Feature Friday: Places People Go Next

I'm a data geek. I love data. And I love it when companies do interesting things with data, particularly my data.

So a few weeks ago, I was stunned to be told by Foursquare that the ice cream shop I had just stepped into was the most popular place people go to right after the japanese restaurant I had just left. This is a new feature Foursquare has rolled out on Android and I expect will be in the next iOS build.

I call the feature "places people go next" and I think it is awesome. Here's a screenshot I took of my home screen right after I checked into the Shake Shack on Wednesday at lunchtime.

Foursquare places to go next

So after a burger and fries, you are either going to get tea at Argo or a beer at Live Bait. I would imagine it has a lot to do with what time of day it is.

In any case, this is the kind of thing you can do when you have a dataset of billions of checkins from tens of millions of people all over the world. It's not just that you have the data, it's what you do with it, as Om so elegantly says in this post.

With new data driven features like "places people go next" coming out fast and furious these days, I am loving Foursquare more than ever. 


Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    I read somewhere (sorry no link) the conjecture, that the data from Foursquare indeed may be more valuable to developers of other apps than to the model of Foursquare itself.Not to stir a pot about them but it piqued my interest about the breadth of uses for their data beyond themselves as maybe it could indeed become their model.

    1. Barry Nolan

      indeed the importance and broad use of their API goes under the radar. Apparently 40k apps strong. http://techcrunch.com/2013/

      1. pointsnfigures

        So it’s a B2B company masking as a B2C. There is a new startup in Chicago that is sort of similar to 4Sq. Evzdrop.com. (I am not invested) It’s similar to the new feature on 4sq-except instead of melding data they use people. Cool stuff-although I like 4sq’s use better. Food Genius (getfoodgenius.com) is doing similar stuff with what people eat. They know more about what people are putting in their mouths than any other company in the world. They also know that when you are in Chicago, you are no more than a .5 mile froma hot dog stand at any place on the city grid. In NYC they probably know how many times Fred goes to ShakeShack!

        1. Barry Nolan

          I suspect that 4sq get a lot of value out of partners using their API. Ref: Instragram

        2. awaldstein

          It used to be that the big gotcha of the web was building businesses out of the real value of popularity (or influence).Personalizing the data in a model that scales and pays is not new but just more juicy as the depth of data is immense.To your example, while I know that if Fred goes to ShakeShack to much is interesting and will mean that he needs to go to the gym more often, building a model around that connection is the kicker.

          1. laurie kalmanson

            burger/fries > ER next stop … only sort of kidding. sell diabetes, cholesterol adspace

          2. awaldstein

            ;)Now I’m kvetching but it gets me that amazing data as a view into our world is best monetizable by push ads which no one wants.One of life’s true banalities.

          3. laurie kalmanson

            yes, tres true, alas. push: flashback to pointcast. just get the chip implanted.

        3. JamesHRH

          its a B2B2C company.

        4. ShanaC

          that food genius thing needs a lower tech version for people to search recipes….

      2. William Mougayar

        Good article, but it didn’t list one example of these 40,000 apps. Is it all invisible stuff? They need to market their Ecosystem. It’s the ultimate in market positioning.

    2. fredwilson

      Instagram is powered by the Foursquare API

      1. William Mougayar

        Ironic that despite of that, Instagram took a lot of check-in market share from FS.

        1. JamesHRH

          Makes sense though, if I am taking the time to take a pic, checking in is an easy add on.

    3. ShanaC

      Do you see long term a facebook ecosystem effect based off of location

      1. awaldstein

        Actually I don’t.My experience to date is that it’s really poor for any location based activities except in the most specific cases.My only use of Facebook right now is for my international wine community. Only reason I head there nowadays.

        1. ShanaC

          Sorry, I should have clarified – one of the ways facebook makes money is by its relationship with app installs, and apps that run on ints api – could forsquare do the same on a phone

  2. jason wright

    if the hospital is the place that people go to next…..you just munched at the wrong place.

    1. pointsnfigures

      Are you saying that Foursquare should become a predictive analytics company for heart attacks?

      1. btrautsc

        it will be mighty interesting when we start merging data like these restaurant check ins, with actual order data, plus health data from FitBit or Nike+…. and your insurance premiums adjust as necessary.

        1. awaldstein

          You touch on the golden ring of everything, a ubiquitous api for all POS systems.This is the deepest, widest trench there is. A huge huge mess. Completely un-interoperable.The big issue is not that it can’t be broken down segment by segment but what to really do with that data.

          1. laurie kalmanson

            skate to where the puck is going …

          2. ajit

            Arnold: There are a few interesting folks trying to crack that nut. Bryan and Richard at SubtleData (www.subtledata.com) are the closest at scale of anyone I have seen.

          3. awaldstein

            Thanks, new-2-me. There website is a bit challenging to figure out what they are really about but I”ll dig inMy sense is that they are an api-driven visualization for real-time transactions at the point of sale.Nicely done but my real interest is going behind the curtain and touching inventory items online that are real-world SKUs with scarcity and inventory control.Thanks!

          4. ajit

            Yes. You should dig in. I think it worth it and they are a pretty responsive bunch. The Subtle Data guys allow for developers to plug into directly into a variety of POS systems to provide both read/write capabilities (with appropriate permissions of course). (Full disclosure: I’ve had some business dealings with them in the past but nothing currently and have no vested interests in their business.) Their tech is pretty slick – lot of app devs I have seen that use their tech are focusing on mobile payments – but there is a huge amount of value that connecting to the POS affords you – analytics notwithstanding. As you noted – tremendous opportunity to bring it all together. POS is so fragmented and has such a strange (and dysfunctional) dynamic between OEMs, POS dealers, app developers, etc.

          5. awaldstein

            I’ve bookmarked them.This area interests me greatly. It’s messy, fragmented, bogged by legacy, and worse, it’s an SMB market.All the stuff that I like!If they are going to talk to the SMB, especially the terrestrial based ones, they need to refocus on communications a lot. It will pay off big time if they have a broad-based solution somewhere behind the some 50 categories on the drop downs off the home page šŸ˜‰

          6. PhilipSugar

            A single API for all POS systems is like the universal card. The only universal thing is everybody wants their logo on the front of the card.I can tell you from having done this for years. The API is not the same for the same POS Vendor in the same version!

      2. ShanaC

        they probably could correlate it back with some behavior data about people who go to shake shack and don’t exercise (: ) )

      3. jason wright

        my tomorrow is your yesterday

      4. Guest

        Sounds about right according to the Check-In Manifesto.

    2. fredwilson

      Ha! That’s great

    3. JamesHRH

      There is missing data there I bet….

