A business against regular business?

Sensory overload is real. With a smart phone in our hands, it’s difficult to distance ourselves from the constant bombardment to read, watch, listen, and consume.

This makes starting a business tricky. It’s true that right now there are more platforms to market products than ever before. Social media, when used by a savvy businessperson, can reap a huge following and profit. (No book does a better job of illuminating this claim than Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.)

But there are many components necessary to help the signal cut through the noise. A great product and intelligent accounting are no brainers. But what about being funny? Getting consumers to enjoy the product and like the people who make it?  Maybe even, at times, giving the product away for free?

Cards Against Humanity is a game that’s not for the faint of heart. Imagine an R-rated Apples to Apples, and you’ve got the concept. That might not be your cup of tea, but what’s interesting is this article by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin. She does a good job illuminating the Cards Against Humanity founders’ business philosophy. Money quote:

I called Temkin, the 26-year-old Chicago-based game designer and graphic artist who’s something of a ringleader for his co-creators of Cards, to ask if what he and his friends have created is merely an extraordinarily profitable hobby. He tells me the company behind Cards is indeed incorporated and that the company recently obtained a business address–a sort of small-scale co-working-space Temkin manages. (Temkin also takes graphic-design freelance gigs and designs other games.) But as a company, Cards Against Humanity isn’t trying to emulate corporations.

“To me a ‘company’ seems to be something with cost-benefit analysis, and that tries to make a profit at every turn,” he says. “Our main priority is to be funny–and to have people like us.”

The article is fun to read in its entirety. The game creators definitely run a unique business. I love this excerpt from the article:

On Black Friday this past year, Cards ran something of an anti-sale, pricing the box at $30, with a note, “Today only! Cards Against Humanity products are $5 more. Consume!”

Counterintuitive, and it worked. More orders were placed on 2013’s Black Friday than the year before.

The tools are out there to create a business, market products, and communicate with consumers. But successful people need creativity–now more than ever.