I Make Things Change with Cindy Gallop
Today’s interview might not be safe for work—but Cindy Gallop thinks it should be. She joins us to talk about why we all need to be a lot better at talking about sex, what it’s like to found and scale a sex tech company, and why working for yourself is the best thing you can do.
Cindy is the founder and CEO of Make Love Not Porn, a social sex site that wants to “make it easier to talk about sex for everyone in the world,” and a former advertising executive who’s spent years demanding diversity in companies and on stages. We talk with her about building her business despite an industry that’s way too anxious about funding sex tech, why she doesn’t rely on rational arguments about diversity anymore, and how she intends to build the “sex tech full stack” and bring about world peace. Yes, world peace.
Fear of what other people will think is the single most paralyzing dynamic in business and in life. You will never own the future if you care what other people think. And so I began doing what I tell other entrepreneurs to do, which is when you have a truly world-changing startup, you have to change the world to fit it, not the other way around… If reality tells me that I cannot grow Make Love Not Porn the way I want to, then I am going to change reality.
—Cindy Gallop, founder and CEO, Make Love Not Porn
We talk about:
- Launching Make Love Not Porn in 2009 with her infamous TED talk
- The challenges of funding and scaling Make Love Not Porn
- Creating and raising money for All The Sky Holdings to fund sex tech companies and the infrastructure they need to operate
- How to change the “closed loop of white guys talking to white guys about other white guys” that’s at the top of every company
- Why we should talk about our sexual values as much as we talk about values like manners, work ethic, and accountability
Also in this episode
- Cleaning out the undie drawer, buying nice lingerie, and what it’s like to have our very personal lives and our professional lives meet
- The endless bra ads on Instagram (and how many of them make you feel like you have a problem body
- Saying one more fuck yeah to Christine Blasey Ford, and the incredible effort she and so many survivors of sexual violence have made to share their stories—or just keep surviving—during the past few weeks
Harvest, makers of awesome software to help you track your time, manage your projects, and get paid. Try it free, then use code NOYOUGO to get 50% off your first paid month.
Sara Wachter-Boettcher Do you ever need to track your time? Then you should check out Harvest, a great tool I’ve been using for years to help me manage projects, budgets, and invoices. They have all kinds of features I hadn’t even heard of, like the ability to start a timer on your desktop with the Mac app and then stop it on your way home from the iPhone app. It’s super easy, it has options designed for both indie freelancers and big teams, and best of all, No, You Go listeners can save 50% off their first month. So try it for free at getharvest.com, and then use code “noyougo” to get that sweet 50% discount. That’s getharvest.com, code “noyougo.” [intro music plays for 12 seconds]
SWB Hey everyone, I’m Sara!
Katel LeDûAnd I’m Katel.
SWB And you’re listening to No, You Go—the show about building satisfying careers and businesses—
KL —getting free of toxic bullshit—
SWB —and living your best feminist life at work.
KL [singing] Let’s talk about sex, baby.
SWB Go ooooon. [KL laughs]
KL All right. Well, I will not continue singing, but today’s show really is about sex. Sex tech! We got to talk with Cindy Gallop, who is the founder and CEO of an organization called Make Love Not Porn. And she’s an outspoken advocate for equality in advertising in tech.
SWB Cindy’s interview is so fucking great, I think you’re going to be super interested in what she’s doing with Make Love Not Porn, and you should prepare yourselves because she’s also just extremely outspoken about not just equality, but basically everything. But before we get to Cindy: Katel, how’s your week going?
KL It’s good, you know, last weekend I was actually going through some clothes. I was changing out some summer stuff for some more cozy fall stuff and getting that into rotation, and I don’t really know if I can even talk about this on the show, or if I should, but I was going through my underwear drawer throwing out some older stuff and kind of wishing I had some nicer lingerie?
SWB Ugh, we’ve all been there, huh? Yeah—you know—I think you should definitely do that. And I also totally get it though. It feels a little personal to talk about the undies on the show. I don’t know, we get personal a lot on this show, but there’s something about drawing attention to undergarments that feels a little bit like—I don’t know—like is somebody going to take that as an invitation to sexualize you or talk about your body? And it’s like, no, I just want to talk about my underwear drawer for a second.
KL Yeah, exactly, like we—there’s just so much weirdness around that, and I think it’s something that I definitely, and women in general, just normally edit. And I feel that even more so putting myself into very visible spaces like a weekly podcast. And it just made me think a lot about how women feel so much pressure to manage and curate all these different aspects about ourselves to kind of edit what we share and what we make visible or not.
SWB Yeah, I’ve been feeling a bit of that too, and I guess in some ways I’ve been trying to figure out, how do I do less of it? How do I let myself be more of myself in more places? And that’s not to say that I want to bring up my lingerie in a business meeting—because I don’t, thank you—but I am trying to be okay with the idea that we can open up about kind of whatever we want on the show, which is sort of this one aspect of us that’s very, very public, and that means that sometimes people who are listening to the show might also be the person who sees me at a conference or is across the room from me in a business meeting, and they might actually know something about my bra or my period or whatever. And that’s fine, I still deserve to be in that room and have that professional conversation too.
KL Yeah absolutely, and be respected, and have all of that.
SWB Well anyway, the crucial question here is… what are you going to be shopping for when you go out to buy those new undies?
KL Well, I was actually thinking about that, and I don’t even know if I know really where to start, but I sure do get a lot of underwear ads on Instagram.
SWB Oh my god, yes—so many underwear ads. It seems like—is there like—is every other person in the world starting a new underwear company right now? [KL laughs]
KL I mean it feels like it!
SWB So, the thing is—okay, I have very mixed feelings about this. Like on the one hand, I’m really into the fact that there are a lot more options that are starting to be out there for women’s clothing, including a lot more sizes—so a lot wider range of sizes for people—a lot more different kinds of options, a lot of stuff where there’s more emphasis on sort of like where things are being made or how they’re being made or whether it’s eco friendly. And all of that is great. I love that there is a goal also to have more comfortable bras. I think that that’s been a big push the last couple of years. Buuuut! Even if they’re doing body positive advertising, even if they’re showing people with a range of different skin tones, and people in a range of different ages—which is all great and I see more of that happening—it’s also just like… a lot. Like a lot of my experience with the internet is just messages about stuff I should buy to fix my “problem body.” [KL laughs] That’s—[laughing] that’s a term that this woman—actually she’s based here in Philly—Lauren Hallden started talking about: that she was feeling so inundated in her feed with messages about her body being wrong and needing to be fixed in some way—and of course, fixed with products—that she created this whole site about fixing your problem body as kind of a joke. And I think about that a lot—right? So much of this advertising is really geared at fixing what is a problem with you.
KL Yeah, exactly. And that that whole idea of, you know, of a body being problematic is such a construct anyway. I mean—I don’t know—I started following @yrfatfriend on Instagram, she just joined I think a week or two ago, and it’s amazing—please go follow her. And she put a post up the other day—it was a post about an ad for a weird shaper kind of thing, and there was just a line in one—in the comment that she made that was—that has just stuck with me, and it said, “corporations will not save us.”
SWB Yeah, I mean she was talking about the way that this shaper was designed to make you look smaller and that they were using that as sort of being a message about body positivity, because they were showing larger women in the ad. But a product that makes larger women look smaller was from her perspective not the solution, right? Like, that’s not the dream we’re going for here. And—you know—I think a lot about that though, right? Like this idea that corporations will not save us. I was thinking about that when we were talking to Cindy. You know, she comes from an advertising background, and I think you’ll hear in the interview, she has kind of a little bit more of a pro-market take than some of us might have. She’s pretty clear about it. She wants to make a fuck-ton of money from what she sees as being ethical, pro woman sex tech. And I’m like “okay, fuck yeah! Show me real bodies, pay sex workers, promote women, get rich, sounds great.” But on the other hand, I do think it’s important to remember that, right? Corporations will not save us, even if they’re not only being run by white guys.
KL Yeah, I loved Cindy’s perspective and I want you all to hear her, she’s really inspiring. But I also want us to keep questioning what we’re building and buying. [music]
Interview: Cindy Gallop
SWB Cindy Gallop is a force. She’s the founder and CEO of Make Love, Not Porn, a social sex site—something we definitely want to ask her more about—and she’s an outspoken advocate for equality in fields like advertising and tech. In fact, she actually first came to my attention a few years ago when I saw her online lambasting events that had all male lineups. So, we’ve invited her here today to talk about how she built her business, how she built her personal brand, why sex tech really matters right now, and what it’s like to get on stage and say exactly what she thinks. So, Cindy, welcome to No, You Go.
Cindy Gallop Thank you, thrilled to be here.
SWB First up, can you tell us more about Make Love Not Porn? What is it?
CG Sure! So, I guess in the first instance, I should say Make Love Not Porn is a complete and total accident, because I never consciously, intentionally set out to do what I am now doing. I date younger men who tend to be men in their twenties, and about ten or eleven years ago, I began realizing through my direct personal experience dating younger men that I was encountering what happens when two things converge. And I stress the dual convergence because most people think it’s only one. I realized that I was experiencing what happens when today’s total freedom of access to porn online meets our society’s equally total reluctance to talk openly and honestly about sex. When those two dynamics converge, porn becomes by default sex education, in not a good way. So, I found myself encountering a number of sexual behavioral means in bed—I went “woah! I know where that’s coming from.” I thought, “gosh, if I’m experiencing this, other people must be as well.” I didn’t know that at the time because ten or eleven years ago, no one was talking about this, no one was writing about it, and being a naturally action-oriented person, I decided I wanted to do something about it. So, nine years ago, I put up—with no money—this tiny, clunky website at makelovenotporn.com, which was myth versus reality—porn world versus real world. I launched at Ted in 2009 and became the only Ted speaker to say the words “come on my face” on the Ted stage six times in succession. The talk went viral instantly as a result and it drove this extraordinary global response to my tiny website that I had never anticipated. And I realized, I’d uncovered a huge global social issue. So, I felt a responsibility to take Make Love Not Porn forwards in a way that would make it much more far reaching, helpful and effective. And I also saw an opportunity to do something I believe in very strongly, which is that the future of business is doing good and making money simultaneously. So, I saw an opportunity to create a big business solution to this huge, untapped, global social need. And I use the word “big” advisedly because even then back in 2009 at concept stage, I knew that if I wanted to counter the global impact of porn as default sex ed, I was going to have to come up with something that at least had the potential one day to be just as mass, just as mainstream, and just as all-pervasive in society as porn currently is. So, I was thinking big right from the get-go. So, what I decided to do was—I always emphasize that Make Love Not Porn is not anti-porn because the issue isn’t porn. The issue is that we don’t talk about sex in the real world. If we did—amongst a whole host of other benefits—people would then bring a real-world mindset to the viewing of what is simply manufactured entertainment.
Our tagline at Make Love Not Porn is “pro sex, pro porn, pro knowing the difference.” And our mission is one thing only, which is to help make it easier for everybody in the world to talk openly and honestly about sex. Talk about sex in the public domain, and by that I mean, parents to children, teachers to schools, everyone to everyone. And even more importantly, talk about sex openly and honestly privately in your intimate relationships. And so, given this mission of “talk about it,” I decided to take every dynamic in social media and apply them to this one area that no other social network or platform will ever do in order to socialize sex and to make real-world sex, and talking about it, socially acceptable, and therefore ultimately just as socially shareable as anything else we share on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram. So, five and a half years ago, my team and I launched makelovenotporn.tv, which is an entirely user-generated, crowd-sourced video sharing platform that celebrates real-world sex. So, anyone from anywhere in the world can submit to us videos of themselves having real-world sex, but we are very clear what we mean by this. We are not porn. We are not amateur. We’re building a whole new category on the internet that has never previously existed—social sex. So, our competition isn’t porn, it’s Facebook and YouTube. Or rather, it would be if Facebook and YouTube allowed you to socially, sexually self express and self identify, which they don’t. So, social sex videos on Make Love, Not Porn are not about performing for the camera, they’re just about doing what you do on every other social platform—capturing what goes on in the real world—as it happens spontaneously—in all its funny, messy, glorious, silly, beautiful, ridiculous, comical, awkward humorous. We curate to make sure of that. We—our curators watch every single video from beginning to end. We do not publish them unless they’re real and we have a revenue-sharing business model. So, part of the sharing economy like Uber and Airbnb—you pay to rent and stream social sex videos and then half that income goes to our contributors, or as we call them, our Make Love Not Porn Stars. Because we would like our Make Love Not Porn Stars one day to be as famous as YouTube stars. For the same reasons—authenticity, realness, individuality—and we want them to make just as much money. We want to hit the kind of critical mass where one day your social sex video gets a million rentals at five dollars per rental and we give you half that income. We are the answer to the global economy.
SWB So, just one small little website then, huh?