    4. ShanaC


  3. Flak DiNenno

    this is the kind of cool stuff that could be made even cooler with data from a taste graph like from Hunch.com. wouldn’t it be wild if you could see that people who went to Shake Shack tend to like to snowboard? or then combine that with Facebook and Meetup data to show you that certainly friends of yours go to Meetups about film and go to the Shake Shack a lot – then making suggestions for things you should do / events with your friends

    1. Charlie Crystle

      And then the Shake Shack starts offering trips to Sugarloaf… šŸ˜‰

      1. Flak DiNenno

        haha šŸ˜‰

    2. fredwilson

      Foursquare has a lot of smart engineers working on stuff like that

      1. Flak DiNenno

        based on taste graphs? or check-in graphs? that’s what the feature in your post is. NO DOUBT they have a lot of smart people working on the predictive analytics… and I am sure whatever techniques they use it will be useful

    3. JamesHRH

      no it wouldn’t – I just don’t care about that. Why should I (honest query here)?

  4. Paul

    This made me think of my experiences as a budget backpacker carrying, like every other backpacker, a tattered copy of the Lonely Planet. We all ended up following the same trails and staying in the same guest houses. It’s great when you’re in your twenties and want to be where the action is, but as I got older, I ditched the Lonely Planet and started following my own nose, having my own experiences — data-free serendipity. There’s nothing wrong with doing what everyone else does, but….I shall be telling this with a sighSomewhere ages and ages hence:Two roads diverged in a wood, and Iā€”I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.

  5. Guest

    Fred,I interpreted Om’s post on “data with soul” differently — even though I think it’s brilliant that Foursquare is layering up its original check-in collection with recommendations.What I noticed about “Big Data” is that it’s about blocks of the 7P’s of consumption that MBA schools teach us (Product, Price, Place, Promotion, People, Process and Proof). There was a BBC documentary on “Big Data” last night and it mentioned how we’ve been collecting data on prices on the stock exchanges since 1690.There’s a missing piece of the puzzle which I went in search of because Da Vinci said, “All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.”So I’ve stayed under the radars to build the patent-pending Perception Evaluation Technologies:* http://www.senseus.co/blogThis for me is data with head, heart and soul.

    1. ShanaC

      i mean, cool, but how are you measure the why part?

      1. Guest

        Let’s take a look at what we’ve been able to measure so far:Who = our id’s from message boards to social networks like FBWhat = Google searchWhen = Twitter real-time, timestampsWhere = Foursquare and other geolocation appsHow = Web or mobile, Skype or Gmail, Paypal or SquareThe WHY has to do with our emotions.Why do we buy Apple products? Price theory would say that we shouldn’t because it’s more expensive than competitor products and we’re supposed to be rational.

        1. ShanaC

          humans have never been rational – it is part of what makes us human šŸ™‚

          1. Guest

            And Om Malik as well as ‘NYT’ have pointed out that data without soul and intuition is meaningless:* http://www.nytimes.com/2012…If it’s commonly accepted that we’re not rational…….Why are all the systems that recommend what we should do next or what we’re searching for based on rational data?

  6. William Mougayar

    Ok, Foursquare is getting into predictive stuff, anticipating & suggesting half-wrong destinations. Yippidy do da.But how are they going to make money now?At this point of their evolution, with the billions of data points they have, I would like to see successful & innovative revenue models emerge. How are they doing on that front? What happened to native advertising & selling data to businesses.

    1. Charlie Crystle

      you sound like a disgruntled shareholder.

      1. fredwilson

        Or just cranky today

        1. William Mougayar

          I’m often critical, but never cranky. Not me.You asked that we push back on you, and not be nice all the time. I’m just saying what I’m feeling and seeing about FS.As an end-user, I’m seeing a flattening of value received from FS lately, despite my increased usage. I’d like to see better discovery capabilities. Leapfrogging into “predictive” stuff is not the answer to skipping better search/discovery. I searched for best coffee and got locations of Best Buy.Telling me to reminisce that I was at the Cheese Boutique a year ago is useless, because I go there every 3 weeks. They want us to give more tips and do Lists. OK, but why not have a public profile page for each user that I can edit/curate like businesses have.

          1. kidmercury

            siding with william in this beef

          2. markslater

            i’ll counter. I think FS is on the cusp. They have done a great deal really really well. i am a fan of their design and UX particularly.But the business model has to be decided upon and focused on.For me there is one most logical of all.Get the users to communicate with the businesses. Charge the businesses a small fee to enable this feature. become an evolved communication utility that allows for the option of users to converse with the businesses at the point of checkin. Right now you have this huge mexican stand-off where people are checking in and exploring everything around the business, and businesses are learning about their visitors but you are not connecting them implicitely.Connect the two parties – great things can and will come of it.

          3. fredwilson

            That is great advice Mark

          4. btrautsc

            this sounds eerily familiar… +1 @markslater:disqus

          5. awaldstein

            Interesting on two levels.Street level retail are marketing/communications challenged. Anything that can put their hands in the proper place is a win. They know this and will bite.4Sq amazes me. I go in and out of use, but the patience in finding that something in the face of so little customer pull in the beginning is amazing. But I don’t get a sense of community. Your idea can broach this as nothing is more rich in community than neighborhood and nothing harder to connect through the web.

          6. kidmercury

            in my opinion foursquare’s fatal flaw is intimately connected to bubble 2.0. it raised too much money at too high a valuation and as such scaled in the wrong way — a way that doesn’t leave it defensible enough against google. foursquare is trying to play a big data game — that is like me trying to challenge garry kasparov to a chess match. i got some chess skills but i’m not that good. better for me to challenge kasparov to a conspiracy trivia match, i could probably win that. moral of the story: challenge an incumbent on their core competence and you will end up getting your clock cleaned.

          7. markslater

            Just because they have “data” does not mean that big data should be core.We have this huge body of data THEREFORE we are going to mine it and tell you things. But lost in this is whether i actually find real value in this or not.

          8. PhilipSugar


          9. Donna Brewington White

            Yeah, you are right. Interesting and valuable are not the same thing. But I think it has great potential to be valuable.I wish I knew where they were going with this.However I must say that my 4sq use is increasing because the value is increasing. The app has become a bit pushier in getting me to notice things and I think that is smart.

          10. andyidsinga

            in your analogy who is foursquare and who is google???

          11. kidmercury

            in my chess analogy, foursquare is me and google is garry kasparov

          12. andyidsinga

            oh, I was was thinking opposite ( location big data game ). i also, i think i read somewhere that google actually uses foursquare’s apis ( was via hacker news so take with grain of salt )

          13. JamesHRH

            That’s funny.

          14. PhilipSugar

            This is a great comment. I’ll be cranky now. Disqus is having problems keeping cursors in the comment box, and not allowing me to see who the ass was that downvoted this is pissing me off.

          15. Cam MacRae

            The load more comments button seems to be paginating rather than loading more comments. Very broken behaviour. Astonishing really.

          16. Donna Brewington White

            I have been really confused/frustrated trying to figure out where comments were vanishing to…until I realized… well, still frustrated…

          17. kidmercury

            yeah. i share your displeasure about this situation.

          18. Donna Brewington White

            I upvoted this. So you don’t have to be pissed off not knowing.

