An interview with Dennis Crowley co-founder of Foursquare #FOMLA14

Interview by Jack Hernandez

What did you use to do before Foursquare and what made you start Foursquare?

I had a startup before called Dodgeball. Dodgeball was a check-in app and was sold to Google in 2005. So I was at Google for two years and then Google they turn off Dodgeball, they didn’t want to continue doing it, and after that I didn’t do anything for about a year and then I was like you know if they are going to turn it off, well go back and rebuild it, that’s where the idea of Foursquare came from. Dodgeball was a project I worked while I was at NYU for grad school.

When I was at Google I had a really cool time from 2005-2007! A third of the people we have at Foursquare are from Google and they are some of the smartest people you can find.

Dennis Crowley at Festival of Media 2014 – Miami

How do you see user growth of Foursquare in Latin America.

It is one of the fastest parts of the world, specifically Mexico and Brazil are growing super super fast. One of the reasons we came to this conference was to talk to brands and agencies about what we are doing cause if we are seeing great usage we should be able to sell advertising products to them.

Do you think that mobile is growing in general?

Mobile has been explosive. Assuming it’s still growing. I don’t think it’s top out at all. It’s being growing crazy for us. I have been watching the world wide trends and reading dashboards. I can see various parts of the world that are taking off. Parts of Eastern Europe, like Turkey for example, Turkey is a incredible huge market for all things social media, Foursquare included.

How do you see the future of localization providers and services?

Yeah, I think the stuff that we are building at Foursquare are utilities that hundreds of millions of people will eventually use. I think there are better versions of maps and better versions of guides. Those things will never go out of style. I think what we are doing is better and more personalized items of that. Like more awesome versions of products that used to exist, just like a continued cycle of that.

You have the people and the places within your network. Are you planning to leverage this connection, where you can connect these things together? People communicating with other people?

We thought about like hey how can Foursquare make it easier for you to chat with your friends, how can it make it to easy to talk to strangers? We haven’t built anything yet, it’s just a conversation we had and then Foursquare might become a better place for businesses communicating with users, like hey come back to my cupcake shop or hey you should come to my cupcake shop. How do we facilitate those sorts of conversations.

Whats next for Foursquare and for you? Do you invest in startups?

It’s hard to focus on anything else except foursquare because there is so much going on. I advise a couple of startups, I also invest in a couple of startups and enjoy doing that and probably will continue to stay connected to the startup world but Foursquare keeps us very busy.

For Foursquare, we continue to make the stuff we already made more awesome. There is a lot of room improvement in the products, like the whole world can come there, our vision is that a hundred millions or hundred millions of users should be using our products and how to get ther