CTO of Karups, Spw Guru is the man behind the scenes. A better way to describe his position would be : he's the guy who does it all. Karups is one of the largest adult paysites on the net and Spw Guru is the man to talk to about anything pertaining to this outfit.
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GFY Ambush Interview thread on Spw GURU
Is it true Lou had to install a chimney in your office to handle all the tobacco and weed smoke coming out of it.
Though the rumor is not true it probably should be. Dave (Mack) and I have agreed to not waste time away from our computers so it often looks like the airport smoking sections in my office with the 2 of us puffing away. Imagine what opening the mystery machine from Scooby Doo is like and thats what its like when you walk in. Sometimes when a machine goes down or the code just won't do what you need a good cancer stick is what you need to put your head back on.
In regards to weed smoke if I was to smoke wich I'm not saying I do it would never happen in the office or at least not during work hours
How did you get a porche when you were 16?
Well honestly I didn't have or get to drive one till a broker at 19 but hey not far off. This is a bit of a running Joke with Loryn and I. The first night we hung out (introduced via Sleezy thank you) She looked me square in my face and said you know you look like a punk coke dealer from long island. She then went on to explain that my look dictated that I be driving my porsche that I bought at 16 drunk down the highway with the wind blowing in my hair and a few kilo's in the trunk . Though I don't agree on the Coke part of it I totally think she was right I have always looked like a bit of a greasy NY'er dealer type. But hey its my look and grunge was big when I was young.
How many girls call your cell phone that shouldn't be calling?
Isn't 1 girl that shouldn't call to many? I have a lot of friends in the industry that are nothing more then that, but my wife has gotten a bit more jealous over the years. That happens when you get yourself in trouble 1 time to many. From time to time it has been known to happen that someone thinks it would be “ok” to call my cell when I am “not availiable” but I couldn't narrow it down to a number.
Do you think Bell and Sean will get back together? or will Jack Die? What about Sammy and Lucas?
You know of all the things coming out in the open this was truly the one I was most concerned about. When i was between offices and working at home i developed an addiction to Days of our Lives. I still tape it to this day, every day even after 9 years of watching it.
Do you think Bell and Sean will get back together? Probably but not for at least 3 more years they like to play up the love triangle
will Jack Die: One can only hope
What about Sammy and Lucas? Sammy will get her way as usual but I truly hope Lucas finally pulls his ass out of his head and hooks up with somebody else.
Do you like being a hobo at conventions?
Well after spending 6 months living in a Car after I left home being a Hobo at the convention is better then being a hobo under a bridge. We here at Karups have a bad habit of saying we are not going to any more shows. Then a week before the show we get a call from some of our good friends and decide we will last minute. This often leads to us not getting rooms in the main hotel and we have to book a room down the street. As many of you know getting off “the bus” at 6am is not conducive to taking a cab down the street to find a place to sleep. Very often friends who know me offer to let me crash on an extra double bed. Out of all the shows I have been to I have actualy slept in a room under my name maybee 20% of the time even though there is one in my name down the street “just in case”.
What the fuck are you doing to Scotty Apples in this vid?
One of my finer moments! For those that don't know Scotty apples from http://www.applecash.com has a bad habit of playing jokes on others. One of his victims came to me knowing I am twisted and asked to help with some revenge. We apparently took it to far with the first bucket so we decided to be nicer and only get him with the clean second one. After partying for so many hours seeing him to tired to even get out of the ice water in his bed was priceless. Though I have a feeling I better watch my ass at the next show in a few weeks.
Why did you call Vanilla ugly in Miami?
For the record I did not call her ugly. My exact statement to her after she asked me about a cute girl that walked in was “she is way uglier then you” Meaning though she was cute she was a drop in the bucket compared to the lovely Vanilla. Though I am a wizard at sales mainstream or not I still get tounge tied around beautiful ladies and Vanilla definitely makes it hard to talk Its amazing how comments made to be compliments often get twisted by me coming out so people have to think and wonder was that a compliment or an insult?