          19. LE

            Sounds like what that dude who wrote that old war strategy book (which I never read but is always quoted) said.

          20. William Mougayar

            Yes, more on “Connect the two parties” would be great.

          21. andyidsinga

            thats an awesome idea ..once that 1:1 comm chan opens up lots of interesting possibilities.

          22. PhilipSugar

            This is a great comment, I agree completely, except for one thing. Somehow you have to monitize it other than getting the merchant to pay.Maybe if you had a Foursquare credit card which charges a bit more of a transaction fee?The merchant will pay a cut but it has to be seamless. I experienced this when we experimented with small merchants.They’ll give a percentage (look at Groupon) but when you have to get them to reach in their pockets they absolutely have alligator arms.

          23. markslater

            here is the trick =- FS is an amazing discovery tool but think about the journey….discovery, communication, transaction. FS should innovate along this user journey.they’ll pay if FS makes their phone ring with customers. they pay for the phone….it rings……

          24. PhilipSugar

            Don’t get me wrong I do not disagree. But what I am getting at is how they pay. They pay to take credit cards because if they don’t they lose sales, AND this is a big and, the credit card companies pay them. But getting them to pay a trivial amount if it has to come out of their pockets on a repeatable basis is really tough for marketing. Its even tougher now that they are absolutely being barraged by every startup that wants to work with restaurants because they love going to them.Getting Sysco or USFoods to pay and in that way keeping their margins? Maybe this or something else. I have a lot of experience in this area getting my ass handed to me a decade ago, long before local was cool.

          25. markslater

            they pay the phone bill – if they dont, then they will lose sales. If FS proves that there is another way that customer will want to communicate with them – then they will pay for that.

          26. William Mougayar

            Thanks mate šŸ™‚

          27. Brandon Burns


          28. fredwilson

            There’s a fine line between critical and cranky. Its an art form. I walk it every day. Your comments about disqus and foursquare to me in the past week feel cranky to me. I don’t want anyone kissing my ass. Take as cranky an attitude as you want here. Life is hard. So are startups. Most fail. That’s life.

          29. awaldstein

            Everyone gets cranky.I certain do.What I try to is just keep it to myself. Don’t succeed but like everything else, I follow my aspirations and hit the wall with reality.But seriously, having an opinion and being critical are not the same. With consulting, success comes from understanding that balance. One informs and shapes, the other can grate.

          30. William Mougayar

            It’s tough love šŸ™‚

          31. Elia Freedman

            Not really that fine. Cranky is just plain out complaining. Critical is complaining with actionable advice.

          32. kidmercury

            +1…..by this definition william is critical not cranky

          33. awaldstein

            Oldest truth in marketing:-What you say means nothing; what is heard is all that matters.Critical almost invariably is a poise that speaks to the person kvetching. Useful speaks to the person seeking information.’This is what I think” is not the same as ‘Look at it this way’.Not subtle actually.

          34. Elia Freedman

            So true. Fred must only be hearing the complaining part this week. šŸ™‚

          35. William Mougayar

            We need Judge @JLM:disqus to referee this one between Fred and I. Maybe we’ll both get a yellow card šŸ™‚

          36. JLM

            .Looking carefully at the card and doublechecking the points on my fingers and toes, I am going to have to mark it a draw with both fighters having landed and taken some significant blows.Canadians are so charming when they get cranky and New Yorkers are so direct and ruthless in calling them out. The way things should be really.Perhaps both contestants have been indulging in the consumption of too much sugary caffeinated carbonated drinks? Looks like at least 32 ounces each. Way beyond the legal limit, no?By the way, has anyone ever been accused of being filled with “ruth”?JLM.

          37. William Mougayar

            You are so diplomatic & gracious.

          38. JLM

            .Yes, I often thought of going into the Diplomatic Service rather than becoming a soldier. Kill them with kindness?On the other hand, artillery was always so persuasive in my younger days.Go figure. I could have been Sec of State and all I really wanted to be was Sec of Offense.JLM.

          39. fredwilson

            I only have one coffee a day and don’t drink sugary drinks. I think the should be outlawed in volumes larger than 8 ounces

          40. JLM

            .No you don’t, Fred. You don’t GAS how many ounces of anything anyone drinks. You’re a libertarian.You’re just channeling B’berg.For the record, I have now given over to only drinking lemon water and nothing else. Except for a bit of green tea — hot. Well, and except for a bit of whiskey in my coffee when skiing.JLM.

          41. LE

            “Critical almost invariably is a poise”Supernanny does it best.”William and Laura you are extremely committed to your children and the love you have for them just oozes from every part of your being – the love and the bond that I see between William and Cloe (bla bla bla) (then) now let me tell you (essentially how you suck).” Same formula each time. Anesthetize by blowing smoke first, follow up with the criticism.

          42. vruz

            I find it quite amusing that the ultimate sycophant may well be one giving nonsensical “advice” in the form of crankiness because the object of their worship requested them to please push back.He just didn’t tell them how to do it the right way. Maybe the next time!

          43. Elia Freedman

            Calling someone a sycophant is uncalled for. I don’t know William well, only from his comments here, but he seems to be a good thinker and one who can do so for himself.AVC is a place for exploring and disagreeing about ideas. You have a right to your opinion, of course, and William’s comments are fair game publicly. But if you are going to be disparaging of William the person, as you have done so here, then please keep it to yourself.

          44. vruz

            You may have probably noticed that there are too many sycophants here, for your peace of mind, I don’t personally believe that William is the worst offender, I have never disagreed with him, I don’t know him personally and I don’t remember having ever talked to him.I also think that discouraging sycophants is public service, a balance of civility and cold hard truths is better than your approach.You, of course have a right to disagree, and I, unlike you, don’t feel entitled to tell people to shut up. Have a nice day.

          45. Elia Freedman

            I only feel entitled because you chose to tell me. Next time, I hope you will tell someone else.

          46. vruz

            Funny how discussion forums work… you have my promise I will never read you, or talk to you ever, ever again.

          47. Ben Fortney

            “I searched for best coffee and got locations of Best Buy.” – You’re doing it wrong.

          48. William Mougayar

            I was doing it the exact same way i do it on Google. Have you tried it on FS’s website? Would love to learn what I’m doing wrong. Putting quotes around the search term isn’t the common way of doing it.

          49. markslater


          50. LE

            “You asked that we push back on you,”I missed that if it was written (recently) but I know that is the case.”and not be nice all the time.”I have noted that you are usually pretty nice definitely.

          51. William Mougayar

            šŸ™‚ I think I am nice, 90% of the time.

    2. fredwilson

      Just fine. They’ve got a solid sales team and over 1mm merchants opted into their self serve analytics and ad platform

      1. William Mougayar

        Are these free analytics? They are promotional tools it seems mostly to drive traffic. I’m not sure they hit the nail on the head yet there. I tried to get 2 friends that have retail businesses into foursquare, but they didn’t see the huge value yet. http://business.foursquare….Most business owners are still clueless about the value of Foursquare. At the stage they are at, they should do more about their branding and brand positioning.That’s a classical mistake I’m seeing with startups that grow. They keep marketing their product, and they forget to market the company’s position inside our minds. 2 different things. Upcoming post on that.

