Industry News

Ambush Interview #116 – Rand From Paycom

Rand replies on GFY:

The Scrub-O-Meter has been changed a lot over the years. It started out pretty small, got bigger and bigger, then we had to house it in a warehouse near the airport for a while and it took about a dozen people to operate it. Then we figured out how to run it with a scalpel and that’s where we are today.

Seriously though, it’s always cracked me up when people would say that we’ve turned up the scrub, or that we are running loose another day. It just doesn’t work like that. It’s been so many years since any “across-the-board” change was made that I really can’t remember when we did. The nice thing about having over ten years of data to analyze is that changes to our scrubbing actually improve sales, not the other way around. Yes, we have to abide by some very strict association rules, but we have made both an art and science out of complying with those rules in a way that helps us approve as many sales as possible, which, is how we all make money (since we don’t charge for denying transactions). ? And really, if the world was a perfect place and everyone was honest you wouldn’t need us. So in fact, what you pay us for is to deny orders. Bet you hadn’t thought of it that way.

I’m not running Epoch. I’m fortunate enough to be a part of a pretty amazing group of people who work like a well oiled machine.

But to speak for Epoch as a whole and our progression, well, I guess you could just say it was the right people at the right time with the right ideas. To explain somewhat about how we got here, the two guys who started Epoch are still owners of the company. Back in those days we didn’t have titles on our business cards, but what would be the equivalent of a CTO was Joel Hall. And if you don’t think that processing is akin to rocket science, let me just say that Joel came from NASA.

Joel hand coded our systems one line at a time from the ground up. And what he and his partner were able to do is the reason we exist today. A lot of people don’t realize that Epoch was the first billing company to offer real time password management, provide real time stats, and launch an affiliate tracking and payment system. In fact, the success of our affiliate system (reseller program) nearly killed us. We had no way to anticipate the amount of volume we received very quickly. We were adding servers every week it seemed. Upgrading equipment daily. And taking a crash course in what fraud really meant. That was both exciting and scary but a test of fire. We came through it better off. Luckily, Joel is still alive to talk about it.

I think being the pioneer in these areas, with proprietary systems, was what sent us to the top with the growing legends of the early days.

The ride to where we are has been very interesting. We’ve learned and grown a lot as a company. And we’ve been fortunate to work with most of the pioneers and geniuses of this industry. There were some real shysters too, but that’s a whole other bag of worms.

Epoch, est 1996, went through a period of branding that we (at one time thought) might use in mainstream. During that time we marketed a brand called Paycom, which ended up being a part of our adult processing anyway. The idea of working in main stream has changed and we are totally focused on our core competency which is processing transactions for the adult entertainment industry. Because we had two names, our branding efforts were getting confusing so we discontinued use of the Paycom brand in favor of our original (and always) Epoch brand. Once we gained control of the domain this was an easy transition.

The most difficult things to combat are those things we don’t have control of, or may not be aware of until someone discovers the issue and points it out, as with what happened with a particular marketing company recently.

Epoch is more than a payment gateway, we are an information database and risk management service organization. Once a transaction makes it to our servers and we can store, track and monitor activity, we are in control and able to manage the situation. It’s when something or someone hijacks the process before we gain control over the transaction that is an interesting dilemma. Never has it been more important to know who you are doing business with. There are ways to combat such problems but for obvious reasons I won’t go into that here.

It amazes me how clever some people can be. If we could only bring the unscrupulous away from the dark side of the force it would be amazing to see what they could do.

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