Have you ever been drunk or high at a webmaster event?
LOL are you kidding me? Like I said before work hard party hard. The only time partying is an issue is if you let it affect your daily duties. I have always believed that the rewards in life are the moments you will never be able to duplicate again. I am sure this question had more behind it but I have been drunk so many times and had so many crazy show stories I don't know which one your trying to ask about.
Ever fucked a woman who works in the industry?
America listen to me I did not have sexual relations with that woman.
A great wise individual took some time to get to know me a year ago in LA and gave me some sagely words of advice. Never fuck a girl in this industry it only leads to problems. Tease them, play with them, but never do it. I have lived by this since then.
Talk about the time you went to webmaster access in Atlanta and had to go show shopping because you didn't bring the right shoes.
As we already established I am a bit of a grungy individual. I stopped paying attention to how I dress when it no longer affected how I was looked at in the work place. That being said I went to the Atlanta show with only sandals. This was shortly after switching our hosting to National Net the best host on the net. They offered to take us out to some hot club that was almost impossible for an average joe to get into. Tony takes one look at my sandals and is like “no way” God could not get me in with those on. Lucky for me Aaron M was walking past and offered to take me to this downtown shop that had the best bad ass clothes in the city. So Aaron Dave and me all get on the city subway and shoot down to some shady ass section of the city. The store didn't look like much from the outside but they had some fly ass shit. I bought shoes and a whole new wardrobe just for the night and went back to the hotel. That was the first time I ever walked into the club and the bouncers actually stopped me to tell my how pimp my outfit was. Thanks Aaron I still sport the gators at shows from time to time and it has gotten me hit on more then once.
Just why is your favorite strip club called 'fight club'?
Well anybody that has come up to visit the Karups crew has been to or knows of flight club. It is by far the best strip club in all of Michigan. Filled with hot UofM and MS students earning there way through college. In addition if you have ever been out with Lou you know he doesn't do anything small or half assed. Walking into that place next to Lou is like walking in with a celebrity. The only night I haven't seen the bouncer kick people out of his booth was when Eminem was there and then the crew got to sit in the next booth over. Flight club has been good to us over the years that is actually were we met Tony Morgan and many other industry people for the first time. It's also were creative brain storming sessions take place because you can sit down over food talk about marketing porn without everybody around you giving you dirty looks.
Why do you have one name for friends and one for everyone else?
Doesn't everybody? Its just the way it goes with me. I have had so many different “lives” that each group thats known me has a different nickname or impression of me or who I am. Having a different name for each makes it easier for me to keep track of it all. Almost everybody calls me Charles which is funny cause I hated that name growing up. When I started in the industry I was going to just go by Charlie but Lou has introduced me as Charles to everyone so it just kind of stuck.
What was it like selling crap door to door? Discuss.
Horrible but vital to who I am today sums it up. Sales is one of the few things that regardless of education you can still make a lot of money with no salary cap if your good and at the right place. Being my family had no money and they could not afford to send me to school finding a way to be successful and liquid became a top concern of mine. From a very young age (10) I started looking for ways to get the things I wanted as a kid like GI Joe's and the such. Going door to door introduces you to a lot of freaks in your neighborhood you didn't know existed. In addition getting rejected and shot down so many times before I got into the sales industry as an adult gave me a huge advantage. I wasn't scared of the “NO” like newbies often are. I believe if I had not grown up so hungry and determined to be something, with the years of hard work under my belt I would not have made it to the success I am today.
Discuss your time working as a stock broker. What happened?