        1. awaldstein

          FourSquare is hardly a startup.Mixing the dynamics of early stage no resource companies with the likes of 4Sq is like mixing Vitovska and Nero D’Avola!If you are saying that every company thinks they need a Facebook page w/o a question and every company at the street level doesn’t think they need a 4Sq strategy, you are most certainly correct.Don’t agree that most startups bifurcate who they are and what they sell as a matter of course. In the beginning what you sell is yourself and clarity on that is the bigger challenge.

          1. laurie kalmanson

            wine geek

          2. awaldstein

            oh so guilty as charged on that one!

        2. LE

          “I tried to get 2 friends that have retail businesses into foursquare, but they didn’t see the huge value yet. http://business.foursquare.com… Most business owners are still clueless about the value of Foursquare.”The selling technique that works very well with small business is no different then the selling technique that works with everyone. Show them that someone they know, or a business that they admire that is using foursquare (ideally similar to what they are doing). That should close the sale.While there are some business owners that are pioneers nothing works better than showing them that the other local deli they compete with is using Foursquare.Ideally Foursquare (or any business trying to sell) should have as many references on their site to specific categories of businesses so a sushi restaurant can see what other sushi restaurants are doing and a bowling alley can see what other bowling alleys are doing. Etc. And get jealous and envious which will drive action.

          1. ShanaC

            Definitely – I’m surprised my hair salon doesn’t push it. Meanwhile they are on yelp and push thier yelp page. And they are broadcasting on the sidewalk that they have cheapish blowouts. Might as well stick it on foursquare and see what works

      2. LE

        I’d be curious to see the geographic distribution of those merchants.

      3. Donna Brewington White

        Well this is good to know.From a purely user experiential (anecdotal) standpoint, merchants seem to be more aware of 4sq than let’s say a year ago, but many still seem surprised when I mention that I checked in on or found them via 4sq.

    3. kidmercury

      #ohsnap #realtalk

    4. PhilipSugar

      William!!! This is a side I’ve never seen from you. Made my Friday.

      1. William Mougayar

        What did you like more- my comment, or Fred dinging me for it šŸ™‚

        1. PhilipSugar

          The comment. I don’t think Fred dinged you. We’ve never met, but I view you as a really polite, friendly Canadian. I saw your talk with JLM and Arnold, and in case you’re still cranky that really is not a ding on Canadians šŸ™‚ the cranky part is a joke! I still remember when I used to have to drive between Buffalo and Toronto I’d stop at a place in St Catherines, the owner would treat me like a lost brother and I’ve never met anybody in your country (even Montreal) that wasn’t friendly and I’ve been from Vancouver to Halifax and everywhere in between including Edmonton and Regina . Except at immigration where they treat me like my day trips are actually stealing jobs from five full time citizens.

          1. William Mougayar

            Hopefully we’ll meet later this year in NY. Fred hinted at a 10-year anniversary AVC party in September.

    5. Alan Wells

      Finding this discussion really interesting!First, an intro: I’m the co-founder and product designer at Glyder (www.glyder.co). I think about this stuff quite a bit because our product is an iPhone app that connects to and sits on top of message distribution services that small businesses struggle to use (facebook, twitter, your smartphone address book, constant contact, mailchimp, etc) and provides coaching, suggested content, and metrics that help them use these channels effectively. I’ve been a long time reader here but finally got hooked into the discussion a few days ago with the conversation around the new Twitter Cards announcement.Some context and data that informs my opinion on Foursquare: at Glyder, we’re in the business of helping small businesses (mostly sole proprietors to businesses with fewer than 20 employees) make the most of online marketing channels, and to because we want to make that experience as easy as possible for our users, we do API integrations with the major platforms so that the coaching & content we provide can be used to create and publish messages immediately, without going into another app. We prioritize which platforms to integrate with based on the value we think services can bring to our users (currently this list includes Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Constant Contact, MailChimp, Highrise, Salesforce, and the address book on your iPhone).Outside of the platforms we already connect to, our most requested platforms, ranked by volume of requests, are:1) Google Plus2) Foursquare3) TumblrI deeply admire Dennis for his conviction and dedication to pursuing the vision that’s been in his mind for more than a decade, and although I don’t know anyone on the team there, my outsider view of their core product’s evolution over time shows a level of patience and consideration for user experience that few companies can match.But Google+ is beating them in awareness and mindshare (at least with our 10,000+ merchants), and I think it’s indicative of some some issues in their merchant product & value proposition:ā€¢ For a company whose core product did a great job of introducing a novel behavior (the check in) and turning that behavior into a habit for millions of people (using mayorships, badges, scores, etc), their merchant experience is pretty uninspired.Yes, they’ve had 1,000,000+ businesses claim their pages, but how many of those businesses are regularly interacting with Foursquare? How many see meaningful results for their business?If the offers I see in my foursquare feed are any indication, it’s not getting great traction with local businesses (I live in SF, which should be one of 4sq’s strongest markets, and almost every special I see is a national chain using 4sq specials to drive traffic, not true local businesses).Maybe they’d be doing better on this front if they put the same level of attention to building a great user experience for merchants as they do for consumers. Our experience at Glyder is that attention to onboarding and features/mechanics that demonstrate immediate value are critical to motivating business owners to interact on an ongoing basis.Small businesses are constantly inundated by large and small tech companies with new marketing options. Very few platforms have been able to achieve the mindshare needed for the FOMO effect to work (where local businesses just inherently believe they are missing out by not using it). It’s tough to convince them that your innovative, shiny new thing is critical to their business.I would argue only Facebook and email marketing currently hold this place in the mind of most local business owners, with Twitter gaining steam. Among Glyder users (10,000+ merchants), more than 50% connect to Facebook, 35% use email marketing channels, and 25% use Twitter. We’ve had less than 10 requests to add Foursquare support, so it’s just not top of mind for them.Why isn’t Foursquare top of mind for local businesses? Here’s my anecdotal personal experience after claiming the business page for my mom’s retail store 1 year after they opened.1) There were 6 checkins (total, since opening), so I’m already skeptical that Foursquare is a place where my customers hang out. The store is in Marin County, a fairly tech savvy place where everyone has smartphones, so what does this mean for businesses outside of Foursquare’s big markets (superdense urban areas).2) After claiming the page, it wasn’t clear to me what my next step was that would actually add value to my business. I saw my checkin metrics, but I couldn’t interact with any of those 6 people that checked in (no 1:1 messaging).3) I could post an update but it isn’t clear who sees those updates and why it’s worth my time.4) I can post a special, but again, no indication of how many people might see it, and as business owners have been getting screwed by daily deal companies for the past few years, convincing me to post a special without any info on reach or ROI is a tough sell.This gets to my next point, which is that the current 4sq merchant offering doesn’t really fit into an existing slot in the minds of business owners. Local businesses have been proven to pay for two things consistently:1) Advertising that consistently drives new customers to their door. This used to be the yellow pages, now it’s daily deals, adwords (if they are sophisticated or engage with a middle man like AppStack), and perhaps Yelp is getting to critical mass here as well.2) Tools that help them earn repeat business from their existing customers. Constant Contact built their business here, Facebook/Twitter are the new guys in town that are lowering the barriers for customer communication, and Belly/Spendgo/etc are doing the loyalty thing, although the friction is still so high with manual opt loyalty programs in that I question whether any of those can ever really get to critical mass in the local business space.Foursquare is somewhere in the middle of these two things:ā€¢ On one hand, you can argue that posting specials to 4sq can drive new customers, but in practice, 4sq’s consumer audience probably isn’t (yet) large enough for them to deliver on this promise for most businesses outside of a few urban hotspots. However, I really like their new discovery/search features for consumers, and I think over time they will reach critical mass on the consumer side here, and eventually businesses will follow.ā€¢ On the other hand, you could say that posting updates to 4sq is a good way to retain and re-engage existing customers, but this is also mushy at best because the messaging tools are limited and the merchant UX doesn’t really help businesses figure out how to use this channel effectively or make a compelling case as to why they should spend there time on 4sq instead of Facebook or Twitter.The mushy value proposition hurts them with SMBs who need to be very careful about where they allocate their precious time and marketing budgets. 4sq doesn’t quite fit into the checklist that they have marked in their heads as “must do”, so they have some awareness and education to do here, and my guess is their revenue potential from merchants will be limited until they solve this.All that said, my interactions with hundreds of business owners over the last year make me convinced there is a huge opportunity for someone to come in and provide a new customer acquisition + engagement marketing solution for small businesses that provides a far better experience (for both business and consumer) than email marketing or facebook/twitter pages, and I think that solution will look a lot like a network that connects businesses to consumers through a predominately mobile experience.Is Foursquare going to be that company? The current product isn’t there yet but I could definitely see them getting there if they put the same time and attention into their merchant tools that they put into their consumer experience.If they can nail the merchant experience with a crisper value proposition that resonates outside of urban hotspots, the revenue potential is tremendous.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        I’m not an expert but this seems like great insight.

