Chad Kihm's Story

Chad and friends showcasing Apoc Apparel

In 2010 I accepted my admission to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for Industrial Engineering. Deep down I knew I was more interested in business than in engineering, but my dad was very successful in his career because he knew how to speak to engineers as a VP of Marketing. I figured it would be easier to learn engineering in school and business skills afterwards or on the side.

In the first quarter of Freshman year I started a clothing business Apoc Apparel with a few other friends who also wanted to learn some business skills while majoring in other subjects. By Junior year we had sold about 1,000 items and every day I saw someone I didn’t know wearing our clothes around campus.

In 2015, six months before graduation, I was studying abroad in Germany and knew I needed to decide what career to choose. So I decided to take a five day trip to Dubrovnik, Croatia to meditate and decide which career path to choose. I thought back to what I knew I would enjoy doing every day… and what came to mind was Apoc Apparel and a strategy guide website I had recently started for the most popular mobile game in the world at the time.

Just a few months earlier I had started the website for Game of War: Fire Age, which had millions of daily active users and was earning over $5M a DAY in revenue. 

I had been playing for about three months and had spent hundreds of hours studying how to “burn” other players. In this game, when you burn someone, you’re often costing them hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of in-game currency. There was no other game like this in the world at the time.

Half the players in my alliance tried to solve their lack of knowledge in the game by heedlessly pouring more money into it. The players who did that quit in a matter of weeks because they never learned how to actually win. This was costing the developers an incomprehensible amount of revenue.

I actually got fed up with my teammates quitting because it made it harder to win competitive events in the game. I tried searching for any educational resources on the game that I could share with my team. Even though there were millions of daily active users for this game, it had only a few small Youtubers, no Websites, no Twitch streamers. 

Six months after launching the website and working with many of the top players in the game to generate accurate strategic content, the site had a combined 800,000 sessions and 2,800,000 page views. 

Google Analytics from Jun  2014 - Jan 2015

The player base was eating it up and I got to know many of the whales/VIPs in the game personally. These guys were spending $100K a week like it was nothing. In fact, the #1 most dominant player “Stayalive77” loved what I was doing for the game so much, he invited myself and three other of his closest friends on an all-expenses paid trip to Dubai for three days.

I sent these pictures to Machine Zone (the game developer) to show them that I am on the inner circle with their VIP players. I know exactly what they want to pay for and what they don’t.

Navi on the left with Stayalive77 on the right

Chad in front of the Burj Khalifa

That’s when we partnered up to ensure new features matched what their VIPs wanted to buy.  

The partnership was a huge success, so I officially formed “GamerSpeak” and went on to build more superuser-led communities that generated authentic actionable feedback for many other gaming titles, seven of which have earned over $1B in revenue

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