Greg Glassman, founder and CEO of CrossFit, a strength and conditioning program wth 14,000 independently owned affilliates around the world, sat down Thursday with CNBC's Tyler Mathisen at the iConic Boston conference. The event was co-sponsored by CNBC and Inc. Herewith a (mostly) family-friendly distillation of his wisdom.
On why the business works:
I was willing to tell a profound truth that nobody else has told. The parable of the emperor's clothing? I was the one who stood up and said, 'He's naked.' Everyone publicly charged with telling that truth got stupid, got lost, or got paid off. Seventy percent of the people in this room will die needlessly from chronic disease. We sell salvation.
On the core of CrossFit:
Two components: It's about exercise and it's about nutrition. The way the public was working out was ridiculous, and the way they were eating was fatal.
On fitness advice:
Don't eat sugar. And deadlift. But you got to understand, that's the best answer I can give to a [expletive] question.
On his temperament:
I'm sensitive and emotional and I care, and that can harden you to be a prick against stuff you see is wrong. I was always ready to get into people's face if the cause was right.
On brand integrity:
The brand lives around the metabolic truth we tell. It doesn't matter what color the sign is and what time the doors open.
On accumulating wealth:
If my desire in the next three years was to throw as much money into a bank account as I could, I could. But you're stupid if all you want is to be rich. I'm wealthier than I ever thought I could be.
On enemies and doubters:
Most we laugh at. You can't find our level of success and not find plenty of assholes who don't like you. The world's full of morons. They get mics, too, and they get to be on CNBC. We got two of them running for president!