Foursquare, A Feature Or A Product?
In the last couple months there haven’t been much talk about Foursquare and what it is doing in New York. On the other hand, those few rumors we heard were about how badly Foursquare is doing. Although Foursquare has been able to be a real company and to deliver a great “product” to its costumers, the company has not been able to distribute a mass consumption product.
From what we are seeing, Foursquare is likely to become a niche “product”. A company that will deliver a service, but that will not be able to be part of the adoption cycle that other famous startups have had. With more than twenty millions users, Foursquare seems to struggle to get other users on its service. On the other hand, the users that Foursquare already owns are obsessed with the “check in” way of living.
However Foursquare missed a point when the cofounders were writing the first business plan. Foursquare can not be a product. A service like Foursquare will be forever a feature, something that you can add to something bigger. For instance, Instagram uses Foursquare’s api as a feature of a photo sharing service, which can also be considered a feature. In the Instagram’s case, Foursquare seems to be a feature of a feature.
On Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus we can easily see why it is so important to have a sharing location service. When you check in on Facebook, you use a feature of a large ecosystem. Why should I check in on Foursquare if I want to share my location with the people I care about. Likewise, why should I check in on Foursquare if I want to share my tweet’s location. If we see the problem from a wider point of view, we will probably see location services as a small part of something that it is getting bigger and bigger, social networking.
Social Networks are going faster than any product before and they are not as the first version of Facebook was, but they are becoming huge ecosystems that are able to incorporate whatever they want at any time. For this reason, every new small “product” that raises from the nowadays technology is easily associated with these ecosystems. This is the case of Foursquare and many other products that are going to die sooner or later.
With this post and analysis we are not criticizing the work done by the Foursquare team, which has been terrific. Further we are not pointing out bugs on the Android and iOS apps, which are brilliant. We are pointing out the fact that the idea of Foursquare can easily be adapted to any other social ecosystem. This is the reason behind what it is happening to Foursquare. Instead of trying to give us a “product”, they could sell their technology to other tech companies such as Instagram, which uses Foursquare.
We believe that there is still hope for a so well founded startup/company and we believe Dennis Crowley knows what he is doing. For this reason, we hope Foursquare can come back as one of the major hot startups in the tech scene; if you don’t see any outcome, you can always pivot.