The New Foursquare

Today our portfolio company Foursquare is launching the all new Foursquare. You can download it here.

There’s a really interesting lesson for entrepreneurs and developers in the Foursquare story. The initial product was very innovative and it brought to market the notion of checkins, being able to see where your friends were, recommendations of places by your friends instead of strangers, and a social feed based on location.

Since Foursquare launched, over 50 million people worldwide have checked into a place on Foursquare, creating over 6 billion checkins, and millions of new checkins are created every day. And yet for many, the initial Foursquare was a challenging product. Last year, the Foursquare team took a step back and analyzed why such a groundbreaking product was so challenging for so many.

This analysis told them a few important things:

1) Foursquare had to support two separate privacy models. While you probably want every Foursquare user to see your tips and recommendations, you definitely don’t want them to all know where you are. So that required two privacy models. Most users find two privacy models in one app to be quite confusing. 

2) A hard core of Foursquare users love to checkin. I am one of them. I want to database my life, the places I go, and what I see and do there. I have checked in a total of 6,342 times since I started using Foursquare.

3) Most Fourquare users don’t want to checkin. Like Twitter, where many users don’t tweet (or don’t tweet often), many Foursquare users don’t checkin. They use the app to find a place to go based on where they are and what they like to do.

So those key learnings and many more told the Foursquare team that they had two primary use cases and they needed two apps to satisfy them. Foursquare for everyone. And Swarm for those users who like to checkin. The all new Foursquare has the Twitter privacy model (default public). And the Swarm app has the Facebook privacy model (default private).

Foursquare and Swarm are an “app constellation.” They work tightly with each other if you have both of them. If you only have Foursquare, then it’s a different and lighter experience.

If you are like most people and don’t want to checkin but do want to know where to go and what to do when you are somewhere new and different or just looking for some inspiration, download the new Foursquare. It’s powered by those 6bn and growing checkins. It has incredible data based on “what they do instead of what they say” and the recommendations are great. I’ve been using the new Foursquare in tandem with Swarm for the past month and I love the combo and what each brings to my life.


Comments (Archived):

  1. John Revay

    HUMMM,I don’t lead that exciting of a life ( I go to work, I go home, I buy gas, I go to the grocery store…and church on Sundays! 🙂 ).1. I do very much like the swarm app 2. Re: 4SQ – I have tried using the app for recommendations while traveling and have only found them to be ok re: on vacation w/ wife and 3 children – who are not always the most adventurousI am rooting for Dennis and the 4SQ team….it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

    1. pointsnfigures

      I didn’t get any value out of the old 4sq. Tried Swarm. Meh. Will try the new 4sq. Read an article where 4sq says it’s taking Twitter technology to attack $YELP. We will see.

      1. John Revay

        I will have to look for that article

    2. Dave Pinsen

      A number of folks I follow on Twitter used to check-in to their workplaces daily. Fortunately, I don’t see many of those anymore, and most check-ins I still see on Twitter are from folks who travel a lot and include pics.

  2. William Mougayar

    These are strategic insights into the App, and making these big changes are a testament to Foursquare’s very strong product team & product-focused founder.What I’d love to see them do more of, is around the relationship between users and businesses. That could be key to their revenue model. I’d rather see targeted offers and specials than less relevant Ads, as native as they may be.

    1. Mike Bestvina

      “I’d rather see targeted offers and specials than less relevant Ads, as native as they may be.”I have only used Foursquare very casually, but why don’t they do this today? It seems pretty straight forward no?

      1. William Mougayar

        That’s why I’m asking. It takes some effort to develop relationships with the businesses, and to have something that can scale online. I’m not sure if they are doing that.

  3. Carl Rahn Griffith

    If I were a consumer nowadays I’d probably reinstall it – I tried Swarm for a while and was frankly baffled at the split-personality of the apps/modes. Very confusing for me let alone the average casual user for whom TripAdvisor seems a good fit – this is very popular in the UK.Regardless, any such apps are for a part of society I am no longer party to – austerity means we don’t eat out/go to bars, etc. The new disenfranchised, really.I’d suggest they – 4sq et al – are better focusing wholesale on the demographic with disposable income and highly sociable, metrosexual lives. At present this and other such apps are trying to be all things to all people it seems to me. Always dangerous ground. I work with a lot of young folk now that I am reliant on bar work etc for an income and none – none – of them use 4sq or any such apps yet they are out all the time. I’d say this is a concern for the growth of such apps…I’ve learnt more about the zeitgeist of apps by talking to the waiting staff in the wee hrs when customers have gone than any ‘specialist research’ will tell you. The industry always seems to lose sight of this basic fact.Always loved the 4sq UI/UX, so I wish them well.

