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5 questions for Foursquare

3 min read

Brands & Campaigns

Foursquare’s valuation went “stratospheric” last week — to $80 million.  While we wait for the venture capital firms to duke it out investment-wise, I figured I’d tap Foursquare Business Development Director Tristan Walker to get the user side of the story.

And, if you can’t get enough of me and Foursquare together, check out the session with Foursquare and Groupon that I’m moderating on May 13 as part of the upcoming Social Media Success Summit. In that conversation, we’ll focus on how to use location-based tools to bring repeat customers to your local business, and we welcome your voice in the mix. The event is fully online, so there are no travel expenses.

Foursquare is just over one year old now. How has your growth accelerated over the past few months?

Over the past 10 days, we’ve added 120,000 users. That’s 20% growth in 10 days. Month to month, we’re experiencing anywhere from 60% to 70% growth.

Do you attribute that growth to product development, the deals you’ve done or the blitz of press exposure you all have received?

All of the above. It’s hard to attribute the growth to just one. Over the past few months, we’ve launched Foursquare everywhere, launched our Blackberry app and launched Share to Facebook — all of which have been critical to growth. But our on-air promotions, another great South by Southwest experience and the latest announcement that we’re launching with celebrities all play a role. The exciting thing is that there’s even more in the pipeline, so we don’t see it slowing down.

In our upcoming webinar, we’ll touch on how businesses should be leveraging Foursquare — but what would you say makes your service valuable for the end user?

Foursquare is part friend-finder, part city guide. We use game mechanics to get people to explore their cities — making us the first people to make city exploration fun. Essentially, we’re in the business of making cities easier to use.

How does the user experience get richer as their network grows?

Foursquare is about serendipity. Discovering new dishes or meeting friends is key to the Foursquare experience. With a  larger network, Foursquare users have greater opportunities for these serendipitous experiences.

The badges — some more controversial than others — bring personality to your products. The closer you get to the “mainstream,”  is there any pressure to become more vanilla?

NO. Foursquare is good at being true to who we are and that is what has made us successful. As we go more mainstream, the opportunity to add more badges (even vanilla ones) exists, but we won’t do away with those distinctive elements that helped us be successful in the first place.