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Want to know what it’s like to be a hipster CEO? There’s an app for that

Hipster CEO is like The Sims for startups 


Kate Knibbs


Posted on Mar 26, 2014   Updated on May 31, 2021, 2:02 pm CDT

What would you do with $14,000 and a startup dream? If you’re curious about what it’s like to start a company from scratch but you don’t have the bank account or cojones to do it, there’s an easy way to explore what it’s like to walk a mile in Evan Spiegel’s shoes or zip up Zuckerberg’s hoodie: Just download Hipster CEO, an iOS app that simulates life as a startup founder.

Players get to choose a startup genre, hire employees, field offers to buy, and strategize their way to boom or bust. Hipster CEO is to starting a real company as what owning a Tamagotchi is to caring for a real dog, of course, but it’s a fun Tamagotchi, and creator Ger Kelly is committed to making the experience as immersive as possible. He’s currently writing a major update to the game that will make it social, so players will be able to compete against each other à la FarmVille.

“Just today I sat down to write the new version I have planned, and it’s going to be a considerable departure from the current iteration,” he told the Daily Dot. The app’s fans want to compete against each other, so he wants to tweak the app’s gameplay to make it more interactive. He’s also working on an Android version, because Samsung fanboys want to be hipster CEOs just as much as iPhone drones do.

Kelly’s trajectory as the founder and sole employee of Hipster CEO resembles what happens within the game: He started with a modest bank account and created a digital company from scratch. “The similarities were really kind of weird, actually,” he said. After the last startup he worked for went kaput, he needed cash and something new to put in his portfolio, so Kelly started working on Hipster CEO. “Some of the stuff that happens in the game is definitely stuff that’s happened to me, or stuff I’ve witnessed happening in the Irish tech sector,” the Dublin-based entrepreneur said.

Will Kelly write in a special section on what to do if your startup is acquired by Facebook, since that seems to be happening more and more often these days? He’s still working on the new version of Hipster CEO, but you might as well start playing now. That way, you’ll be able to say you liked the old one better, like a true hipster.

Photo via Flickr/Guian Bolisay (CC BY-SA 2.0) 

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*First Published: Mar 26, 2014, 1:36 pm CDT