    1. Richard

      Swarm is for kids.

    2. Richard

      Pitch: Our product solves a huge pain point.

    3. Mark Essel

      How do you like the bar work?As an eating out addict, I’m sad to hear you’re cooking at home all the time. It’s fun to explore foods that someone else works hard to prepare.Although my waistline could use a little more cooking at home…

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        It is cool, Mark. Learning all the time – we have great wine cellars so lots to learn. Also learning so much about people etc – handy for when I open my jazz bar by the sea one day ;-)Extraordinary staff in a beautiful place just by my village – some links to there and about my experiences are here:…Ironic I was often a patron there in better times but life is full of twists n turns lol. I will say the staff are the best people I’ve ever worked with. Such hard work for all of us at this level. I’ve always worked hard but this is a new level.Re eating out – or not re austerity – well Helen my wife can pretty much make any – any – cuisine better than most chefs so that’s not such a hardship; she’s an amazing cook – we also grow our own veg n fruit now so provenance assured 🙂

        1. Mark Essel

          Glad to hear your quality of eating or enjoyment in work is not suffering :DThe garden sounds fantastic

  4. Davealevine

    Still not in the App store 🙁

    1. Davealevine

      Ok. here now.

  5. Mesh Lakhani

    Love what I’m seeing on the new homepage. Look forward to when the app is updated.

  6. Emily Merkle

    in! active!

  7. JimHirshfield

    I think I’ve had the new Foursquare for a few days now. I like the map discovery mode. Fits right in with one of Ben Evan’s points in his recent post on unbundling, search, and discovery in the way that bundling has worked for some Chinese apps, whereas in USA it’s been more unbundling.

    1. JimHirshfield

      This is an image test.

      1. Mac

        FatBoys at OD Beach. Best beach burger around.

        1. JimHirshfield


  8. Maureen Scott

    Clever; thank you for sharing this level of detail regarding how they analysed their product and how they decided to split the functionality across 2 apps. Almost A/B testing.

  9. Jack Barcroft

    I like it. I’ve got a trip to NYC coming up and used the new Foursquare to create a list of sights to visit based on tips and feedback.

  10. Dave Pinsen

    When did “learnings” replace “lessons” – and why?

    1. JimHirshfield

      I learn stuff on my own.I get smarter when I get a lesson.Like sex, it’s different when you do it versus someone else doing it to you.

      1. John Revay

        Didn’t this generation invent sex?

        1. JimHirshfield

          No @JLM:disqus single-handedly invented sex.

          1. Emily Merkle

            what is this sex?

          2. JimHirshfield

            This is no place for show n tell.

      2. jason wright

        does this blog come with a parental rating?

        1. JimHirshfield

          Parental Guidance suggested. I have a waiver your mom needs to sign, ok?

      3. Nate Westheimer

        Sounds like a rap lyric.

        1. JimHirshfield

          Drop a beat Nate

      4. Alkaline

        You’re doing sex wrong.

        1. JimHirshfield

          Draw me a picture?

          1. Mark Essel

            haha.I believe Alkaline is referring to the “mutual doing”, and blending of two into one sensual thing.But I have no idea.

  11. johnmccarthy

    Just found a new lunch place in the neighborhood using the new FS app. Glad I updated right before I went to lunch…..

  12. Mark S

    I have been a huge Foursqaure fan over the past few years. I track the restaurants I like ( via checkins ) and use it to find new tasty spots around town.Looking at the ratings on the App Store lots of users are upset. What does the team make of this?

  13. Barry Nolan

    Yesterday’s post is today’s post.> “I can’t stress enough the importance of the last point – “a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.”I admire their balls, dogged persistence and execution.

