Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley has been thinking about and building geo-social apps for ten years. In Part III of this episode of Founder Stories, he tells host Chris Dixon, “Now is our best shot to push that stuff out there . . . [and] invent the future.” What motivates him and his team is “just to get the deas out of our heads and get it into the hands of people.”
Crowley has been waiting a long time just for GPS chips to find their way into every phone, and now that is becoming a reality. It opens up so many possibilities beyond just the check-in. It can remind you of things you want to to do and recommend activities based on where you are and what your friends have done in the same place in the past. “If you think of the phone as a bunch of sensors stuck in this device connected to the network, how can I walk around the city and have the phone come alive and remind me, ‘Oh this is a place you should go to lunch” or “this is the place you read an article about 6 months ago.’”
Crowley also stalks about dealing with Internet celebrity (“building something helps keep you focused”), the pros and cons of being a high-profile startup (raising awareness versus signaling your strategy to competitors), and his notion of bookmarking the world. Just like Instapaper allows you to find stuff on the Web and Read It Later, we have this idea of ‘Do It Later,’” he says. You should be able to click on an article about a restaurant or artwork and add it to your Foursquare so that you can be reminded of it when whatever you want to do is nearby. He also wants to close the gap between publishers like the New York Times that “comes up with a list of the 50 best sandwiches” and the places that benefit when people seeking them out.