While pursuing a PhD in finance at Columbia University, Peter Acworth started an online BDSM porn site in his spare time. When the site became profitable, he ditched finance for full-time fetish and moved to San Francisco. Before long, Kink.com became too big for its bondage and moved into an unexpected new location: Historic landmark the San Francisco Armory.
Acworth now runs the largest fetish porn production company in the world from his Moorish-style castle in the Mission, and has recently opened its doors to the community, offering guided tours that end in Kink's brand new bar, the Armory Club.
Acworth took a break from filming to talk about the new bar, the future of pornography and sexy San Francisco.
When you decided to launch a pornographic site, what made you decide on fetish? The initial site was hogtied.com, (NSFW) and this was a reflection on my own sexuality. I grew up fantasizing about bondage from a very young age, and it was only as a teenager that I realized the feelings were sexual. When we launched the site, I was publishing material that appealed to me personally, and I was sure there was a whole community of people to whom it would appeal.
You left a PhD program at Columbia. Was there ever a moment when you doubted what you were doing? Yes. Shortly after I left my PhD to start the business full time, sales were waning and I wondered if the market would become saturated. I half wrote a letter to the professor who I had been working with at Columbia Business School. But subsequently I ramped up production and, most significantly, created a revenue-sharing affiliate program which really started to turn things around.
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