Max is the founder of Make Fortnite Skins and calls Kansas home.
How did you start Make Fortnite Skins and did you know it would become this popular?
My interest in gaming stems from my father who started the general obsession with technology in my family from a young age. He is a nerd and loves buying the newest tech on the market and tinkering with it as much as possible. The creation and inception of my website was very unusual. I noticed that people in various communities were interested in skins for Fortnite so I started trying out different platforms and found Bubble to be the most useful and usable to me personally. The process of learning to use Bubble was surprisingly simple, the entire experience is very streamlined and allows for users with little to no experience coding experience to efficiently produce applications and websites. The very first thing I did was just the simple tutorials to get a feel for the software. Within 3 weeks after being introduced to Bubble, I released a fully functional version-1 of my application. Less than a day after I finished creating it there were over 150,000 visits on the page so honestly, I didn’t really get the opportunity to set milestones. During the process of creating the site I had a general idea of what sort of traffic I could expect based on what I could directly produce from Reddit. I had been fairly active on r/FortniteBR for quite some time and had been pretty successful in getting posts to the front page. I assumed that given the novelty of my idea, I could expect a front-page visit after posting.
Ultimately this is exactly what happened but instead of just staying on Reddit, the site spread insanely fast. By the time I woke up next morning, there were articles in Forbes, IGN and Daily Mail about my site. There were several large YouTube channels that picked up on the site as well and helped to further spread its influence. During peak hours on the first day there were over 1,500 active users, which was incredible. Essentially my site went from complete obscurity to being all over the internet in less than 24 hours. The experience was pretty amazing, and as a 19 year old I was beyond excited to be featured in so many different areas so quickly.
What are some games you really enjoy playing and why? Fortnite is kind of a gateway into gaming for many people so your recommendations will be cool
My favorite game series of all time by far is Dark Souls. To be completely honest, Dark Souls is about as far away from a gateway into gaming as possible. The game prides itself on being incredibly challenging and almost entirely focused on solo play. I appreciate the difficulty and absolutely love a challenging experience in gaming, so nothing quite compares for me personally. I have played a lot of great games over the years but for me the most stand out of those would be, in no particular order:
- Dark Souls Series (including Bloodborne)
- Doom 2016 Remake
- Age of Mythology (a classic game from my childhood)
- Borderlands 2
- Destiny 1 and 2
- The Last of Us
- Elder Scrolls Skyrim
I feel as if that list effectively sums up my favorite games of all time, there is bit of everything there.
We often hear people reference athletics or mindfulness as having crossover benefits, but do you find games develop skills in problem-solving or math or another non-gaming scenario?
This is a very interesting question and one I haven’t had the opportunity to explore fully. In my personal opinion, playing video games improve traditional motor skills and reaction times. There have been a variety of studies showing that avid gamers have great hand-eye coordination and have the ability to multi-task more easily than others. There is sort of a stigma associated with playing games regarding mental and physical health and I will be the first to agree, excessive amounts can absolutely cause issues, but I feel the issue may be overstated and exaggerated when there are absolutely some benefits as well.
From the perspective of a spectator, people that play video games professionally are displaying some of the most impressive acts of skill imaginable. The level of complexity associated with playing at that level is amazing once you dive into every facet of their performances. To me, this level of performance is comparable to that of a chess grandmaster, if not more complex. There is an amazing amount of depth and I think that heavily contributes to why it is so successful in the modern market, especially with younger audiences.
What advice do you have for other teens or young adults in Kansas and more broadly looking to build their own startup/launch their own app?
I would say the most important thing is to recognize that it is still entirely possible to create a large-scale business from obscure places. Not every startup has to be born in Silicon Valley. There is ample opportunity all over the country and in nearly every facet of life. For a large portion of young adults or teenagers in smaller towns, one of the biggest struggles will be finding people who are also interested in business. This can be overcome by reaching out and using the internet to communicate with great minds all over the world. You have the same access as nearly every other person on the planet, the only advantage people in large cities have is that they know more people.
The town I live in now has less than 1,000 residents, my high school class had around 70 students. I have been able to create something that millions of people have seen all over the world. As individuals, especially if you are young like myself, you will probably face a lot of opposition. Unfortunately, this is something you simply must deal with. Not every person is going to support and understand what you are doing or trying to achieve. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve these goals and you don’t have to conform to the ideologies of those around you. My personal philosophy here is pretty simple, it’s not the location, status, or age of the person that matters, it’s really just their personal willingness to learn that will define their success.