just send a text to the number 484848 with the word CRIP as the message and voila! A link each week to the new blog post.)

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Crippled CEO Blog #091: Multiple Layers of Protection

Crippled CEO Blog #091:

Under the particular style of neon lights that you only get in a governmental conference room, seated around a long rectangle, they were… debating. Arguing, really. 

It was 1988. 

The building was the Broward County Health Department. 

And the topic was children drowning in pools. 

Drowning prevention advocates and “experts” from a myriad of disciplines were present — swim instructors, survival swim instructors, pool builders, pool alarm manufacturers, water safety nonprofits, representatives from the Broward County Health Department, and so on. Also present was the owner of a tiny, brand new company called Life Saver Pool Fence. He was my dad, Robert Lupton. 

They were arguing over which method should be the one everyone agreed was the best way to prevent drownings, which one should be promoted and rallied behind. The pool builder said that parent supervision was the answer. People just needed to watch their kids. The pool alarm folks argued why alarms were best. The swim instructors explained why training the child was the most important. 

And meanwhile, my dad stayed quiet. Eventually, someone turned to him and said, half joking, “I’m sure you think pool fences are the answer, right?”

He took a minute, paused, and shook his head. “No, I don’t.” 

The room peered at him quizzically. 

“I think you need all of them. I think the safest thing is for people to install multiple layers of protection.”

And just like that, the concept of layers of protection for pool safety, the foundation for all modern pool safety strategies, was born. The idea of multiple layers of protection is today taught and advocated by every drowning prevention expert and every water safety organization. 

A year later, he would write a book on childproofing the home, and the idea of using layers of protection to make the pool safer was put in writing for the first time. 

And while that is a very cool fact, that isn’t the point of my blog this week. 

My dad proposed this idea because he really did think it was the best solution, and he really did care deeply about water safety.

But he was also a businessman, and this new concept had another benefit, as well. As soon as everyone agreed, all of the other people sitting at that table stopped being competitors, and suddenly became allies. The cause of drowning prevention was now stronger because everybody could now work together. By taking a step back, getting above the debate, and reframing the perspective, he found a creative win-win for everyone. And the only thing that changed was the way everyone in the room approached the problem. 

This kind of thing is possible more often than we think. Lots of times, we are debating for option one, two, or three, when the real best answer is something entirely different, and requires asking a different question. 

And you will know when you find it, because these kinds of ideas, that reshape the problem and solve it beautifully, seem obvious once presented. In fact, when you say it, the people around you will act as if it is obvious, so obvious that it doesn’t seem like a novel, original thought — as if it was the answer the entire time. That’s how you know you’ve got it. 

(Your mom doesn’t want any layers of protection with me, and quite frankly, it’s concerning. One thing she does want, though, and you should as well, is a text from me every Sunday. Send a text to the number 484848 with the word CRIP as the message to sign up to get a link to the newest blog each week.)

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Crippled CEO Blog #090: Be a Resource

Crippled CEO Blog #090:

Nobody likes being sold to.

No one likes a sales person.

Even just the word “salesman” has a negative connotation. No one uses that title on their business cards anymore because we all know that it’s a “bad thing”.

 But that lady at the garden store who knows everything there is to know about orchids? We like her. The hairstylist who can explain, in detail, the multiple session process you will need to go through to get the color you want, and she’s correct? We like her as well. The guy at the hardware store that can tell you exactly what kind of screw you need for that specific application? He’s awesome.

All of these people are using their words to sell you something. But we don’t think of them as sales people.

Chances are that they don’t think of themselves as sales people, either.

These people are a resource. We love resources. Resources are here to help us, not impose their will upon us. Resources have a skill or expertise they have earned over time. Resources give, not take. They advise, not convince. 

We all hate to be sold to, but we love to buy. 

Being a sales person is easier short term. You need to be knowledgeable, but not as knowledgeable as you have to be to be a resource. 

But being a resource is easier, and more profitable, in the long term. People come to you, not the other way around. People choose you even when you are more expensive. People tell their friends about you when they have a problem. You create relationships, not just transactions.

I’ve read some of the highest touted books on “selling” and I’m sure I’ve picked up some useful ideas in them, but I think every for every hour spent getting better at selling, you’d be better off spending 30 minutes becoming more of an expert, more of a resource. Knowing the three most important steps to close a deal don’t matter nearly as much when people are going to choose you regardless. 

(You know who never has to try to sell me? Your mom. She’s a resource I’m always buying from. She also enjoys getting a resource texted to her every Sunday. Send a text to the number 484848 with the word CRIP in the body and I’ll send you one, too.)

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