Well this one could take up pages and is much better told in person. I became a broker two weeks after I turned 19. I was and still am to this day the youngest broker ever at the firm, in addition to holding the record to the largest opening trade in the firms history. We mainly pushed small cap IPO's private placements and bridge loans. Very speculative extremely risk ventures that were almost guaranteed to fail. However when they work they worked big and made up for all the looser's (usually). It was all good and fine until the day the we got shut us down. A few of us were hand picked by the senior partners and those of us with clean reputations were sent us off to another location for a bit so we could come back to NY when it all was done. It was not till we got back that we found out the owners had been selling thier personal shares out to our clients. This is when I realized that no matter how legit or reputable a business is in the mainstream eyes that it can still be and often is all a charade. The opinion of me people developed because I made it as a stock broker was only worth so much if I could not sleep at night or look at myself in the mirror. I made a decision to never work for anybody if I did not have knowledge of how the entire operation operated to verify it was clean and proper. Needless to say I never went back to the brokerage industry and have since let my license lapse.
Of all the job over the years I have never been prouder of my involvement with any company more then Karups. What is most puzzeling to me is the same people that told me good job and were so proud of you when I was a stock broker are now the first to judge me as a pornographer. Yet I can sleep at night knowing we work had to deliver a great product with more updates then anybody and running a clean program that keeps both webmasters and members satisfied (pun intended).
How exactly do you start a web development company and not own a computer?
The short answer is with a big pair of balls. We used to joke around as brokers that all you need to sell stock is 3 letters and a juicy story. The same holds true for websites. People buy because they have a need (thought they may not know that yet) and you are there to fill it. All I had to do was explain that there competitors are all going after the pie and they can't get a piece if there not in the game. A few Glen Garry Glen Ross ABC closes and a check arrives the next day.
A gentleman I met along the way told me one day why we would always be in a position to make money. During the gold rush in California lots of people moved west to make it big on gold claims. Some hit and became rich but many more failed. However there was one guy guaranteed to make his no matter what and that was the man selling shovels. It takes big balls to go out on your own and try to hit it big with the next big site or program. I admire anyone who goes out and tries it but personally my bet is on the safe money. Finding a niche people need in order to purse there dreams of hitting it big like software, hosting, feeds, and the such.
Talk about your therapy sessions at Deville's house.
Wait a minute shouldn't this be covered by doctor client privileged? Stewie and Vanilla are two of the greatest and coolest people I have ever met. It was a true honor to get to know them over the years and I can only hope our friendship continues to grow as time progresses. I have never met a married couple that has so much of an understanding of what it takes to make it in a relationship that is constantly under a microscope in our industry. They were there for me during some tough times and really helped me get my head back on and realize what family and marriage is all about. Thank you guys!
Discuss your online shopping company. How much did you take from venture capital? Ever pay it back?
After I left being a broker and just after I started selling websites a friend of mine from the brokerage industry approached me about the next big idea. We wanted to sell a turn key template that would allow small to medium sized retail or out of home stores to sell products on the Internet. The package included a stand alone store that was linked from a giant webmall. The idea was with the mall it made getting traffic easier as other companies would also be pushing people to the site and you had a better chance then doing it on your own. The idea actually worked and did well. We were funded by a Venture Capital company and hired more staff. At the end we had about 45 reps selling these sites. Unfortuanlty though we had become profitable in a very short time frame the timing was off. The company that funded us had also invested in over 100 other web startups. The story from them was several of them blew up big time and they did not even have the money to handle the commitments they made to the other because they owed more then they had invested. I was told they were not going to fund our paycheck account and that I had to let everyone go just before Christmas. The operation had taken a few 100k to get up and running but it all went into computers staff and promotional material so we didn't really take them for anything and no we didn't have to pay it back. If they had just let it run a bit longer I can pretty much guarantee I would not be here today. It was my need to have money for Christmas that made me look into working with some people that had been clients that also did adult products. Timing is everything and I believe everything happens for a reason. All my failures are what put me were I needed to be for my successes.
18a How did you start with Karups?
