Fun Friday: Foursquare Time Machine

Those of you who use Foursquare to database your life can have some fun today. Foursquare launched a cool interactive visualization tool called Time Machine yesterday.

Go there, login, and watch Foursquare go back in time and show you all of your movements around your city and the world. For me it was the past four years. Trips I'd almost forgotten came back to life. And at the end, I got this. You can get one too.


A few things about that infographic. The placed I've checked into the most, The Coffee Shop, is a place I will never go to again. Sometime in early 2012, I was treated badly by a hostess, and on the way out I vowed never to return. I haven't and won't.

I've been using Foursquare for about four years and have checked in almost 5,000 times. That's an average of 3.4x a day. No wonder Foursquare is so good at making recommendations for me when I am in places I don't know much about.

While we are on the topic of Foursquare, I want to address some tweets I saw yesterday that mangled some things I said about the company. I spoke at two events yesterday and at both I was asked about Foursquare. I said the same thing at both events, which is that Foursquare has pivoted the product from being primarily about checkins to being primarily about maps with people in them. They've done a fantastic job at that. But the market doesn't know that Foursquare is about maps and map search with people in it. They could do a better job in getting that word out. And I am happy to help them do that.

#Food and Drink#mobile#NYC#Travel

Comments (Archived):

  1. Shripriya

    The Coffee Shop was, apparently, my first checkin. I find I use Foursquare only when I have time and life is sane… and I had no idea about the pivot. So it’s not just the market, but even their users. More opportunity there.

    1. fredwilson

      yes, exactly

    2. mcbeese

      Same here. Often I’m too busy or else I’m with people and I’m not going to be that guy who pulls out his phone to check in.I can imagine many accuracy challenges, but what I need is auto-checkin for certain categories of public places (that I select in my profile).

  2. Cam MacRae

    Amazing!I’m more boozy than you, and my longest flight was 10,371mi which probably means I didn’t switch on my phone at LAX at some point. Surprised the US is my third most frequented country — I thought it would be second.

  3. kirklove


    1. fredwilson

      I wear that badge with pride

      1. Jorge M. Torres

        Those models who work at Coffee Shop can be really mean.

        1. takingpitches

          Apparently, he thinks that owning and employing from his Brazilian model agency means customer service is secondary.It’s not the most incoherent thesis in the world 😉

          1. Jorge M. Torres

            Haha. Totally. And I speak from personal experience.

          2. takingpitches

            Guilty as well!

        2. Kirsten Lambertsen

          And he prob makes more money as a photo-shoot location than from being a restaurant.

        3. ShanaC

          but it makes the location glamourous, which brings in customers who are only going to be there once, and will spend money. *sigh* not all businesses have to have a customer centric model

  4. JimHirshfield

    Your top day, week, and month were all June 2012. What was going on then?!!

    1. fredwilson

      Copenhagen Amsterdam Paris trip. I was fiending Foursquare on that trip

  5. awaldstein

    I like where this is going. The idea of creating a shareable map that is infused with me and sharing has intrigued me for years. My chunk of NY, Paris, Milan with my places mapped out.That being said, and I”m a long-term fan of this company, I still find checking in to be an unnatural act that I simply forget about.

    1. fredwilson

      Passive checkin is a game changer. I expect it to happen soon

      1. awaldstein

        They will inherit the personal maps of the world’s memory if they can do it.I so want what foursquare can do. I so will never be able to add this check in reflex to my life.It’s a big and important want. I’m patient.

      2. takingpitches

        If it does that without draining my battery, a true gamechanger.As it stands, the thing about de-emphasizing the check-in was that the data set to make all those potentially great recommendations was being starved.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Good point. 4S is pretty rough on my battery already.

      3. btrautsc

        thats the #2 request for Fireplug (to passively analyze reading/ browsing history vs implicit)…like foursquare I’m sure we have some of the same concerns… privacy, explicit intent, and the sheer amount of data are very real issues.

      4. Steven Kane

        the NSA has been a real visionary and leader in the field of passive checkins

      5. ShanaC

        i still don’t think it would happen.

      6. Sean Hull

        let’s just hope it’s not a default.

        1. fredwilson

          That would be a non starter

          1. Sean Hull

            Agree. But it distinctly reminds me of Apple’s “Do Not Track” toggle, which is hidden under General->About in a section way at the bottom called “Advertising”. There’s only one switch under it called “Limit Ad Tracking” which “Off” by default.I can’t imagine why Apple didn’t put it under the Settings->Privacy tab, and set it “On” by default. Strange isn’t it?

          2. William Mougayar

            That’s a good find. I had no idea it existed, but I went there and it was ON by default on mine.

          3. Sean Hull

            Interesting. Not sure if the default changed. I recall reading about it when iOS 5 first came out. It is certainly a strange place to hide that setting. LOL

  6. jason wright

    “LURE FISHBAR” – like that name. catch you the colorful clustering image too. if a startup could offer to paint, frame, and post then everyone could have their very own piece of art on the wall at home.

  7. John Revay

    Shows you drink more coffee vs beer 🙂

  8. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Whatever challenges it faces, as ever with 4sq, a beautiful UX. Exquisite.This past year or so I have been in a love/hate relationship with it – mine, not 4sq’s fault – even its GPS seems to work much more reliably nowadays! – is just that I no longer go anywhere of any interest so it is pretty irrelevant to my lifestyle (sic), currently. I did consider checking-in to the Job Centre (the UK’s unemployment office) once, but thought the irony would be lost on my contemporaries in 4sq, and their much more glamorous check-ins, lol. There’s only so many times people want to see me check-in to our village library, local walking trail, and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, after all…I hope I have cause to use it more some time in the future. After all, the glass is half-full, I suppose… 😉

    1. jason wright

      FS = Metrosexual

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Aye. And I’m a rural eunuch, nowadays ;-)Puts a whole new possible interpretation on The WASP Factory… (RIP)

        1. pointsnfigures

          agree. when i first started on 4sq, I hated their UX. It’s a lot better now.

  9. JamesHRH

    I am going to walk into the trap you set.If the owner of the Cofee Shop accessed your 4SQ data, he would know something happened & could reach out – via twitter maybe? Another LoB for 4SQ – customer retention.Did you advise anyonein mgmt @ The Coffee Shop?Maybe they fired the offending hostess the day after your last visit.A radio station I worked at lost a major local account for over 2 years ( took some work getting it back, obv. ) because the car dealer client voiced his own ads ( using his family too). A producer – who was actuly fire days after the jncident for poor peformance & bad attitude – made a derogatory comment about the client’s wife’s voice work – which the client heard.That hostess is long gone, I bet.

    1. fredwilson

      Nobody ever reached out to me. They don’t care that they lost a very loyal customer

      1. JamesHRH

        Owners can not always know every customer. Most owners would care enough to reach out, if they knew.Folks in Cupertino may not like the name….

      2. William Mougayar

        That’s where Foursquare for Business could have come in to give them that insight…if they cared, to start with.

      3. btrautsc

        or more likely don’t know… which is almost as big an issue as poor customer service.

        1. awaldstein

          Poor customer service in a terrestrial based biz is simply stupidity. Tech can help, caring and training will go a lot farther.

          1. btrautsc

            No disagreement… customer service is one of our pillars… My point was that it would be relatively difficult for even a great human at a coffee shop to reengage Fred without any tech/ data that he’d stopped coming – sure, they’d notice, but then what? whereas if the business is analyzing checkins (in our case via reads) – they *should* be able to reengage or at least visually notice a change in regular customer behavior – and then react.

          2. awaldstein

            Didn’t mean to be brusque….I understand what you are saying of course.Been doing a lot of work at the intersection of retail and the web, starting with the street first and using the web as a tool to drive location specific customer behavior.Terrestrial businesses greatest asset is that you touch people. 150% focus is making that touch point the best you can, consistently and as you scale.If you can start there, use the web to share the positives rather than as a filter for the negatives, you are way further ahead.

          3. Dale Allyn

            One simple solution is for businesses to make it easy for customers to provide feedback. It’s such a no-brainer to add a very visible link on a website that allows for easy feedback, and to make that feature known to customers visiting the physical property. This feature must also be very low-friction to use.Trucking lines have done it (analogue) for years: “How’s my driving? Call 1-800-555-1212”. Most businesses are blowing this and it’s soooooo easy to do well.

          4. awaldstein

            In abstract Dale I agree. In reality I think the farther you move the act of giving feedback from the activity that triggered it, the less people do, the less value it is.Yelp will vanish. The idea that you walk out of a restaurant and will go home, surf to the website, four hours after you were amazed or disgusted is not I think how the future will play out.Today, we tweet but I think its too horizontal, too truncated for this in the long term.There are some that are figuring this out today. How to create a language that is natural on a mobile interface, verticalized for a feedback loop.Great topic @fredwilson:disqus for a post.

