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  • Samuel Poon

What can Animal Crossing teach us about running a startup?

Updated: Jul 22



Nintendo Switch’s Animal Crossing: New Horizon has taken over the gaming community during the lockdown as "quarantine bestsellers." The game allows the user to customize their own island and invite new residents to settle. It has also become a great way to connect with your friends by visiting each other’s islands. What was intended to be a game for children has become the perfect pass time during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The beginning is always the hardest

You start out on your remote island with nothing more than the clothes you are wearing and some minor tools. The first 10 days is one of the most grueling parts of the game as you are required to perform mundane tasks such as mining for metal and chopping trees for wood. Fishing is one of your main revenue streams and unfortunately, the fish you get in the beginning are not worth much. It is very rare for any start-up to make large sums of money or have healthy margins at the beginning of their journey. Enjoy the ride and celebrate those milestones.


Invest first and reap the rewards later

One of the highlights of this game is the sheer realism of it (keep in mind, this game is for kids). In the beginning, you are asked to invest the funds you have on a city hall, expansion of the local store, museum, and bridges. In the beginning, it may seem like there is not much to be gained from doing all this, but like any economy, investing in infrastructure promotes businesses and quality of life. As a founder, you will need to invest in infrastructure that is not the most linear in delivering value such as comfortable office equipment, office renovations, free lunches, etc. Just because you do not see it right away, does not mean it is not there.

People and Talent Power

You are allowed a maximum of 10 residents on your island. Of course, you will want to invite the best residents out there as they will bring you great knowledge by providing you DIY (Do It Yourself) cards and items. Top residents, like good employees, rarely show up, so much so that there is an online market for people to buy top residents (ex. Raymond the Cat) off each other. Like running a start-up, you can choose to be patient or spend the money to acquire good talent.

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Still not convinced? Ask yourself this:

  • Is your financial system set up and organized?

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  • Are you aware of key factors that impact your financials?

  • Are you prepared to tough questions from VCs?

Focus on generating revenue. Leave the rest to us. Contact us today for a free consultation.



Until next time,


Rich Zhou


Contributor: Samuel Poon

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