Photo: Robert Libetti/Business Insider
A hot topic on question-and-answer site Quora recently: Why are so many employees leaving Foursquare, the New York-based check-in startup?Justin Moore, a former director of engineering at Foursquare who joined Facebook a year ago, offered his own take.
Moore didn’t buy the premise that a lot of people were leaving Foursquare, relatively speaking. He counted 15 out of 150 employees. (The highest-profile departure was cofounder Naveen Selvadurai.)
But his answer shows a key problem for Foursquare, which has many challenges, including drumming up revenues: Where it previously had New York-based engineering talent largely to itself, there are now startups and big companies who are able to compete for the same programmers and offer them similarly challenging work.
At Foursquare, Moore worked on Explore, a feature that serves up personalised recommendations of local businesses based on friends’ check-ins, and Radar, a feature which offers serendipitous suggestions of nearby places to go.
At Facebook, he’s working on similar location-based features—including the recently introduced Nearby feature, which similarly recommends local businesses friends like, and the just-launched Graph Search, which plumbs Facebook data for answers to location-related searches.
Moore says Facebook’s “culture” and “dynamic” were a better fit for him.
Something else that has helped Facebook recruit engineers like Moore in New York: an expanding engineering presence in the New York office, which used to be dedicated to sales staff.
Here’s Moore’s full answer, which is worth reading: