CFU 130 – [Reprise] “Stay True to Your Art”: How Max Temkin Raised or Helped Raise $10 Million on Kickstarter with NO Paid Advertising, Rejecting “Marketing Tricks”, and Ignoring “Guru Advice” (Like Mine!)
Crowdfunding Uncut | Kickstarter| Indiegogo | Where Entrepreneurs Get Funded
Crowdfunding Uncut | Kickstarter| Indiegogo | Where Entrepreneurs Get Funded
CFU 130 - [Reprise] "Stay True to Your Art": How Max Temkin Raised or Helped Raise $10 Million on Kickstarter with NO Paid Advertising, Rejecting "Marketing Tricks", and Ignoring "Guru Advice" (Like Mine!)

“The smartest thing we did was reject old fashion, old media, old world advice of how to trick people into giving you their money” – Max Temkin

 If you are becoming frustrated, depressed, and disillusioned learning about how to raise money to fund your project, then this podcast will inspire you.

Max Temkin has directly raised, or advised in a number of projects that have raised over $10 million total on Kickstarter. 

You MAY have heard of them…

In December, 2015, Max raised $1,479,046 for “Secret Hitler”, a social deduction table game based in pre World War 2 Germany. Players have to help or hinder the beautifully illustrated Junta-Komodo-Dragon-Adolf-Hitler from taking over the government. His goal was $54,450 and he raised over $100,000 in the first 24 hours.

But that is not where he started.

His first project was Cards Against Humanity, one of the first games in the early days of Kickstarter, raised “only” $15,540 but since exploded and has been #1 Best Seller on Amazon for Toys and Games for as long as we can remember.

(…and is a staple at every games night I host with friends!)

In fact, Cards Against Humanity, as of publishing, occupies 3 – WOW! –  of the top 20 spots on the Best Seller List including the TOP 2, besting classics like Jenga and Connect 4.

Max also helped advise his friends who made the Most Backed Game in Kickstarter history,  Exploding Kittens, which raised $8,782,571.

Max understands Kickstarter, the Kickstarter Community, and his audience, probably better than anyone on the planet.

But Max is not a “marketer”. He hates “gimmicks” and “tricks” and “gurus who don’t know what they are talking about”.

If you are feeling jaded by the Kickstarter Marketing World, and think that in order to fund your project you need to sacrifice your vision, then listen now. It will be the best 38 minutes of your day, guaranteed!


You will discover

  • The number #1 Trend in Kickstarter Today
  • Why Max still has the “fear to launch” and it never goes away, even after millions of dollars raised
  • Why it is important to ignore the temptation to look for “tricks” and “gimmicks” to hit your goal and “focus on the art”
  • Why no one knows really knows what the future of your project, or any project, holds
  • What it means to “front load” your project, and why it is absolutely critical to the success of your project (…and also when it isn’t!)
  • Why “failing a project is a gift”…and how to embrace failure so “you are not on the hook to build something nobody wants”
  • Why you should never take the money if you don’t reach your funding goal on Indiegogo
  • Why you should “Show don’t tell” to sell your project
  • The importance of “user testing” and “iteration” to produce the best product possible before you launch your campaign (Max took a year and over a hundred iterations to get Secret Hitler just right
  • The importance of knowing your market better than they know themselves
  • The difference between “a good project and a good life”
  • Why your story is so important and why you need to be crystal clear communicating what it is about
  • Your page should clearly explain why a backer should not fund your project
  • How crushing his funding goal on Cards Against Humanity set the project delivery back


Famous last words:

“Finally, I am not the funniest guy in the room”

-Del Close

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Max on Twitter

Secret Hitler

Cards Against Humanity

Max’s Other Projects

  • Humans vs Zombies – Help develop the software that powers games of Humans vs. Zombies at over 350 locations and universities all over the world.
  • Philosophy Posters – Ten giant philosophy posters with big ideas presented simply.
  • Wearwolf – A simple game about deceiving your friends.
  • Maxistentialism Zine – A monthly zine about philosophy, design, humor, and social insects, delivered to your door for one year.
  • Spelunky Dance – An interpretive dance for Andy Baio.

 Exploding Kittens



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