Microsoft’s Director of Social Engagements Mark Drapeau isn’t a fan of Foursquare, and doesn’t think the location startup has much of a future.In a comment on ReadWriteWeb’s coverage of Foursquare’s funding, Mark spells out his feelings about the service:
- He tried it, “got good at it” (which we didn’t realise was possible), and got bored with it. He thinks (we think) that other people will get bored very quickly too, though he appears to contradict himself here.
- He tried to work out a deal with Dennis Crowley, but couldn’t get through to him. We’re unsure what conclusions we’re meant to draw from that.
- Location aware apps are very important, but the winners in the space will likely be trusted brands, not some “VC-backed, NYC and Austin centric startup.”
The last point is interesting, at least, though we don’t find it convincing. The rest just seems petty.
But the real question here is why a Microsoft exec is putting the company’s name front and centre in a comment about this.
Here’s the full comment:
Kirill’s and Michael’s comments make a lot of sense to me. Here’s my personal experience with FourSquare as Microsoft’s Director of Social Engagements (focused on U.S. public sector business).
I used it for a while on my phone. Got good at it. Pushed the limits of checking in. Became a Super Mayor. Did a CNN interview about it, among other things like that. realised waitstaff at places offering specials did not even know what was happening. Got bored with it. Stopped checking in. Now I know lots of people trying it. My guess is they will get bored quicker than me. I’m an early unadopter; I know when something is not useful to me (who remembers FriendFeed?).
Somewhere in the middle of that, I considered a badge or something similar for a big social event Microsoft was sponsoring at an O’Reilly event. Emailed Dennis; no reply (may have been meeting with VC’s). Attempted to call; no phone number. Tried to visit in person; couldn’t get it.
Anything’s possible, but I’m kinda over it. Geo-apps and similar are important. But there has to be long-term value for consumers/users, whomever the players are (Facebook, Yelp, FourSquare, etc.), and there has to be a true connection between users, owners of locations, the staff at those locations, and the company. And there has to be revenue. Besides Facebook and Yelp, think more broadly – think local news like MSNBC + EveryBlock, think OpenTable, think CraigsList… anything like that could be a player in this space, and trusted by businesses more than a VC-backed, NYC and Austin centric startup. We’ll see.
(Mark commented while logged in through FacebookConnect, verifying his identity)