Foursquare’s Dennis Crowley | TechCrunch At SXSW 2013

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I’m Colleen Taylor standing with me as Dennis Crowley, the CEO and founder of foursquare, we’re here in beautiful Austin Texas. It is beautiful today, uh-uh d1, basically South, by Southwest Interactive thanks for joining us. Thanks for having me um, everyone knows that foursquare really blew up at South by Southwest 2009. To that yeah 2009’s we launched right, then you know we had big years 2010 and 2011 as well, yeah and we’ve just you know: we’ve always used it as their kind of a platform to retell the story of Foursquare, and you know when we can push out New products that people can play with them right, I want to get back to what you guys are doing here this year, but I wouldn’t ask you about this. Larger conversation that’s happening especially this year.


I know TechCrunch wrote a post saying that you know the era of an ass being able to really make a presence at South by Southwest is over. That was a place in time. Twitter Foursquare really took off yeah, but it can’t happen anymore. What do you think about that um? You know you might not be able to use this as like your primary launch platform, but it’s still a good place to get people experimenting with the stuff that you’re building and talking about it and you know just getting feedback from users.


So, i think is, i think everyone thinks like this is the place to come and launch their one thing. It will stand out, but there’s a hundred people that are thinking the same thing, and that is why i think a lot of those messages just get drowned out. Yeah the secret is out about South by Southwest yeah. I want to ask: what are you? What are you doing here this year?


What’S force? Where are your other knee launches? What’S going on yeah? Well, I’m doing a doing a keynote on Monday, which we got to talk about just how much has changed for us over the last year or so, and the ever-evolving direction of the company. The stuff really excited about we’re doing a party on Sunday night and you know: we’ve um I’ve been coming this, my eighth one in a row and that’s my, I guess, is our fifth with Foursquare, even though we launched four years ago – and it’s always just a Reason to come down and just like connect with the people that love using our product and just you know, connect with old friends.


So it’s fun for us cool and I want to ask back in two thousand nine and twenty ten when foursquare was really getting a lot of traction here at South by Southwest. Is there anything that right now, knowing what you know you would go back and tell yourself or tell your team at that time. Anything you would change any lessons learned. I don’t know. I think we played it pretty well the first couple years and you remember, there was a there – was five or six different companies that we were competing with at the time for attention down here, specifically attention in my in the reinventing local space, and you know doing Things around check-ins – and you know we just kept hustling every single year and we got to be the one company that might survive that on silage is pretty fun, but you know the advice I always give to people is just um.


You know it’s, it’s a try to go out and connect with as many folks as possible, and you know it’s like: don’t they treat it more as a opportunity to connect with the people that enjoy the stuff that you’re you’re building, as opposed to just like you Know immersing yourself in the conference I think and um. I also want to ask what you’ve seen so far. You’Ve been here for like a day couple days, have you seen any cool company or even if it’s not here at South by Southwest? Is it there been any kind of app? That’S crossed your desk that you’re obsessed with lately yeah that we all just went out to lunch, and we were talking about this like what is going to be the breakthrough things.


Everyone wants to find the breakthrough thing a year, but not every year has that you know I think, like we were in 2009 and I think we might have been in 2010 again and then I could just like there hasn’t been that app over the last couple Years or so, and it could be that you know what you’re saying earlier, it’s just like you know the South by Southwest has passed up like where there is like one breakout thing every year, and you know maybe maybe you’ll see some. You know some interesting stuff emerging over like Sunday and Monday and Tuesday, but we haven’t seen it yet. But you know it’s fun to see what people are playing on right. It’S still early um, and I want to ask you just about the evolution of for spread that you’re going to talk about later. We’Ve seen, it seems like every time foursquare comes out with something there’s, a bigger company that comes out with something similar.


You guys have led the way in a lot of ways, especially here with a lot of new stuff from facebook. How do you be this competitive landscape? Well, you know. We always think that, where the after years of doing this, where the smallest of the big guys now and so whether we like it or not way, we compete with the goals and we can people with the facebooks, and you know anyone else. That’S trying to really do interesting stuff around.


You know around inventing the future of local and I mention the future of maps. I think one of the great things about the position that we’re in is the only thing that we do like we do. We do location, we just you, know social location, we’re doing social maps, and I you know it’s the only thing that we do so we can really stand out among a crowd. That’S like you know, trying to do that stuff among a hundred other things that they’re also trying to do all right puts us in a nice spot well and um last question here: what are you guys really looking forward to over there coming months? What’S you know the rest of 2013, looking like for force perforce Barrett?


Well, we um, you know. Last year was our biggest year ever like we went from 15 million users, 430 million users, and now we have a. We have three billion check-ins in our data set, and it’s just like that with that type of data, like it stated that no one else really has is we can do this stuff that no one else has really ever done before, and you start to see that Now, with everything that we’re doing with personalized local search, what you’re, seeing with social maps and a lot of the stuff that we’ve been thinking about with no passive awareness of geolocation, I’ve we’re in a really good spot to invent the way that people think about this Stuff for years going forward, I think you’re going to see a lot of that coming from us. They don’t this year and it sounds like that’s the kind of stuff that could be making more and more money, for you guys is accompanied. What’S the revenue situation I said, loss is the last question with this class yeah.


Well, we know we launched our some of our monetization products. Last year we’ve been generating revenue so far, which we’ve seen some of the things that we’ve done with american express, and we recently just launched credit card offers with mastercard and visa. You know really: it’s like you can start to see the pieces coming together without going into too deeply like we’re really good at connecting people with places and we’re finding ways to be really good at connecting those places back with people and there’s a really strong opportunity For us to generate a lot of revenue and offering those services for merchants cool, dennis crowley, foursquare thanks for talking with ya, thanks for having me on the show.


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