  14. Brandon Burns

    First off, I’m a supporter.However:”Like Twitter, where many users don’t tweet (or don’t tweet often), many Foursquare users don’t checkin.”Twitter didn’t eliminate the tweet from the core experience, so how is this an argument for Foursquare to move the check-in to a sister app?

    1. Brandon Burns

      From today’s TC article, which makes perfect sense:”The logic behind splitting up the main foursquare app into two different experiences is sound. We sat down with Jon Steinback, VP of product experience, to learn more.’We saw two common use cases in the old foursquare app that are best encapsulated in the night of a New Yorker,’ said Steinback. ‘For dinner, you look for a place that matches your taste, and afterwards you look for a bar where your friends are. In less than two percent of app opens did we see those two behaviors overlap. No one was saying, “I’m in the mood for chili, I wonder which of my friends are getting chili right now.”‘”

      1. Richard

        If a few hundred people and 50 million dollars can’t improve upon the faint signal to noise ratio of Yelp, there is a problem at the mothership.

      2. JamesHRH

        Is this an argument for the idea of Foursquare or against it?Splitting the apps doesn’t solve the problem: I am either looking for a place to go or looking for my friends but I am not looking for a place to go based on where my friends are or have been.It is proof of Benedict Evan’s Scale of Mobile argument that 50M total users and over 6B uses still does not add up to a mass market success.Foursquare is a product looking for a market with both hands and finding nothing but crumbs.

        1. Brandon Burns

          “I am not looking for a place to go based on where my friends are or have been.”I, on the contrary, frequently look for places to go based on where my friends have been, especially those whose word I trust.That said, that behavior may or may not have mass market potential. Actually, I take that back; I’m pretty sure it does. Its a no brainer that people follow the recommendations of friends. The real problem foursquare has had is getting people to give the recommendations in the first place. They’re betting (probably) that changing the main input-driven activity away from checking in and instead towards leaving tips will make the experience closer to what is more natural, and thus more appealing to the masses. Which is a sound argument… in theory. We’ll see where practice nets out.

          1. JamesHRH

            The problem with this is that people who like to build big data sets and mine them are not the people who leave good reviews.They – the existing Foursquare user base – have no track record in whatever the new FourSquare proposition is supposed to be.Tough sledding.They are better off selling Swarm services back to the 50 M users… a self monitoring idea.

    2. JamesHRH

      I don’t get it either.First, Swarm is an unbelievably negative vibe for a Consumer brand. And, when I was prompted ( after a rare ‘I should check in here moment’ ) there was no real explanation or selling of Swarm.No surprise – I passed.Four square still has no compelling positioning.Yes – Tons of data ( now in Swarm ). A hardcore base of users who excel @ setting their own privacy levels ( by self editing, basically).No – reason for mass usage. Tips? Meh. Reviews? No. Social GPS? Too stalker freaky

      1. Brandon Burns

        While I think the new Foursquare was formed with some sound reasoning and execution, Swarm seems half baked to me. I’m with you on this.However, supposedly 90% of folks who checked in on the old Foursquare have checked in on Swarm (according to the VP Product in today’s TC article). I’m sure there’s some fluff to that (I wonder how many naturally went to Swarm to checkin vs. were prompted and diverted from the old Foursquare app) but, meh, we’ll see.

      2. Cam MacRae

        Speaking of privacy, I log in to the 4sq website and find this option ticked on my behalf:Allow Foursquare to serve behaviorally targeted ads outside of the Foursquare app and particularly ethical.

    3. lance

      As a very early Foursquare user (my user name is lance) and superuser I have to agree. The Foursquare constellation of apps strategy is not working for me. Foursquare was built on check ins and when they took that away the app served no purpose for me and was not delivering enough value for me to want learn the Swarm interface. Five years in and both the apps have been deleted from my phone.

  15. Lucky

    Great app,the notion of pivoting and catering to market needs is awesome as most companiesfail to do that and drown with their ship. It must have taken a lot of big egosto deflate a little to agree to do this. Do you think it’s a little too late?Also Fred, what is the best way to contact you to get input on a concept wehave in the works in the app space.

  16. RacerRick

    I’ve always loved Foursquare but my activity has trailed off. I’ll try both now.

  17. Dennis Mykytyn

    Hi Fred, 8,508 check-ins and counting here. So if the new Foursquare is powered by check-ins, but doesn’t allow them, doesn’t your database degrade over time? I assume Swarm will be feeding 4sq check-in data, but assuming it is just a subset of active users, you will lose the info from the more casual 4sq users who used to check-in on an occasional basis, maybe small number of check-ins per person but massive when aggregated for millions of casual users. It would appear the number of new check-ins in your database may decline going forward.I do applaud the new 4sq app though, I often used 4sq to see what was around me while standing on a street corner.Grammar question: Is it check-in (as I used it) or checkin (as you did) or both? My spell checker highlights “checkin” for correction, LOL.

    1. JimHirshfield

      They know where you are without you checking in.Superusers will continue to check-in to venues (via Swarm, connected).Superusers+ will add tips to venues on-going.all the above = more data

      1. Dennis Mykytyn

        How can they possibly know where I am, exactly? In NYC, I walk past, or even linger in front of, hundreds of different places every day. I might go into a building to visit a friend upstairs, with a retail on the ground floor, how do they know which floor I am on? No way that data is as good as a check-in. Random walking around data is not the same as a check-in. Data will degrade over time if check-ins decline over time.

        1. JimHirshfield

          No. When you open the app, they recommend places around your vicinity. So, they know where you are when you’re interacting with the app – not when you’re just roaming around. And agreed, this isn’t as strong data wise as active check-ins. But check-ins will continue from power users in the connected Swarm app.

        2. Emily Merkle

          cellular data.

      2. Cam MacRae

        Not this superuser. I tried to like Swarm, but switching apps was a drag, not to mention a pita in bandwidth constrained locations (I’m looking at you, Hanoi). In the end I deleted my account in a fit of pique. Judging by the reviews I ain’t Han Solo.

        1. JimHirshfield

          Yeah, the 2-app model is a little clunky, so I feel the same disturbance in the force you refer to.

    2. Olly S

      Every time you press the ‘Here’ button in the new Foursquare, and, if necessary, correct the venue displayed to the one you are actually in, you are effectively checking in – at least as far as Foursquare is concerned. The checkin is alive and kicking – it just isn’t about broadcasting your location anymore, it’s about getting Tips.The combination of Swarm checkins, combined with users updating their location in the Foursquare ‘Here’ tab, will keep Foursquare’s venue database fresh. In fact it will probably be better than it was before the split.FYI It is a check-in, but you check in.

  18. Thomas Høgenhaven

    “It has incredible data based on “what they do instead of what they say” and the recommendations are great” Is that really true? Checkin in is basically a way of saying “what I do” through an action. If Foursquare just grabbed one’s geolocation data (which I hope they don’t), then you’d be right on.

    1. DavidPessah

      @thogenhaven:disqus they do grab geo data in the background, which is powering the ability to better customize recommendations based on “what you (really) do.” –> ( In this case, checking in is “what you say” where passive tracking is really what you do. I do find that 4SQ reccos are always the best – and my default.

  19. Brian Smith

    Wouldn’t “binary system” be a more apt descriptor?

  20. jason wright

    i would always run away from a swarm.

    1. JimHirshfield

      “No one goes there any more because it’s too crowded” Yogi Berra

  21. Dave

    I appreciate your summary of the differences. I’m a “don’t want to checkin but do want to know where to go” person. I’m too private to checkin everywhere plus, unlike my wife, don’t always want everyone to find me and talk to me everywhere I go. I’ll check out the new Foursquare and would not have done so without your recommendation.

  22. Omeid

    The executives at Yelp will tell you that their most valuable resource is their community of content creators.How is Foursquare going to develop communities of people that care about food and Foursquare so much that they’ll create a lot of content (ratings and tips)? Foursquare’s existing community is no longer a reliable source for content.For the past year Yelp has always known about permanently closed businesses before Foursquare. That means Yelp’s community was stronger before Foursquare made all the changes….the changes made things worse for Foursquare.Things are not looking good…well the new app design looks good, but let’s stop acting a new design matters more than the numbers and the actual feedback being shared by Foursquare users.

    1. JimHirshfield

      See my comment below…

  23. awaldstein

    I would like Foursquare to win.They have a firehose of incredibly powerful data. With popular acceptance, local merchandising on a global scale the could maybe–maybe!–have found a platform that actually works for it.