Well 17 leads to 18. When I needed to cover Christmases expenses it became time to become creative. The only clients I had that were making consistent money on the Internet were adult customers. Many of my friends in the mainstream industry didn't want to work with adult customers so I offered to handle them. I spent many nights reading different boards and learning the business. Started submitting galleries and building free sites. Thats when one of Lou and Jeff's good friends bumped into me. He wanted to get into the business and run a huge paysite like Karups. I explained the cost involved and the risks then told him how much money I expected for running this for him. At that point it looks like I priced myself out of the job. Lou and Jeff liked my balls and my understanding of both the technical aspects and marketing behind the industry and offered me a chance to work for them for a week in Michigan. I was here 3 days when they asked me how long it would take for me to
move form NY to Micigan. I went home packed my stuff and moved here 3 days later. It's been 4 years now and though I hate Michigan it was the best thing I ever did. I still remember coming home and hearing the message on my answering machine that Karups wanted me to interview. Good things take time and wonderful things happen all at once.
18b Discuss what you do there now.
Like you said I kind of do it all. With the exception of content purchases there is not much I am not involved in. I was very lucky in finding a great group of company owners that trust me to make decisions because I treat Karups like it is mine. My main duties include dealing with all our hosting and software vendors, working with affiliates to make them more profitable, management of the staff day to day, and business development. Luckily we were able to get a fantastic staff that works its ass off to achieve a common goal be the best at what we do everyday. Adding Dave (mack) was a huge asset as he is so well known and was able to assist big time on making sure we get the marketing tools needed to the webmasters that make it possible for us to stay open and provide such huge content updates.
Where have you lived? Where do you live now?
I am a bit sheltered when it comes to this aspect of my life. Nobody in my family has ever moved far from were we grew up. I live in NY from birth until 4 years ago when I moved here to Michigan. I do get to travel a lot with a webmaster show happening every 3 weeks it seams. However NY is still my home in my mind. If you ask me were I am from I will always tell you NY but I am stuck in Michigan. My goal is to one day move back so my son can enjoy the same privileges I had by knowing the right people when growing up.
Are you still a Jehovah's Witness?
I can say that I am 100% no longer a JW. My parents are still and they raised me as one until 18. One week after I turned 18 and graduated (happened same day) I came home to find my backpack with my cigarettes and a bag of weed sitting on the living room table and my parents on the couch just giving me the evil eye. They offered me a choice to repent confess my indiscretions go to rehab and earn my way back into the religion or to leave there home. I packed up that day and left the house with nothing but a duffel bag and the car I had bought from my jobs. I spent 6 months sleeping in my car, storage room of my job or at friends houses. I saved up money and started studying to be a broker. The rest is history. I have since been disfellowshipped which is equivalent to a excommunication.
What's the most important things in life to you?
The answer to this question changed a year ago. In Oct of 04 my son was born. It was a bit of a shock as it was not our intention to have children till I could “settle down” but it was the greatest moment in my life when he was born healthy. I have never been a 9-5 guy and always worked late and did not see a reason to get home. Now though I still don't leave at 5 the moments with him before he goes to bed is what is truly important to me. I never understood what people were talking about till I held him for the first time.
How many adult webmaster shows do you attend a year? Favorites? Least favorites?
To many LOL. Like I said my son is the most important thing to me. Being away from him if even for only a few days has made the shows go from great to a thing that needs to be done. We do about 4 or 5 a year now which is up from what we used to do. My favorite show of all time has to be the Atlanta show because it was great for our business and it allowed me to get to know people better then I could over email or icq. Vegas is great but so much is going on when your done it feels like a blur and you always miss those important people you get to see at the smaller shows. LA and Santa Monica are also favorites of mine. Phoenix was a favorite until the dodge ball game that caused me to loose a months worth of lunches from puking after doing all those shots in the sun. Steve we will beat you next year I promise.
Who do you look up to in this business? Down on?
There are so many people that helped me to become the man I am today and whom I look up to. There is no possible way ro list them all but a few off the tops are:
Lou and Jeff- Without there guidance patience and understanding I would not be here. There understanding of what a member wants and needs to stay a member forever has never been seen before. They have taught me the true value of what delivering a quality product really means and allowed me to feel proud in the work I do. I look forward to working with them for many years and learning even more.
