I haven't written a Tech Tuesday post in a while (or any post for that matter. sorry). With a couple hours left, I thought I'd jot down something I've been thinking of quite a bit. I love Foursquare. To me, it is perhaps the coolest mobile app - the true future of mobile. However, at present I have found almost no use for it. For the last couple months, I have been forcing myself to check-in as often as I can remember. I wanted to understand the service and see what I was missing. To date I have 21 check-ins. Granted I am not a power user, but in those 21 check-ins, the only benefit I've gotten is an occasional tip of what I should order in a restaurant.
This frustrates me. We all know mobile is the future. We all know location is a game-changer. How can the biggest location specialist provide such little value to users?
I have become particularly interested in this after reading Rocky Agrawal's series of pieces on TechCrunch on the danger of daily deals sites such as Groupon. His general thesis is that the model is going to kill local businesses - driving too many cheapskate customers at prices that are too low. It all comes down to loyalty. Daily deals make sense for businesses if they create new, loyal customers. A restaurant can serve a customer at a loss if it knows that customer will be back multiple times. The problem is that these daily deals sites are actually destroying loyalty rather than creating it. They are teaching customers bad habits. And Groupon is incentivized against loyalty. Their entire business rests on selling you the next deal at the next place.
Who is best positioned to drive loyalty? Foursquare! They can identify loyalty, reward loyalty, and ultimately create loyalty. They are in a position to offer incredible value to brands, merchants and consumers (not to mention some nice value for themselves and their investors).
Why isn't this happening? Your guess is as good as mine.