  24. SCPoley

    LivingSocial should merge with FourSquare and then take thewhole enterprise to Yahoo.LS and FourSquare have the same retail customers. There’s a lot of potential synergy. LivingSocial also needs to get closerto the consumer … which is what FourSquare offers. FourSquare needs theretail sales force that LivingSocial now has.Maybe call it LivingFour or FourSocial but not LivingSquare.Yahoo needs an exit from the old social Portal model that Facebook now dominates. Without another path Yahoo will become AOL in another few years.

  25. jason wright

    i have a sense that lots of interesting little companies could grow out of all of that data. it’s potentially a very fertile opportunity…

  26. Ryan Thomas

    Kinda sucks they had to steal an idea to get it done –…Hey this is America tho, right?

    1. Brant

      I’m sympathetic to the little guy getting steamrolled by a big player, but that doesn’t really seem to have happened here at all. Mr. Taylor seems exceedingly naive and vastly overvalues *ideas*. If you have an idea and despite four years to execute on it, have nothing to show… You had your chance, be happy with your domain sale.Also, given his grand idea depended on Foursquare and its API, he should have seen this coming in one form or another.

  27. Chonchito

    Open Foursquare to check in.You must download Swarm to check in.No longer check in with Foursquare.Facebook wins.

  28. Emily Merkle

    Does anyone around here, like – work?

    1. johnmccarthy

      Is that a new app?

      1. Emily Merkle


    2. JimHirshfield

      I like work.I like play time better tho.

  29. Stephen

    Swarm has ruined FourSquare for me. I just want to check for deals and tips at a location, and save it to a list / brag to my friends that I tried it out. I’m less interested about using it to find people I know, but it is neat when somebody I amd close friends with has already checked in or is a near a location

  30. Branden Williams

    I must say, I think this may go down in history as a bad decision. I wish that Foursquare would have just merged with Yelp to get the best of both worlds. The transition has not been great and my usage of the platform is down dramatically. 🙁

    1. JimHirshfield

      I’m not feelin’ the same way.To me, Yelp is desktop-first, next-gen Yellow Pages…Directory.Foursquare is mobile-first and discovery-rich.Maybe it’s me, but I just never got into Yelp’s mobile app.

      1. Emily Merkle

        Yelp is pay-for-placement. Hardly an objective resource.

  31. Sam Veazie

    Struck by how quaint it sounds to “download it here”, just a bit more millennial than “getting it today on VHS and DVD”. I haven’t downloaded an app in years. And I spend my days spinning JSON and mangling Golang. The web won, remember? I’ve long since given up archaic selfishery like checkin nuggets and “databasing my life” (I pay the NSA for that). The aughts are over oldboy, it’s time to put down the portable tele-television and squint those eyes at the colors of the real world. When I want to go somewhere new, I walk around. When I get back to my stay, I contribute to (or create) their page on Wikipedia. I beseech you to put more into our community, less your portfolio.

  32. hansHager

    as i said on twitter, its like google moving search off to another app and calling it mob-find.4sq ditched their primary verb, which is a major loss for the company. check-ins could be as expansive as search, with so many new features to layer onto. but instead 4sq ditched it all. and swarm is so childish, such an adolescent brand that loses the rich opportunity with expanding check-ins to something more than we can see right now.should’ve layered find + recommends into the core as aspect of check-ins, not this disconnected strategy. i don’t want to know where my “bro’s” are at all times … ah well numbers and time will tell.

    1. Oto

      Couldn’t agree more!

