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Max Temkin On Cards Against Humanity

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Brent Knepper Cards Against Humanity
Photo by Brent Knepper for Cards Against Humanity

Hillary Trump Cards Against HumanityIf you have ever played the popular card game Cards Against Humanity, you are a horrible person. If you haven’t, prepare to die of laughter. To play, one person reads a question from a black card as everyone chooses the funniest white card from their hand to be chosen. It sounds simple, but with cards like “A big black dick.” and “Not giving a shit about the third world.”, you quickly realize that it is not a game for the weak.

During an exclusive interview with co founder Max Temkin, he tells us about business, Black Friday ideas, and doing things the Cards Against Humanity way. Best known for creating the game, he is also the cofounder of Blackbox, creator of Humans vs. ZombiesSecret Hitler, and Slap .45, and is on the National Finance Committee for Hillary for America. Though involved in politics, he does things a little differently, as you can see with America Votes with Cards Against Humanity. Like a true entrepreneur, the list of projects is endless. He describes himself as just a designer, but to think of him as just that would be foolish. Max Temkin is an inspiration for those aspiring to take their hobbies to the next level.

How did CAH get started?

I’ve talked about this extensively in other interviews, but basically, the co-creators of Cards Against Humanity have a long history of making games together, and Cards Against Humanity was the first good one we play-tested. We put it out for free and it gained a cult following. Then we did a Kickstarter.

What are your backgrounds?

I have a philosophy degree and I work on Democratic campaigns and elections. Some of the other Cards Against Humanity co-creators have backgrounds in economics, science, and advertising.

Why did you decide to create dick jokes instead of working in a different field?

It was mostly a happy accident! We all still have outside interests, though Cards Against Humanity is my biggest project now.

When was your a-Ha moment?

I’m not sure what that means! A time that sticks out in my memory that I knew Cards Against Humanity was pretty special was when I was play-testing it at college… I had a bunch of friends over in my dorm room, we were playing it and laughing, and more and more people kept coming over and joining. The laughter was contagious, and people kept coming in attracted by the spectacle. I saw that happen and I knew something special was going on.

How has sarcasm benefited your company?

Not sure how to answer this one. We always try to find something earnest or authentic to make a joke about, and something that makes us laugh.

What is your on-boarding process?

Is that like when you hire someone? We don’t have a lot of formal procedures. Trin is our events director and is kind of in charge of office morale, so she helps people find their place in the company.staff Cards Against Humanity

Describe your office culture.

We have a large open office that we built in Chicago, it’s a co-working space full of our friends… other designers, artists, musicians, podcasters, and weirdos from around the city.

What is the best way to respond to negative feedback?

I try not to get defensive and rush to defend myself… I usually take a moment to absorb the criticism, and then translate it into something constructive that I can act on. Sometimes people have constructive criticism that I can’t act on, and I just try to make sure that they’re heard.

Who are some influencers that you admire?

I truly hate thinking of people as “influencers,” thinking like that instrumentalizes all of the relationships in your life and makes them transactional. I don’t know that you can think about other people in terms of being an “influencer” or not, and still view them as honest and emotionally available to you.

What is the biggest lesson you learned since starting CAH?

It’s been very hard for me to delegate and give work to other people… even when they’re way better than me. Our design director Amy Schwartz is a much better designer than me, the best designer I’ve ever worked with, and I really look up to her. I know that she outshines me in every skill. But it’s still emotionally so difficult to give up the work.

How do you determine a good employee at CAH?

We look for kind, funny, and well-rounded people who are first good human beings and second good employees. We value a diversity of experience and viewpoint, and whether people have full, real lives outside of work.

What advice would you give to people trying to start their own business?

Every good business that you admire figured things out for themselves. They forged their own path and came up with their own way of doing things. Apple does things the Apple way. McDonald’s does things the McDonald’s way. Cards Against Humanity does things the Cards Against Humanity way. Reading business advice and blindly following what other people did didn’t get those companies anywhere, and it won’t get you anywhere either. To make a successful company or brand, you need to start from first principles and figure out your own way forward.

What advice can you give people new to crowdfunding?

