Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dr. Glen House, Founder, Disaboom

I found this article on Dr. Glen House today. He is the founder of a new social website called Disaboom which is focused on people with disabilities whom they encourage to "live forward". There is also a section on the website for caregivers. The purpose is to create community around living a whole life despite perceived and real limits. Keith and I had discovered the community recently and then found that we have some unexpected connections to the founder. It has been beneficial for both Keith and me to connect with other folks who are 'living forward' and sharing their stories. Because Dr. House is speaking from his own experience, there is an authenticity that is lacking in other sites. (I had also checked out Steve Case's Revolution Health, and was shocked to find that it had no area for people with disabilities.)

You get a sense of Dr. House's joie de vivre in the article, please click here to read the whole thing.


By Chris Taylor
FSB Disability Boom
(Fortune Small Business)

Despite his wheelchair, and often because of it, Dr. Glen House has always enjoyed doing what he isn't supposed to. Take the time he persuaded his neighbor in Colorado Springs, J.W. Roth, to join him on vacation in the ice fields of Taku, Alaska. The trip entailed flying to a remote lodge in a tiny ski plane that was ill-equipped for disabled passengers: Boarding was via a rope ladder. "They said no wheelchairs," Roth recalls. "So we signed up."

That 2006 trip was a turning point for House and Roth. The boarding process was dicey: Roth gave House a fireman's lift up the plane's ladder, which dangled over the ice. "If I go down, you're going with me," House snarled on the way up. But later the pair sat in the Taku lodge, wondering how they might bring such exhilarating experiences to other disabled people. "They're sick of doctors," House told Roth. "They want to know how to live forward with their conditions."

That chat led to this year's launch of Disaboom.com, a fast-growing social network aimed at the 50 million Americans with disabilities and their caregivers. In a time of social-network fatigue, as Facebook and MySpace have spawned hundreds of bland imitators, Denver-based Disaboom is unique. It focuses on a large, untapped audience eager to get answers and make connections, and one that advertisers had previously been unable to reach.

Like the entrepreneurs in the stories that follow, House demonstrates that disabilities are no obstacle in the brave new world of technology. If anything, the determination they engender provides a clear business advantage. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of self-employed Americans with disabilities has grown from 12% to 15% since the dawn of the Web. For the rest of us, the figure has stayed static at 8%. Your next competitor may just zoom past you in a wheelchair.

No comments: