Nathalie: Cindy, thank you so much for joining me in conversation. What do you think is going on in the global human psyche right now?
Cindy: I think everybody’s pretty depressed, quite frankly. Well, the rank and file generally. Obviously there are the elite one percent, where a global pandemic and, another very important dynamic, global Black Lives Matter protests, have far less impact than on the rest of us. But right now, I think a couple of things. A, people are absolutely struggling everywhere in the world with all sorts of pressures at every level of society.
But I’m a great believer that adversity brings opportunity, and so I think that there is a total reset happening, that’s shifting a lot of attitudes and mindsets that will actually be very beneficial for humanity as we go forwards.
Nathalie: Brilliant. So I don’t know what the sound is, but in the background it sounds like something-
Cindy: It’s a classic New York sound.
Nathalie: Is it?
Cindy: It’s the bane of all of the lives of everyone who lives in an apartment building, which obviously in New York is the majority of people. Because this happens, as any New Yorker can tell you, in every single New York apartment, in every single New York building.
Nathalie: So we’re transported to your apartment. That’s all good and well.
Cindy: Exactly. That’s the sound of New York in the background.
Nathalie: So with the pandemic and the various crises that are kind of connected in with it, do you think that the last 12 to 18 months have influenced what we prioritize, both as individuals and within business?
Cindy: Yes, absolutely. I mean, here’s a very interesting thing, because obviously this is something that we monitor very closely at my own startup, Make Love Not Porn. Pro-sex, pro-porn, pro knowing the difference. We are the world’s first and only user-generated human curated social sex video sharing platform. We are socializing and normalizing sex in the real world to make it easier for everyone to talk about, to promote consent, communication, good sexual values and good sexual behavior. We call ourselves the social sex revolution. The revolution part is not the sex, but the social. And I’m just summing that up so that our listeners know exactly what I’m referring to when I go on to my answer to your question.
Because from our perspective, and this absolutely applies generally and globally, the pandemic has proven that what we all thought for years is absolutely not the case. Because for years, everyone’s been going, “The future is digital. AR, VR. Boy, oh, boy.” Has the pandemic ever proven that what we are all desperate for on the other side of this is IRL human touch. Intimacy, connection, love.
And we now value so tremendously things we were utterly thoughtless about pre-pandemic. You know, the number of people on social media going, “I would kill for a hug.” That little careless gesture that 10 months ago nobody thought anything of that is now forbidden to us. And so in the sphere in which my business operates, human relationships, love and dating, sexuality, sexual connection, I believe that we have seen a profound shift in how important all of those things are to all of us and how much we value them.
And by the way, that applies, not just to people who are single like me. And by the way, I’m very happily single, but obviously in lockdown there are a ton of people who are not very happy single. But it also applies to people who are in lockdown together as a couple, as a family. All of this is making us think about human relationship dynamics in a very different way.
Nathalie: Indeed. And I think part of that what you’re talking about, that desire and longing for contact, for real intimacy, I think one of the things that also bled over into the business sphere, if we take it in that direction, is perhaps more of a sensitivity to people’s intimate lives, their private lives, and how that connects with work. Because obviously, with everyone working remotely, we have to acknowledge the fact that they have a richer life that exists beyond the confines of the office. Do you think that that’s changed the way in which we see our relationships with our work colleagues and business partners?
Cindy: I think it absolutely has. But I think that’s going to take a while to work its way into breaking down the corporate structure. Because there are a lot of businesses, unfortunately, who have not shifted their own perspectives and cultures and decisions and rule making to accommodate that. And you will know this, obviously, as well as I do, but who that really damages is women. Because obviously, and again, this is true globally, the pandemic has hit women hardest, in terms of forcing women out of the workforce, because childcare still massively unfairly in straight couples falls to the woman. And also, by the way, in same sex couples, sexism and bias on the employer front also have the same effect.
And so I think that the understanding that there needs to be a massive shift is very much present in the workforce, but not necessarily as present as it should be at the top of the company.
Nathalie: And actually to that point, you recently wrote the fascinating article in Harvard Business Review with our friend, Tomas, titled Seven Leadership Lessons Men Can Learn From Women. And of course, that feels, to me at least, particularly poignant in the light of the fallout that you’ve described and also the differences in success that world leaders have had in responding to the pandemic. There’s lot of articles being written about thoughts as to why some of the most successful approaches were led by women.
And in the piece that you write, you’ve written some fantastic examples where you suggest that, rather than advising female execs to act more like men to get ahead, that society would be better served by more male leaders trying to emulate women. What are some of the lessons that you feel that we could all learn from much more effective, perhaps, female leadership?
Cindy: Well, first of all, Nathalie, let me pick up on your first point. Because I’ve been interviewed a great deal about how female leaders have led nations through the pandemic much more successfully than male ones have. And I want to completely eradicate a very common misconception around that. Female leaders have been way better at male leaders at leading through the pandemic. Absolutely, incontrovertible fact. This is not because, and this is where most people’s minds go when they look at that fact, this is absolutely not because women are more empathetic. Women are more touchy-feely. Fuck that shit. It is not because of that, okay?
The reason women leaders have led through the pandemic far more effectively is because, if you are a woman in politics, by the time you get to the absolute top of the political structure in your nation, you have had to make it through so much sexism, bias, racism in a number of cases, sexual harassment. You have a backbone of fucking steel, and you are so fucking good at what you do because of all the barriers you’ve had to overcome that men don’t. And the women who’ve made it to the top are the few who had the tenacity and the determination and, quite often, the sheer luck of not running into absolutely irremovable barriers. Many, many more women fell by the wayside on that appallingly challenging path. By the time you are a woman leading a nation, you are absolutely fucking brilliant at everything somebody leading a nation needs to be in a completely gender neutral way. That is why women have led countries more effectively through the pandemic than men have.
Nathalie: Because they’ve had to overcome so much more.
Cindy: They’ve had to be so fucking brilliant. By the time you get to the top of your nation’s political structure, you have to be so extraordinary good at what you do versus, and you absolutely know Tomas’s brilliant thesis as well as I do, we focus, quite rightly, on the enormous number of barriers that face brilliant women. But a far bigger problem is the lack of obstacles for incompetent men. Incompetent men head every single nation that men lead, and we have absolutely seen the results in this pandemic.
Nathalie: Do you think that we are starting to see a shift, in terms of the leadership qualities we’re talking about valuing now?
Cindy: No. No, of course we’re not. And we live in a patriarchal society. Every single institution is male dominated. Every single business institution and organization is male dominated. And no, we are not seeing a shift, which is why women all around the world are absolutely focused on making those breakthroughs to ensure that we do.
But the really important thing, Nathalie, is never ever ask that question in the passive tense. “Oh, are we seeing a shift?” We only see a shift when you and I and everybody else makes that shift happen. Shifts do not happen as a naturally occurring phenomenon. Shifts happen when human beings, extremely motivated, determined, and utterly committed human beings make those shifts happen.
Nathalie: So let’s start there then. Because obviously there’s a lot of people who are determined to change the status quo, and it’s not just the women. Obviously we’ve mentioned Tomas, who’s very much an ally in this fight. What are some of the things you feel we need to do to step up, to start making that shift happen?
Cindy: So let me just pick up on one thing you said there. And I’m sure Tomas won’t mind my sharing this. Tomas is fantastic, obviously. We love him to death. He is an ally through and through. But when we were writing that article together for the Harvard Business Review, even an ally cannot see things the right way. And the fact of the matter is that men’s experience is different from our experience. And quite frankly, as far as I’m concerned, the first part of being a male ally is acknowledging that. Because even when you are determined to be an ally, unconsciously you come at things in a way that is not ally-ship. Okay? And the collaborative writing process that Tomas and I went through on that article was very interesting, because it was indicative of that fact, as I’m sure Tomas would equally, honestly, say to you in terms of the things I pointed out to him he was unconsciously doing within his approach to how we went about that. And then the things I said to him were in danger of coming across in the wrong kind of way. So for male allies, because I get asked by men regularly, “So, Cindy, what can we do to help? How can I help you and every other woman?”
