trends

Execs of 2015: Online Industry Leaders Discuss Value of Camaraderie

XBIZ World

XBIZ World is pleased to present “Execs of 2015: The Year in Review.”

Each of the executives we spoke to below has one thing in common — they are among the finalist nominees for the online industry edition of the 2016 XBIZ Exec Awards.

For me, there is definitely a gap between people of our industry and ‘civilians.’ We think very differently about hypocrisy, relationships and taboos in general. This is undoubtedly binding us all together. -Alex Lecompte, JuicyAds

XBIZ captures the thoughts of these influential and motivational leaders as we sought their take of the year 2015.

The following question about the year in review was asked to those running for the Community Figure of the Year:

XBIZ: How does a sense of community within the industry benefit its growth?

Michael Bartholomy
Publisher, Payout Magazine

“Basically, it’s an us-against-them thing. We don’t want it to be that way, but humbugs and conservatives and people who hate the adult industry and demonize us force us into a sort of ‘hippie’ community. This could explain why we have so many gatherings and conventions and trade shows and magazines and other forms of connecting to each other. Community and communication share the same language roots, obviously, and communication is where our industry excels. Sharing that common front against the people who hate us has always helped us persevere and advance our business interests despite the fact that those who are against us forget that what we do is legal and protected by the Constitution and the First Amendment. At the same time, it has allowed us to share our technology — our ‘secrets,’ if you want. But we’ve advanced the communication science of the Web more than our mainstream buddies because of our sharing and community.”

Jeff "Dillionaire" Dillon
Consultant, Gamelink

“A sense of community within the industry benefits its growth in two ways. First, it facilitates an environment where people are more likely to share their knowledge and experience. Second, it makes work more enjoyable because for most of us, this is more than just a job. The industry and its people are like a second family.”

Joey Gabra
Managing Director, Affil4You

“A sense of community within the industry benefits its growth in so many ways, possibly too many to list. As I see it, first and foremost, it makes our large industry feel a bit smaller. And I mean that in a good way. That sense of community tends to give people that same feeling of when you are walking around your town and running into people you know. Our industry grows and benefits from this sense of community because a community works like a village where everyone works together to help each other flourish and achieve greatness together. I truly believe that in my heart, and that is why I love our industry.”

Jay Kopita
Co-Owner, YNot Group

“The adult online industry is international and diverse, even if it can feel small at times. To those of us who travel to trade shows and constantly network online, the sense of community is strong. Being a positive part of a community like ours means being accessible, treating everyone fairly regardless of their company or title, and playing nice with everyone. Not only does that mindset make the industry a more inclusive and better place to work, it nurtures relationships and encourages better business practices. This results in more partnerships and more opportunities. It means more companies with something unique and useful to offer will stick around for good. When companies bring their own positive value and expertise to the community at large, we all win.”

Rhonda Kratz
Affiliate Marketing Manager, Penthouse.com and FriendFinder Networks

“Over the years, as I’ve worked in the adult industry, I’ve come to love my peers so much that it’s become my second family. I have met and do great business every day, due largely to the closeness of our community. If I don’t have what someone is looking for or can’t take care of them, I most certainly do know someone who could and would be grateful for an introduction. We all benefit from industry growth; so they’re interested in succeeding with you, not just against you. I know that if I ever need help, the reason doesn’t matter — I have people who will gladly help me out. It’s a crazy family. We’re all a bunch of weirdos, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Alex Lecompte
Marketing and Advertising Specialist, JuicyAds

“In the beginning, I was a bit reluctant to work in our industry. Like many people, I was judgmental of our business. But getting in has been one of the most significant experiences in my whole young life. It feels like being propelled in a bigger world where tolerance, peace and fun seriously open your mind. In my opinion, it’s this open-mindedness that feeds our industry’s community feeling. For me, there is definitely a gap between people of our industry and ‘civilians.’ We think very differently about hypocrisy, relationships and taboos in general. This is undoubtedly binding us all together. I think that’s why we can speak about a community within our industry. Being open-minded, quite transparent and globally aware about taboos and intimacy matters prepares us in a certain way to enjoy all the moments with similar relaxed people.”

Morgan Sommer
President, Cybersocket

“When I first got into the adult business 19 years ago, there was a preexisting culture that was part of the video industry. The Internet side of things was partially related to that older business and culture, but we were doing things differently — and we were a bunch of tech nerds sitting at home alone building websites. The first couple of IA2000 trade shows started that process of community building. We were slowly beginning to see each other as colleagues and developing friendships and a sense of friendly competition. There were a lot of companies started in 1996-1999 that are still around and are huge influences in our industry. Over the years, many more companies and people have come into the industry. Some have left. But what I find most interesting is how so many people have transitioned from one role to another over the years.”

Steve Winyard
Director and Vice President, ICM Registry

“People work for money, but going the extra mile brings recognition, praise and rewards. Change is inevitable. Someone would have brought .xxx to the Internet at some time, and I’m glad it was us. Taking on challenging environments, bringing a duty of care and responsibility to what we do, nurturing growth and opportunity as well as happily picking up the odd bar tab are reward enough. Community evolves and builds trust and friendships. This allows people to work alone knowing they have a team of support around them that doesn’t need to be published. Growth and opportunity come from confidence and risk. And being a part of that and needing that is the biggest benefit of all.”

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