Well Made

Max Temkin, Blackbox: Disregarding Rules – Well Made E56

August 22, 2018 · RSS · Apple Podcasts

“Cards Against Humanity, by far, was the dumbest idea of all the ones that I worked on, but it was the one that took off.”

Receiving email causes Max Temkin "almost unbearable agony", but he endured it to schedule this special episode of Well Made. Max is a designer, comedy writer, game designer, and political activist. In 2011, Max and seven other friends crowdfunded one the most successful games on Kickstarter — Cards Against Humanity. They would go on to create more games like Secret Hitler, spawn several CAH expansion packs, prank the world on occasion, and generally do whatever the heck they want, within reason, of course. With their shipping company, Blackbox, they’re making it easier to get independent-owned projects fulfilled. The business evolved from tools they built.

There isn’t quite a clear through line in Max’s career, besides a subversive, no-holds-barred approach, and that seems to be the point. On this episode, Max talks about creating his own rules about doing business (4:54). He shares how they build Cards’s sometimes-inappropriate-but-always-hilarious brand of writing into the company (13:39). He shares more about Blackbox (23:30) and what they learned from shipping one of the most funded Kickstarter games (26:28). Even after rapid growth, Max talks about the growing pains of their startup (28:58). Max discusses the games he’s created and what he's playing nowadays (52:25). Finally, Max shares how a good game (and business) is all about creating a rich narrative.

You can follow Max Temkin on Twitter.

Blackbox Box Factory

Also mentioned on the show:

Header photo by John Sturdy via Chicago Reader.

You can find this and all future episodes on iTunes, Google Play, and here on the Lumi blog. This episode was edited by Evan Goodchild.

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