Cindy: And it’s very simple. I say to every man, “You just need to do two things. Number one, listen to women, because you don’t. Every day we are manterrupted, mansplained to, talked over, ignored, not heard. So number one, stop and listen to women. Really listen. And then number two, believe women. Because men don’t do that either. Look at every report of sexual harassment and rape, where instantly the victim is the guilty party in even apparently rational and ally type male eyes. So believe what women tell you, because our experience is not your experience.
And when you do those two things, when you listen to women and you believe women, when you start doing those two things, what you need to do to help us will completely fall out of that, because women all around you, when you begin listening to them, genuinely listening, and you begin believing them wholeheartedly, they will tell and show you what to do to help them.”
Nathalie: That listening piece is so crucial. One of the things that’s been on my mind quite recently, in terms of giving voice to difficult subjects, difficult experiences is this theme of cancel culture. And I know that it’s a very difficult thing, because it’s quite complex. On the one hand, you have situations where people rightly voice horrific things that have happened.
So an exactly would be the Me Too movement that gave voice to all of these stories that previously had been ignored and suppressed. And at the same breath, I think one of the risks that we find is that when we bring these things to light, we can swing in the opposite direction, whatever the theme, and start to de-platform people and break down the space that we need to have more deep, constructive conversation. What do you think about how we can interact in this time in a way that we can express our positions and concerns generatively, constructively. Where we can have these difficult conversations and actually effect change?
Cindy: There’s a huge difference between cancel culture and actual harassment and abuse. The first happens to white men, and they shriek about it, and the second happens to the rest of us. So cancel culture is not a thing. It’s been made to be a thing by the white men who, the very first time somebody delivers to them one one-hundredth of what women, black people, people of color, LGBTQ, the disabled, get in our lives every single day, they go, “Oh my god, cancel culture! Cancel culture! Cancel culture!” Fuck that shit.
Nathalie: I could also think of a couple of women who’ve had this levied against them, and I think, do you not think that there’s… I don’t know. Maybe you don’t, maybe this is me-
Cindy: White women? White women, by any chance?
Nathalie: Yeah, yeah.
Cindy: Yes, precisely. Yep. Yep. No, so internalized misogyny. White men and privileged white women talk about cancel culture.
Nathalie: That’s fascinating. I hadn’t thought about it from that perspective, but that’s a really interesting view. So in terms of then creating a space where legitimate conversations can be had, where people can actually engage better, do you think there are certain values that we need to see businesses stand up for, that they’re not yet standing up for?
Cindy: No, it’s very simple. That’s not the answer. The answer is fund the rest of us. And let me explain what I mean by that. What you’re asking derives from a holistic fact about the global tech landscape. The young white male founders of the giant tech platforms that dominate our lives today are not the primary targets online and offline of harassment, abuse, racism, violence, rape, sexual assault, revenge porn, therefore they do not, and they did not, proactively design for the prevention of any of those things on their platforms. And we are seeing the results of that all around us every single day.
Those of us who are most at risk every day, women, black people, people of color, LGBTQ, the disabled, we design safe spaces and safe experiences. But white male venture capitalists and white male investors won’t fund us. White men get funded on potential. It’s really easy if you’re a white male VC to look at a white male bro founder and go, “Oh, he reminds me of myself at his age. I can see myself in him. He’s great to have a beer with. Yeah, we reckon he can do this. Let’s give him 10 million dollars to do it.”
White women get funded on proof, and not even then. So with a woman it’s a completely different set of criteria. “Well, have you don’t this before? Have you done it long enough? Have you done it well enough? We’re going to grill you on every single [inaudible 00:16:50] and we’re not going to fund you at the end of it.” Black women don’t get funded, period. Point two percent of all venture funding goes to black female founders. Only two percent, by the way, of all venture funding goes to women founders, period. So everything you’re talking about is derived from that one fact.
Young white male founders are not the targets of everything the rest of us are. They didn’t take account of it. They didn’t give it a moment’s thought. They did not design for it. And they don’t care about preventing it, because it doesn’t impact them.
Nathalie: But what do you think happens when there’s enough of a groundswell of protests? So we saw the amplification of the Black Lives Matter movement happening earlier last year, and I’m wondering how much of the change will come off the back of that will be short term virtue signaling versus how much will actually alter the way in which people structure their businesses, change their practices. What are your thoughts around the change that can come out of that kind of social pressure?
Cindy: What change? Who do you know that’s talking about Black Lives Matter right now?
Nathalie: Yeah. It’s gone quiet on the social front, but I wonder if there are companies who are changing initiatives behind the doors.
Cindy: Don’t make me laugh. No, of course not. And by the way, there’s a lot of talk about all of this on social. When you make sure that your social media network is full of black people, of color people, black women. No, nothing’s happening.
Nathalie: So what would we have to do to change that? Because I think, obviously we need to make sure that people are able to be judged on their merit, which clearly there’s a huge amount of bias against at the moment.
Cindy: Abso-fucking-lutely. So what you do is what nobody unfortunately is doing at the moment is, you hire me to help you do that. And here’s why I say that, Nathalie. So unfortunately, because I have enormous challenges raising funding for Make Love Not Porn, even though we are changing the world through sex, I am not able to pay myself a living wage out of my own startup. I have to hustle alongside it to support myself through paid public speaking and consultancy. So I absolutely consult on diversity inclusion, but in a very specific context. I am not the unconscious bias trainer. I am not the diversity inclusion coach. What I am is a hard headed business strategist. And what I do is I help companies completely reengineer their day-to-day working processes and operations to integrate diversity inclusion as a key driver of future growth, profitability, and better business outcomes.
But as I say, nobody is hiring me to do that. And what I mean by that is, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests last year, a ton of companies reached out asking me to work with them on this. But when I sent my proposal suddenly they were not prepared to put their money where their mouth is. And by the way, this is not just me. Again, in my network, I have many, for example, black women friends who are unconscious bias coaches, diversity inclusion trainers, and nobody wants to pay them either. And in fact, there’s a whole bunch of threads going in various areas of my social universe.
Next month, February, is Black History Month. You would not believe the number of multi-billion dollar companies who are asking black women, black men, to come in and talk to their company, or run a session like history month for free.
Cindy: It’s out-fucking-rageous.
Nathalie: That’s galling. Yeah, I’m quite speechless. I didn’t realize that there was such little follow-through.
Cindy: Yep. No, no. Zero follow-through. And let me explain to you exactly what it is that I do that would absolutely deliver what you’ve just talked about, which is a level playing field. I’m going to use an actual example. And this was actually before the Black Lives Matter protests, because I get this kind of call all the time. Very, very senior white man in my industry, marketing, global, very well known, oversees a huge global company, huge global portfolio [inaudible 00:21:18], contacted me to say that, he said, “I’ve got this really, really big global CMO position, Cindy, and I want to hire a black woman. Who do you know?” So I said to him, it doesn’t work like that. Here’s how it works. If you genuinely want to hire a black woman into this extremely senior position within your global organization, here are the four things that you have to do before you even think of progressing that goal. And by the way, he’d reached out a little while earlier, so I had a few days to do my research.
So I said to him, number one. “You have to completely reengineer your job description for this role.” I said, “You have written this job description to appeal to white men. And the evidence of that is that you posted this job description on LinkedIn, and under it is a very, very long comments thread which is full of white men either putting themselves forward or recommending other white men.” So I showed him how to completely reengineer that job description and a number of these points were very specific to the company and the role, I’m obviously not revealing those, but I’ll give you one example.
In this job description he had written of the candidate, “You will have a creative track record that makes us all jealous.”
Cindy: And I said, “No, she won’t. Because if you are a black woman, you have never ever been promoted into a role where you could make that happen. So you remove that from the job description and instead you write, ‘This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to finally unleash all that creativity that you want to do great things with.’ Because that’s a black woman’s situation in our industry.”
Nathalie: It’s totally different language, totally different.
Cindy: Right. So number one, what I do, Nathalie, as a consultant, is I do what everybody needs and, as I say, nobody wants to pay me to do. I help you, first of all, reengineer the way you advertise, put out, specify what you want to hire.
Number two. I said to him, “You have to completely reengineer your recruiter brief.” I said, “I know, without even having had this conversation with you, that you have briefed your recruiters to look at candidates who are already doing this job somewhere else. Don’t do that. If you genuinely want a black woman in this role, brief your recruiters to search for brilliant black talent one, two, three levels down. Because I can guarantee to you that black women three levels below the job that you are advertising for will do a far better job in that role than the white men currently doing it who’ve never had to face one-hundredth of the obstacles they have.” Okay? So the second thing I do is I help you reengineer how you brief your recruiters.
I said, “Number three. You have to completely reengineer your interview process. Because,” and by the way, I’m familiar with this company. It’s full of white men. I said, “When white men interview other white men, they start from a position of positivity. They are actively looking for reasons to hire that white man. When white men interview the rest of us, they start from a position of negativity. They are actively looking for red flags. They are actively looking for reasons not to hire us. And so you have to completely reengineer how you interview and your interview process to eradicate that syndrome. And again, this is what I do as a consultant. I advise you on how to do that.”
And then the fourth thing I said was, “You need to reengineer your working environment. Because if you genuinely want a brilliant black female candidate, when that black female candidate looks at your working environment, and when she sees, as she will, that it is full of white men, she’s going to go, ‘Why the fuck would I want to put myself in there? I know exactly what’s going to happen.'” And I said, “It’s very easy to reengineer a working environment ahead of going after black female candidates. All you do is you look downwards within your company for all the brilliant black talent in it that’s been kept down for years, passed over for promotion, not offered the big opportunities, not given the pay raises and the bonuses, and you promote them immediately to where they ought to be. And then you have a working environment that you can invite a black woman into, because she will see that this is an environment where it is possible for black talent to thrive.” Does that make my point?
Nathalie: It’s a complete reorganization and a complete reorganization about how you think about it and how you structure the way that you hire and the way that you, what you prioritize, whether you’re going to prioritize white incompetency, or whether you prioritize people who are really actively skilled.
But let me move this conversation to a slightly different area, which is something which is also affecting all of us right now, which is the way in which we connect to people through our screens. So one of the things that you do, and that many of us do, is we work remotely and we have to give talks, and we have to compel and motivate people to action through our screens. What are some of the ways in which you’ve found we can do that, where we can reach out and create that connection, even if it’s virtual and remote?
Cindy: So here’s the other thing that people are currently refusing to pay me for. So as I said, I support myself through consultancy and through public speaking. And obviously the moment the pandemic struck my speaking income stream completely evaporated. And the ridiculous thing… And again, by the way, this is not just me, because I have a lot of friends who make a living speaking. So this is our collective experience. People organizing virtual events, virtual fireside chats, virtual summits, extremely wrong-headedly don’t want to pay for remote speaking. And that is completely opposite way to think because, being compelling through a screen requires a completely different skillset. And it’s not one that the white men, boring for Britain and being paid $100,000 a gig on stages all around the world pre the pandemic, are good at.
I’m very good at this. And essentially it actually requires you to do a number of things which, I’m instantly, I want absolutely want to tout in this context, because I’d love to give her any promotion I can. My dear friend Katarina Skoberne, who is London based, who was doing this way before the pandemic, and the pandemic obviously has been a boon, you can find her at BeYourBestRemoteSelf.com. Because she is a presentation and speaking and general executive leadership coach. And for years she’s been coaching people on how to come across well remotely. Because obviously pre-pandemic people who work internationally, I mean, there’ve been all sorts of requirements, even before we all defaulted to Zoom. And so she is absolutely brilliant at a whole bunch of very specific things.
But I would say, first of all, that the interesting thing is the principle, in this context, is exactly the same as the principle of everything else. It’s not about moving what you used to do IRL online. It’s about reinventing what you used to do IRL in a way that capitalizes on now being remote and online. And so, I’ll give you an example from my perspective.
Cindy: I enormously benefit as a speaker from remote speaking because, and again, I’ve been saying this for years when I give presentation coaching. You are the presentation, not your slides. So the first thing I did when I began remote speaking in the pandemic is I dumped slides. I now never use slides when speaking remotely.
Cindy: They don’t work remotely. And it’s a very big mistake for anyone to use them. And I’m fine with that because my presentation approach and style is I am the narrative, and the slides are simply there to land certain points. And I always remember, years ago, I spoke, I did a 50 minute talk at Dublin Web Summit on, I think, Make Love Not Porn. And I remember a man tweeting afterwards, “It was only when Cindy Gallop came off the stage that I realized she hadn’t used any slides.”
Cindy: And so you absolutely get all the information you need without needing those visual cues. So I dumped slides. Then I’m somebody who is very happy being spontaneous. And what I mean by that is, historically IRL, and by the way I still do the same thing now with remote conferences, a lot of speakers, especially those pontificating white men I referenced earlier, only want to come into the event, go deliver their talk, and leave again. I always ask to be able to attend the event for as long as it runs ahead of me speaking. I’m regularly the grand finale, because people know that I can absolutely close the event the way they want me to. And so that often means sitting through being there for one, two, three days beforehand.
And the reason that’s important for me is because, you know, I obviously have prepared my presentation in advance. And by the way, again, like those white men who give the same presentation over and over again, I take a brief every time. I ask my client what their business goals are. I ask what they want to audience to leave my talk thinking, feeling, and doing, and then I craft and customize a talk to deliver against that. And so I’ve obviously prepared my talk in advance. I’ve rehearsed the shit out of it, because I’m also religious about only occupying the time slot I’ve been given. Those white men overrun all the time. But then, I listen to all the other sessions, and I gain information about the company, about the sector, about the market trends. And as I absorb it, I incorporate it into what I’m going to say. And by the way, if I’ve had to deliver my slides like a week before the conference, which is often the case, because I have to put the whole audio visual shebang together. That’s fine, because my slides are only to land certain points. I can change my narrative right up to and in the moment, and I do.
And so I will absorb everything, and I will then incorporate all of that into my talk to make it extra relevant. So I’m very comfortable presenting remotely, because I do exactly the same thing in the remote context. I’m very happy adapting on the fly what I’m saying, and I’m especially happy doing that because I welcome, again, something that remote event organizers have not thought about sufficiently, which is, I welcome Zoom chat.
Because historically IRL at conferences, at events, what happened was the speaker’s still on the stage, the audience sat there, the audience listened. At the end of the talk, the audience put their hands up, or they came up to mics, asked questions, the speaker answered. Today, when you speak remotely, what is wonderful is, first of all, the audience gets to talk to each other while you talk. They get to interact. They amplify what you’re saying.
So I can see, and by the way, I will have met, I’m enormous, I have a huge advantage over a lot of other people in this, because I speed read. I taught myself speed reading when I was a kid. I cannot tell you how I do it. I was a voracious reader. My father realized that, gave me loads of books to read. I read lighting fast, which was extremely useful at university for essays and so on, and has been extremely useful in business ever since, as you can imagine. So I am able, while I’m speaking, on occasion to look at the chat and to see what’s being said. And I will reference an article or something. Someone in the chat will go, “Oh, what was the article she mentioned?” And someone else will drop it into the chat. And so my points are being amplified as I make them.
But also I can keep an eye on, is somebody confused about something? Somebody asked a question in the chat as I go versus, by the way, the Zoom Q&A, that the host or the emcee or the moderator will refer to at the end. And so I can, in the moment, respond to the things that people want to know more about or are asking really interesting questions about.
And I observe that very few conference organizers, event organizers, are redesigning what they’re doing online around, as I say, these new and beneficial dynamics to create a much more compelling remote experience.
Nathalie: I love this aspect that you weave in of being able to change things in real time, to dwell on certain things that need a bit more detail or clarification. I think that kind of ability to reflect with other people is really, really valuable. I want to talk a little bit about long term success and resilience of businesses. And given where we are now and your experience, if you had to pick just one quality that you felt would be key for the long term success and resilience of a business, what would you suggest that to be?
Cindy: I think that any business that wants to be successful and resilient long term, it’s very, very simple. There is a huge amount of money to be made out of taking women seriously. Any business that wants to be stormingly successful and resilient for the long term, needs to completely change the way it is currently led, managed, hiring, promoting, bonusing, championing, compensating, and it needs to focus on women instead of men. The business led by women, managed by women, run by women, disrupted by women, innovated by women is the business of the future. And men have no idea how much happier they would be working in that business.
Nathalie: So if there was a question that you wish people would ask you but they haven’t yet, what question would that be?
Cindy: I wish people would ask me, “How much can I pay you to come and consult with us, Cindy?”
Nathalie: Okay. So if you’re listening to this, all you CEOs who want to rapidly change your situation, your organization, get in touch.
Nathalie: So, well, we’ve had a taste for this, but I’d love to ask you, just to end on this note. What kind of world do you want to build, and what one thing can we do to help us, get us there?
Cindy: So I’m building the world I want to live in. I’m building, through Make Love Not Porn, a completely global transformation. And let me explain what I mean by that. Make Love Not Porn’s single minded mission is to help make it easier for every single person in the world to talk openly and honestly about sex. Now when I say that, because we do not do that currently, people do not get how massively profoundly society transformative that would be. And here’s what I mean.
I designed Make Love Not Porn as a business around my own beliefs and philosophies. One of my philosophies is that everything in life and business starts with you and your values. So I regularly ask people this question. “What are your sexual values?” And nobody can ever answer me, because we’re not taught to think like that. Our parents bring us up to have good manners, work ethic, sense of responsibility, accountability. Nobody ever brings us up to behave well in bed, but they should. Because in bed values like empathy, sensitivity, generosity, kindness, honesty, respect, are as important as those values are in every other area of our lives, where we’re actively taught to exercise them.
So this is my vision of a world in which Make Love Not Porn finally gets funded to achieve our social mission at scale. Parents will bring their children up openly to have good sexual values and good sexual behavior in the same way that parents currently bring kids up to have good values and behavior in every other area of life.
We will therefore cease to bring up rapists, because the only way that you end rape culture, and this really is the only way, is by inculcating, in society and openly talked about, understood, operated, and very importantly, aspired to gold standard of what constitutes good sexual values and good sexual behavior. When we do that, we also end Me Too. We end sexual harassment, abuse, violence, all areas where the perpetrators currently rely on the fact that we do not talk about sex, to ensure 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’m not joking. And bear in mind, Make Love Not Porn is a business. Make Love Not Porn is built on my belief that the future of business is doing good and making money simultaneously.
So what can people do to help me get there? You can fund me. My biggest obstacle finding investors is the social dynamic that I call fear of what other people will think. Because it is never about what the person I’m talking to thinks. When you understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, nobody can argue with it. The business case is clear. It’s always people’s fear of what they think other people think, which operates around sex, unlike every other area.
And frustrating, while other startup founders can do their research and target when they’re looking for funding and investors, I can’t, because I know my investors in Make Love Not Porn are out there. They are impossible to find by the usual means because the thing they have in common, your desire to fund Make Love Not Porn is entirely a function of your personal sexual journey. It’s a function of your personal lens on sex and sexuality driven by a personal experience. And there’s no way to research for that.
So, anybody who signs up for the future I’ve just spelled out and is in a position to fund Make Love Not Porn to achieve that vision, Cindy at MakeLoveNotPorn.com.