John and Mark Give a Second TEDx Talk: Hiring People with Differing Abilities is Not Altruism, It is Good Business

TEDx Talks are meant to present ideas worth sharing. John and Mark X. Cronin, co-founders of John’s Crazy Socks, took to the TEDx Lake Success Stage to present just such an idea: hiring people with differing abilities is not altruism, it is good business.

Too often, we present hiring people with a disability (we prefer the term differing ability) as an act of charity. In their TEDx Talk, John and Mark flip that notion on its head to show that hiring people with differing abilities is a smart business move.

It is a moving story told with real life stories and examples and full of passion. They conclude with a simple plea: do not be blinded by a person’s limitations, be awed by their possibilities.

Mark uses real life examples from John’s Crazy Socks as well as small businesses such as Rising Tide Car Wash, Spectrum Design and Ventures ATL to the largest businesses in the world (Microsoft, IBM, EY and Comcast) to show the main business reasons to hire people with differing abilities:

  • Increased Productivity
  • Improved Retention
  • Improved ability to recruit workers and fill openings

Mark sets the stage by pointing out that the U.S. faces a growing labor shortage at the same time when more than 4 million people each month are leaving their jobs. At the same time, the unemployment rate of people with a disability is more than double the general population and the reality is that only one in five people with a disability is fully employed. People with differing abilities are ready, able, and willing to work and present a great untapped pool of labor. They want to help solve our labor shortage.

As part of the talk, John and Mark put a face on people with differing abilities and how, once given a chance, they make a powerful contribution to their places of employment. They shared stories of people with differing abilities making a difference.

The Cronin’s TEDx Talk is available for all to see on YouTube and the TED platform. It has received rave reviews and the audience for this talk has grown steadily as after viewing the talk, people share it.

This is the second TEDx talk that John and Mark X. Cronin have given. The Cronin’s first TEDx Talk entitled Differently Abled People Want to Help Us is available for all to see on YouTube and the TED platform.

About TEDx Lake Success Studio

TEDx Lake Success Studio is an independent organization created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading.” It is your very own Long Island -based independently organized TEDx community. From freedom of speech to social issues, technology, art, and climate change, our goal is to challenge how people think and feel about the community and the world by sharing ideas that encourage curiosity, creativity, and an open mind. It is owned by the North Shore TV Corporation.

About John’s Crazy Socks

John’s Crazy Socks was inspired by John Lee Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome, and his love of colorful and fun socks—what he calls his “crazy socks.” He and his father, Mark X. Cronin, started the company as a social enterprise with a mission of Spreading Happiness™. They do this by offering socks people can love that allows an expression of one’s true self. More than half their employees have a differing ability, their Giving Back program has raised over $450,000 for charity partners like the Special Olympics, the National Down Syndrome Society, and the Autism Society of America. Most of all, they are Spreading Happiness™.


For more information about John’s Crazy Socks, visit our webpage, Facebook page, Instagram account or YouTube channel. You can also contact us at 631-760-5625 or via email at