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Foursquare Founder on Developing Fun
Categories: Technology

Foursquare Co-Founder Naveen Selvadurai spoke at Publishing Point meetup about developing fun (+ getting > 2 million users in 17 months). Questions he asked:

  • How do we do better at living at a city? They created Foursquare so you could get info. from friends about cool places, find things to do in your city and really experience it. Foursquare is a social utility first and foremost – their goal is for you to learn more about your city by sharing tips with/from your friends and meet with them.
  • How do we turn life into a game? They added multi-player game mechanics to encourage people to use the system and share.
  • Can we use software to change people’s behavior? There are now 12-15K real-world items you can get for checking in to places, including hotel stays and free meals. Some people have created real-world meetups to get together and get badges as a group, such as the karaoke badge or the swarm badge. They have data to show you your stats, so you can do better (for example, go to new places not just the same ones)
  • What’s next? They plan to refine game mechanics, pull in tips from other places, and redesign the point system. They want to figure out a way that you can track your happiness.

Questions from the audience:

  • Monetization: Foursquare did a promotion with Bravo in which Bravo celebrities created tips and users get a badge for going to the places they like in a certain order. Susan Danziger suggested that book publishers could have authors leave tips about real-world places characters visits, creating a series of check-ins to get a badge.
  • Privacy: The system only tracks you when you check in, you can let system know but not the rest of your friends, and if want to send to Twitter and Facebook you need to do manually each time.

– Kathy Sandler

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