    1. Charlie Crystle

      great observation.

    2. fredwilson

      Because they started out mobile and have only recently started focusing on web too. Its a big opportunity for them

      1. William Mougayar

        They need to do more there. Does Google want to be paid for that?They are getting eaten by Yelp and Urbanspoon whose search results show a lot more prominently than FS.There’s a trick for showing FS results. Add site:foursquare.com to the search query, e.g. coffee new york site:foursquare.com

        1. Dale Allyn

          William, I do a lot (a LOT) of web searches and use this method regularly. It’s too bad that it’s relatively obscure. The UI should provide quick access to the filter so that non-techie users learn of it.LIkewise, I regularly use “-starbucks” (minus starbucks, without the quotes) in a search string using your example, to exclude certain results. It really cleans out some unwanted noise and search spam.

          1. William Mougayar

            Issue is that mainstream users don’t know these tricks.

          2. Dale Allyn

            Yup, part of my point exactly, re. UI/UX.

        2. kidmercury

          as google places grows, everything else will pushed below the fold for high commercial value search queries. on smartphones the experience will be even more pro-google because of all the integration and screen size issues.

        3. ShanaC

          I use FS as a verticle search on a mobile. it is terrible for planning special meals. But it is great for everything else.

        4. Richard

          I not sure why google doesn’t off full scale Boolean search ? Sure only power users would use it, but google could use this to their advantage

          1. William Mougayar

            I’m not sure why either. Perhaps it’s partially because they got really good at predictive type-ahead guessing what your query means, so if I say ‘best coffee’ they know already the 2 are related and they’ll show me even ‘in Toronto’ ahead of my typing it.

      2. Richard

        This is interesting. What is the lesson here? Does this mean that we should reconsider a mobile only strategies? I have a hunch that foursquare some lessons that they could share. How about a guest blog post?

    3. kidmercury

      where will they end up ranking? behind google places

      1. Barry Nolan

        Ha! To quote Google Places “97% of consumers search for local businesses online. Be there when they’re looking for you with Google Places for business – a free local platform from Google.”

  7. Charlie Crystle

    Mixed reactions.1) I like getting useful information at the right time. 2) I don’t like being funneled into someone else’s patterns. 3) Businesses that aren’t part of the patterns will lose out.I’m guessing #3 creates the business model: aspirational businesses that want to be part of the conversation will pay to get in.Looking forward to trying it, happy to see innovation, hope that the model is positive for those aspirational outsiders.

    1. JamesHRH

      Paid suggestion a la GOOG – ‘ people go here but XYZ Cafe wants you to come & try ……. ‘

    2. ShanaC

      3 is a huge make it or break it ad buy. Be in the same aspirational category as business a via social proof. If were opening a new walk in business, I’d pay for that

  8. JimHirshfield

    Where do people go after leaving USV? I guess it depends on whether they raised money or didn’t.

    1. fredwilson

      I should check that out

      1. JimHirshfield

        In all seriousness, I’d bet it’s ‘witchcraft just from the USV employee dataset.

        1. JamesHRH

          Shake shack.

    2. kidmercury

      that’s easysuccessfully raised capital: bar for drinksfailed to raise capital: bar for drinksjohnnie walker ads on all USV checkins

      1. btrautsc

        Key is to predict the outcome… Johnny Walker for likely successful outcomes. Closest $2 PBR & Highlife specials for the rest

      2. howardlindzon

        smart cookie.

      3. andyidsinga

        bar for drinks convenience store for cheap beers

      4. ShanaC

        you’re reminding me of my question about alcoholic cs engineers in recovery – what do they at these jobs that stock alcohol and people drink together

      5. Guest


      6. andyswan


        1. kidmercury

          lol that’s awesome!

    3. awaldstein

      I try to plan Madison Park meetings on days that the Union Square Farmer’s Market is open.My favorite destination in NYC honestly.

      1. ShanaC

        Hmm, can I have a meeting then with you one data as an excuse to go the farmer’s market

        1. awaldstein

          Sure…Sam needs his cat grass so I go at least once a week for that. Big supplier of course for lulitonix greens as well.

          1. ShanaC

            šŸ™‚ I didn’t see those today (though I did get goat cheese..mmmmmm) -I’ll shoot you an email

  9. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    Interesting but I am still not sure it will increase my usage of foursquare. In fact the major usefulness I am finding for foursquare at the moment is creating and following lists.

  10. Nithin George Eapen

    Does that data really make sense though..ice cream shop after Japanese restaurant if they were very close to each other. I agree if the ice cream shop is uptown and japanese restaurant is downtown!!! Is this data just noise??