  33. Mike Bestvina

    “but do want to know where to go and what to do when you are somewhere new and different or just looking for some inspiration”This doesn’t feel like a really strong problem that needs solving or at least you’re not articulating it here accurately. One of the most profound things I heard from Joel Spolsky with regards to StackOverflow was that SO is “most valuable for the people who are searching for a problem that is already solved on SO, and less valuable for those who actually type in a question” (paraphrased). This is fairly consistent with Foursquare’s vision in that the power users get all of the data, but the real value is passed to the masses of casual users who come along looking for the nearest best chinese restaurant or the nearest hardware store. However, I don’t feel as though there is enough value given to the masses of casuals to use Foursquare over using Yelp. Just to get “inspired” to find one of those isn’t a real problem that people will spend money (in this case their time) to solve. Ultimately this spells disaster for the business model when you can’t articulate to local businesses that they can advertise to a wide enough audience.How is Foursquare going to convince me, who gets quite a bit of use out of Yelp, that I should use Foursquare instead? The only value that check-ins provide to someone like me, as a casual user, is that it indicates the popularity of an establishment within a distribution of like-minded individuals. If one place has less check-ins, how am I assured this is simply a case of it being unpopular and not that the people who go to that establishment simply don’t use Foursquare/Swarm.Also – I think the copy and articulation of the benefits and features of the new Foursquare only caters to a small demographic (the power users). When I use Yelp, I go on there to do a few fundamental things:1. Find the establishment2. See if it’s open3. Potentially check the menu/offering and order4. Click a button to put it into my GPSI reckon, 90% of my use is #4, which is pretty damn compelling – something I would even pay for (remember, this was the issue with static yellow pages and non-existant google maps 10-15 years ago).So I totally get the motivation to split out two apps into a constellation of features. However, I’m perhaps challenging the fact that Swarm should have been the app to do check-ins and Foursquare be the discovery site. I can’t shake the feeling that Foursquare is any better than Yelp – the problem is solved and the mindshare and branding our consistent. Best of luck!

  34. Eric Friedman

    Thanks for the great writeup Fred, and your continued support! Fun day for Foursquare 🙂

  35. sermad

    Foursquare is light years better than yelp but nobody knew this. So they thought “everyone thinks we are the check-in / game app” let’s can that bit. I really feel they had (and still have) a simple branding and communication problem.The check-in powered the recommendation engine. By seeing where people are checking in, I’m finding about cool / new / interesting places from my friends. If nobody checks in anymore (because they don’t need to) then foursquare have killed a great part of social discovery.The check-in should have been kept in Foursquare. Swarm is only useful for what? Making plans? Why would I want to tell my ENTIRE social group in my city that I’m going to the park. If they want to make this useful they should think about circles of friends here. Then possibly I might find use for it.

  36. OurielOhayon

    i personally hate the split. i think this is a dramatic mistake and that will probably drive me to stop using foursquare and gear more towards yelp. the only thing that is worse after not respecting privacy (which could be fixed otherwise than 2 apps if they wanted to…) is the non respect of your user’s time. too many taps for a service that should be one and only one app. Foursquare is not in a “i use it every day several times a day” mode in order to split features that are so tight together. first indications of Swarm reviews, largely negative, indicates users do not want this split.Bad call

    1. Emily Merkle

      it’s one tap. Swarm.

      1. OurielOhayon

        it s not. it s at least 2. tap “here” + tap to check in + open swarm + tap to check in. And then i need to come back to Foursquare. Sorry this is messed up!

        1. Emily Merkle

          not my experience to date. Swarm only. one tap.

          1. OurielOhayon

            swarm only useless. please review comments of users in the app store. no need to say more

          2. Emily Merkle

            your opinion. my experience. ICGAS

          3. OurielOhayon

            nope. facts. 90% of swarm reviews are 1 star.

          4. Emily Merkle

            oh. in that case….

          5. Jay

            Emily, there’s no use trying to convince the “Ouriel” guy because it’s his way or no way. I use Swarm and it’s one tap. And, I’ll give it 5 stars after reading this.

          6. Emily Merkle

            I’m not 😉

    2. Jay

      Perhaps Ouriel doesn’t understand the purpose of apps, but I’m very pleased with the new Foursquare and believe it will provide a better alternate to Yelp.

      1. OurielOhayon

        I am very pleased being addressed by a troll. your commenting profile says enough…no need to say more

  37. philjeudy

    I really like your honesty when you say: “I want to database my life”. And this is why you’re investing in this vision. But with all due respect: What for? What does it bring to me? Your startup is going to a new technologic segment, which is a very difficult technical problem to fix, that many “mobile awareness” sort of startups fight for years. And they still figure out. With pleasure to see you investing more in Foursquare in the future, but the database of people’s life is a brand issue, not a consumer concern. Time will tell if your vision is right.

