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Help Me Interview Dennis Crowley, CEO, Foursquare (And Win Free Tix to Web 2)

By - October 05, 2011

crowley.jpegFoursquare co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowley will give his first 1-1 interview on the Web 2 stage on the conference’s second day, following a morning of High Order Bits and a conversation on privacy policy with leaders from government in both the US and Canada. After Crowley will be a conversation with noted investor Ben Horowitz, then a discussion with leaders from both Visa and American Express.

But let’s focus on Crowley for this post. He and his co-founders have a tiger by the tail in Foursquare, the location-based leader that so far has resisted either demolition or acquisition by larger players like Google and Facebook. The still-young company (two+ years old) recently celebrated its billionth check-in, not to mention a $600 million private valuation. That kind of pressure is continuous and very real, I’ll be asking Crowley about living up to his investor’s expectations.

I’ll also be asking about business model, of course. Foursquare has done a ton of deals with many different kinds of brands, including publishers, but so far does not have a model that scales – though it’s clearly building out a platform for merchants. This puts it in the Groupon business, so to speak, at least in terms of competing for retailers’ time and treasure. So I will clearly be asking about that. Too bad Groupon had to cut out of the agenda (IPO issues), or I could have asked their CEO about Foursquare.

While I could go on, this is where I aks for your input. What do you want to hear from Crowley, about his company?   

As an extra incentive, I’ll be picking the best three questions from these series of posts (including Paul Otellini, Mary Meeker, Michael Roth, Steve Ballmer, James Gleick, Vic Gundotra, and Reid Hoffman, among others.) The authors of those questions will get complimentary passes to Web 2 – a more than $4000 value. So get to commenting, and thank you!

Previously: Mark Pincus, John Donahoe, Marc Benioff, Dick Costolo, Michael Dell. Next up: Mary Meeker.

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14 thoughts on “Help Me Interview Dennis Crowley, CEO, Foursquare (And Win Free Tix to Web 2)

  1. Jeff says:

    The future of location-based social media seems like it has a lot of potential, but the act of checking in – or remembering to–gets in the way. Will FourSq users be auto-checking into locations in the near future, or does that come with too many privacy risks and potential downsides?

  2. Jeff says:

    The location data stream that comes from FourSq seems like it has potential to revolutionize how we see movement of people through cities and beyond. What are some of the uses (and glimpses of the future) of this data that have been really promising or unique? What’s the potential for using this data for policy?

  3. Narendra says:

    Dennis, I’ve heard you have cracked your dome a few times snowboarding. Have any of these produced any epiphanies on how you approach business or life?

  4. S G says:

    I am sure 4square understands the wealth of information and business intelligence it is sitting on for users.

    I would love to know if there are plans to provide these analytics to users, it would be great to see things like a “map” of places I traveled, a “timeline” of sorts and other BI collected from the check-ins.

    Please note, I do know that there is currently some information like “Most explored categories” but I am looking for additional interesting analysis that would compel me to use 4sq even more.

    Are there any plans to have these native BI reports for users sometime in the future?

  5. Greg Ives says:

    QUESTION for your interview: I’d be curious about his plans to tie offline to online. Possibly a way to reward foursquare members to get an affiliate kickback based on locations they’ve frequented and referred?

  6. Eric says:

    Foursquare has pushed to make “checking in” as routine as brushing your teeth, but the novelty has begun to fade away. The savvy consumer has grown accustomed to having location information at their fingertips, but now expects more tangible rewards in return for their personal data. It is this sort of additional value that consumers have grown to expect. Moving forward, how will Foursquare ensure that they are able to satisfy this notion of “what’s in it for me” for their users with contextually relevant and useful exchanges?

  7. Andy says:

    I’d be interested to hear his thoughts on how the Foursquare’s product has evolved from the game of check-ins to what appears to be a local business recommendation & discovery service.

    The new “Explore” option looks to be aimed at creating a ‘Yelp for Friends’ which when combined with Comments, Photos & Tips could have real long term commercial value beyond the fun of just knowing where people are at that moment.

  8. Jeremias Stelter says:

    Now that Foursquare isn’t the only kid in the sandbox – What is Foursquare doing to not only retain top talent but also to attract it?

    Many companies are paying more, offering better benefits etc. That’s nothing new though. How do you do it differently so that you don’t become an incubator for other companies to harvest your employees?

  9. Jonathan says:

    Name one thing that Gowalla or Facebook Places is doing better than Foursquare.

  10. Adam says:

    How expansive do you want your future platform to be? By that I mean, is your vision for Foursquare sticking to the app formula, or do you see it growing beyond an app?

    And, why can’t you check in to Foursquare from your laptop? Let’s say, I’m a technically challenged 30 something, but I’m starting to get into all this “tech craze”. I don’t have a smartphone because I don’t need a data plan. And I don’t have a tablet. I can’t use Foursquare…

  11. Adam says:

    Important aspect of that perspective would be that I’m technically illiterate. I don’t have time to research solutions to that problem.

  12. Takashi Fujii says:

    What do you think of the potential (or issues) of nfc technology for your services?
    There are many business and technical issues but, a single nfc transaction in a store can provide both business/individual much more data in addition to payment.

  13. george says:

    Google purchased your first attempt at LBS, and they eventually killed it. What did you learn from that relationship and could you share any personal insights which convinced you there was still a consumer need to fill? Follow-up, would you consider selling FS to Google, if offered $6B?

  14. candace kuss says:

    Two questions, if I may:

    1. How much do they know about their active users? What kind of person is big on Foursquare and are they doing any marketing to acquire a larger, more mainstream (dare I say Facebook-like) base to satisfy brands that want reach.

    2. I’m an American living in London. My biggest urge to use Foursquare is when traveling, but the roaming charges are a killer. What’s the number one reason it would be worth the money for me to check in right here, right now at the Palace Hotel?

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