Again the whole notion of “giving advice” on crowdfunding is kind of crazy to me. The whole point is to authentically figure out what you’re about and how to connect with other people. Some advice I like from Matthew Frederick’s 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School is that successful designers learn to make design decisions conditionally – that is, with the awareness that they may or may not work out as you continue toward a final solution.

Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?

Tough question – I have no idea if people will still be playing Cards Against Humanity or care about us at all in five years. For the last five years, I’ve had a personal goal of making one small Kickstarter project a year. Sometimes they’re really small and personal like my Maxistentialism zine. And sometimes they’re huge public projects like my new game Secret Hitler. But I’d like to think that I’ll still be doing that in a year.

12-days-of-holiday-bullshit

How did you come up with 12 Days of Holiday Bullshit?

We needed to come up with some way to market Cards Against Humanity during the holidays that was funny and still had integrity. The first year we did a holiday stunt, it was a pay-what-you-want pack and we made $70,000, which we donated to charity. We felt like the next year we needed to out-do that. The blind subscription, where you pay us and get a series of mystery gifts in the mail, was a nice escalation. We did that for three years and now we’re taking a break.

How often do you guys visit Hawaii 2?

I’ve never been! I hear from lots of people who have been to visit, and apparently it’s really nice during the summer.

What do you do with all the dumb ideas that people submit?

Mostly we use them as kind of raw brainstorming ideas… I don’t think we’ve ever gotten a crowd suggestion that went directly into the game.

What are some Black Friday ideas that didn’t make the cut?

We probably investigate a hundred ideas that don’t pan out to get to the one that works. The original idea was a $0.01-off coupon, but we ultimately rejected it because we felt that it was still a marketing deal. We always want to do something genuinely surprising and risky. This year’s is going to be a doozy.

How did you come up with the idea for The Bigger Blacker Box?

People asked us for a big box that held all the cards, and over my strong objections, we decided to give them what they wanted. This was the best product we could design that fit those needs.

A few Redditors mentioned that they want to send you beer. Has this happened? Have you received anything out of the ordinary?

We’ve gotten all kinds of crazy gifts and things from people. I love that people feel like they have a relationship with us and want to send us stuff, I think that’s a sign that we’re getting our message out there and our voice is coming through.

 

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

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Business

Holiday 2017 Gift Guide for Stocking Stuffers

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2017 gift guide

Stockings are a traditional ornament to Christmas, but the stuffings inside are what makes it jolly. Stocking stuffers redefine gift giving, that neither size or price matters in the premise of giving a present. These miniature gifts give entrepreneurs the advantage to pick up gifts last minute. The standards for stocking stuffers are to simply be small and compact, but that shouldn’t reflect on the quality of the gift. When entrepreneurs want to impress their receivers, these are the gifts to provide for them in the 2017 Gift Guide:

Vanacci

2017 gift guide

 

The Vanacci lockstone bracelet is the bracelet that I have been waiting for. I have been using the Vanacci bracelet for about a month now and I haven’t taken it off since. Not only is there quality fantastic, there is the added benefit of the my unique scent/cologne will follow me around throughout the day.

Like most men, I did not follow the original directions of spraying the bracelet and letting it sit. I sprayed directly on the arm, and rarely have to reapply. My personal band is black and goes with just about anything. This is a great gift for the fashionable male.

Moment Lenses

2017 gift guide

The size and quality of Moment Lenses are impressive. The detail on each glasses are built professionally, while the weight of the lens are kept at a decent size. These attractive lenses are perfect for either starters or professionals in photography, since the product is easy to navigate through. The lenses offered are in the shape of a Wide 18mm lens, or a Macro 25mm lens, and also includes a 170 degree Superfish field of vision lens. Moment Lenses now have a battery case as well, that is also equipped with its new mounting system. They now offer external shutter buttons, travel cases, and other accessories all on their website. With finally an attached via a mounting clip(these new lenses twist 180 degrees). The perfect gift for self-proclaimed photographers from the 2017 Gift Guide.

