Merriam-Webster defines a crush as “a brief but intense infatuation for someone.” If you know me, then you know that I am prone to be crushed out on someone at any time. My life is one continuous loop of the Jets’ uptempo 80s jam, Goapele’s ballad, and Junior Mafia’s lyrical treatise. I like crushes, especially business/entrepreneurship and theorist crushes. Unlike most crushes that involve wanting someone inappropriate or unattainable, my business and academic crushes are in line with adoration and admiration. I aspire to be like this person in some way.
Nevertheless, I found a new business crush: Cindy Gallop, the founder of Make Love Not Porn and If We Ran the World. This infatuation is not new. I’ve been a fan of her work ethic, spirit, and frankly-my-dear-I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude. She is a pioneer in the sex tech field and is a business consultant. As a former advertising executive, she is a constant voice on the sexism in the ad industry. She calls people out and fillets the industry about its issues. In 2015, she spoke at a CreativeMorning event, which is stacked with gems, some of which I was able to write down (hard to do when you are on the high school track trying to avoid Little League foul balls and junior track stars):
- I like to blow shit up. I’m the Michael Bay of business. (This is her Twitter bio. This should be on a T-shirt. I would buy it in a size XL.)
- In her talk about her adventures in starting makelovenotporn.tv, she faced multiple hurdles. Finding a VC backer, bank, credit card processor, and even an email marketing processor that allows “adult businesses” to use their services has proved and still proves to be a challenge. She chalks some of this resistance up to the “fear of what other people think” and pins that as the most paralyzing fear in life and business.
- “Collaborative competition” is a term she coined in her presentation. This exists when every company is competing by doing the same thing; business is driven by playing it safe and comfortable and prioritizing the need to make money over being authentic, real, disruptive, and/or innovative.
- Disruption of traditional business models should be your business’ social mission. As an entrepreneur, you should challenge the norms of “appropriate business.”
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a business is a good guy with a better business.”
- “Women challenge the status quo because we are never it.”
Cindy Gallop is bad-ass, and I consider her my parasocial business mentor. Anyone starting a new venture outside of sex tech should listen to her for the laughs, the brilliance, and the truth.