CG Exactly. [CG laughs and SWB joins in]
SWB One of the things I really wanted to ask about is how the business side is working. So, I read that earlier this year, the site was at around a half a million members and real revenue was coming in, but that mostly it had been built on a shoestring budget. I’d love to hear more about how that process has gone, both operating on a shoestring and then what it’s like out there seeking investment for a social sex enterprise.
CG I readily say to my team that the biggest thing we have to celebrate at Make Love Not Porn is the fact we’re still here, because the tech and business world has been trying to shut us down every single day we’ve existed. I did not realize when I embarked on this venture that we would fight an enormous battle every day to build it, because every piece of business infrastructure any other tech startup just takes for granted, we can’t, because the small print always says no adult content. Our biggest operational challenge is payment processing. PayPal refuses to work with adult content. Stripe—the gold standard for taking credit cards online—can’t. Mainstream credit card processors won’t. Every, single tech service I want to use, be it hosting, encoding, encrypting, the terms of service always say no adult content. I have to go to people at the top of the company, explain what I’m doing, beg to be allowed to use their service. We had to build our entire video-streaming, video-sharing platform from scratch ourselves as proprietary technology because existing streaming services will not stream adult content. Even something as apparently simple as finding an email partner to send the membership emails out with—MailChimp wouldn’t work with us. We were rejected by six or seven before we found SendGrid who would. So, I have found it extraordinarily difficult to raise funding for Make Love Not Porn. I pitched the concept for makelovenotporn.tv for two years before I found one angel investor who got it—put up the seed funding we needed to at least build the platform. I’ve been battling to raise funding for the past four years to scale Make Love Not Porn. Our biggest obstacle to finding investors is the social dynamic that I call “fear of what other people will think.” And by the way, “fear of what other people will think” is the single most paralyzing dynamic in business and in life. You will never own the future if you care what other people think. And so I began doing what I tell other entrepreneurs to do, which is when you have a truly world-changing startup, you have to change the world to fit it, not the other way around.
So, I like to say that I got into the Steve Jobs business of reality distortion. Because if reality tells me that I cannot grow Make Love Not Porn the way I want to, then I am going to change reality. And what I mean by that is four years ago, therefore, I deliberately began defining, pioneering and championing my own category—sex tech. And I did this purely to legitimize it and to create a climate of recent activity amongst investors to get my own startup funded. So, I literally wrote the definition of sex tech. And sex tech is any form of technology or tech venture designed to innovate, disrupt, and enhance in any area of human sexuality and human sexual experience. And I began speaking at tech conferences all around the world on why the next big thing in tech is disrupting sex. Because I thought at base level if I just say this loudly enough, often enough, and in enough places, people will start to believe it. And that had two further accidental consequences. The first was that—you know—I was doing this purely to find investors for Make Love Not Porn, but the more I demarcated and defined this category, the more I saw for myself the enormous potential within it, not least financially. Secondly, I gained a reputation as a global champion of sex tech and so sex tech founders from all around the world began writing to me. And they wrote because they have all the same problems I do. They can’t get funded, they can’t put payments in place, they poured their hearts out. And I realized that I have unique access to extraordinary sex tech deal flow. So, that was the point at which I went “okay, if I can’t get my own startup funded, I’m going to have to get the entire category funded.” And so, because I couldn’t raise two million dollars to scale Make Love Not Porn, seemingly counterintuitively, I decided to raise 200 million dollars to start the world’s first and only sex tech fund. Because if nobody else is going to do this, then I will. The name of my sex tech fund derives from a quote by Chairman Mao, who famously said many years ago in the interests of gender equality, “women hold up half the sky.” I think that’s relatively unambitious, so my sex tech fund is called “All the Sky Holdings.” And the derivation is deliberate because if I can raise 200 million dollars, I plan to invest in two areas—the first is radically innovative sex tech ventures with a focus—not exclusively, but primarily—on those that are founded by women. The most interesting things in sex tech today are coming from female founders. We are finally owning our sexuality, finding unique ways to leverage in business terms, because we get the enormous market that is women’s needs, wants, and desires, historically deemed too embarrassing, shameful, taboo to address in business. And by the way, tap that huge primary market, you tap a huge secondary market of extremely happy men. And then the second area I want to invest in is, every business obstacle I encounter is a huge disruptive business opportunity in itself. I want to fund the infrastructure of sex tech—what I’m calling the sex tech full stack. Because the first payment processor that embraces legal, ethical, transparent sex tech ventures like mine cleans up. The first hosting provider, the first e-commerce channel, the first streaming provider. I want to fund the ecosystem of sex tech to do three things. Firstly, to create a self-sustaining portfolio for All the Sky, because any ventures I fund will need all of this. Secondly, to be a huge revenue generator, because every sex tech venture all around the world and the entire adult industry needs this. And thirdly—and I use a Peter Thiel term here deliberately—to monopolistically build out and own the entire underlying ecosystem to make sex tech the next trillion dollar category in tech. So, that’s how I want to help overcome the obstacles I and every other sex tech founder encounter.