Nomad’s Leather Charging Wallet

2017 holiday gift guide

Nomad brings the perfect combo to solving iPhone’s battery problem and wallet situation. The wallet contains a thin lithium-ion battery that holds a 2400 mAh charge in their built in cable. Mobile users are saved from a sudden battery shortage with this unique product. The idea of applying a charger within a wallet stems from the belief that we will always have our wallets with us. Now, with a charger embedded into our wallets, you can charge your phone whenever or wherever. Displayed in brown, the advanced SoC (system on chip) microprocessor additionally enable the battery to fully charge your mobile device. A first choice gift to a loved one from the 2017 Gift Guide. 

Upright Go

2017 gift guide

The device that is about 4.25’ long, 1.5’ wide, and 1’ thick, Upright Go is the perfect gift for people who slouch. The product is made of silicone rubber material and can be used up to 10 days on a single charge. Upright is also connected to your iOS or Android smartphone app, with individual training plan for gradual change. The strict reinforcements in Upright’s gentle vibration delivers a cue to help you remember to sit up. The method is taken from B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning theory, that is effectively used in Upright technology today. The obvious gift to offer in the 2017 Gift Guide. 

Anker SoundBuds Curve Bluetooth Headphones

2017 gift guide

Anker headphones are the perfect fit for athletes. The headphones have an earhook with a waterproof nano coating for complete comfort, this also includes a gym and running workout headset with pouch. Athletes can continue their rigorous workouts with Anker headphones on due to their lightweight condition. The product itself is durable with a strong connection to devices up to 30 feet. Their most special quality is within their CVC noise cancellation feature that runs on 12.5 hours of battery. Although Anker’s bluetooth headphones have amazing qualities, a headphone can’t be rated without mentioning their sound. With that, Anker provides a quality sound with it’s ample bass, that will allow users to really capture a feel for their music. 

Anker PowerLine + Lightning Cable with Pouch

2017 gift guide

The charging cable for many apple products, including the new iPhone X to the iPod touch. The product is named the lightning cable simply due to their fast speed charge, due to their wide diameter wires and minimized cord resistance. Like many of Anker’s products, the lightning cable is durable. The cable is 5x more durable than other original products also. The product’s performance remained constant, no matter how many times the cable has been bent. The 3ft toughest and fastest cable product comes in black, grey, white, red, and blue. 

Anker PowerCore Portable Charger

2017 gift guide

The Anker powercore ultra-compact 10000mAh portable charger is designed to be smaller than a candy bar. Their unique cut ridged-surface brings a new experience to users, allowing a precise grip to the charger. The surface is also intended to avoid smudges so the product is looking presentable always. This includes an output temperature control, high voltage protection, current regulation, and more. Their most distinctive feature is within their 8-light led sensor to detect the power percentage on the charger. One of Anker’s most unique product and a good choice for the 2017 Gift Guide.

Mikol Marble Notebook

2017 gift guide

For writers, sketch artists, or simply anyone, Mikol provides an attractive notebook for a gift. The Mikol notebooks offer a Carrara white and the Nero Marquina style, made of 100% real natural stone from Spain. With this, their brand name is engraved in gold on the front. This can be altered by an additional $25 for a word of your choice engraved below. The notebook contains 180 pages of cream colored paper, while each section is divided up by a variety of different types of styles. One section of the notebook provided lined pages, the next a grid, and the last section, blank pages. A quality notebook for all types of talents.

Sudio AB

2017 gift guide

Headphones are an essential asset due to the digital age, Sudio AB are as aesthetically pleasing as it is practical. The wireless headphones are lightweight, easy to use, and are perfect for entrepreneurs who desire functionally and beautifully designed products. Tres headphones are ideally for office use, with the 9-hour battery life and quick charge capability. The packaging is simplistic and mirrors Apple’s minimal designs. The headphones themselves come in neutral colors with an accent of black, gold, or rose gold that appears more like pink in person. Different size ear comforters allow fit for a variety of users, although long term wear can leave the ear a bit sore.

 

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Holiday 2017 Gift Guide For Techies

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2017 gift guide

Gift giving is either a pleasant or overwhelmingly pressuring experience. There are various types of people to shop for and it is difficult to indicate their interest. More complications arrive as an entrepreneur, there is simply no time to look for gifts. Fortunately, with new and improved technology products being released, the search for gifts are located here with the 2017 Gift Guide. Everyone is an announced techie now in modern times with the release of newly different products. With the iPhone X, Qi charger, and more, no matter their level of tech-knowledge, these are the perfect gifts for techies.

