Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference.

Five business lessons I learned from launching a sex site / HuffPost Women

Written by Cindy Gallop for HuffPost Women . Originally published on May 7th, 2014.


Lesson 1: Don’t Care What Other People Think (in a Good Way)

Every obstacle to building our business that I’ve just described is driven by one dynamic and one dynamic alone: fear of what other people will think.

A young venture capitalist reached out to me last year — he’d seen me speak at a tech conference and was very interested in MakeLoveNotPorn. We met and talked. He totally got it, but he said to me, “At the end of the day, it’s not about what I think. It’s about what every other partner in my firm will think, and what every other investor in our fund will think.”

Fear of what other people will think is the single most paralyzing dynamic in business, and in life.


Lesson 2: Everything in Life and in Business Is Improved by Better Communication

MakeLoveNotPorn was a complete accident. I never consciously planned or set out to do any of what I’m doing now — it was a result of coming across something I felt strongly about. But it’s also the result of a career spent in the communications industry, and a strong sense therefore of the importance of great communication in everyday life and at work.

I believe one of the reasons the original website has driven and continues to drive such an extraordinary response, is because it is very simple, straightforward, honest, down-to-earth, utterly nonjudgmental, and it has a sense of humor. We rarely get to have conversations about sex within those parameters, and when we do, the floodgates open.


Lesson 3: Make the Future of Money Work for You

I became so frustrated with the barriers we were facing, particularly on the payments front, that I said to Corey Innis, my cofounder and CTO, “We’re trying to invent the future of porn; we want to find the people who are inventing the future of money. Let’s find the people as frustrated as we are with the old world order of finance, money, payments — from a different perspective — because those are the guys that we want to work with.” We researched the entire financial tech startup landscape and identified the players we’d love to partner with — but then we discovered the new world order of money still subscribes to old world order legislation: the fine print still says “No adult content.”


Lesson 4: We Are the Innovators

We live in a world where the default setting is male. Men: you have no idea how much happier you would be living and working in a world that was fifty-fifty, equally designed and managed by women as well as men. None of us do. We’ve never lived in that world — yet.

We need to. Because diversity drives innovation. Many different perspectives, mind-sets, insights, and points of view coming together are what create true disruption. This is true of ethnicity, sexuality, and the area that cuts across them all: gender.

The day we have a porn industry that is equally informed, influenced, designed, driven, managed, and led by women as well as men, fifty-fifty; that targets 50 percent of its output at women as well as men; and that makes 50 percent of its money from women as well as men is the day we have a porn industry that looks very different. More creative, more innovative, more exciting, healthier, and more lucrative.


Lesson 5: Design Your Own Future — Because You Can

I believe the business model of the future is this: Shared Values + Shared Action = Shared Profit (financial profit and social profit). I designed around that business model, to be part of the collaborative economy — a new way of thinking about work and how you make money.

The old top-down economic model is broken — the model of making things happen through institutions, hierarchy, and organizations. There’s a new bottom-up model emerging, of collaborative people-power and collective action. The collaborative economy isn’t just the province of Uber, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit. It’s the future of work.

In a world where job loss is due not only to the global financial meltdown and resultant recession worldwide but also to the increasing automation of labor and processes, is an example of how people who share the same values can share something they all do, to benefit both society and themselves.


You can read Cindy’s five business lessons in more detail here!

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