Tim Stokely is the founder as well as the current CEO of OnlyFans. For those who are unfamiliar, the latter is a platform that content creators can use to earn money from subscribers, which is very popular with sex workers. Very recently, Stokely and the rest of OnlyFans leadership have been in the news because of the announcement that the platform will be banning sexually-explicit content from October of 2021 onward. Something that raised a lot of eyebrows because that seemed like an act of corporate suicide. However, there seems to have been some serious pressure from payment processors behind the scenes, which would make more sense.
1. Born in Harlow, Essex
Stokely was born in the town of Harlow, which can be found in the county of Essex in England. The location has been inhabited for a very long time. However, Harlow itself was founded as a new town following the end of World War II for the purpose of easing overcrowding in London as well as its surroundings. This was necessary because the area had been hit hard in the Blitz, which caused a wide range of serious problems that needed to be addressed one way or another.
2. Studied At Anglia Ruskin University
Education-wise, Stokely has a degree from Anglia Ruskin University. In short, said school is one of the post-1992 universities, which refer to a couple of related categories. One would be the number of polytechnics and other institutions that were granted university status by the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. The other would be the institutions that have been granted university status since 1992 without having received a royal charter. Perhaps unsurprisingly, post-1992 universities are distinguished from pre-1992 universities.
3. OnlyFans Isn't His First Business
OnlyFans isn't Stokely's first business. In fact, it isn't even his first business that was founded upon the provision of sexually-explicit content. After all, Stokely's first businesses were the adult performance sites GlamGirls and Customs4U. Besides those, he had a site that connected potential customers with tradespeople, which might have been focused upon different kinds of services but nonetheless shared some similarities with its successor when it came to its business model.
4. Founded His Businesses with Help From Family Members
It isn't uncommon for entrepreneurs to borrow money from their friends and their family members for the purpose of getting their ideas off of the ground. After all, businesses are expensive. Furthermore, more funding means a better chance of success, meaning that it makes sense for interested individuals to get more of it from more sources. Of course, some friends and family members are more capable of helping out than others. In particular, it is worth mentioning that Stokely's father Guy Stokely was once an investment banker who worked for Barclays, with the result that he was able to help out more than one of Stokely's businesses. Besides him, it is worth mentioning that Stokely's older brother Thomas Stokely was involved as well, with the result that said individual became the chief operating officer.
5. Included a Referral System
Stokely has mentioned that one of his mistakes with his earlier businesses was assuming that people would just go to them. Suffice to say that isn't the case. After all, people can't go to sites that they don't know exist. As a result, Stokely made sure to include a referral system in OnlyFans, thus incentivizing users to bring in other users. Something that was necessary for the purpose of encouraging growth.
6. Has Claimed that He Didn't Market OnlyFans to a Specific Industry
OnlyFans is primarily known for its sexually-explicit content. To some extent, this is a product of sensationalism. However, there can be no doubt about the fact that a lot of sex workers have been using it to produce a lot of sexually-explicit content. Amusingly, Stokely has claimed that OnlyFans wasn't marketed to a specific industry. Even if he was telling the truth, it isn't hard to see why a business executive would want to present their company in the best light, particularly since the sex industry is seen in such a negative manner by such a huge swathe of society.
7. Believes that It Is Important for a Company's Employees to Use the Company's Products
Stokely has mentioned that it is important for a company's employees to use the company's products. Essentially, this is so that the employees will have a better understanding of what they are offering, thus making it easier for them to sell to interested individuals. In his own case, Stokely has stated that he is subscribed to both James Haskell and Chris Robshaw because he is a rugby fan.
8. Sees Interaction Driving Success
Curiously, Stokely has mentioned that interaction seems to be a critical factor driving success on OnlyFans. He said that one would assume that there would be a clear causal relationship between a person's recognizability and a person's income on the platform. However, he revealed that while celebrities did well, other people did well as well. The idea that interaction is important for making money does make intuitive sense though. After all, interaction is critical for building relationships, which in turn, are critical for convincing people to spend their hard-earned money.
9. Benefited From the COVID-19 Crisis
The COVID-19 crisis hit the economy hard. However, there were companies that benefited from it for various reasons. OnlyFans is an excellent example because a lot of people lost their jobs, with the result that some of them turned to the platform for the purpose of making money by making sexually-explicit content.
10. Recent Decision Seems to Have Been Driven By Pressure From Payment Processors
OnlyFans isn't limited to such creators. However, a huge portion of its revenues come from said sources, which made its recent decision to ban sexually-explicit content look very strange. Initially, people suspected that OnlyFans was seeking to brush up its image for the purpose of becoming more mainstream. Now, it seems that it was pressured by payment processors, without whom it couldn't function. It isn't 100 percent clear why payment processors are exerting this kind of pressure, but it is common to see people bring up moral concerns, legal concerns, reputational concerns, and transactional difficulties. In any case, a wider conflict seems to be brewing, both because people have become concerned by the power wielded by payment processors and because people have become concerned by the loss of a way for sex workers to work safely in a notoriously dangerous industry.
Written by Allen Lee
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