Exec Seat: Q&A With Epoch's Frank Gannon
Meet the gregarious Frank Gannon, senior account manager at Epoch, one of the leading and most dynamic processors that provides its service to the adult entertainment business. Gannon is a veteran in the business, who can easily walk you through the steps that lead to prosperity.
We chatted with Gannon to learn more about him and his longtime company, Epoch.
XBIZ: What do you do at Epoch? And how long have you been at Epoch?
GANNON: I’m a senior account manager, and have been with the company over 12 years. I work closely with Harmik (vice president of marketing and sales) to ensure that all of our accounts, big and small, are receiving ample attention and advice on optimizing their sales.
XBIZ: How did you venture into the adult industry?
GANNON: Like many people, somewhat by accident. Having just finished my master’s degree at UCLA, I needed to join the human race again and start paying loans back. A good friend Cindy had worked at Epoch for years, and always spoke so very highly of the people and values here, and she suggested I might be a good fit. So I came in for a chat, and never looked back.
XBIZ: What is the work culture like at Epoch?
GANNON: I used to work in the education and entertainment fields in Europe and the U.S., and the work culture at Epoch is unlike anywhere I have ever experienced. The energy is supportive, eclectic and constantly exciting. We have about 130 people here at our corporate Santa Monica headquarters, in this open plan creative zone, previously occupied and designed by Google. Our staff hails from over 20 countries, and this brings unique experience and international perspective to all decisions and directions we take. More than half of our top execs are non-American, and our COO is from Madrid. This means that we are always imagining beyond the U.S. borders, and that’s a definite contributor to our success internationally. For instance, over the past year, everybody here was hugely actively involved in the ground-breaking successful operation of the pilot program in adult billing with PayPal — operated in Europe, exclusively by Epoch.
XBIZ: What sector of the online adult business is driving the market these days?
GANNON: Every sector that is well-run (like any healthy business) is doing well right now. The downturn is definitely over, and we are witnessing very healthy growth over the past few years. And finally, new clients are emerging out of the darkness again, despite those pesky rising costs and barriers to entry. It’s very encouraging.
XBIZ: Where is most of your business coming from?
GANNON: The “single cathartic moment” sites that provide unique interactive services, such as webcams (that cannot be canned and pimped on a torrent later) are definitely making the most gains. However, lots of show seminars go on and on about the death of the subscription paysite. Yet, we’re seeing terrific subscription business still, despite the “sky is falling” prophesies. Remember, when cable first began, everyone asked “who’ll pay for something that’s free?” Well, it turns out people are more than happy to pay for something that is well-delivered and organized in the ways people prefer to consume. Great paysites know that intrinsically.
XBIZ: In the 12 years in the adult business, do you think the industry has matured greatly?
Oh my God, yes. And I think the most interesting barometer are the show floors. I vividly remember the first Vegas show I attended (during the boom times) and wowing at the elaborate gaudy “kingdom” that producers and program owners used to lure precious affiliates — shimmering honey to the bees. Pure sensory overload. And now the show floors are far less sexy, many resembling the tone of a mid-week local government job fair. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing — it’s simply fiscal maturity. The wild conspicuous wealth has retreated, and left behind an industry acutely aware of the costs of production and execution.
XBIZ: What’s a typical work day like? What are the right ingredients for a successful sales team?
GANNON: A typical workday involves constant moving between the departments, making all sorts of standard and custom things happen for our clients. The beauty of everyone attending the office, is that resolutions can be hatched on the fly, and solid work gets done. I can’t imagine working remotely, as I’d feel so left out of the energy and decisions.
All office doors are open, and connections are strongly encouraged — either through formal or informal meetings, activities, our famous communal breakfasts, outside excursions, etc. — this burgeoning interpersonal synergy contributes to smart results.
In the sales department, 95 percent of our day is direct personal contact with our clients. As the premium IPSP in the adult industry, we have a lot to live up to, and want our clients get the maximum benefit of everything we offer to increase their sales — new reports tools, constant new international and regional payment types, our in-house customer service division that deals 100 percent exclusively with (the unique delicacy of) adult inquiries. Everything integrated, a fine-oiled machine, working in unison to create that unmatched premium IPSP experience.
Most of our new business comes through good word-of-mouth or personal recommendations, which is very heartwarming, and long may that last.
XBIZ: When not thinking about the biz, what do you like to do?
GANNON: Global internet payments run 24/7/365, so there’s scarcely a time I’m not aware of the emails pouring into my iPhone outside of office hours.
However, when work is up-to-date, I enjoy hiking in the canyons, bowling, and cooking for/with friends. I really love summer outdoor concerts at the Hollywood Bowl and the Greek. I see a lot of live theater, and regularly attend screenings at the Writers’ Guild, where I’m a member. And at least once a year, I make sure to get back “home” to Ireland to visit my ever-expanding family there.