CRPL Logo on a navy background. Logo is gold rings intertwining, reminiscent of a wheel. Next to it are the letters CRPL in white

Issue #7

A New York Mogul and His Connection to Disability Productivity

John Loeppky

August 22, 2023

A top-down photo of a map, meant to be part of the world, though where is unclear. On top are books, a pencil, a few old photographs, some glasses, a camera, a few notebooks and some knick knacks.
I prefer a standard globe myself/Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay

Vayner Who?

In a vacuum, you would not pick Gary Vaynerchuk as someone whose advice can be tangibly connected to disability and productivity. He’s the type of entrepreneur who believes that if one person with your experience has climbed the proverbial mountain then you can too. In a word, his advice his fairly reductionist.

But this newsletter isn’t about writing these thought leaders—good lord do I hate that term—off completely. There is one piece of his puzzle that I think does inherently link to cripped productivity. One of his key suggestions to his followers is to focus on documenting over creating. In his world, one that involves red eye flights across the country to run a digital advertising agency, that means having a videographer follow him around.

How funny would it be for you or I to have a camera person stalk our every move? It definitely makes me imagine a David Attenborough-style documentary that would bore watchers to tears.

Here we see the standard John Loeppky in his usual habitat. It’s a natural consequence of his body that he yawns every ten minutes in the morning hours. Now he’s typing, wishing that his desk was just a little less wobbly, not unlike his walking style. He is surrounded, as his species always is, by local art to remind him why he still lives, and works, and supports people in a conservative province. 

You get the point.

However, in disability culture, we have a lot of people who are documenting rather than creating, or at least they are doing an equal balance of both. For example, Mia Mingus’ vital blog, Leaving Evidence, has it right in the title. Disability activism and identity is about leaving a trail of stories, of suggestions, of yearnings for the future. Similarly, Talila A. Lewis’ practice of continuingly updating a working definition of ableism is a testament to this commitment to thinking in terms of community and those who come after rather than assuming some all consuming power over the narrative around disability. Another option is the hashtag #StaceyTaughtUs that appeared after American activist Stacey Park Milbern’s death, alongside a syllabus of Milbern’s impactful work. Of course, there are thousands of examples, but the larger point is that framing our work as creating—whether we’re disabled or not—can be dangerously about our egos. By documenting we are already creating from an informative rather than a reactive or selfish place. How we leave that evidence is blissfully up to us. 

In terms of productivity, I think understanding how we are documenting our lives, even though it’s unlikely to be through Vaynerchuk’s very business-y lens, can help us frame our habits, our intentions, and the ways we choose to organise our lives. Here are three ways that you can conceive of yourself as documenting over creating. 


Admit it, at least half of you just rolled your eyes. I don’t mean journaling in the traditional sense, when I launched the revamped CRPL last week I acknowledged that this would be as close to a journal as I’d get, I mean the way which you document your life via habit. For example, I’m rocking a 90 day duolingo streak, I can tell how I’m feeling based upon whether I just do a tiny lesson to keep my streak or do multiple large lessons to try to dominate that leaderboard (once an athlete, always an athlete). Maybe it’s the type of tea you decide to drink each morning, maybe it’s the type of workout you decide to do day-to-day, maybe it’s how long of a shower you had (or if you had one at all). We leave evidence via our habits, documenting those habits can help us leave evidence, to paraphrase James Clear, of the person we are working towards being. 

Your Calendar
Forgive me a hypothetical, but imagine a friend you’ve lost touch with, someone who used to know you really well, crash landed into your life now but the only thing they could do before you saw each other was read your calendar (or equivalent). What would they think? Who would they imagine you to be?

When you’re constructing your week, and inevitably overextending yourself, think about the evidence you are leaving people in the future. Would they think, “This person is definitely over doing it,” Or would they wonder at how often you made time to see friends? Would your biographer see you as a worn out disabled person with no self care, someone in touch with their body and mind, or somewhere in-between?

How You Practice Access

One of my favourite tools to use when I’m working with groups as a theatre artist is Bojana Coklyat and Shannon Finnegan’s Alt Text as Poetry project. As they explain on their website, alt text—when you write descriptions of visuals on the web—is usually done because people feel like they should or they are legally mandated to. Alt text as poetry reminds us that access work, while it requires foundational knowledge that can be gleaned from practitioners like Alexa Heinrich, is also a creative practice. You and I, dear reader, can see the same image and have remarkably different descriptions. Maybe you want to give a broader description of a skyline, while I’m a tad more focused on the buildings. There are a million versions of this, of course, but the point is that, like our calendar, how we write and talk about access—again, whether we’re disabled or not—tells others and ourselves about how we operate. We document an image via alt text more than we create it. We document how we see access when we advocate for a ramp on social media. We document how we see disabilities other than our own when we engage in various advocacy efforts. So, what would those documents say about you and, how can you integrate those learnings into future decisions when it comes to what you do and how you do it?

Until tomorrow!


Want to Support More Disability-led Writing?

I've decided to shift CRPL to a 5 times a week newsletter about productivity as I am fascinated by the topic, am in the early stage of writing a book about it, and want to have a place to think, and write, and create work about this vital area of thinking. Click below to join the daily newsletter and/or to help financially support this project.