opinion

ASACP: Learning from Dad

Joan Irvine

I learned about business, sales and programming by working for Fortune 1000 companies, but I learned about business ethics from my Dad.

His father was a first generation immigrant and a dockworker which back in the early 1900s was not a well-paying job. My Dad was orphaned at 16 and he was already in college. Thankfully, relatives gave him a place to stay, but they couldn’t afford to support him, so my Dad did many things to survive:

One of the ways they can justify these business alliances with the industry is to have proof that the industry is doing its best to protect children.
  • He ate government beef ? today that would be getting food stamps or welfare;
  • He found scholarships; he graded papers; he was a tutor;
  • He was a lifeguard at Jones Beach, New York;
  • He refereed basketball games and played on a farm baseball team; and,
  • He accepted whatever job he could to pay his way through college and to survive.

I’m certain he had jobs that he didn’t tell me about because he wanted to protect me from the “real world out there.” But whatever he did he did it ethically and he taught us this at every breakfast and dinner and at every transition in his or our lives.

I still remember this story because I heard it many times:

My Dad was working for a major accounting firm; his first job after earning his college degree. He worked with others on projects as we all do now. One of his associates and he were called into a meeting about the status of a project .When the supervisor questioned why one of the tasks was not completed, my Dad was shocked when his co-worker lied and said, “I told John to do that.” My Dad never forgot this experience, but he never lowered himself to this level just to get ahead.

My Dad eventually became an executive at one of the Big 8 accounting firms. Could he have been more successful and made more money? Probably, but at what costs to his personal ethics?

He taught me that you sell yourself and products by promoting the positives and showing proof of concept, NOT by lying or attacking the competition. My jobs taught me that most business deals were about finding a workable solution that was a win/win for all. And life taught me that this is a delicate balance.

Working at ASACP has been a consistent test of this balance. How does one balance the mission of online child protection with the business of adult entertainment? It should be no different than any other industry. But the industry deals with so many societal taboos; it is different — like it or not!

For me, it’s about remembering to get back to my basic lessons in business and the win/win principal, although at times that’s not as easy as it sounds.

The companies and people in this industry are in business to make money, and to stay in business they need to make a profit. One of the best ways to do this, especially since there are so many detractors, is to do what all industries do: establish Best Practices and develop programs that support them. This is what we at ASACP have done for years.

We all know that mainstream companies quietly work with the industry but will drop us at any point if they feel any negative impact (or until they can find a better source of revenue). The industry can no longer survive without these companies. One of the ways they can justify these business alliances with the industry is to have proof that the industry is doing its best to protect children. ASACP provides this proof once again summarizes it in the ASACP 2010 Accomplishments to its stakeholders — our sponsors and members.

Technology and business are consistently changing. There are no silver bullets. But by working together and getting back to basics — it will be win/win for all. With your support ASACP looks forward to continuing to protect children and the industry in 2011.

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