  38. ggruber66

    My issue is that to me the check-in is intertwined with the what’s near me discovery process. If I do a discovery search and find a place, why do I have to leave the app to then check in and show that I actually went to the place that was recommended. Similarly, if I check in at a place and want to see what else is near me I have to switch apps again. Just seems dead-stupid to me.

    1. Joris

      My thoughts exactly, you should build an app that combines the two 🙂

  39. Mac

    I’ve spent the day counting. I haven’t been to 6,342 places in my entire life….and I’m older than Fred.

  40. Joe Lazarus

    Makes sense to split it into two apps. I’m surprised, though, that they gave the Foursquare name to the recommendations app. I associate Foursquare with check-ins first and foremost. Might have led to less confusion if they kept that brand name for check-ins and gave a new name to the recommendations app.I always thought Google could make a cool local recommendations app based on aggregate Maps data. I’d love to see a Google Map showing trending destinations, popular restaurants filtered by cuisine, heat maps of neighborhoods spiking in popularity & whatnot.

  41. Nathan Jeffery

    There was NO need to remove checkins from Foursquare, people could simply ignore them and not use it, or how about having a setting to just “disable checkins” this is not rocket science… It’s a Boolean value it doesn’t take up a lot of space simple True/False show or hide the checkin button – let the user decide.Swarm is slow, clunky, looks like it was scribbled by a child with a crayon, it’s overly complex and has a bunch of stuff in it we don’t need.The new Foursquare app looks freaking HOT! Awesome! Slick, but it doesn’t let you check in so it is basically useless.I go to places based on friends whose recommendations I TRUST, not because of an algorithm on it’s own. I love what big data can do, don’t get me wrong, but this is not simpler it is making the whole system more complex.I have 6,688 checkins and view myself as a loyal Foursquare user but Swarm is a bit of rubbish software that should not have been launched. I added many venues, captured photos, curated lists, made recommendations, shared lists with others. I contributed towards the data that is now showing up in the recommendations when I use Foursquare but I can’t “USE” Foursquare anymore because it doesn’t support checkins. Discovery worked before the upgrade, the app was not broken.The QA and product management team who signed off on Swarm simply can’t be the same people that launched this new version of Foursquare, where is the polish? Where are the quirky and fun comments that made it the fun and personal experience it was?Until Foursquare is fixed and it supports checkins without forcing me to use Swarm it serves me no purpose.The response from the Foursquare team and the way they’re blatantly ignoring what the true and loyal Foursquare users are saying is super uncool.I would pay for a version of Foursquare that supported checkins, if that was an option – Foursquare Pro, just don’t expect me to use Swarm it is rubbish.

  42. Sean Killeen

    Love Foursquare in general and have (had?) been a user since very early on.However, without placing blame or criticism, I have noticed that my usage has dropped by ~90% since the split. I wasn’t angry about the split, but to me, a lot of the utility was lost (I like that I could open one app and it could do both things).I understand the use case scenarios and what might drive this shift, but to me the heart of the app seems to have split into two pieces, which separately lessen the experience to me.Honestly, maybe muscle memory would eventually resolve this, but I’ve gone from being a very active Foursquare/Swarm user to not using either much at all. By extension, since I wasn’t even mad about the split, I imagine Foursquare might make it easier for many but at the expense of some of its core fans. That might be worth it but it seems like a lot of potential heart to cut out.

  43. Zaid

    The challenge for Foursquare has always been finding a large monetizable market for their vision. The closest existing market is Yelp. Within six months, I expect to more or less become a clone of Yelp with heavy focus on restaurant reviews.I commend them for being bold enough to move away from what made them big initially!

  44. cliftonk

    I strongly believe the two-app model is going to die off. It just shows weakness in design to not be able to handle these things in the app. One “check in” button on the location’s show page [1], prioritizing friend updates over local suggestions and having the primary feed when you log in show recent friend activity interspersed with the rest of the flow would make it so much better. The only benefit I see in the “Swarm” app is offloading all the UI clutter caused by badges.[1] The global check-in button is unnecessary since you must search for and select the place you intend to check-in, anyway.

  45. Jay

    I get the split…I think it’s the right thing to do and am pleased with the courage to make the change.

  46. Charles Stanton

    Fred,Would love to hear your thoughts on VCs signing away their voting rights. It’s certainly an interesting strategy, given how competitive rounds can become.

