Ep – 100 Max against Humanity; I did it my way.

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For episode 100, Khierstyn wanted to do something big. Bigger, better, and cooler than ever! What’s better than bringing back the podcast’s most downloaded guest? Nothing, that’s what. Especially when the guest is  Max Temkin of Cards Against Humanity!


Max and his team, they aren’t like everyone else, nor do they want to be.  They wear their honesty and integrity on their sleeve. It’s about good products selling, no matter how you market them.


Sit back and enjoy as Max shares his unique views and opinions – ones that rocketed him to the top.


Marketing Strategies? We made a damn good product.


Max doesn’t believe in hack or tricks or guarantees.  In his mind, when someone markets a magic hack for something, it’s like selling lies.

People are hungry for shortcuts. What they want is the easiest way to get the biggest payout. Life isn’t like that. There IS no magic secret way to achieve your dreams.

Cards Against Humanity didn’t use tactics like “artificial scarcity”.  It’s about having a great product that people want, selling at a steady rate, and spending less than you make. Max says it’s that simple.


Staying top of mind and marketing on a limited budget.


Traditionally, a marketing budget is the monetary sum you intend to you to advertise. Traditional marketing is something Max states they avoided. They don’t spend money on Facebook advertising, or radio adverts.


They do spend money on doing cool and unique things. Things that people would enjoy and would want to watch and share. In this way, they do spend money to market, but it’s not where others might first turn.


Cards Against Humanity, and Max, have developed a cult following. People identify with and embrace the alternative means of marketing they use.


Max quotes, “If you want people to talk about you, it’s on you to do something worth talking about.”


If Obama was our CEO…


Speaking of doing something people want to talk about, Max shared his experiences. Specifically, he told us about an ad they ran on Craigslist in January 2017.


Max said that while enjoying a brainstorming session, they came up with an idea. Wouldn’t it be amazing if Barack Obama was our new CEO?


Many of the ideas they throw around don’t make it to public consumption, but this one did! It’s a perfect example of the power of alternative advertising. They made a post on Craigslist and it got loads of attention.


You know what that cost them to run? Nothing. Sure, they haven’t picked up Obama yet, but there is still hope!


(Note to Barack Obama, if you’re reading this, give Max a shout, he’d love to hear from you!  mail@cardsagainsthumanity.com )


Blackbox – Our not-so-secret new business for crowd funders!


Blackbox, ever heard of it? It’s a new shipping company from the creators of Cards Against Humanity.  Max tells us that they had to go through the motions when it came to shipping the game. They ended up having to build an infrastructure to do it.


It’s now spinning off as it’s own service. Blackbox takes their existing experience and connections to make it accessible. It’s geared at crowd funders too.


Max tells of how he made a critical shipping mistake that ended up costing him. With certain campaigns, you need to know an exact shipping cost up front, or you’re charged for it. That’s why they want to make it safe, easy and fast. Enter the details online and get an accurate, guaranteed shipping price.


Oh, and they take care of everything so that you don’t have to; Customer service, shipping, storage, returns, exchanges you name it.


The strategy behind marketing Secret Hitler


Let’s talk about something else that Max Temkin knocked out of the park. Have you ever played Secret Hitler? It’s a brilliantly marketed board game of hidden identities.


The website describes it as:


” Secret Hitler is a dramatic game of political intrigue and betrayal set in 1930’s Germany. Players are secretly divided into two teams – liberals and fascists. Known only to each other, the fascists coordinate to sow distrust and install their cold-blooded leader. The liberals must find and stop the Secret Hitler before it’s too late.”


It was also wildly successful on Kickstarter. We asked Max what drove the success of this game, and he imparted some real gems.


He’s done design for more than 15 years professionally. He works with and designs branding for political campaigns. He insists there is a visual database in his head of styles and ideas that he can pull out on command, a benefit of experience.


Secret Hitler was a dream project, one that he had the money to fund. He had money to put into testing and it became a balance of art and science.


Max made sure to emphasize that, despite money, there is never a guarantee on return. Sometimes not having money can make for a better product because you have to work harder to achieve it.


Ever heard Max talk about Star Wars and the reason that they became a classic? You should tune into the podcast to hear more.


If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?


Khierstyn prepared a few questions in advance for Max. The first being from Zach Smith, founder of Funded.Today. He asked – “if you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?”


He tells of how he charged only for the cards and not shipping at first. While it was during a time when that was more common, he said it was a nightmare. This nightmare was part of what fed into Blackbox.


He did mention one regret – that he let inexperience push him away from the design he truly wanted. Everything worked in the end, but he wishes he had the courage to make the choice that felt right.


Max warns listeners, “Fail because you make it too good, not because you made it too bad.”


Where’s the line? Let’s talk being offensive.


There is no line per say, but there are rules. The goal is to make people laugh and feel good when they play. It’s not to make anyone feel bad. Sometimes the enveloped gets puts but Max tries his best to ensure it’s within these rules.


There was a time, Max recants when he was young and in college. There was a cheap transsexual joke he still regrets. It came about after he saw a post on Tumblr. Someone expressed feelings of being bullied. They said when the card came up, the transsexual player was bullied, and it was no longer a fun time.


“It’s all fun and games… until we become bullies.” Max explains “We have a social responsibility.”


Super Happy Fun Time Uncensored Bonus Content


Fun and games you say? It’s about that time! Max chats with Khierstyn about crowdfunding platforms. At the same time, they chat about (and dissect) campaigns seen on Funded.Today.


**Warning – This is uncut for your listening pleasures! Max Temkin in full swing!**


Episode Outline


Introduction: Max against Humanity; I did it my way.

[08:28] Marketing Strategies? We made a damn good product.  

[14:28] Staying top of mind and marketing on a limited budget.

[21:50] If Obama was our CEO…  

[30:42] Blackbox – Our not-so-secret new business for crowd funders!      

[35:58] Backerkit   

[37:05] The strategy behind marketing Secret Hitler

[43:03] If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?      

[48:46] Where’s the line? Let’s talk being offensive.

[52:30] Super Happy Fun Time Uncensored Bonus Content       


Resources and Sponsor


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Cards Against Humanity

Secret Hitler

Prototyping Secret Hitler (Blog)


Khierstyn’s Product Launch Checklist

Crowdfunding Product Launch Academy

Khierstyn’s e-mail

Best of Craigslist – Cards Against Humanity CEO Ad

Sponsor: BackerKit – use the code “uncut” to get 50% off setup services


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