November 15, 2013

An interview with Dennis Crowley

Dennis Crowley (his Twitter) is the co-founder and CEO of Foursquare - the check-in app. This interview is from 2011.

Lessons learned
  • His first real entrepreneurial endeavor was making websites and he sold each for maybe $500. After high school, he began working for a research company that studied what other companies were doing online and came to conclusions in form of "best practices."
  • It was interesting to see that he hadn't studied computer science - he took one class but dropped out because he wasn't good at it.
  • In 2000, Dennis Crowley was bored at work so he wanted to build something. He wanted to build a company better than CitySearch for New York. People could add their own reviews - an idea far ahead of everyone else.
  • The history of Foursquare begins with Dodgeball which was co-founded by Dennis Crowley in 2003 and acquired by Google in 2005. Dodgeball was a location-based social networking for mobile devices. Users could text their location to the service, which then notifies the user if he/she had any friends or interesting venues nearby. In 2009, Dennis Crowley co-founded Foursquare as a second version of the original Dodgeball.
  • A lot of people don't get started because they don't believe they have the skills needed or they want a perfect product before they launch it - but there are no perfect products. Dennis Crowley launched Foursquare despite the fact that the product wasn't finished and kept crashing. 
  • It's easy to get stressed out and get distracted by competitors, but you should ignore them and focus on your own vision. Focusing on what Google and Facebook is doing is only distraction.
More articles in the same series: Lessons learned from the Foundation interviews