    1. fredwilson

      It makes a lot of sense. Try it out. You might like it

      1. Nithin George Eapen

        Oh yes I am trying it out now…Usually not an early adopter

  11. LIAD

    will be more interesting for merchants when they flip it and make ‘places people come from’http_referrer for the real world. v.nice.

    1. andyidsinga

      ha ..I’ll see your http referrer and raise you a 3xx redirect >> “no you dont want to go home yet, swing by whiskey soda lounge for a drink” or “pok pok moved three blocks over, check out their new digs”.

  12. Anne Libby

    I’d be curious about gender balance on check-ins. There are lots of services I’ve opted out of because I don’t like having my location tracked/broadcast. Maybe it’s generational…

    1. laurie kalmanson

      invisible mode would solve that

  13. kidmercury

    play the big data game, prepare to get smoked by google and/or amazon. #dontactlikeinevertoldya

  14. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I’ve really been enjoying Foursquare’s new features. I’m on Android – the UI update is very nice.I just need it to remind me to checkin now šŸ˜‰

    1. Ana Milicevic

      I’m half-hoping that Google Now can bridge that gap of check-in reminder (or automatically check you in; or at least pop an alert that prompts you to check in….).

      1. kidmercury

        i expect google now will automatically keep a log of where you been, and let you easily decide what you want to broadcast. they are sort of doing this already with instant upload with photos.

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        That would be cool.

    2. ShanaC

      I’m not loving the new background map. While it looks cool, it is very slow

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Android or iOS? I feel like it’s faster for me on my Android.

        1. ShanaC

          android, older model (nexus s) – waiting for a new one to come out on sprint by summer

  15. btrautsc

    this is the kind of stuff I love.. but even one step further is where it gets really interesting, as in; the people you respect, are closest to, your peers – they go to X for drinks after their burger. The people you don’t like so much head to Y. This behavior happens organically all the time, technology will just make it less awkward.

    1. laurie kalmanson

      so crowded, nobody goes there anymore

  16. kirklove

    Find it interesting Om extols the virtues and desires of living in an “always connected” world, and yet today he basically lambastes Facebook for invading people’s privacy. While I agree with him and loathe Facebook… you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

    1. kidmercury

      kirklove 1, om 0

    2. awaldstein

      ‘loathe’…strong one.The worst type of cruising I agree. Big time sink.I have one community, my international (not the US) wine community that just won’t leave. If I want to talk with them, Facebook is the only place.

    3. JamesHRH

      FB & GOOG have fallen into a competition trap. They no longer look at what people would want or use, they look at how they can cut the other off at the pass.

    4. ShanaC

      I think this might be because of the differences of passive versus active data. People seem to are less about what they give over actively – passively seems to freak people out

  17. markslater

    the danger with predictive analytics like this is that they begin to sterilize the randomness and the serendipidy found in the randomness of life.

  18. BillSeitz

    This seems like it’s triggering the TooManyChoices/FOMO sub-brains more than anything else…

  19. Richard

    Fred , is there a Bayesian in their house? This feature is cool but what would juice it up is a statement like “the odds are 3 to 1 that you are heading to Argo tea, enjoy” add a little humor etc.

    1. fredwilson

      I sure hope they have a resident Bayesian

  20. reece

    very cool feature, but if Foursquare’s the shepherd, that makes us all sheep

    1. btrautsc

      isnt that the stance of most tech giants now? FB, “We noticed you’re friends with X, you should be friends with Y”…Twitter, “you followed A & B, how about following C”… LinkedIn, “D, E, & F all have similar backgrounds to you, connect now”

      1. reece

        not necessarilyhumans want to belong… so they do want to be friends with others. we’re social creaturesbut when it comes to experiences, we increasingly want something unique, special, away from the crowd, but trust the recommendations of people close to us, so that we can then discuss that unique, shared experienceas an example, [warning: Shelby.tv plug] i DO want to see what my close friends are also watching, but i DON’T want to just watch whatever the masses are watching:: reece:: let’s give clean drinking water to those in need for my 30th bday! :: http://mycharitywater.org/r

        1. ShanaC

          i don’t. My taste is my taste. I want to share on demand.

        2. ajit

          Reece: the one qualification I would make to your ‘rule’ (that I agree with) is that we want to PERCEIVE it as unique to us (or to trusted advisors / friends). If we know that ‘everybody’ goes to a certain location – it might not be as fulfilling and will color our experience – regardless of how special it might be. If we experience it framed as a recommendation by our trusted advisors/friends, that changes our perception of value. Ultimately, we do not know where our trusted advisors/friends got their initial recommendation. Perception of uniqueness as it relates to our choice is critical….

          1. reece

            fair point:: reece:: let’s give clean drinking water to those in need for my 30th bday! :: http://mycharitywater.org/r

    2. andyidsinga

      baaaaaa ..what you talking about! šŸ˜‰

    3. jason wright

      androids and their electric sheep



    4. JamesHRH

      Reece, I think your comment explains my ‘meh’ reaction to all things recommended.This is a personal / personality type comment, not a professional opinion on the validity of the feature, I should add.

      1. reece

        totally. some (maybe ‘most’) people will love it. not i



      1. reece

        amen buddy:: reece, cofounder/ceo @Shelby:: let’s give clean drinking water to those in need for my 30th bday! :: http://mycharitywater.org/r

    6. Donna Brewington White

      It’s more reporting than suggesting. I just see it as information. Maybe because I already know the next place I am going.

  21. jason wright

    This is in the realm of Philip K Dick and The Minority Report.

  22. Louis Hatzis

    Foursquare is taking local to the next level with this feature, connecting venue experiences.

  23. Steven Kane

    The Road Not TakenTwo roads diverged in a yellow wood,And sorry I could not travel bothAnd be one traveler, long I stoodAnd looked down one as far as I couldTo where it bent in the undergrowth;Then took the other, as just as fair,And having perhaps the better claimBecause it was grassy and wanted wear,Though as for that the passing thereHad worn them really about the same,And both that morning equally layIn leaves no step had trodden black.Oh, I marked the first for another day!Yet knowing how way leads on to wayI doubted if I should ever come back.I shall be telling this with a sighSomewhere ages and ages hence:Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.Robert Frost



    2. Cam MacRae

      That it’s impossible to tell whether you posted this in all earnestness or with the wryness of one attuned to satire makes your comment so much more profound.

  24. andyidsinga

    ohhhh Pok Pok !wife and i love love love that resturant! you should go there next! ( nyc or pdx šŸ˜‰ )

  25. laurie kalmanson

    really really smart; applied to web ads it would solve the problem of showing me shoes shoes shoes shoes after i buy shoes by showing me a purse

    1. ShanaC

      web ads don’t understand women – but I am often surprised that email marketing does. This might be because of the nature of third party cookies versus CRM database stuffSpeaking of bags, what do you think of these: http://www.jwhulmeco.com/

      1. laurie kalmanson

        cookies, crm — needs to be relevant, needs to be “next step,” needs to be updated. my daughter is years out of diapers, but i still get email reminders from the place where i bulk bought them. nice bags: want http://www.jwhulmeco.com/Fa

  26. JLM

    .Disqus is misbehaving today. Bit of a hangover or something?The naughty little vixen is only showing a portion of the comments on my desktop. And the she-devil changes which portion she shows me. Only showing about 25 comments while luring me on with a report of 95 comments.Not very nice, bitch.Perhaps I have offended her in some manner.Behave, Disqus, behave. Please?Friends do not treat friends like this, my darling.JLM.