          5. Dale Allyn

            Let me elaborate on my comment. I do very much agree that the greatest value is contemporaneous feedback.If a business takes a very proactive position regarding “feedback” the outcome will be what is desired, even if that feedback “tool” is not churning with use.- Does the physical business have a check out (cashier)? Put a placard nearby requesting feedback. Same for the tables, etc.- Business cards? Put feedback request on them.- Receipts? Put prominent feedback request on them.- Staff? This is a biggie. Train them to be aware of how important feedback is. Why? Because they (the staff) will conduct themselves differently in this culture. If staff are trained to constantly seek feedback for the business, they will be conducting themselves to influence that feedback.- Website? If only for a feedback page, get one up. Don’t use one of those little javascript feedback tools, but use a fully dedicated page that says “We want to be awesome for YOU! How can we serve YOU better?”. Provide a few easy checkboxes (if that fits your model) and a large text input. Don’t limit the input to 300 characters, let ’em send you War and Peace.–> Then reply to every one that you possibly can. No auto-replies.The web can provide some tools for an analogue business, but for this sub-topic, the majority of the solution is with fundamentals of the business and its culture. It requires passion and humility to provide the best user experience.

          6. awaldstein

            Agree…Harnessing the web to serve the needs of businesses a the street level is one of the next great frontiers. Today is barely as tame as the wild west.

          7. Dale Allyn

            I’m communicating poorly today (multi-tasking badly :), but I’m pretty sure we agree on much of this.My point is that the best first move is to establish an environment which highly prizes and protects the user-experience, and to take steps to show this value to customers. The web can provide part of that, but the culture must be in place, staff must understand it, and execution is key.

          8. LE

            “Put a placard nearby requesting feedback. Same for the tables, etc.”All good ideas. But all need to be really thought out and executed perfectly.For example those cards? I see them all the time at certain restaurants along with the check “tell us how we are doing”.Same as I see long “surveys” signed with some anonymous VP’s name.I do nothing with them.Why?Because I’m not in the business of helping them improve their business I’m in the business of getting a better experience for my self. So if you’re not going to take the time to make me think that a real person cares enough to take my feedback then I’m not going to give feedback.Would rather have “mr owner” give me a few questions with a “thank you in return I’m sending you $x” or “next time you need a table and we are booked….” etc. (Off the top ideas to illustrate I could do better with this with a little thought).One local restaurant does that. When I call they know I’m a regular and get me a table when open table says they are booked up.

          9. Dale Allyn

            Yes, LE, user experience is everything. It’s all manageable if its given the proper priority. It’s business success 101. And a little “generosity” toward the customer in the form of a comp’ed glass of wine, special dish provided just for you and your guest, is cheaper and more effective than nearly any ad campaign ever will be. It’s amazing how stingy some business owners are, while they’ll waste money on various marketing efforts. “Marketing starts within.” 😉

          10. LE

            “It’s amazing how stingy some business owners are, while they’ll waste money on various marketing efforts.”This is both stinginess and lack of social proof. Most business owners aren’t creative they follow what others do.If they see “mr competitor” doing it it’s blessed. If not, different story.Those various “marketing efforts”? Although many of them do work some of them are sold on the basis of the sales person merely showing the store owner that a major competitor also advertises. Small shop owner then concludes “works for them and they are smart so I will do it”.In the coupon business, which my ex wife was in, she had a competitor that would give free ad space to certain “known” companies in order to provide that “social proof” that got others to advertise at full rack rate.I’ve done that as well in other businesses. You sell a printing job below cost and gain a big account. You then use that big account to get other accounts that pay full price. Works very well. None of this is taught in business school by the way. It’s common sense if you understand human nature.

          11. Dale Allyn

            Yup, agreed. Creativity and understanding human nature are not taught in business school.

          12. pointsnfigures

            depends on the school, and how you view it. one of my first class modules at Chicago Booth was brainstorming and how to brainstorm for positive outcome. Professor Klayman.

