The max-norm was proposed as a convex matrix regularizer in  and was shown to be empirically superior to the trace-norm for collaborative filtering problems. Although the max-norm can be computed in polynomial time, there are currently no practical algorithms for solving large-scale optimization problems that incorporate the max-norm. The present work uses a factorization technique of Burer and Monteiro  to devise scalable first-order algorithms for convex programs involving the max-norm. These algorithms are applied to solve huge collaborative filtering, graph cut, and clustering problems. Empirically, the new methods outperform mature techniques from all three areas.