Naveen Selvadurai, co-founder of Foursquare, discusses what he’s learned in growing his gamechanging location-based social application, and how he sees it improving the way we navigate our daily lives.
At PSFK Conference New York 2010, Naveen Selvadurai, co-founder of Foursquare, discussed what he’s learned in growing his gamechanging location-based social application, and how he sees it improving the way we navigate our daily lives.
Watch the video of Naveen’s presentation below:
Some highlights from his talk:
- “How do you turn life into a game?” Foursquare gives people a way of turning their day-to-day activities – going to the gym, meeting friends at the pub, spending a late night at work – into a sort of currency. Foursquare users ‘check-in’ to wherever they are through the mobile app and ‘compete’ against their friends to rack up points, badges and mayorships based on several factors: where they are, how frequently they check-in, where they’ve traveled, etc (i.e., 20 trips to the gym in a month earns you the Gym Rat badge). In this way, Foursquare is adding an element of play to our offline lives, through its online ‘game’. (…And the game is only primed to get bigger – Foursquare already claims more than 800k users and 22 million check-ins since it launched around a year ago.)
- Foursquare helps you learn and live better in your cities – ‘get better at living.’Beyond social gaming, Foursquare’s mission is to help you learn more about the places and people of your city. The app encourages its users to add ‘tips’ to locations they visit (i.e. “Don’t miss the lasagna at Sal’s”) which will then appear when friends in their network check-in nearby. These tips are meant to inspire Foursquare users to explore what’s around them and experiment with new places and things.
- Adding gaming mechanics to the way we work, play, and aspire to improve ourselves is helping us rethink our daily lives. Naveen shared examples of other apps and devices that employ elements of gaming/competition to encourage their users to live better and work harder (i.e. Nike+; LoseIt app; Track Your Happiness app). Foursquare gives its users the ability to track their activity over time (as well as their friends’ activity), a sort of snapshot of where they’ve been and who they’ve spent time with. Naveen pointed to these new means of keeping track and compiling analytics about our daily doings as a way for us to take better inventory of how we live, and how we might make it better.
- Checking in doesn’t have to happen at a place. Naveen and his team found that users were checking in at more than just venues. They were checking in “at” commutes, emotional states, their own bedrooms. Foursquare has become a way of tracking and celebrating the minutiae of our lives and our day’s little victories.