All About Foursquare

This was originally posted on Ogilvy's Travel and Tourism blog.  I realize most of the people who read this blog already know about Foursquare.  But for my father ...


Foursquareis an interesting, fun and [at times] useful service that’s gotten some solid buzz in the last few months.  It’s the brainchild of the folks who brought us the one-time Internet service darling, Dodgeball.  I found this article from the New York Future Initiative which does a nice job of explaining the service, and the creators’ vision for what it might become.

With the ever-growing buzz, I thought you might appreciate the skinny …

What it is

Foursquare describes itself as 50% friend-finder, 30% social cityguide, 20% nightlife game, though my personal bias is that [at least for the time being] it’s more game.

How it works

A player checks in with Foursquare when they are out and about at a restaurant, bar, museum, movie theater, etc.  Checking in earns you points.  Points earn status [e.g, I was for a fleeting moment the Mayor of the Bowery Hotel Bar].  You can also earn badges for doing interesting things, like checking in at odd times or out-of-the-way places.

For now points/badges only get you bragging rights, though clearly that will change at some point [e.g., Ian checked in 5 times at Old Town Social, earning him a free cocktail].

How you "play"

Players check in via a slick iPhone app [uses GPS to find your location and things around you], mobile site and text message.  You can have Foursquare ping Twitter when you check in.

Where it works

At the time of this post, Foursquare is  available in: Amsterdam, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C.

My recommendation

If you’ve got an iPhone, I recommend giving it a whirl - nothing to lose.  If you’re a marketer, you should take a peak under the hood so you understand the possibilities when Foursquare [inevitably] opens for [paid] business.  If you’re a business in one of the cities above [particularly in a hipster neighborhood] maybe play around with rewarding patrons for checking in from your store/bar/restaurant.

It’s not there yet, and may never be.  But I continue to hear the buzz …

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels

My friend, Geoff [I would insert a link to his blog here but despite talking about it for a year, he hasn't yet started one] sent me this.  It's a link to the Wikipedia entry for Super Mario Bros: The Lost Level.  Here's a snippet ...

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, known in Japan as Super Mario Bros. 2 (スーパーマリオブラザーズ2 Sūpā Mario Burazāzu 2?), is a video game produced by Nintendo, first released in Japan on June 3, 1986 for the Famicom Disk System. The game is very similar to Super Mario Bros.,both graphically and in terms of gameplay, and is generally considered to be one of the most difficult video games of all time. Because of the game's difficulty level and its similarity to the first Super Mario Bros., Nintendo originally decided not to release it in the United States.

He also asked me to mention the following as part of this post:  "If you post this, I fully expect you to mention the comment you made to me in 1986 while playing the game at my mom's apartment on Wellington: 'I want to get so rich that I can make my own, life-size Mario Brothers world.'"   Wow, I was quite the dreamer [or idiot, depending on how you look at it]!