          13. Dale Allyn

            That’s good to hear. Most MBAs (not all) I’ve interacted with over nearly 30 years of business have been very uncreative, lacking agility and business instincts. In some cases, a very important part of well balanced team, and in others a great impediment. 🙂

          14. LE

            “lacking agility and business instincts”Part of the reason for that, and I’ve mentioned this before, is that MBA’s (at least from my observation) usually have a non business major at the undergraduate level. So they didn’t grow up necessarily thinking business or in business families. (Fred is an example of this being an MIT undergrad from a non-business family.) They didn’t even think about business until much later in life.(Unfortunately I can’t back this statement up with hard statistics other than as you are saying which is anecdotal.)An example of this on the undergraduate level is the ubiquitous “marketing” major. For example my daughter is a marketing major but any time I’ve ever tried to talk to her about business or marketing it’s very clear that she has no innate interest in the subject at all (much to my dismay obviously). That’s changed a little in the years she has been in school (she now sees the value since it’s her major) but she has missed out on many things that she might have picked up over the years before that which is more or less my point. (I shudder to think of all the things that I’d have to learn about sports that other guys knew when they were 10).Otoh I’ve spoken to tons of immigrants with no formal education at all who clearly do not lack “agility and business instincts”.

          15. LE

            Interesting. Just forked and found out that Klayman operates this site and does a bit of consulting:

          16. LE

            “The idea that you walk out of a restaurant and will go home, surf to the website, four hours after you were amazed or disgusted is not I think how the future will play out.”Dead on.Thinking of the last few places I traveled to that I had a good experience at. The place to collect that data would be upon checkout at the counter. I actually said something to the “desk clerk” who I can almost guarantee you did nothing with it. (But yet they spend thousands on marketing, promotion etc.) I really wanted to express my good feelings when I got home but guess what? I didn’t (just like you are saying I think).I’m also amazed at how some restaurants handle this. Some will ask you “how is everything” (like 3 minutes after they’ve dropped the dish off) some will have the manager stop by and some do nothing. In almost all cases the execution is off.Some customers of course are true pains in the asses. But they are the most valuable they are your canaries in the coal mine that will alert you to things that other people feel but don’t express at all. They just don’t come back.Over time I’ve found a correlation between places that Jews frequent (I’m jewish) as being a cut above. Reason is that Jews tend to be big complainers. Non jews are less likely to complain. Stereotype but that is what I’ve found. YMMV.

          17. Dale Allyn

            “The idea that you walk out of a restaurant and will go home, surf to thewebsite, four hours after you were amazed or disgusted is not I think how the future will play out.””Dead on.”—I mostly agree, especially if you’ve not encouraged the patron to do so. However, I registered on Yelp to do exactly that, and attempted to provide feedback on the restaurant’s website. The form would not submit. I then sent a detailed, polite email (likely a full page if printed, due to the terrible experience) to the management of the two-outlet restaurant and GOT NO REPLY. I have never been back, I never will be, and I have told my horror story to anyone who will listen. Mind you, I have never written to a restaurant in my life and I rarely complain. I simply just don’t return if not satisfied.(edit: blockquote tags broke today)

          18. awaldstein


          19. Dave W Baldwin

            Agree with the “how many times can we inturrupt your chewing/conversation with how is everything”. Pain in the…

          20. Phillip Trotter

            A friend with a restaurant was brainstorming with his team about customer feedback and how to improve. One of the waiting staff suggested rather than the feedback cards and monitoring yelp that they currently do – placing an iPad with an service app along with the check and get the feedback on service, food etc and pushing that directly to their public website as a feedback feed along with their table availability. The chefs and waiting staff also suggested they have their performance feedback linked to their tips and bonuses on top of base salary. I am sure some other places may already offer this – but thought that was an awesome (and brave) idea – really hoping they do it.

          21. awaldstein

            Big interesting topic.Experiments with iPads as flexible input or even look up devices at retail and restaurants have not faired well as yet from what I’ve heard. I think it needs to be on the phone and more natural and immediate myself. Or maybe it simply hasn’t been done well application wise or is too early.Tying it to performance is interesting as long as it goes all the way down to the kitchen as the wait staff are only the visible part of a huge team, all tied together.Thanks for this!

      4. JLM

        .The re-acquisition of lost business is a very high level marketing endeavor and most companies have no clue as to how to do it.I was involved in a completely retail business and we were able to regain 30%+ of business from customers who had not been in for 6-24 months. I was so surprised and these were $60 average spend customers at the time so the CTA v LTV proposition was in great balance.That is much higher than acquiring a NEW customer.This is a classic CTA v LTV issue.I would be curious as to what it would take for you to “re-try” that failed relationship.Loyal customers are by definition folks who would invest time and energy in chewing out their vendors and give them an opportunity to reengage and earn your business back.Not to pimp but here is something I wrote in regard to this very subject recently about customer loyalty in the age of the Internet.http://themusingsofthebigre…JLM.

        1. JamesHRH

          < 4x Fred’s Avg check I bet.

