Exec Seat: Q&A With LFP's Jean-Sebastien Poirier Fournier
When Jean-Sebastien Poirier Fournier (aka Stinger) joined LFP Internet Group last year, he brought a wealth of experience, expertise and contacts to ramp up the company’s dynamic online business.
After all, Stinger spent eight-plus years at Gamma Entertainment where he was instrumental in playing a key role in the company’s B2B division.
In this Q&A, XBIZ World wanted to learn more about the charismatic Stinger, as well as his feelings about working with the adult entertainment industry’s leading brand.
XBIZ: How long have you been in the industry, and how did you get your start?
STINGER: I am going on 10 years in this amazing industry. Before the adult industry, I worked 12 years in the music business, working for the company I always wanted to work for — Universal Music Group — and it was quite a ride. I thought I saw it all, but boy was I wrong.
Later, I was recruited by a headhunter who wanted to place me in a car rental company’s management position. I hadn’t had a formal interview for the past 12 years, so I told myself, I’ll go to practice my interviewing skills even though I did not really care about the job.
It took five minutes for the guy to tell me that this job is not for me. “But I might have something for you; it’s in a special field …” “A special field, I asked?” “Yeah, it’s in porn.”
I interviewed at the Gamma Entertainment offices for the position of affiliate manager for PornAccess.com. The interview was with Charles Rousseau and Joel Drapeau. In the middle of the interview Joel got up and told me: “I am sorry, I need to go. I have a plane to catch.”
I couldn’t pass on asking him where he had to go. After all, he would be my next boss and leaving like this in the middle of an interview is quite unusual shall we say.
In simplicity, Joel answered, “Oh, I’m going to the Playboy Mansion.” At that moment, I said I wanted this job. They took a chance on me and the rest is history as they say.
XBIZ: What exactly do you do at Hustler?
STINGER: I am a management consultant for Hustler, helping upper management figure how to maximize the assets of the Internet division. I just put my grain of salt here and there, offering an external vision on many levels. At the end of the day they decide what is best for their business.
I also do B2B deals with the company’s various partners, as well as offer suggestions to them on the best avenues to grow their businesses with the assets they have — from dating sites to live cam sites to, of course, paysites.
XBIZ: How important are Hustler partners in terms of revenue for the company?
STINGER: They are vital to the business. The major difference when you work with Hustler is that we are a brand in itself. People wear Hustler in the streets, at the mall, at the grocery store and they are proud of it.
They have a connection with the brand, whether if it is for the main product itself or founder Larry Flynt and what he is representing here in the U.S and for free speech.
They love the brand, and they show it.
A brand’s standing really makes a difference when you work and talk to partners. We have their attention on a different level, and that is really something that makes it special to work with — you know you are in a special place. Everyone wants to work with Hustler.
As for the revenue part, I will say this: The vision we have here is to make our partners as much revenue as possible and to create a win-win situation.
The more our partners make, the more we will make. Teamwork is a motto not only for all of us here at Hustler but also for all the partners we work with.
XBIZ: Some mention virtual reality combined with haptic technology as the next big thing for the online adult and live cams sectors. What are your thoughts on the future of adult?
STINGER: Those combined technologies would lead us to some insane possibilities, especially in our domain. Imagine if you can really feel and live the experience while seeing it — that would be the ultimate for our consumers and the best thing ever for recurring billing.
Jokes aside, will this be the future? It is hard to tell as the technology is evolving at an insanely fast pace. How many times we said, Ha! This will be the next big thing, and then it just passes by like a rainy day in California.
Consumers have so many choices, so you have to make them interact with your product and make them click one more time so they can see the product you have to offer. Once they are in, it is up to us to offer them quality content, day in and day out, that will make them stay and make them say, “Hustler is the brand to go with.”
XBIZ: What adult companies and/or who inspires you in the industry?
STINGER: Bono said, “My heroes are the ones who survived doing it wrong, who made mistakes, but recovered from them.”
Here They Are:
Charles Rousseau of Gamma Entertainment: Charles always says: “As long as it make sense then you can give it a shot” I am still applying this today.
Erwin De Boer of Manica Money and Steven Gallon of Grooby Bucks: These guys grew their little businesses wisely and with products not easy to work with. But they persevered, were wise in their choices, always loyal and now they have a great network and amazing partners to work with. Small steps and smart choices can bring you far.
Josh of HomeGrown: He’s just a beast, period. This guy’s brain and knowledge in all aspects of the business is just scary. Glad I can pick on it from time to time.
Sean Christian of UpForIt: Pure genius, and not only in the business but life in general. He can make you understand the most difficult things in the simplest way you can imagine.
Michael Klein of Hustler: When you look at the pedigree of this man, you have to admit it is quite impressive. And when you work closely with him, you get all this knowledge and experience full force.
I can say now at this very point and time of my career and life, I am at school every single day and I could have not choose a better mentor to give me the tools that are missing in my toolbox to be more complete and go on to the next level. He is patient, and that is priceless when you are just learning.
Jay Michaud of Stunner Media and Michael Pahl of ZTOD: These two are so gifted and have amazing knowledge of the online business. They can always give you tricks here and there to make your business grow a few percent here and there at the end of the day. Self-made men, very quiet guy’s but damn bright and fun, too.
Joel Drapeau of Gamma Entertainment: Well, he is Joel …. He is the sole creator of Stinger.
XBIZ: How important is it to attend and be active at online adult trade shows?
STINGER: Trade shows have changed a lot over the years. Back in the day, they were mainly giant parties for webmasters and affiliate programs.
Now these shows are happening less often but are really focused on business. They are important because it allows us to put a face under the name, and it creates bonds between people.
It also allows to see people you will never see otherwise — like the shows in Europe where you see webmasters, affiliates programs and owners. Some of these decision-makers will never travel to the U.S.
XBIZ: What’s a typical work day like?
STINGER: Working for LFP is just an amazing feeling; not one day is the same. We can be conversing with Larry at one moment and the next you are with the marketing team to schedule the launching of new parodies title like, “This Ain’t The Interview XXX.” We have great minds at LFP and an amazing team to work with.
My thinking when I get to work is to learn at least one new thing every day; so far it’s clearly the place to make this happen.
XBIZ: You’ve picked up and traveled to Los Angeles from Montreal for Hustler. How do you like Los Angeles?
STINGER: There is a reason why they say: London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles and not London, Paris, New York, Montreal. For a little boy from Montreal who started from nothing and is now in Los Angeles I am still amazed to this day.
Back home they all say to me that this is the California dream, and in a sense they are right. All is faster, bigger and glamorous — but for me those are the coolest things: Having a daily view of the Hollywood sign from my office, In-N-Out Burger, The Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Kings, beaches all over the place and mainly no snow in winter and no minus-gazillion degrees to freeze my ass day in and day out.
It is the first time in my life I am having a winter with no snow and not cold as ****. Now that is really cool
XBIZ: When not thinking about the biz, what do you like to do?
STINGER: My wife would tell you that this does not happen … But what I like to do is to be with her and my newborn son, skyping to my two kids back home in Montreal and just trying to disconnect. Time goes by fast.
I came all the way to California a year ago so we can be together. I am blessed to have found the one. The Stinger got stung by this amazing German lady, and if I had to do it again I would just do so in a heartbeat.
I follow this motto by Mark Cuban: “What I have learned in these years is you just got to stay focused and believe in yourself and trust your own ability and judgment.”