Tony Morgan- The man is a truly great human being and one of the best negotiators I ever met. His knowledge experience and contact in the industry are second to none. I only hope one day I can make it into his pimps in training class
Ron Caldwell- Over the last few shows I was lucky enough to get some one on one time with this true Goliath. The fact he built CCBill from the ground up and the reasoning behind it is proof to me that with a good head on your shoulders, a strong idea, and an amazing work ethic you are guaranteed to go far. One day Ron I hope to send my phantom to pick you up at the airport like you have done for me.
Chris Maleck-Here is a man who doesn't have to work. Has made millions buying and selling companies from a young age. A true entrepreneur who understands the value of money and what is needed to make it.
Roger V- He has more skill at talking to woman in his pinky finger then most webmasters have in there entire body.
Vanilla and Stewie- These two as I said earlier so get IT. They manage to balance a personal life with a business one and succeed at both. To often people successful in love fail at life and those who are business successes don't focus enough on there human needs. These two got it right!
In regards to looking down on people that just isn't right. There are plenty of people I don't like and I have no problem telling you to your face if thats the case. I would even go as far to say as I have a few enemies in this business but I don't look down on them. There is no advantage to feeding negative energy so why waste time on it. Focus on the good the positive and learn from every interaction is my motto.
Post pics of your house(s), car(s), and boat(s).
I have to go get some I don't have any online right now.
Do people still call you captain?
Not in a very long time. From the time I was 14 till 22 I worked on and off during the summers at a local boat rental. At 18 I got my pilots license and drove a 40 person pontoon boat out and around through a bird sanctuary. It was the easiest most relaxing job on the planet. The pay was absolute shit I think I was making 8 bucks an hour by the end but I did it for the time to get away from everything and just enjoy nature. There is something just so soothing about the water especially at night.
Did your work in a hardware store prepare you for your work in online adult?
Well every experience a person has contributes to who they are and the knowledge the posses so yes it did. At 15 I wanted to buy a motorcycle so I started working as a stock boy. By 18 I had become head of 3 departments including some of the top producing. The owner of the business was a real smart man that built his fathers company from 1 store to 7. Getting a chance to work side by side with him imparted me with much of my understating of how to manage inventory, costs, and staff in house or remote. In addition it was a great chance to earn my keep and build confidence by getting from the bottom to the top at such a young age. I would have enjoyed working there longer but when the opportunity to move on to become a stock broker appeared it was time to go.
What is the best present you ever got for your birthday? 2nd best.
As mentioned earlier I was a JW till 18 so we never celebrated things like that. My first B-day was at 19 and didn't get much in the way of presents. I guess the best have been the numerous birthday fucks over the years since.
Why don't you use third party billing at karups?
Mainly because we don't have to. Karups has been around since 97 and has been a power house in updates and member satisfaction. This gives us the advantage of having a ridiculously low charge back rate on new memberships. Combine that with a huge member base and one of the strongest renewal rates around and you are left with strong financials and reserves to prove we are not going anywhere. This makes us look good to processing banks. We have had our merchant account since 2000 when we had issues with a third party company that had previously been handling our billing. By using our own merchant account we see several advantages like we can accept from more countries then most 3rd party billers. We also have much looser scrub rules. If a member charges back to a 3rd party company that card becomes blocked and usually this is for our protection as webmasters. The flaw is if he is charging back cause he was scammed on a cross bill or because the site didn't deliver what he promised that does not make him a bad customer. However he is now blocked form buying porn via the big guys. Handling this in house and managing the list of subscribers against previous accounts and several “internal procedures” allows us the ability to accept on average more members then other programs. Not to mention by going direct to the bank we save on the processing fees and pass that onto our webmasters for higher earnings per join.
How did Erica Rode Campbell almost end your marriage?