        2. LE

          “I was involved in a completely retail business and we were able to regain 30%+ of business from customers who had not been in for 6-24 months.”Things like this is what I fear anyone hatched in the internet business world (where it’s stick out your hand and catch what goes by) won’t understand once they get out of that world.Which they will at some point. [1] I am totally amazed about how internet businesses lack understanding of basic concepts like that. For example I get things from amazon and many of those things are shipped directly from the seller. But almost never does that seller insert into the package any sales material to make it easy for me to a) buy other things from them either directly or on amazon b) a packing slip to remind me to reorder c) any simple branding so I pay attention to their company going forward. d) An order slip (and I could go on and on about this). There isn’t even a nice label on the package.[1] At some point all those foosball tables will go away and real life will set in.

          1. JLM

            .Great comment and so very, very, very true. Well played.The other day I received something in the mail that I had ordered on the Internet and they knocked it out of the park.I got a personal note. I was assigned a person to handle any problems. I was given a catalog of their other products.The great irony? It was a Grohe bathroom shower fixture hose (hand held sprayer hose) being replaced under the Grohe lifetime warranty.I cannot imagine using any other fixtures other than Grohe because their warranty service has been so damn good.If I were still having kids, I would be tempted to name one of them Grohe. Why not?JLM.

          2. LE

            Meanwhile I needed a new shower head and went into Lowes/Home Depot. I asked the clerk “what’s the best thing you have” and they literally couldn’t tell me. (This was on 3 different occasions). All they had was plastic $60 crap.Turns out there is a grohe dealer 1 mile from the office and 1 mile from my house (in between home/office). I will go in there. Didn’t know about them.

          3. JLM

            .Our Grohe stuff is 18 years old and was the absolute top of the line when we bought it.They have replaced hot water dispensers, kitchen hardware, shower hardware and bath hardware and the actual transaction is a pleasant experience. Every time.When they can’t quite figure it out, they send multiple versions and tell us to return what we don’t need. They send multiple colors — white today (hot water dispenser) is not white from yesterday.The stuff is not wildly expensive but it is a great value.JLM.

          4. David Semeria

            Good stuff JLM!

          5. ShanaC

            so true – and an internet company that starts doing that will probably do very well

        3. Aaron Klein

          Loved that post of yours, JLM. It was a winner. We’re currently at a practically nonexistent level of churn (lost one seat today, because the customer left his job for a different slice of the industry), but I think the key is to take churn very, very seriously before you have any.If we are living up to our first value – that of delighting our customers every single time they interact with us – churn should only be happening for reasons like the one we had today.I’m scrambling to make sure that is the case with the customers whose business we’ve already earned.

          1. JLM

            .The time to love them is BEFORE they leave you.Well played.JLM.

      5. jason wright

        they might care…if they knew about it. the function of complaining has a value, to you, to the hostess (although she not see it that way at the time), and the doesn’t always know what is going on in the background of a persons life, a context that explains, if not excuses, their behavior.

        1. robertdesideri

          “they might care…if they knew about it”they probably know about it now 🙂 or soon will.btw, in defense of Coffee Shop, the food is seem to get better and better. the chairs are ridiculously comfortable at the tables. and the service, for me at least, is generally pretty good -to excellent.agreed, service in general has suffered in many restaurants, it’s become acceptable somehow to provide shite manners. and not just restaurants.

          1. jason wright

            i still haven’t got the hang of the finer points of online manners and etiquette.

      6. LE

        Fred – a few issues. You need them more than they need you (I’m not factoring in your reach or who you influence I’m talking generally as an example which applies to most other people.).Here’s an example. There was a gas station across the street from my old office that I used to fill up at. One day the owner filled up the tank and it started to overflow all over. His response was that it was the car’s fault and not his fault or the pump. Forget a free tank of gas he didn’t even say he was sorry and he pointed the finger. (Totally took me by surprise). And this was the owner.So I stayed away from that convenient gas station for several years.Guess what? It was my loss, not his loss. I needed him (the convenience) more than he needed me individually.Now of course I could have ran it up a flag pole (to Sunoco) or done all sorts of things but I didn’t.And again in my case it was the owner who was a “dick”.In your case it is a hostess. Now it’s entirely possible that the manager would act the same way and since going for coffee is a supposed to be a positive experience that alone means you need to choose some other place. But the mere fact that you went there so many times it’s probably worth it to at least attempt to mention it to the owner. Most importantly not for their benefit but for your benefit.In general I tread very carefully though when dealing with a person in that position. But if you’ve ever owned a business you would understand that knowing what happened is something that any owner would want to know (unless they are trying on purpose to be the “Soup Nazi”.)That said I will add one last thing that I have found over the years. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In other words I’ve found a correlation between the attitude of the help in many cases mirrors what the ownership believes.


