March 14th, 2011

#SXSWi Session Notes: Enabling New Experiences and Creating Serendipity Through Check-ins

These are my raw notes from this session.

Dennis Crowley, co-founder of Foursquare, interviewed by Pete Cashmore, founder of Mashable.

Crowley crowned the mayor of SXSW.

Announcement: lightened up API limits to allow people to build things for themselves. Taking venue IDs from a bunch of different providers.

Foursquare 3.0: Check-ins are more interesting in the archived history sets. recycling your data and giving it back to you in the form of recommendations. Game mechanics that encourage you to do more interesting things. The core piece of data gets really interesting when you look back.

Facebook Places integration, not opposed to it, there is just not a demand for it.

Want to build the tools that bridge the gap between what you see online and what you experience in the real world.

Competitors are everyone. Specifically, the big players because Foursquare has grown up, like Google and Facebook.

Build something that makes people’s lives more interesting.

Group messaging really the break out for SXSW 2011. SMS has never had a “reply all” or cc function, these apps fix that. Like GroupMe.

Last round of funding was in June 2010. Focused on putting the product and vision in the best hands possible. Right now, it is the team that they have in place.

Have 7.5 million users. 250,000 merchants are using the merchants system.

Dennis Crowley is 34 years old.

Business model is the stuff they are doing with merchants. Just launched a new specials products. Does it put them in competition with Groupon? Groupon is driving new customer. Foursquare is driving customer loyalty.

Not convinced that people want the coupon pushed go your pocket when you walk pastor. More interested in having a message push to your pocket that says this the coffee shop that Alex is always talking about. They want recommendations running in the background rather than the coupons or promotions running in the background.

Want to make it fun and playful, want game mechanics, want recommendations.

Apps on top of the Foursquare API: using places database, pushing checkins back into Foursquare, health department database on top so when you check in, you get a push message telling you its rating.

Plan 12-18 months out. Don’t want to plan too far in advance because you acne predict the technology.

NFC is being considered. QR code to check in.

Haven’t done tablet stuff yet because it is hard enough keeping up with the Blackberry and iPhone and Android.

Worked with over 200 brands to create branded pages and badges. Trying to figure out how to work with brands outside of retail locations. History Channel example, Foursquare can become a lens.

Foursquare is coming at the check in differently than Gowalla. Foursquare is looking at it from a bigger approach with merchants. Recognizes the design of Gowalla is prettier.

Crowd sourcing data.

Foursquare ambassador program.

50 people in the company, 40 people came to SXSW.

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