    1. William Mougayar

      Are you being cranky today JLM? I saw the same thing, but didn’t say a word until you brought it up. Be nice. Hit Refresh and the rest of the comments will appear, then you’ll know what I’m talking about šŸ™‚

      1. JLM

        .We Texans are never cranky unlike you very volatile and touchy Canadians who are typically cranky because you really want to be part of the United States and the French in Montreal are constantly forestalling that eventuality.I think we should not allow Canada to see the Final Four games, no?We are however very superior and obnoxious which is just as bad as being cranky. Given to bloviating a bit also. Overly proud of our State and quite pushy about the quality of our BBQ.Much not to like.JLM.

        1. JamesHRH

          In the Lesser States (to a lesser extent), as in TX – esp. the bloviating ;-)I thought we were polite?@wmoug:disqus is so polite, he is only doing as Fred requested! You can tell he isn’t critical or cranky that much (he’s not very good at it).I think 4square is a nice business. I think @fredwilson:disqus talks about it too much, in that it is not going to scale into a Twitter like success, even though he believes that is true.4square is not a universal activity – it requires to much openness and activity to generate massive universal acceptance.Again, a really good business, but nor Twit or even Hailo.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. laurie kalmanson

            kozmo, urbanfetch, pretty much any restaurant delivery service, subways, buses …

        2. Rohan

          Maybe not much to like individually but as a group – you manage to balance your budget.No mean achievement in today’s age.The force is strong with you.

          1. JLM

            .Not only do we have a balanced budget here in Texas and only allow the Legislature to come to town every two years.We are trying to give money back from any surplus to the taxpayers who paid it in in the first place.http://www.foxnews.com/poli…This Texas stuff is pretty damn……………………interesting.JLM.

          2. JLM

            .Texas is The Force.JLM.

          3. David Clarke

            Speaking of The Force, curious about your opinion on Malcolm Tucker/Armando Ianucci’s quite brilliant summary of ‘Star Wars’..http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=X5iRm

          4. Rohan

            Pared down to the essence but stripped of the poetry. šŸ™‚

        3. William Mougayar

          Only issue is that if Canada joins the US, you will have to abolish the penny. We already did that, but can you? [hint: it’s a cost saving] http://www.foxnews.com/poli

          1. JLM

            .For the right deal, we will abolish Nebraska.JLM.

        4. William Mougayar

          Only issue is that if Canada joins the US, you will have to abolish the penny. We already did that, but can you? [hint: it’s a cost saving] http://www.foxnews.com/poli

    2. JimHirshfield

      Sorry boss. The worker bees are a buzzing about and looking at it. Thank you for your patience and fellowship.

      1. PhilipSugar

        You know what problem I have is that if you stop typing the cursor in the box goes away, and when you start typing again all sorts of weird behavior happens. In Chrome.

        1. JimHirshfield

          I haven’t seen this…typing this on Chrome…stopped typing and cursor was still blinking. Is this something you can replicate each and every time? Would it be asking too much of you to make a video of it in action?

          1. PhilipSugar

            I cannot get it to replicate every time, but I can tell you exactly what is happening. It is no different than if you go to another tab from AVC while you are typing a comment. You now have to rec-click your mouse to gain the cursor back in your post. That is fine.However in this case you lose the cursor while typing the post even though you did not tab to a new page. Seems to be random. It happened to me here, sometimes 10sec sometimes 30, sometimes not at all.Seems to also happen after you hit enter.

          2. JimHirshfield

            So, no luck replicating it on this end. But if you could ping [email protected] with the following details:- Browser (sounds like Chrome) and version- Screenshot of issue in action- Whether or not issue persists in safe mode/incognito mode (to determine if the issue is caused by extensions/plugins/irregular settings)- link to this email thread for background…that will give us much more to work with! Thanks Philip.Jim

          3. JLM

            .It happens to me a lot. Also on Chrome.JLM.

        2. JLM


      2. ShanaC

        yeah, I’m seeing this odd behavior now too

  27. takingpitches

    So companies are now rolling out features on Android before iOS?That’s a canary in a coal mine.



    2. Donna Brewington White

      Whatever it is, I LIKE IT!

  28. matthughes

    I would like to see a post on analytics tools.I’m sure the AVC gang has a lot to offer.

    1. ShanaC

      surprisingly, I always end up going back to the basics – complex things make my life harder for certain things I want to do

      1. matthughes

        What are those basics?I’m curious.

  29. Mordy Kaplinsky

    Nokia held a competition last summer providing the data of people’s cell phone usage for entrants to create interesting possibilities, and one of the winning entries was able to accurately predict where a user would be at a given time within the next 24 hours.http://www.slate.com/blogs/

  30. Ana Milicevic

    This can be really helpful when you’re exploring a totally new place — e.g. new city or country. What I’d like to see would be additional options — e.g. if a friend has been to a particular place, where did they go after? That would add another dimension of social interaction that might be hard to quantify (would I rather party with Jane or Jill tonight since I know what their personalities/preferences are like in real life).

  31. ShanaC

    I’m also now curious what jordan thought of Cafe Gitan….

  32. Havasta

    As you leave a New York City restaurant will Foursquare tell you NYC runs a $600,000,000 food deficit; not due to lack of money to buy food, but due to lack of food to buy? Does Foursquare tell you US farmland will experience a severe drought in 2013? US Government forecasts severe drought for the next 30 to 40 years.

    1. ShanaC

      No. intereestingly, ny just seems to be flooding downstate. Should be interesting when it comes to water management

      1. Havasta

        NYC is going in the right direction in water management. New pipes connect us to our upstate reservoirs. So there is a lot of water flowing into NYC, but not a lot of farms here. That may change with a new Mayor; Speaker Quinn is a big fan of a bio-economy.

        1. ShanaC

          NY is forced to – our pipes are really old! If we don’t, the city is going to start falling apart faster that taxes could raise money to fix it (see: MTA)

    2. laurie kalmanson

      climate change filter/mode

      1. Havasta

        I lived through Sandy so climate change is real to me. The 2013 US Government National Climate Report is a 1,000 pages long draft available online to read. I read it, let me share the summy. The report found that climate change is irreversible, severe weather plus severe drought will be permanent for the next 30 to 40 years.A separate report issued by Texas (pretty conservative state) to their farmers is forecasting severe drought, this year. Texas built half a billion dollars worth of new man-made lakes to soften the blow of drought. Texas an oil rich state will buy water to fill those lakes increasing the price of water for surrounding states, this year. The drought will still hurt the 2 million acres of Texas corn which will raise the price of fuel, this year. Since corn is an Ethanol crop and Ethanol is blended into most gasolines sold in America.So put the filter/mode on but you will still be paying extra at the pump this year, and if you live anywhere near Texas you will be paying more for water as well this year.