        Years ago if you went to the business owner about such things the shit would hit the fan. But, now people don’t care. I’ve noticed recently that true business leadership is becoming a lost art.

      8. Vineeth Kariappa

        There can always be more than 1 reason;

        1. ShanaC


    2. jason wright

      …and with Google Glass i wonder how things might have been so very different.

    3. andyidsinga

      its a good point about the hostess being gone … My wife and I have been going to our fav coffee shop longer than every employee but the owner.The cool thing, and why I will never go to another coffee shop, is the owner subtly makes sure new employees know our “standard order” – true customer service leadership is knowing your customers.

  10. Rob Ganjon

    This is really cool. About a year ago, I stopped checking in as often to the mundane places (my house, etc) and focused on shops, restaurants, hotels, etc. — places I wanted to remember. I’m glad I did that. Foursquare is my geographic diary.

  11. Jorge M. Torres

    This is so good. Apps are often criticized for making it harder to reflect, harder to stay in the moment. I’m using Time Machine to sit back and take stock of all the important events and moments that mattered over the past three years.And the UX is pretty cool too.

  12. btrautsc

    I love this type of serious data porn. Your ramp up in 2009 is very cool to see. This is very much the type of stuff we are building for what you read with Fireplug – dissected into subjects, topics, sources… I’m glad to see how interesting it is for locations… Strongly believe it will be the same for reading and learning.Ironically, we’re launching the ability for new users to sync Google Reader to Fireplug, which effectively gives you a (slightly less beautiful) report based on all of the articles you’ve read. We’re working on putting together a more stunning visual breakdown soon… any one interested can test it here:

  13. William Mougayar

    That data and its presentation are fantastic. I haven’t seen anything like it from any other social apps. We put in so much into Social as users generating content, but we rarely get anything back. This breaks the mold on giving back and it is insightful.I haven’t used Foursquare for Business, but it strikes me that this level of analytics would need to be not just insightful, but also “actionable” for the businesses themselves (aggregated of course). That may be where Foursquare’s sweet spot for monetization lies.

    1. Observer

      The map is a nice novelty, but novelties wear off?

      1. William Mougayar

        I think it depends how it evolves in this case.

      2. Dave W Baldwin

        You have to do one step before the next.

    2. btrautsc

      100% agree. This is fascinating. At Fireplug we’re trying to give that same type of experience back to users (without all the taking), focused on getting credit the subjects, topics, and sources you’ve been reading… Glad 4sq set the benchmark so hight in this case.

    3. Richard

      Data on a map is easy. Actionable data hard.

      1. William Mougayar

        Yup. The devil is in the (actionable) details.

    4. ShanaC

      if you are that type – man small businesses still don’t buy ads on cpm in their local newspapers let alone on the web

      1. William Mougayar

        Foursquare is already testing selling local/re-targeted ad units based on their checkin data. See this:

        1. ShanaC

          great, but the local guy doesn’t even get the more basic forms of internet ad buys, how would they get retargeting?

          1. William Mougayar

            You’re right that going direct won’t resonate with the average local “guy”, but they could be otherwise going through Ad network intermediaries, although that wasn’t implied necessarily.

    5. ChuckEats

      you’re right – this could be it.let businesses target “people who were regular customers that haven’t checked in lately” & offer them a chance to talk w/ these people, via offers, etc.

  14. Bruce Warila

    Very nice! Though I suspect that the FitBit overlay on your infographic would look like a battlefield 🙂

  15. Rohan

    On a related note (related to infographics that is), a couple of friends and I took a crack at something we call a “learnographic” on the topic of “willpower.” For anyone interested.. do check out the world’s official learnographic :)on

    1. William Mougayar

      Nice work Rohan. Are you going to continue producing new ones?

      1. Rohan

        Yes! They take time though. One every couple of months hopefully..And hanks William! 🙂

  16. pointsnfigures

    Had a miserable experience with American Airlines. Won’t be checking into Concourse C at O’Hare anymore. I like Foursquares pivot. is doing a similar thing, but in real time.I would also say that walking in your customers shoes can change the corporate culture of the company and turn it into an innovative company. My experience with American yesterday reminded me that people see large bureaucratic companies in much the same way they see large bureaucratic government organizations. Neither values customers very much-and don’t empower employees to take care of customers.Looks like 4sq may be on the right track. Businesses are their customers.

