Dublin’s Ger Kelly Is Building Startups Hipster-Style

Hipster CEOWhere most publicity hounds would be alluding to and making subtle jokes about hipster-dom, I thought I’d approach this story with a sense of seriousness.

Then Ger Kelly answered my Skype call with a full-head fur hat complete with earflaps. Headgear aside, Ger is a self-proclaimed non-hipster, which we all know is one of the first signs someone could actually be a hipster.

Ger’s also the creator of Hipster CEO, an iOS app that lets you become the CEO of a simulated startup. Think of it as something like The Sims but completely centered on the idea of bringing a new company to life (and without things like physical bodies, cheat codes and the ability to make your characters have babies while you chuckle.)

Growing up in Dublin, Ger’s been a footballer (soccer player) since he was a kid. Unlike his counterparts playing games like The Sims, though, he was playing Championship Manager, a game “with just numbers and words,” Ger says, where you, the user, are in control of managing a soccer team.

Fast forward through life a bit and he’s found his way to startups. It’s not long before people realize he can develop apps, a sought-after skill if ever there was one.

If you’ve been in the tech space for long, you know it’s quite a regular occurrence for people — regardless of whether or not you know them — to come up to you and say things like, “I’ve got this great idea for a new app!”

As he experienced this phenomenon, Ger had a bit of an ‘aha moment.’ What if there was a way that anybody — tech-savvy, entrepreneurially-minded, or ‘none of the above’ — could answer that question for themselves.

Hipster CEO was, like, birthed, bro.

From there, Ger set out on a mission to show people “how hard it really is to pay attention to and build your stuff.” He’s been developing since the beginning of 2013, and he’s got no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

His second ‘aha moment’ has come more recently. Though the app’s numbers have been on a steady rollercoaster, they have become an addition to his progress, success, and happiness so far.

I don’t mind working my ass off; I’m actually putting food on my table.

Eventually, Ger wants to create something along the lines of a “virtual startup world where people are getting startup skills without having to risk life savings.”

As for me, I’ve been playing Hipster CEO for about two weeks now. I’m already on my third startup, and I can’t help but wonder if I might have an ‘aha moment’ of my own while playing.

Will I come up with my next big idea while assigning an employee to a marketing campaign?

Will I have a better idea of what to do the next time I’m deciding how many kegs to purchase for the office?

Will I start calling my colleagues “bro” more often than I already do?

Visit hipsterceo.com to download the game and find out for yourself.

Tyler Sondag is a startup connoisseur with a hand in anything and everything you could imagine. Hailing from the ever-developing Northwest Mississippi, an alum of Saint Louis University and currently a transplant to St. Louis, Missouri, one of his main missions in life is to get and keep young people engaged in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Follow him on Twitter: @MrSondag.


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