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060 Cards Against Humanity Co-Creator Max Temkin

Wednesday 24th February 2021
Cards Against Humanity Co-Creator Max Temkin Follow Your Different™ Podcast

Living legendary designer Max Temkin, co-creator of Cards Against Humanity (“a party game for horrible people”) talks about his ideas on design, company building, his work ethic—or lack thereof—and so much more.

Max’s Non-Existent Work Ethic

Max proclaims himself as a horrible procrastinator with no work ethic. He can never decide to do something and sit down to actually do it. Because of this, he has developed coping mechanisms to get him through last-minute clutch work.

This ties up with the philosophy of necessary and sufficient conditions that he personally believes in.

Working hard is necessary to keep a business running but it is never sufficient. Hard work needs to be coupled with critical thinking, team play and good energy to make legendary things possible.

“No one is successful just because they killed themselves with work.“ – Max Temkin

The Wild Medium: Design

Max says that it is incredibly difficult to break down what it means to be a designer.

After all, so many skills go into design.

There is design thinking, organization and empathy for the user, and then there are the technical skills like typography and color theory.

Because of the many skills that a designer can sink their teeth into, no designer is excellent at everything. It would take more than one lifetime to master them.

For example, Max has never understood color theory, so he stuck to black and white, which eventually became his brand.

“I’ve definitely come to suspect that for many people, what you might call their style is like the coping mechanisms they’ve developed to cover those holes in their skill set.” – Max Temkin

Building Small Things

Max says that people usually build things from the desire to make them just because it would be neat to do so. Some people would put up their creations for the people to decide their fate.

Some would build a company with the mindset of growing its worth into a billion dollars. Max believes that these ideas, however, are rarely delightful and rarely work. In contrast, allowing yourself to think small and unconstrained would help your ideas grow into huge phenomena.

“Very rarely does someone go, ‘I’m gonna change the world with this huge idea’ and then it works exactly as intended.” – Max Temkin

To hear more about design, gaming and the Do By Friday podcast from Max, download and listen to the episode.


Max Temkin is a designer.  

He is best known for co-creating of the #1 selling, category creating “adult party game” Cards Against Humanity.  

He also co-created, Secret Hitler, and Humans vs. Zombies.  

Max is also co-host of the popular podcast, “Do By Friday”.


Max’s Legendary Personal FAQ

Cards Against Humanity – Wikipedia

The Sun UK –  Cards Against Humanity set to be a shocking quiz show on Comedy Central

PR Week – Cards Against Humanity Gorilla Black Friday Marketing!

The New York Times – Letter of Complaint: Cards Against Humanity

Do By Friday Podcast – Overcast

Do By Friday Podcast – iTunes

We hope you enjoyed Max Temkin on this episode of Follow Your Different™! Christopher loves hearing from his listeners. Feel free to email him, connect on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and subscribe on iTunes!