KL I mean, this is a movement—this really feels huge. Those companies who aren’t working with you now or who haven’t—do you foresee them changing their minds? Are—are you seeing anybody kind of realize that this is such a huge market?
CG Change comes when you and I and everybody else makes that change happen. I don’t wait for things to change, I make them change. And so you bet they’re going to change, because I’m going to make those companies change their minds, and I’m going to make them be positively gagging to partner with me one day. I don’t know how long it will take, but I’m going to do that.
KL That’s fucking awesome and [laughs] that’s the best answer [laughs] you could have given. Can we talk a little bit about advertising and a little bit more about your career there? You were an executive of a major ad agency—it was called BBH?
CG That’s right, yeah.
KL You were launching and leading their New York office, serving as a C-Level role with a global organization. What led you there?
CG I began working for BBH back in 1989 in London. And while I was there—and this would have been I guess in the early 90s—I pinned Nigel Bogle, who is one of the Bs in BBH—up against the wall and said, as you do when you’re a young, thrusting, ambitious account director, “where am I going in this agency?” And Nigel did the great management tactic of turning the question back on me. And so he said, “you tell us what you want to do, Cindy, and we’ll make it happen.” And he said, “don’t be bounded by the realms of the possible. If you would like a job that does not yet exist, tell us what it is.” So, I thought, gosh—you know—can’t say fairer than that. So, I went off and I thought about it and I came back to him and said, “okay, my dream job is running—one day—BBH North America.” Bear in mind we only had one office in London at the time. And I said, “and to be my total dream job, I’d be doing that in New York.” And so he said, “okay, we have actually started talking about the US and your request is logged.” Actually, BBH ended up opening an office in Asia Pacific first, so I went out to BBH in Singapore as the number two. But in 1998, I got my dream job and I came over here to start up BBH New York twenty years ago.
SWB I read that you left BBH in 2005 and you felt like that was your moment when you could speak your own ideas and not always be speaking on behalf of the company. And I’m really curious how that all came to be. So, when you decided to leave, was it really because you wanted to be able to speak in your own voice or was that sort of a happy byproduct of it?
CG No, not at all. It wasn’t as planned as that. My entire life and career has been a series of accidents. Nothing’s been conscious and intentional. So, back in 2005, I turned 45 and I had my very own personal midlife crisis, in the sense that I’d always thought of 45 as kind of a midlife point. Obviously, by the way, in the happy assumption one lives to be 90. Fingers crossed. [KL & SWB laugh] But in the couple years running up to it, I’d felt that on one’s 45th birthday was the moment when you should pause, take stock, reflect, and review: where have I been, where am I going? So, February 1, 2005—my 45th birthday—I deleted that. And that was the point at which I went, “oh my god, I have just worked sixteen years for the same advertising agency.” Wonderful agency, love them to death, I honestly cannot rave about BBH enough, but I went “woah, maybe it’s time to do something different.” And then the issue was I hadn’t the faintest idea what. So, vast amounts of thought and angsting ensued, and eventually I went, “maybe the best thing to do is to put myself on the market, very publicly and go “okay guys, here I am, what have you got?” and see what comes to me. So, I took a massive leap into the unknown, I resigned as chairman of BBH New York in the summer of 2005 without a job to go to, and it was absolutely the best thing I could have done with my life. It gave me the opportunity to start working for myself and that is what I recommend to everybody.
SWB Yeah, I mean I agree. I’ve been working for myself since 2011, and I think I’ve—as my friend Karen says—I think I’ve gone feral. Like, I don’t think I can come back. [they all laugh] You know, sometimes people will laugh about, “oh I couldn’t go back to working in an office every day, I couldn’t get dressed up every day” and for me, I mean maybe that’s a nice piece of it, but the real thing is that I couldn’t go to a place where other people told me how to spend my time or where I felt like I had all these other external pressures. I love having that feeling of being so self-directed. And it sounds like that’s massively important to you as well.