Can I plead the 5th on this one? Jeff who only some of you know as he is not at the shows as often as Lou and myself was seeing Erica during one of the vegas shows. Those of you that know Jeff know he has many passions but on the top of the list is cars and poker. Coming out of the venetian he spots a new model lambo and walks away from Erica drooling all of the car while she stands there all dolled up for a night out. After dinner he wants to hit the poker table so she was bored and we start chatting. We hit it off she really is a nice girl and can be very funny. Jeff decides to call his trip short and the next night her and I decide to get a bite to eat. We develop a friendly relationship and decide to keep in contact. Some time goes by and we talk via email and phone from time to time and one day my wife grabs my phone instead of her by “accident”. While she is out with a bunch of friends Erica calls and my wife picks up. Instead of saying something like wrong number or I am a friend of Charlie is he around she says “oh Shit its his wife” laughs to her friend and hangs up. This lead to my wife hacking my email account and reading some emails between Erica and myself that were a bit inappropriate in her mind. She moved out for about 3 months to live back in NY. Lucky for me she decided to forgive me and come back to work things out. Now we have a child together and are very happy with our relationship that is all that much stronger for having made it past this hurdle.
If you couldn't work for Karups - which other companies would you want to work for in this business and why?
I can truly say before you asked this I never even considered it. Lou and Jeff are more then just owners here they are like brothers to me. I have never met 2 people that were more warm or welcoming. They made a move away from all my friends and family something I could actually handle by including me in their family here.
If I had to work somewhere else it would need to be in a place were I still had opportunity to learn. I am 28 and have experienced a lot but in order to make it to a multi millionaire I need a lot more experience and opportunities. Few places in the adult industry I think would offer me the opportunity to do what I do now which makes the choices slim pickings. Nat net would be a top choice for sure. As I described earlier Tony M is someone I look up to and his negotiating skills as well as his ability to asses the worth of companies before he acquires them is second to none and I would like to learn more about that. With my financial background and experience in handling our merchant account getting back into the finance side of things with somebody like CCBill or Epic would not be a bad move either. However my dream was always to write and produce porn movies and picture series. If I had to leave Karups chances are now with the financial stability I have going out on my own to start that is the most likely choice.
Why does it seem to your friends that you've had every fucking job in the world?
'Cause I have. Money can be made everywhere if you look at the supply and demand. Depending on the climate of the market depends on which opportunity will net you the most. You have to try them all over time or in different rotations to know where your best assets are. I believe in working and working hard. My dad raised a family of 4 on 15k a year in NY suburbs to this day I have no idea how. He worked hard every day of his life and made us work hard if we wanted something. These principles are so simple to me and I am glad it is so hard for the majority of Americans to understand it other wise I would have to work even harder.
How the fuck can someone who controls such a large, organized site be such a fucking, unorganized, messy pig?
LOL its like in the usual suspects, it all makes sense if you pull your self back from it. There is no question I am a bit of a disgusting pig. When my head is down and I start wrapping myself around a problem I won't leave my desk. So coffee cups, McDonald's cups, McDonald's wrappers, and cups filled with cigarette buts tend to gather. I guess I should take the time to clean it up but the fact is in my office looks like this because we control such a large, organized site and thats what I focus on.
Do you feel threatened by Mack being in the office now?
Not at all for 2 reasons.
1.He has been a huge asset to us already and he has barely had a chance to spread his wings. Mack is a great guy who was brought on to help us achieve our goal of launching a new affiliate program to replace our old more outdated system. He has done wonders already on getting our free sites up to par and increasing traffic to our current programs.
2.The second reason though is more why I am not worried. Dave is to smart to want my job. I may not be a doctor but sometime I feel like one. If there is ever an issue that needs to be resolved it goes through me. So when a 2 am call comes in I get to handle it. My job is to make it so Lou and Jeff don't have to worry about the business and can focus on what they do best ideas and content.
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