This browser game takes you through the madness of founding your own startup

This browser game takes you through the madness of founding your own startup


Do you dream of one day being your own boss, or growing your germ of an idea into a billion-dollar business? Before you take the plunge, you might want to spend a few hours with The Founder.

Developed and crowdfunded by researcher Francis Tseng, this browser game puts you in the shoes of a startup founder looking to make it big with their next venture. You start off with a small amount of seed money from investors and the option to delve into hardware or software when building your company.

Once you’ve hired a couple of employees, you’ll need to put them to work building products by combining two product types (such as social network + ecommerce). You’ll then have to battle rivals for market share, and use that money to grow your company, research technologies and branch out into other verticals like defense and entertainment.

While the game’s design details offer subtle commentary on the startup trend at large – from company names that spoof real ones like Kougle to the option of offering office perks like gym memberships and beer on tap, the difficult decision-making under the surface of this seemingly simple game is what really gives The Founder its gravitas: How much should you offer a new employee? What will it cost to fund your next product? Should you get into the arms industry?

Once you get the hang of it, you can spend hours playing The Founder, as the game runs as long as you continue to make money for your board of directors. Its gameplay feels similar to Kairosoft’s mobile titles that have you running a game dev studio and a ramen shop, but the decision tree has more than just a financial impact on your progress.

Tseng, a researcher-in-residence at the New Inc. incubator at the New Museum, built The Founder over the past year and a half after being inspired by his own experiences in Silicon Valley. Speaking to Fast Company, Tseng noted, “The way to win ethically is to get to a point where you feel like you’re making a good amount of money and just stop. The only way to win is not play.”

You can disregard his advice and give The Founder a go by visiting this page.

Via Fast Company

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