CG I mean, people make the mistake of thinking that a job is the safe option. A job is the least safe option you could possibly have. Because in a job, you are at the complete mercy of management changes, industry downturns, marketplace dynamics. I always say to people, whose hands would you rather place your future in? Those of a large corporate entity who at the end of the day doesn’t give a shit about you, or someone who will always have your best interests at heart, i.e. you?
SWB I love that so much, that’s so reassuring. So, okay, part and parcel with sort of you going to work independently and sort of building your own kind of personal profile, personal brand—the “I like to blow shit up” brand—you also started talking a lot about equality in advertising and sort of related industries and diversity of who is making decisions and whose voices we are listening to in those fields and I’d love to ask a little bit about that. So, what is it that you are most hoping people realize about diversity at work and having diverse voices in the room?
CG Stop talking, start doing. You know, I don’t need to spell out the benefits of diversity, because everyone else is doing that and has been doing that for a very long time, myself included. The single thing I want people to realize is the quickest way to—you know—get to diversity is stop talking about diversity, just bloody be diverse.
SWB Why do you think that’s so hard for companies to actually do?
CG Fundamentally, and I’ve been explaining this for literally the past decade, but the reason that change is not happening in this area is because at the top of every industry and every company is a closed loop of white guys talking to white guys about other white guys. Those white guys are sitting very pretty. They’ve got their huge salaries, their enormous bonuses, their gigantic pools of stock options, their lavish expense accounts. Why on earth would they ever want to rock the boat? Oh, oh, oh they have to talk diversity! They have to appoint a chief diversity officer, they have to put in place diversity initiatives, they have to say the word diversity a lot, but secretly deep down inside, they don’t want to change a thing because the system is working just fine for them as it currently is. It’s like the old joke about a lightbulb. How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one, but the lightbulb has to really want to change. And in this case, the lightbulb does not really want to change.
SWB Yes. I mean—you know—I talk about this a lot in conversations with tech companies specifically where if this is actually a priority for you—well when something is important, what do you do? You decide to do it, you put resources to it. You put people, time, etcetera to it, and you do it and then you see if it worked—you measure the results. And if you’re not doing any of that, then what you’re telling me is this is not actually important to you.
CG The way to change this is not through rational argument. There are many, many rational arguments out there citing the business benefits of diversity. If rational facts and numbers worked, we would not be looking at the picture we are today. The change has to be emotional. At BBH, our creative strategy was “we don’t sell, we make people want to buy.” I don’t sell diversity, I make people want to buy it.
SWB So, how do you do that?
CG The way I would do it, the company and its culture wouldn’t even realize it was changing until it had changed. The problem with the rational approach is and—and by the way, there are many, many research studies attesting to the points I am about to make. First of all, when as a company you say you are all about diversity, you have a chief diversity officer, you have diversity initiatives, you talk diversity a lot, you alienate the current regrettable business and societal norm, which is white men. So, white men feel alienated and angry and all the more resentful and therefore the less inclined to change anything when a company says it’s all about diversity because they feel threatened. Also, it is fundamental human nature to believe that when we are doing something virtuous in one area, we are free to continue exercising a vice in another. The very mundane human example is “I’m having a Diet Coke, therefore I can eat this bag of chips.” In the same way, when a company talks about diversity a lot, it’s very easy for people inside the company to go “oh yeah, we’re doing diversity over there, so I can carry on behaving the way I always have done,” including biased recruitment and promotion and behavior. So, you have to be extremely clever and sneaky and subversive—and I use those terms in a positive sense—if you want to affect true cultural change. And by the way—again this is what my industry is all about and what I have spent, you know, 33 years doing—working in a business that is all about getting people to do things they originally had no intention of doing.
SWB Yeah, I think that the—what I think is really interesting about this—we’ve talked to some folks on the show before who do things like diversity consulting, and some of them are doing a lot of this—looking at hiring practices and evaluating bias in those, but I think that what really rings true here and that I’ve seen over and over again is that there is that sense of “oh, we’ve outsourced the problem to the person who is responsible for the problem, as opposed to internalizing and saying, oh no, no, no, the problem is us, right? At every single level and at every single place, we are creating and recreating problems that lead to a lack of diversity or a lack of inclusion in our company. And so it’s like outsourcing the problem to a diversity officer is never going to change that in the myriad of ways that that happens on a day to day basis. So, we are getting close to being out of time and one thing I really wanted to ask you about is just how much you have invented and reinvented yourself over the years. It kind of seems like you are constantly reinventing yourself. And so I’m curious where you see yourself going next and what’s really exciting to you right now?