        1. kidmercury

          simplest, easiest way to take a big step towards fixing the food crisis is to end ethanol subsidies. too bad nobody cares and big agra buys the subsidy via lobbying.

          1. Havasta

            When it comes to Ethanol US & NY governments are right on the money. NY is also right on the water. Agriculture in the US is an age and water issue. For farmers who have not yet retired climate change is profitable; diminishing farmland means their harvest is sold at higher price. What it means to you is food inflation and a higher price at the pump. To reverse that states like NY need local agriculture, and they know. There are new laws to promote agriculture, new infrastructure, and billions of incentives on the table. But too many investors are still playing on the internet. This may likely change in the next seven months, none of the mayoral candidates are that interested in the internet. And one, Speaker Quinn is very big on agriculture.Apologies for the long reply just know I typed it on a tablet so I suffered too. : )

          2. kidmercury

            lol your reply wasn’t that long šŸ™‚ local agriculture is the solution, the end of industrial agiculture is upon us. ethanol, like most biofuels, is a negative net energy — more energy is used to create it than is derived from it, thus all it does is destroy supply and send prices higher as a result. i don’t think capital will continue flooding the internet sector the way it has been and that capital will find itself into the right areas. we may, however, need higher prices and shortages before that occurs and people realize what is necessary.

        2. laurie kalmanson

          i grew up near the ocean in bklyn … so yes it’s real and it’s personal

  33. hypermark

    The key distinction is companies doing stuff with my data that makes ME smarter, more engaged, entertained, etc. versus companies doing stuff with my data that only makes THEM smarter. This is obviously in the first bucket.

  34. Guest

    Was there a line at the Shake Shack? I haven’t been there in months because of the line. I haven’t been to Live Bait in AGES! Fred, if you ever have a yen to go to Live Bait I will meet you there, it has been two years since we had coffee in the diner!Now what I want from this ap is where you were before!And with these features, you are all getting closer and closer to what Will Wright first created in the Sims Online — the friendship balloons that showed where people had been, which every one tried to collect, which got greener if you interacted more often, and then faded if you stopped interacting, or even turned red if you were slapped…

  35. Prokofy

    Was there a line at the Shake Shack? Because I haven’t gone there for months, the line is so long.Live Bait! I haven’t gone there in ages and I love the fried chicken there. Fred, if you get a yen to go there, I will meet you there, it’s been two years since we had our coffee in the diner, time to upgrade.And what you should have next with the Four Square is “where I’ve been”… and then soon you will reach what Will Wright created 13 years ago in The Sims Online for avatars, which were the “friendship balloons” system which showed every place the avatar had been in the world…and it would get greener if you had more interactions, and fade with less interactions, and you would try to collect more of them…and they could turn red if you were slapped….Yes, soon, everything that was first prototyped in virtual worlds will be in web 3.0…and this is what I worry about.Especially the proximity data “I was at this place with these people…” Oops!

  36. Donna Brewington White

    I’ve noticed this feature. I like it — mainly because I like to see the result of all this data we are inputting to 4sq, like a payout on the investment. I like having the information and then I can choose whether to use it. But the discovery feature is beginning to really kick in for me. Lately, I’ve found myself in unfamiliar territory looking for a specific idea for a place to go — these are times when I don’t have time for a a full-on adventure or serendipity — like I have an hour max to find a place, eat, and get back to something and because I am gluten free I want to see the menu — while I am waiting at a traffic light.Also recently stopped for coffee in a place I hadn’t been for a while and noticed that two of my favorite VCs whose lifestyles inspire me had eaten at a nearby Umami burger. Yeah, I admit that I like knowing that. And now they have a GF version with rave reviews so I’m there soon!

  37. Carl Rahn Griffith

    What sits uneasy with me is that this is pretty much all predicated on consumerism – which is dying – or at the very best becoming very polarised.A 4sq for the mind/life/education/work would be more relevant and have great potential for a much wider audience. For many of us our biggest worries do not lie in where to go and eat/drink. Nice if that is your biggest worry – it used to be mine, a lifetime ago – but the times, they are a’ changin’ ….

  38. Philip Brown

    I use iPhone so I haven’t seen this feature yet, but it looks awesome! I can’t understand all the analysis stories saying Foursquare is failing. With a data set like this, how on earth can you not be bullish on Foursquare’s future?I guess this is another step in the direction of being able to drive footfall to a location. It would be amazing if Foursquare created individual coupons that only arise if you have a certain sequence of checkins. For example, matching the patterns of a city native on a Saturday, or a tourist on their 3rd day in a new city.Foursquare is such an interesting and exciting company!

  39. Hank Leber

    So many good thoughts in here. Wish I could respond to each by Mougayar, @markslater:disqus, @reecepacheco:disqus, @kidmercury:disqus, and @fredwilson:disqus.FS is doing the right thing looking to next-ness, but they’re a bit late. They should’ve been doing this a long time ago. “Now” is not nearly as valuable as “next” for marketers and consumers.The elephant in this room: everyone is wondering how Foursquare (present-based social platform) is going to figure out the future. That’s like asking how Blogger (a long-form-based blogging platform) was going to figure out micro-blogging before Twitter came along. Or eBay to Etsy, or Flickr to Instagram, etc. ad nauseum.The answer to the future space will be a new platform, designed to handle future and intent-based data & returns. The revenue models and data handling will work totally differently, and won’t need scale to return good ROI for both parties. The interfaces and backend won’t be built in the same way.(I’m biased ā€“ because I’m working on the company that will solve the space.It’s called GonnaBe. As in, all the things that your friends are gonna be doing, everything that’s gonna be happening around town, and how it all relates to you and what we know you like.)Think that Foursquare map looks cool? Put a time slider on it and see your social future. It’s the closest we’ll get to time travel without hopping in a DeLorean.This wasn’t meant to be a pitch post ā€“ more of a signal to stop thinking about current platforms and start thinking laterally. There are several companies in the future/intent space, and the brands are hopping on board (at least with us). The space will come alive soon ā€“ it’s gonna be fun.http://gonnabe.com

  40. Clay Schossow

    This feature has been available on the iOS version — I think it was a part of Explore. It is hands down one of the most handy features out there. In January, I was in Charleston, SC with my fiancee for a long weekend, and we wanted to get a cocktail after a nice dinner. We had no idea where to go, and our waiter hadn’t been particularly helpful. I pulled up Foursquare, and it told me the bar that people most frequently visited after this restaurant — turned out to be an awesome, hidden spot that we wouldn’t have known to visit without this feature. Not to mention, they had some unique and tasty beverages.