Sewell Direct Mos Pack

2017 gift guide

The Sewell Direct Mos Pack carries all of your electronic devices in an organized fashion. It is the backpack that allows you to plug in to charge your laptop, tablet, and more. The charging mechanic of the backpack didn’t seem to be that useful at first but after a bit of adjusting it was convenient and quick for me to unload my laptop and begin work. The one thing I want to have seen was the ability to have the charge stay stationary since it was sitting in an uncomfortable position in the bag, additionally I had a protector on my laptop making it unable to fit into the dedicated pocket for the laptop. With its durable and rigid designs I can safely say it could protect my laptop and with all the custom navigation with all the wires I had, organization was easy. Especially the top pocket, which held my most used items and was quick to access most importantly.  

iPhone X

2017 gift guide

In honor of the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, Apple released the iPhone X in November, just in time for the holiday season. The upgrade contains numerous features that are highly beneficial. With the removal of the home button and the add in on a wireless charging option, the iPhone X stands out from their past models. A Qi charger will come along in the order to wirelessly charge your phone, however, the most popular upgrade is within the camera. The dual Optical Image Stabilization helps avoid blurry pictures due to camera shakes, and as a result, produces intensive high quality photos. Although the iPhone X is also water and dust resistant, their camera feature is an upgrade that is unmatched. The ultimate gift that is desired from all techies and the first choice in the 2017 Gift Guide. 

Choetech Qi Charger

2017 gift guide

 Choetech reveals their new wireless charging system for the iPhone X with the Choetech Qi charger. Upon initial review and opening the box, the overall quality was lacking, but after placing it on my desk, I can’t stop using it. A few weeks back, I purchased the iPhone 8 plus. Yes, I know. Judge me., One of the leading selling factors for me was the wireless charging. I never knew I needed the wireless charge, until using it. At my office desk I have the core nerd essentials, funko pop toys, legos, computer stand, keyboard, and my Choetech charger. I use the wireless charger primarily in the office and can grab my phone and go as I wish.

I decided to go a step further and take the charger home with me. I placed it on my night stand and in order to indicate if my phone is charging, you are met with a rather dim light. Contrary to their competitor product, ROCK qi charger which has an extremely “loud” light that turns an entire dark room light.

After leaving the phone on the charger overnight, I did notice my phone was considerably hot. Not drastic, but it was indeed warm to the touch. I found with this product, it’s best to use the device in an office setting that promotes the use of place and grab.

Incase DJI Mavic

2017 gift guide

Incase contains various technology products that are subdue. This is by far the best case for any magic pro users. Upon opening the case, you immediately see the foam casing that will secure the magic pro, controller, extra batter, and various items in it’s case. The foam casing layout alone is enough to already win as best in class, but not to mention there is additional space to store things like extra propellers, entire charging unit, and more than likely a third battery (I did not try this personally)

The overall weight of the case was light and can easily fit on any carry on/check in luggage or backpack. Upon testing, I accidentally dropped the incase carrying case and the magic was still securely tucked away, unscathed without a scratch.

Overall, this compression case was marvelous and perfect for the 2017 Gift Guide, but it’s as expected from a quality company like Incase.

Anker

2017 gift guide

Anker’s Powercore Slim 500 Charger is a light and compact battery. In offering a fast charge for both Androids and Apple devices, this is a gift for techies, travelers, and anyone who possesses a mobile device. Anker’s slim charger is designed at a uniquely perfect size to carry with your phone. The weight also is light but the most impressive feature is within the speed charge to almost any device of up to 2A. Identified as part of an essential 2017 gift guide for mobile users.

Twelve South Hirise

2017 gift guide

The height adjustable stand for MacBooks deliver a comfortable working position for the office, and at home. The Twelve South Hirise has a soft silicon grip to your laptop without damaging it, that is additionally attached to a V-shaped arm. With a structure that has an opening at the bottom with the V, this product allows complete airflow around your laptop in case of overheating. The adjustment lifts your MacBook between 2-6 inches above the surface to support good posture. This product prevents you from slouching and is perfect for tech entrepreneurs that are working on their laptops 24/7. The Twelve South Hirise allow entrepreneurs to get work done safely.  

