Play Your Video Games
If there was one salient lesson gleaned from the two-hour, day-glo sex romp that was Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, it was this: just pretend that life’s a video game. As it turns out, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley maintains the same mantra. At the Twofixsix conference in Brooklyn, presented by gaming magazine Kill Screen, Mr. Crowley told the crowd that his success in tech largely hinges on his love of video games.
This week is the New York edition of TechCrunch Disrupt, which means it’s time for the annual friendly grilling of Silicon Alley personalities. Taking his turn in the hot seat this morning: Fuelband-brandishing Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley.
This year’s conference takes place in the least startup-y of neighborhoods: right next door to Penn Station, in the Hammerstein Ballroom. It’s covered in faux rococo detailing, and the carpet has seen better days, possibly during the Ford administration, and don’t even try sitting down on the stairs to make a phone call because you will be bounced.
So it was in incongruous surroundings that @dens tackled a no-fun question: Where did all the adulation go?
Earlier this afternoon, two huge explosions ripped through downtown Boston near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, injuring spectators and athletes alike. It’s still very unclear what’s going on, but there’s a familiar face reporting in from the scene. Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley was running the marathon today–you might have seen his automatic check-ins from every milepost, interspersed with the occasional mid-stride misspelled tweet.
But the auto-updates suddenly stopped. After reassuring everyone he was fine, Mr. Crowley began tweeting dispatches from the middle of the race:
Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about Foursquare, the New York-based check-in and recommendations app that was the breakout darling of SXSW 2009.
Former Square COO Keith Rabois recently engaged in a very public dustup with Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley on Twitter, tweeting that only a “Hail Mary Bebo-style acquisition will bail you out.” In January, data and research company PrivCo predicted that the startup will fail by the end of the year, eventually surrendering to an acquisition price of no more than $50 million (though the analysis didn’t account for mobile traffic). In November of last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that investors were “cooling” on Foursquare. “The company claims more than 25 million registered users, but only about 8 million of them use the app at least once a month,” it wrote.
HopStop, Now With Complaints On Monday, transit app HopStop released its new social app HopStop Live!, which lets users update each other in real time on transit issues and changes. (Because the only thing more fun than dealing with transit issues is hearing other people complain about transit issues.) The app is also designed to create communities around Read More
Do high-powered tech types have any idea of the right way to spend a weekend? Apparently not: When VC and former Square COO Keith Rabois made a critical, slightly snide remark about how Foursquare is faring, he ignited a two-day-long tussle over when it’s okay to criticize a founder.
I swear, sometimes you’d think we Read More
Turns out having a book on the top of Amazon’s bestseller list does not make you an automatic millionaire. [Salon]
After the announcement that Google Reader would shut down in July, more than 500,000 users have already migrated to Feedly. [The Verge]
Foursquare is reportedly close to closing a Series D round that would value it at less than the valuation from its Series C. [TechCrunch]
According to his lawyer, Matthew Keys’ legal defense is going to be that he was doing work as an undercover investigative journalist. Oh, we can flout the law under the guise of “journalism!”? Brb, going to loot the Apple store. [The Next Web]
An NYU student has invented a gel that can help stop bleeding in wounds. But can it mend college’s primary injury: broken hearts? [New York Post]
Front Page Printed Pages of the Internet Just before taking stage at SXSW to talk his crowdfunded Internet 2012 tour, Alexis Ohanian emailed out a link to his new book, Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed.
Since you asked, Mr. Ohanian, we dig the cover, but “without their permission,” sounds a little iffy in the context of Reddit’s Creepshot scandal, no?
Facebook agreed to remove pages created in tribute to victims of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, at the request of Connecticut lawmakers. Some of the pages purported to honor the victims were being used to harass victims’ families, the lawmakers said. [CBS News]
Foursquare is adding Visa, Mastercard and debit cards to its check-in deals program as it attempts to expand an existing revenue model. The company has let users pay for the deals—which users can access after checking in at participating locations—with American Express since 2011. [AllThingsD]
The U.S. government wasted millions of dollars in its attempts to expand broadband wireless service, according to a Republican congressman. [Bloomberg]
Thomas Pynchon’s next novel is said to be set in Silicon Alley, in the period between the dot-com boom and the terrorist attacks of September 11; here are some rejected plot lines. [PandoDaily]
The Visual Effects crowd is pissed off, and rightfully, it seems, about the lack of airtime it was afforded during the Academy Awards on Sunday. Television broadcasts largely ignored demonstrators protesting the state of the VFX industry, in which many jobs have been shipped overseas; meanwhile, the Oscar winner for VFX had his speech cut short, and Ang Lee, who won Best Director for his CGI-heavy Life of Pi, forgot to thank his VFX man. [The Big Social Picture]
Uber is signing up drivers in San Francisco; no taxi license needed, but there will be a test. [Engadget]
Bad education? CampInteractive and Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian are hosting an ed tech hackathon at General Assembly this weekend, inviting developers, students and ed tech influencers to tackle improve the classroom experience. Since gold stars are being offered for hacks that help engage students with “unusually compelling learning experiences,” we’d like to suggest a Read More