The adult entertainment industry has been Jeff Dillon’s passion and his life’s work. Dillon, who was recently promoted to GameLink’s vice president of business development, discussed with XBIZ World on how he got into the biz, the industry itself and GameLink’s latest incarnation.
XBIZ: How did you venture into the adult industry?
Our DVD business is still very strong and due to some management deals it will even grow for us this year. I know it shocks most people.
DILLON: After my time in the Air Force as a nutritionist I started as a male dancer and managing strippers but got bored of it after a few years and realized managing talent isn't my thing. So I used my G.I. bill to go back to school for business. Originally, while in the Air Force, I was going to culinary school to be a chef but after living in San Francisco during the dot-com days everyone was making a ton of money in the biz world so this seemed a logical direction to head. After starting school I got a job at GameLink to pay for school and life. I quickly realized I loved the adult business and porn believe it or not.
So I did all I could to learn about the adult business like read trade mags and hangout on industry forums (note: I'm the No. 1 member most days on XBIZ.net). Shortly after that I was trying to hook up deals on my own without being asked or even getting permission. I am a hustler by nature. Also I worked as a planner in our purchasing dept and quickly made friends with a lot of the studio folks. Crazy how the studios like you when you are a buyer;-). For the most part the studios have some really great, cool and talented people who to this day are some of my good friends in my life. After two or so years I started doing business development for GameLink and then shortly after that I was promoted to director of business development. Once promoted I dropped out of college my senior year as I knew the adult business would be my life's work and due my travel schedule it made it tough to go to school and I wanted to make GameLink a great success.
XBIZ: What's a typical work day like?
DILLON: No typical work day is the same for me but generally I get up at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. Depending when my body wants to get up. I don't use an alarm clock as I don't sleep much and I rarely sleep in past 8. Plus I don't want my day to start with an annoying loud sound telling me what to do before I even open my eyes. Once up I start my morning at my home office checking emails and looking for anything that needs my attention. Then I check in on my remote employees and see how projects are coming along. After responding to emails for a few hours and coming up with a clever Facebook post or two I grab a quick workout and head to the office. Once at the office it's meetings, calls, strategy, reviewing projects and development efforts. I usually head home around 6 or 7 p.m. Sometimes after 5 p.m. I am most productive because I'm not getting sucked into meetings and stuff. After work I dick around for a few hours by going to the gym or going out with my friends but normally you will find me back online working at night. Sometimes nights are my most creative time. Not when I first wake up and I'm half a sleep. Then it is bed and repeat.
XBIZ: In the 12 years you've been in the industry, do you think the biz has matured greatly?
DILLON: Yes, very much so. When I first started it was very easy to make money. There were still a lot of good domains and piracy wasn't an issue so anyone with half a brain could enter the business throw up some galleries and videos and make a decent living. Nowadays the barrier to entry in the adult market is a lot higher and the competitive landscape has dramatically grown. You have to work a lot harder now to make a buck. Piracy has made it harder to make some money in this business and even put a lot of people out of business. The market nowadays is seeing a lot of consolidation BS; before people would just copy a successful business model. Today you have to be innovative and/or have deep pockets to make the big bucks in this business and stay ahead of the curve.
XBIZ: GameLink is back to its original ownership. Is the company stronger as a result?
DILLON: Yes, very much so! I found that while it was very enjoyable to work for a public company (Private Media Group) there was a lot of red tape when trying to get things done and now it's much easier. We have an amazing team here at GameLink, probably the best I have seen in my time here and a lot of new projects and products in and outside of GameLink that are soon to hit the market. Stay tuned for some exciting announcements.
XBIZ: GameLink perhaps is known best for its video-on-demand products, but how about the sex toys it sells? How are sales going in that sector of GameLink's biz?
DILLON: This is a strong and growing sector of our business. We have the ability to sell toy-only stores and white labels which allows us to get into other non-adult markets that don't allow porn but will allow toys. Also our DVD business is still very strong and due to some management deals it will even grow for us this year. I know it shocks most people.
XBIZ: When not thinking about the biz, what do you like to do?
DILLON: Working-out and fitness is a big part of my life so I belong to two gyms. One by my house and one by my office, and you find me there a few hours a day most days. I recently took up scuba diving and I’m looking forward to a couple scuba trips this fall. Also, I’m learning to kiteboard and looking to spend more time boarding. And since I live in San francisco, which is a happening town, there are always some events, festivals or parties to keep me entertained. Other than that I also like long walks in the park and strolls on the beach.