    1. Cam MacRae

      American Airlines are dreadful. I’ve missed quite a number of connecting flights with other oneworld airlines and getting bounced to AA is a miserable experience every time. They don’t even play in the same league.

    2. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Last sentence is spot-on. Trouble is, for now at least, I doubt the sample-size is anywhere near big enough to be of much relevance to any business.

  17. Steven Kane

    That infographic is way cool. But the NSA infographic on your movements and activities is much better.

    1. jason wright

      i’m waiting for their app.

    2. JLM

      .You may say that in jest, but I can promise you they have such a capability given the geo-everything capabilities created by the hard wired Internet and mobile.They are cross referencing cell phone, email and location like a big dog.That drone when it shows up will be using a map software driver. On that you can NSA

      1. takingpitches

        good description of one of the maps they have in the Wired article I linked to above

    3. kidmercury

      i love the NSA jokes that are going mainstream now. kooks have been vindicated! #kookpridenext up are black helicopters, MILAB,and whatever is going on at the denver airport

      1. Guest

        next up are black helicopters, MILAB,and whatever is going on at the denver airport.139{-1}.

    4. andyswan

      Didn’t you get the memo? That’s old news. Just raw data collection. Between that and IRS targeting, no one has anything to worry about unless they are an enemy of the Party and societal progress of course! #Forward

    5. takingpitches

      Haha. Check out the Wired article on the NSA and General Keith Alexander, btw.

    6. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Speaking of… Prism Fears Give Private Search Engine DuckDuckGo Its Best Week Ever…

  18. kenberger

    my 1st checkin was from Cafe Ost in the East Village. I did it with Dennis sitting right next to me when he showed me what he was working on (early ’09, Naveen hadn’t yet joined full-time).It was a lot of fun to lend dens some venture advice early on (that path turned out well)– today it would be the other way around.

  19. Tim Geisenheimer

    I’m the tweet mangler. Personally, I think Foursquare is the best way to search for and find interesting things/places. I use it exclusively whenever I’m traveling to new places. That said, they’ve been slow to place search at the center of the product. Explore was just introduced as the default screen in April ’13.I may have mis-quoted @fredwilson:disqus at Source Digital, but I don’t think it’s just a market perception issue.

  20. Ana Milicevic

    I’ve never thought about 4SQ as ‘maps with people in it’ until I heard @fredwilson say it at PandoMonthly last night (that and the Twitter-Beatles comment were my two favorite a-ha moments of the evening). It makes a lot of sense especially in light of the Google-Waze acquisition (that’s really what Waze is: people on a map).Time Machine is very nifty – it surprised me with the results of my check-in history and made me realize the need for more check-in discipline: even though the data shows it, I’m pretty sure I don’t prefer airports to coffee shops or wine bars.

    1. Dale Allyn

      You point out an interesting modifier to the metrics, Ana. If one checks-in when in a certain frame of mind or due to more idle time than actually defines one’s habits or actions, the data can become rather “tainted”. I’m not saying you (or users in general) must be more “disciplined” with check-ins, but that Foursquare must seek to accommodate this likely reality in their processes. Of course, one means is to incentivize users to check-in more frequently, and that’s what Time Machine has an opportunity to do if it’s promoted properly. From TM one can see other types of things on which to expand to encourage more check-ins.Kudos to 4SQ for this first step.

    2. andyswan

      My tweet volume spikes quite dramatically while physically “waiting” as well.Zynga should watch for that and time when they send me new games to try

  21. jonathan hegranes

    really beautiful site, but i’ve been debating with some about how much samsung paid for this… did they fund development, or just straight up advertising on something foursquare was already any case, i put the over / under at $349,000…start the bidding.

  22. Dan Bowen

    All the more reason to never use location tracking & check-ins.

    1. pointsnfigures

      they could have a anonymity button that allows the checkin data, but not the person to be identified. then the business could target people by metadata-not actual names dates and serial numbers

    2. kidmercury

      your location is already tracked, the only question is whether you would like everyone to know it or just the untrustworthy people to know it.

      1. Dan Bowen

        Its tracked to the extent those things I don’t have control over…ie…cell location from my provider etc. I don’t authorize apps to do location tracking on me in an attempt to minimize the exposure. I find maps like that displayed by Fred to be incredibly disturbing particularly because so few users of this technology ever consider this cost of the ‘Free’ apps they engage.