Nomad USB Charging Hub

2017 gift guide

Tech entrepreneurs are on a constant move and are dependant on their phones. These mobile devices guide all communication and business activities so without it, entrepreneurs are inhibited from work. With the Nomad USB charging hub, you and the whole team can charge their devices from up to five different stations. The availability in multiple charging outlets allow users to destress about finding a station to charge their phones. Uniquely, the Nomad USB charging Hub has an ambient light sensor that mutes the LED indicator in the dark. An essential 2017 gift guide choice for a business team.

Super NES Classic

2017 gift guide

A collision of modern technology with classical components, the Super NES classic is a nostalgic gift to receive. To fully relive your childhood, the gaming system offers the Super Mario RPG, Donkey Kong Country, Street Fighter, and more games from the original Super Nintendo. The product has a SNES Classic Edition Console, two controllers, AC adaptors, and HDMI cables to come along to complete the purchase. There is an additional HDMI cable to grant access to play the games on your television. The Super NES Classic is an absolute choice for a 2017 gift guide for techies.

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Business

Increase Business During The Holiday Season

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holiday season

The holidays are quickly approaching and when running a business there is plenty to do to get ready. The holiday season is a busy time for shopping, gift giving, and should be a busy time for sales in your business. This is the time to ramp up with marketing in creative ways because of the influx of sales that will be coming your way. Making sure that your business is prepped for the return of loyal customers and for any new customers that may come your way will be vital. Here are some tips to prepare your business ahead of time for the holiday season.

 

Make sure your information is up-to-date

During the holiday sales rush, especially during Black Friday and Christmas you may see an influx of new customers. In order to prepare for this you must make sure that your information is up-to-date. Your website must have accurate contact information on it and your social media must be customer appropriate. If you have an office or location is the address on the website correct? You do not want to risk losing out on potential business because of careless errors or typos that could quickly make the customer lose interest. If someone is taking time to visit your website, making yourself easily accessible takes the hassle off of the customer.

 

Holiday Promotions

It never hurts to treat your current and new customers to discounts or promotions. In fact, this is an effective way to get customers excited about what is to come and gives incentive to loyal customers to return. Find creative ways to promote the deals through social media, giveaways, or contests so that it keeps people engaged. This will help your sales and also potentially bring a new wave of clients through the doors. If you have loyalty or rewards programs, modifying them during the holidays is a good idea, even if you need to offer bigger rewards or discounts.

 

Update your website

Many people want to avoid going out to stores during the holidays and do the majority of their shopping online. This growing trend can be an advantage for you if you have a functional, optimized, updated website. If you sell products or services online you need to have your website prepared for traffic. There are a number of factors that need to be in place before your website is ready. Your images should be high quality and related to the products, your content should be optimized for SEO, and your inventory should be up to date. You should be paying close attention to what items are available so that you can quickly re-stock what sells out. Having deals for online shopping customers only is another way to present incentives to customers and bring traffic to the website.

 

Create a gift guide

Creating a gift guide is a fun way to get customers excited about your products. The holidays are the time that people are searching extensively for what to buy their loved ones. There are even holiday gift guides for pet owners! In this case, a gift guide is a great way to influence those decisions. Getting a spot in the gift guides of influential websites and blogs can be huge for your brand’s marketing campaign! In some cases you may have to pay for this promotion, but in many cases it can be earned through general interest in your product.

 

Engage on social media

It is great to have a holiday gift guide, an up-to-date website, and marketing campaign but without an audience these things are pointless. If you have a brand that has been running for awhile the rise of social media should be one of the biggest outlets that you use for promotion. Your campaign cannot market itself, and social media is key for expanding your reach in a fast way. A creative visual campaign on social media can go viral and cause your business to blow up in hours. Take advantage of the direct connection to customers and engage your base while humanizing your brand.

 

The holiday season is a festive time and can be a great time for your business if you make sure that all of these things are in order, this holiday season can be a successful one for your business. Some things to remember: reach out on social media even when you are not in promotion mode, create a visual campaign, promotions and loyalty rewards programs go a long way, and make sure your website is updated. If your holiday sales season goes great that can snowball into bigger and better things for the rest of the year and the new year.

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