Fellow Spotlight: Max Nussenbaum, Are You a Human

Name: Max Nussenbaum

Hometown: Newton, MA

University: Wesleyan University ’12

Advisory Facilitator of Strategic Partnership Systems Marketing, Management, and Analysis,
Are You a Human
Detroit, MI

What initially attracted you to Venture for America?

VFA was entirely different from any other post-college possibility I’d seen, and that was a great thing. There was something amazing about the opportunity to go do something completely new: to work for a company I’d never heard of, in a field I thought I’d never enter, in a city I’d never been to, surrounded by people I didn’t know before, as part of a program that hadn’t existed a year ago. The possibilities in that newness were intoxicating.

What is the best part of being a VFA Fellow?

The groupies. Definitely the groupies.

What does Are You a Human do?

Are You a Human creates quick branded minigames that replace CAPTCHA, the detested scourge of the internet. CAPTCHAs infuriate users, decrease submission rates, and are rumored to have been a contributing factor in Amy Winehouse’s death. PlayThru, our alternative, is so fun that one guy actually wrote us to say he sometimes plays them for fun.

What do you do on a typical day at work?

What don’t I do for my company? On a typical day, I might be writing the delightful copy for our new web site, creating hilarious company videos, conning my way into getting a phone call with the head developer at a major airline, partnering with sketchy Germans to help translate our latest games, and receiving jujitsu massage from the team of supermodel masseuses we keep on retainer. (Just kidding about the masseuses.)

What’s your favorite thing about Detroit?:

Detroit is like a small town in a big city—everyone seems to know everyone else, both within the start-up world and outside of it. Each morning the streets are filled with an eclectic mix of entrepreneurs, hipster artists, old-time Detroiters, and aggressive (but surprisingly polite) bums. Plus, rent is unbelievably cheap: my closet here is bigger than the apartments of everybody I know in New York combined.

What do you hope to accomplish in your time with VFA?

I hope to develop a network of close friendships that will last throughout this life and into the next one, to help Are You a Human become the most valuable company in world history, and to be singlehandedly responsible for Detroit’s transformation into America’s most populous city. Also, I hope to become better at setting realistic goals.

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