    1. fredwilson

      Im not down with that

  47. brandoncarl

    I’m very confused as to the branding around all of this. Foursquare has a very well-defined brand perception – they are the “check-in” app. Most users loved it for check-ins, and those that didn’t use it often said “I don’t care about checking in”.It seems that moving the check-ins to a new app does a double disservice. It frustrates the users who use Foursquare to check-in, and it faces an uphill battle communicating to the user “we’re not check-ins anymore”.Why not create the recommendation system as a new app and leave the previous intact? You wouldn’t spend the branding dollars turning around previous perceptions. Was the thought that the press impact would be bigger around “Foursquare pivots”, and drive new engagement?

    1. Nathan Jeffery

      piss off users to get publicity… interesting angle.

  48. Rafi Kronzon

    “1) Foursquare had to support two separate privacy models. While you probably want every Foursquare user to see your tips and recommendations, you definitely don’t want them to all know where you are. So that required two privacy models. Most users find two privacy models in one app to be quite confusing.”Really? Facebook’s privacy model has always been insanely confusing to most users, even hated, but it never slowed their growth.

    1. Nathan Jeffery

      yeah, no seriously, it’s not rocket science…

  49. Bob Whaler

    Wall Street Journal is reporting the new Foursquare continually tracks and shares your location, even when the app is closed.…It’s opt-out, not opt-in. There is no user notification the app is doing this.This is disgraceful, and a shame. Foursquare is the new spyware, following the same sordid path that Morin took with the Path app in the name of vitality.Until people like Fred and his partners stop promoting companies like this and stop funding them, entrepreneurs will keep building spyware.And this is important, because if we don’t work together to stop these shade techniques, it is only amount of time before consumer confidence drains out of the system. Thanks to the NSA, et al., this is underway.We can do better than this.



    1. jithu

      U r not answering to my questions reply to that

    2. Amanda

      Lol oh you are great!

  51. George Nimeh

    I loved Vindego.I played with Dodgeball. I became a multi-mayor on Foursquare.I met and interviewed Dennis at MWC in Barcelona several years ago.Dennis has such great passion and knowledge about local data and mobile, and he’s an all-around nice guy. However, let’s be honest here:Vindigo was innovative but failed. (Yes, I know he was “only” the product dev and not the founder.)Dodgeball was innovative, was acquired by GOOG, and then (by Dennis’ own admission) failed. “I had a startup that sold to Google, which is a success, but it was a failure.”Foursquare was innovative and fun for a while, but it has never had a business model.This isn’t a pivot. This is (finally) the admission that the single greatest feature that Foursquare created (the checkin) cannot be monetized. There was no way that the checkin – with all the hope and promise of pinpointed specials and offers from local merchants – would ever pay off. That free cup of coffee for the mayor was never going to be a big enough hook to earn a $billion valuation. The checkin, however, is what makes Foursquare, Foursquare … and so it has been incredibly painful watching the business struggle and finally decide to cut out its soul and try to compete in a space where it cannot win.SIX rounds and a total of $162.4M (incl. a $41M debt round) … Can you imagine how many cooler smaller better ideas you could have funded instead of constantly pouring good money in after bad?At what point do you stop investing your time, money and reputation, Fred?Get out.Sell it.Sell it to MSFT if you can.Or convince Marissa Mayer to buy it, though she probably knows too much and is already jaded given her previous local title at Google.Or call Tim Armstrong … He’ll buy just about anything.When do you cut your losses and get the fcuk out of Dodge(ball)?

  52. Shaun Dakin

    Sorry, I deleted and am now re discovering check ins on Yelp and Facebook. I think this is probably the worst pivot I’ve seen. I’ll be using it in my business school classes as a case study in brand destruction.I was a power user. Now I don’t have it. At all.

  53. schneidermike

    This whole app constellation thing is fetched for me. Splitting into multiple apps, switching between them is a hassle. It’s interesting Kool-Aid, but isn’t the place that a person goes still very instrumental in determining what would interest them? What’s the atomic unit of interest if a user doesn’t check-in? Search? Ratings? Tips? Friends?

  54. Joris

    I love using foursquare to discover new places and then checkin there. Maybe I should build an app that merges Foursquare and Swarm together, that would be such a great idea! * oh wait *