John and Mark X. Cronin Give TEDx Talk on the Power of People with Dif - Johns Crazy Socks

John and Mark X. Cronin Give TEDx Talk on the Power of People with Differing Abilities

The best TED Talks challenge conventional thinking and move us to look at the world in a new way. John and Mark X. Cronin, the father-son team behind John’s Crazy Socks, rose to that challenge in their TEDx Talk entitled, Differently Abled People Want to Help Us. Their TEDx Talk offered a simple yet powerful idea: people with differing abilities are not waiting for our help as much as they are waiting to help us.


As frequent keynote speakers, the father-son duo often tell the origin story of John’s Crazy Socks, how John, a young man with Down syndrome, could not find meaningful work after high school. John turned to his father and said, “I want to go into business with you.” John then suggested that they sell socks and John’s Crazy Socks was born.

Mark explains, “When John first suggested that we go into business together, I heard him asking me for help. I thought I had to carry him. As we explain in our TEDx Talk, I now realize that John was coming to my rescue, John was lifting me up.”

John and Mark speak at TEDX

The Cronins recorded their talk as part of TEDx Farmingdale. The event featured eight speakers giving seven presentations on topics as diverse as environmentally sustainable fashion, the powers of teeth and the effects of childhood trauma.

John Cronin said, “We were part of an amazing group of speakers."

John and Mark X. Cronin are speakers in demand, crisscrossing the country to speak at conferences, colleges and universities and corporate events with the likes of Microsoft, EY and IBM. They are accustomed to emotional responses to their talks: people laughing, weeping and standing to cheer. Yet their TEDx Talk is different.

George Andriopoulos, the producer of the event, challenged them to go deeper, to be more vulnerable. Their speaking engagements have been honed through much practice and experience, the TEDx talk was distinctive: built from scratch, carefully scripted and, in many ways, more intimate.

Tedx speakers

“No clichés,” said the elder Cronin, “We dug deep to reveal the creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and the love that John brings. We spoke about his impact in creating a social enterprise with a purpose of spreading happiness by hiring people with differing abilities, giving back and making personal connections with customers. But we also revealed the impact John had on our family and my life. We revealed some deeply personal situations that we had not discussed before in public. By the end of the talk, I call John my hero and it is plain to see why.”

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.

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


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