Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of the industry's most influential female executives.
For the month of November, the WIA Woman of the Month is Elli Rudolph, the longtime executive who joined Streamray, now a FriendFinder Networks unit, about a decade ago.
FriendFinder has spoiled me as it’s been the home of many amazing people. I have been inspired by the founders, Lars Mapstead and Andrew Conru. They both built something special from the ground up.
Today, Rudolph leads FriendFinder’s event planning and travel logistics — an undertaking of mammoth proportions. FriendFinder, she said, attended 26 shows and exhibited at or sponsored 15 of those in 2015.
XBIZ: What’s your role at Friend-Finder Networks?
Rudolph: My role at Friend-Finder has evolved over time. In 2005 I was hired as a customer service and sales representative for Streamray. I also recruited models for our system and attended a good number of conventions a year. When Streamray/Cams.com merged with FriendFinder, I started assisting with the dating products as well. In 2010 I began to work on event planning and travel logistics, and that is now my main task. In 2015 we attended 26 shows and exhibited at or sponsored 15 of those. My favorite project is the annual Affiliate Gathering. It takes months of negotiations and planning, but seeing the excitement on our top 25 affiliate’s faces when they arrive at our mystery destination and see the special events we’ve lined up for them makes all the work completely worthwhile. For special promotions and events I also craft the forum announcements. My official title is FFN Event Manager, but as we know, the title is not a definitive list.
XBIZ: What were you doing before FriendFinder?
Rudolph: I’ve run my own amateur solo site since 1998. It used to be my “day job” but now FFN takes up most of my working hours. Before Sean Christian hired me I was doing small projects for Shemp, who ran a large TGP at the time. He now runs OutlawTGP. I was also working on a Computer Info Systems diploma. We are talking about 10 years ago, so life was a bit different back then.
XBIZ: What’s the best part of the job?
Rudolph: I live for the challenge. The Affiliate Gathering really lets me get creative with activity ideas and locations. Sitting down with my spreadsheets to figure out who is arriving on what flight at what time and attending what dinner sitting beside whom ... it would make most people’s eyes glaze over but I love it! Oh, and the menus! Sitting down with a talented executive chef to choose items for our dinner menus is a very special life experience that never goes stale.
XBIZ: What’s new at FriendFinder?
Rudolph: FriendFinder has been seriously working at adding value to its Cams.com live webcam product. Tipping is now fully integrated and we have a new “buzzmode” that the models are just loving! If the model has a compatible toy, she can enable “buzzmode” and the toy will vibrate with every tip from an audience member. It’s very interactive and the members enjoy having that kind of control over the show and the model’s reactions. There is also a “curtain” mode that the model can now set, which enables her to set various levels of tipping price to go to a one-to-many nude chat. She can set an “early bird” price that allows people who get into her show on schedule to pay a lower tipping price, whereas people who appear later will see a curtain graphic until they tip the required amount to view her already-commenced nude show. This is designed to encourage viewers to come early and stay for the whole show. Happy models make for happy customers (and vice versa). Take advantage of our more complete cam ecosystem by sending some traffic and see for yourself. You can get started over at Cash.FFN.com. There are other developments in the works, but I can’t talk about those yet!
XBIZ: Who inspires you in this industry?
Rudolph: FriendFinder has spoiled me as it’s been the home of many amazing people. I have been inspired by the founders, Lars Mapstead and Andrew Conru. They both built something special from the ground up. Lars is so humble and genuine, always being generous with his time and resources. Andrew is incredibly talented and driven. His work ethic is inspiring. Sean Christian was my boss for many years, and I learned so much about people from him. Nancy Roberts (2015’s XBIZ Businesswoman of the Year) has so much energy! She is a fantastic manager, getting the absolute best out of her team. Outside of our own little family I’ve been inspired by other people who have built up their own businesses with a mix of integrity and business acumen. Names like Rob Smith (Shemp), Shap (Twistys), and Colin Rowntree (Wasteland) come to mind, although there are many others I have admired over the years.
XBIZ: What’s a typical work day like?
Rudolph: First: coffee! Seriously, don’t skip the coffee. I usually chat with Courtney Rudolph (see September’s WIA Feature for more on her!) on Skype for a while. We talk about the upcoming shows — discuss who is attending, what our booth should look like, how much time our graphics people have to help us out, etc. For my lunch break I go out for a jog, walk my dog, or run errands. I work at home, so getting out of the house regularly is important. It’s far too easy for me to sit at my desk all day and on my couch all night and then wonder why I have no social life! In the afternoon my spreadsheets whisper my name, so I usually go over budgets and nit-picky items that I didn’t complete in the morning. If I have extra time and there are no big shows in the near future, I’ll work on some promotion for my own site. Around 6:30 p.m. I put the keyboard away and start cooking dinner for my husband and myself. I love to cook so this is something I usually look forward to. This is a pretty typical day for me.
XBIZ: When not thinking about the biz, what do you like to do?
Rudolph: Creativity is important to me — if you don’t use it, you lose it! So most evenings you can find me working on a little project while Netflix is on in the background. I just finished a painting project and next on my agenda is crocheting a teddy bear for my friend’s newborn. Dinner parties are fun, too! We have about one a season. Next month I’m planning one with 14 guests and about six dishes. In the summer I get away on camping trips as often as I can. On quiet afternoons or evenings you can find me in my kayak, chasing ducks through the river channels. On cheap wing nights my husband and I like to go down to the local pub with friends. It doesn’t take a lot to keep me entertained, in other words. As long as I have something to putter around with, I’ll most likely be happy.