        1. kidmercury

          yes, i suppose it is a philosophical difference: i feel i am better off being as transparent as possible, because the government, whom i generally regard as “the bad guys,” already have all my info, as do big forces like google who i like but am generally intimidated by because of their magnitude. i feel as though by broadcasting myself as much as possible it brings me additional safety because my friends, family, and good people in general can now have the same information the bad and potentially bad already have.

          1. Dan Bowen

            I hear you, I’m an ex-military intel guy so I’ve taken the other extreme…minimize exposure and slide-of-hand where I don’t have complete control. All-in-all, the recent revelations from DC and then stuff like this from Foursquare will hopefully open peoples eyes about simply clicking through all the time.

          2. Tom Labus

            There is also no state police coming in the middle of the night to haul your ass off so some prison where you’re not ever going to get out.This is an easy tee off since there is no downside. I like trades like that

          3. kidmercury

            “There is also no state police coming in the middle of the night to haul your ass off so some prison where you’re not ever going to get out.”tell that to bradon mayfield:

          4. Vineeth Kariappa

            do u have a blog?

          5. kidmercury

            i’ve had a number of blogs over the years, now i just use google+. if you go to it redirects to my google+ page. i don’t blog that much though.

  23. Dale Allyn

    I’m not a Foursquare user, but I think this is a brilliant step.I suggest that users should be able to combine their maps with a friends to see what it creates. I.e. invite a friend to create a map together, the friend accepts and the combo map is churned. The more that 4SQ can do to get users engaged, the more accurate the data will become.

    1. andyidsinga


  24. Eric Friedman

    Thanks Fred! I am biased, but its pretty cool to get your own personal infographic – and then see it. Comparing my own with yours is actually interesting too. Thanks for helping get the word out on the power of Foursquare search.


    “Sometime in early 2012, I was treated badly by a hostess, and on the way out I vowed never to return. I haven’t and won’t.”.Ahh… The now often forgotten requirement of good customer service in retail. I’ve noticed more an more people are sensitive to this these days.

  26. andyidsinga

    my first checkin nov 20, 2009 in san francisco! …. what a nice coincidence as I’m road tripping down to san francisco this weekend for “hardware summer camp” …and of course will foursquare myself the whole way :)(I’m loving this thing)

  27. Semil Shah

    Fred, I’ve believed 4sq is about mapping — not checkins. Wrote about it a last year, it’s short — curious to see what you think:

    1. Nova Nani

      Hi how are you doing? hope you are fine

  28. andyidsinga

    my number of places visited – 255 – I’ve been an 8bit guy ..until today 🙂

  29. ShanaC

    Nice, but I want to know where I will be going instead. So much more useful.

    1. pointsnfigures

      that is cool.

  30. Trish Fontanilla

    That was very cool. I’ve checked in almost 9,000 times since spring of 2009. Yowza! I’d always loved Foursquare for its serendipitous moments (midnight meetup with a friend I hadn’t seen in YEARS that checked in down the street from where I was – that’s when I became a believer) but what reinvigorated my love of Foursquare over the past couple years has been Timehop. I love their daily emails about where I’ve been. Awesome for startup life to remember milestones, but it’s also been helpful in keeping in touch with folks, remembering anniversaries, birthdays.Some sobering stuff in the infographic… 3/4ths work vs 1/4 play. haha

  31. Youssef Rahoui

    ‘( Is it flash or what?PS: from my iPad

  32. Youssef Rahoui

    BTW, hope Google will take note of this pivot 🙂

  33. bdonnelly

    So awesome. Love the tilted map. I want navigate around like that all the time when I’m looking for a place to go.

  34. jason wright

    not being a coffee drinker i tend not to be inside coffee shops, but this post now reminds me of my one and only unhappy coffee shop moment.Innsbruck, Austria, 2008, in search of an internet connection. I spied a coffee shop with an identity crisis – internet cafe/ eatery/ bar. I stepped inside and politely asked the rate for using one of their internet computers. the answer came back, “one minute, one euro”. one minute, one euro? one minute, one euro!nice place though Austria.

  35. Geoff

    One of the cool uses for foursquare is with the Moves app 🙂 How long before Foursquare buys the guy out!!

  36. Kirsten Lambertsen


  37. LE

    “Did you advise anyonein mgmt @ The Coffee Shop?”Yeah I have an idea that I am waiting for someone to do called “tell ceo”. The idea is that when you have an issue you use this service and the service gets the message to the right person at the company.If you’d like to “build it in Lancaster” let me know. Or anyone else for that matter.