CG Well, I mean, there’s only one place I see myself going next, and that’s building Make Love Not Porn into a billion-dollar venture. And everything I do is fully focused on achieving that. And the reason for that is when I say that Make Love Not Porn’s single-minded mission is to make it easier to talk about sex for everyone in the world, because we don’t do that currently, people have trouble understanding how massively profoundly fundamentally beneficial that would be. Everything in life and business starts with you and your values. So, I regularly ask people the question, “what are your sexual values?” And nobody can ever answer me because we’re not taught to think that way. Many of us—if we’re lucky—are born into families where our parents bring us up to have good manners, a work ethic, a sense of responsibility, accountability. Nobody ever brings us up to behave well in bed, but they should. Because there—empathy, sensitivity, generosity, kindness, honesty are as important as they are in every other area of our lives where we are actively taught to exercise those values. So, when Make Love Not Porn achieves its social mission at scale, here’s what will happen. Parents will bring their children up openly to have good sexual values and good sexual behavior in the same way they currently bring them up to have good values and good behavior in every other area of life. We will therefore cease to bring up rapists. Because the only way you end rape culture is by inculcating in society a universally openly talked about, discussed, promoted, understood, operated and—very importantly—aspired to gold standard of what are good sexual values and good sexual behavior. When you do that, you also end #metoo. You end sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual violence—all areas where the perpetrators currently rely on the fact that we do not talk about sex to ensure their victims will never speak up, never go to authorities, never tell anybody. When we end that, we massively empower women and girls worldwide. When we do that, we create a far happier world for everybody, including men. And when we do that, we are one step closer to world peace. I talk about Make Love Not Porn as my attempt to bring about world peace, and I am not joking. [KL & SWB laugh quietly]
KL I think we love that and we’re so—so grateful you exist and that [laughs] you’ve been here—
CG Oh, thank you.
KL —talking to us. And we’re—we’re so glad that we get to share this with folks, so thank you so much for being here. If our listeners want to learn more about behaving well in bed and everything else you talked about, what should they do?
CG Well, I would absolutely love your listeners to go to makelovenotporn.tv to sign up and subscribe to our site, and by the way to consider becoming one of our Make Love Not Porn Stars. Our Make Love Not Porn Stars tell us that socially sharing their real-world sex on our platform has been as transformative for them and their relationships as socially sharing everything else has been for the world at large. You can follow me on Twitter @cindygallop. You can follow Make Love, Not Porn on Twitter @makelovenotporn. You can like our Make Love Not Porn Facebook page. You can find me on Facebook. And you can follow me on LinkedIn—Cindy Gallop.
SWB Well, Cindy, I know I will be checking out Make Love Not Porn a lot more deeply after this. So, thank you so much for being here.
KL Yeah, thanks.
CG It was an absolute pleasure. [music fades in, plays for five seconds, and fades out]
Career chat with Shopify
KL Hey Sara, wanna talk about a really cool job for a minute?
SWB Uh, yes—always.
KL Great, so do our friends at Shopify. They’re hiring for a director of product management in Montreal.
SWB Ooooh I love Montreal! You know, I haven’t been there in a bunch of years, and when I was there, I was only there in the middle of winter—which is not the best time for Montreal—and yet I still loved it. It was such a fun and cool city. I would love to spend more time there. So tell me more about this job?
KL OK well it’s leading product management for Ecommerce, which is Shopify’s largest sales channel. And the job is all about setting product strategy and leading a bunch of different teams, collaborating with engineering and UX directors, and then also working with customers to figure out what to build next and why.
SWB I love that this posting talks so much about collaboration and partnership, even though it’s a senior role, they’re not just focusing on what you’ll “own” or “lead.” Soooo If you like how that sounds, maybe you should apply—for this job, or for one of the dozens of other awesome positions at Shopify. Check out shopify.com/careers to see what’s new.
KL Ship it!
SWB Ugh, so I just feel like the past couple of weeks have been full of so many “oh fuck” moments that [laughing] I think we really need a “fuck yeah” right now.
KL Ugh, we really do and I think we are all just nodding in agreement—I hope—when we say we want to give a fuck yeah to Christine Blasey Ford. We are recording this during the FBI investigation, so who knows what will happen. But like so many of you, we watched the hearing last week and we were just so incredibly moved by her courage.
SWB Yes, absolutely. I mean—seriously who knows what will happen? Like ugh, this entire Supreme Court confirmation process has just been exhausting and insulting and horrible in so many different ways. But when I watched Dr. Ford testify, she was so powerful to me because she was up there being so vulnerable and so raw about some of the worst moments of her life. And she also was doing all of this work. You could see it in the way that she was speaking and the way that she had prepared and the calmness that she brought, that she was doing all of this work to be the “right” kind of victim, or the “right” kind of person to be up on the stand. And I hope you can hear the air quotes around “right” because she shouldn’t have had to be doing any of this, right? She had to really monitor her demeanor, make sure she was deferring appropriately to men, make sure she could make a pithy little joke about needing caffeine, right? It’s so easy for her to be positioned as somebody who is unreasonable or irrational or whatever. And the thing is, she shouldn’t have had to do any of that, right? She should not have had to do any of that to be taken seriously. She should be able to be angry and be taken seriously. And sure as shit Kavanaugh was able to be angry. But she did it anyway, right? She got up there and she did a huge amount of work to be perceived in the most credible light given the amount of importance that she placed on doing that and like… fuck yeah to that!
KL Yeah and another thing that’s coming out of this is it’s creating this huge wave, this—you know—this huge shift. The organization RAINN reported that Friday after the hearing was the busiest day in their 24-year history and from the hearing through the weekend after, they saw 338 percent increase in hotline traffic.
SWB That’s the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, if anybody’s not familiar with it. They’ve been around for—like you said—24 years.
KL [sighing] Yeah.
SWB And their hotline is one of the most common places people will call if they need help with sexual violence. But of course, RAINN is just one hotline. I used to work at a rape crisis center and we had our own hotline, it was a local one. And I am sure that they were busy and I am sure that every hotline around the country was busy.
KL Yeah, absolutely.
SWB You know Stacy-Marie Ishmael, who is an editor and a media critic and just like a Twitter fave of mine, for a long time whenever a new story about sexual harassment or abuse would come out, any kind of new #metoo story, she would tweet “floodgates.” [KL sighs] I think about that a lot, right? The floodgates keep opening wider and they’re still not open all the way. And I think about that because it just creates this image of like things that have been pent up for a long time pouring out. And that’s totally what we’re seeing, right? We are seeing so much that has been stuck in the shadows, hidden from sight forever. And—you know—it’s hard to keep hearing about it. It is a lot to constantly be bombarded with these stories. And I think we talked about this a little bit last episode—sometimes you need to turn it off and I can completely understand that and respect that. But I also think it really matters that this is coming out. So, a huge fuck yeah to Dr. Ford, but I also want to give a big fuck yeah to all of the other people who have stood up and started telling their stories about the trauma that they have endured. And—you know—they’ve had literally nothing to gain from it, right? They’ve been doing this because they thought it would help other people, because they thought people could learn from it, because they thought the world needed to know. And I think that that’s huge. I know people, I have friends who have come forward in their communities or in their companies over the past week or two to talk about things that have happened to them. And it’s been a major risk for them and they’ve decided to take that risk and I am so proud of them.
KL I know, I am too. And I think—you know—we’ll also agree that if you have a story and you aren’t able to share it or you don’t want to share it, you’re not ready, you don’t have to do that. You don’t have to tell anybody and you don’t owe anything to the world. However you are dealing with it, however you are—you know—getting through, fuck yeah to you for surviving and for—for being here.
SWB Fuck yeah to you, too, Katel.
SWB Yeah. Well on that note, that is it for this week’s episode of No, You Go. NYG is recorded in our home city of Philadelphia and it’s produced by Steph Colbourn. Our theme music is by The Diaphone. Thank you to Cindy Gallop for being our guest today.
KL If you loved today’s show as much as we did, don’t forget to subscribe and rate us on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows. Your support helps us do what we do and we love that.
SWB Okay, see you again next week! Bye, Katel!
KL Bye, Sara! [music fades in, plays for 32 seconds, and fades out]