Will Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley Finally Get It Right?
J Thoendell stashed this in Tech
AFTER 10 YEARS, EIGHT SOUTH BY SOUTHWESTS, TWO STARTUPS, AND ZERO DOLLARS IN PROFIT, WILL FOURSQUARE CEO DENNIS CROWLEY EVER FIND HIS WAY?
He seems optimistic:
Crowley has never been more convinced of his mission--or more pugnacious in responding to critics. "Over the last couple of years, we've had to build a lot of stuff just to fight for survival, so we don't get crushed by a Facebook or Google," he says. "It's been like working our way through [video game] Mike Tyson's Punch-Out." Since securing $41 million in debt financing in April, Foursquare has reinvented itself as a local search and discovery engine, distancing itself from the check-ins and virtual badges it had become known for. It's finally opening up its advertising tools to the 1.4 million merchants already using the platform. And its location data are powering a slew of services such as Uber and Path, making Foursquare a dangerous competitor to the $2.2 billion Yelp (and perhaps explaining why Rabois, who declined an offer to comment for this story, has been so rabid in his attacks).
"We're now at this point where it's really hard for us to go away," Crowley says. "People will say, 'Oh, you're not killing it like Google.' Well, Google's got 50,000 people. 'You guys aren't as profitable as Facebook.' Yeah, well, they have 4,900 people and have been around for 10 years. We're [four-and-a-half] years old with 160 people: Give us a chance to grow into what we are."
Clever to compare Foursquare to Google and Facebook instead of to Yelp and Instagram.
I do like this about Crowley:
Unlike many of his startup-CEO contemporaries, he's been hardened by years of failure and once had to survive on unemployment checks. Says Crowley, "You get knocked down, get back up, and just start building again from scratch."