FourSquare: What Has Become Of You

English: Dennis Crowley in Foursquare's New Yo...
English: Dennis Crowley in Foursquare's New York office, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 English: Naveen Selvadurai, co-founder of the ...
English: Naveen Selvadurai, co-founder of the social networking site Foursquare, delivering a briefing on "How Companies and Small Business are Using Social Media and Mobile Platforms to Bolster Business". (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I just read about FourSquare yesterday after a long gap. It popped up somewhere because it seems to have had a major haircut. Dennis The Person was not exactly known for haircuts. It is having to raise money at a seriously lower valuation, and it is even seeking to sell itself. It did not have to be this way. At one point it refused to be sold at a billion. I believe Yahoo came knocking.

Location is almost as central to the mobile lifestyle as the search box was to the web when it emerged. At some point I guess FourSquare stopped growing. Granted location has become much more crowded. But there is something to be said of the first mover advantage.

Location is multi-dimensional. FourSquare has hardly gone into the more interesting dimensions. Hardly.

I never have doubted Dennis Crowley was by and large the dominant person behind the idea. He is more the guy who discovered the location space. Naveen was a sidekick. And I have actually spent more in person time with Dennis than Naveen (primarily one long dinner). I have spent more in person time with Crowley's now wife than Naveen. She and I both moved to NYC from the same state! Believe it or not. I guess the Indian thing can be stretched a little too much. One thing that struck me a few years after I moved to NYC was, I was not meeting swarms of Indians I expected to meet. I guess I was going to events strictly following my interests, as opposed to going to Indian evens, and so I was only meeting a few here and there.

Dennis is this charismatic, visionary guy. The cheerleader who gets the big picture. The glue who keeps the team together. The face that the media can hang onto. As in, he does not mind attention. He does not crave it, but he does not mind it. He has that down to earth thing down. Almost like a suave politician.

FourSquare was supposed to put New York City on the map. The tech map.

I am on record at this blog saying Naveen parting ways with FourSquare was a mistake. Not because he was equal to Dennis in contribution, I never thought that. But it's a DNA thing. Sometimes later round VCs can mess up a bit. You don't mess something up just because it's delicate. DNA is delicate. Don't put your fork to it.

You can argue it's the market, it's not Dennis, it's not FourSquare. But the market always swings. Always. We all know that.

FourSquare needs to add a layer to the location space. And rejuvenate itself. I don't know why, but I believe I could help. The new layer has to feel like a new dimension, a dimension that none of the copycats have gone into.

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