Today was my last day at Foursquare.
I remember very clearly my first day at Foursquare, August 3rd, 2010. We were 25 people and growing so fast we didn’t yet have office space that fit all of us, so I sat in the Village Voice’s office on the 3rd floor of 36 Coop in overflow seating with a few other Foursquare colleagues. We were in seats that used to be occupied by the Voice’s local sales team but now was a large bank of empty cubes. The irony of joining a company that was out to reinvent local while sitting in the now-defunct sales office of a dying print newspaper was not lost on any of us.
Fast forward three and a half years and Foursquare has 175 employees and over 45 million people in our community. More than 5 billion checkins have happened at over 60 million places across the globe, from New York to North Korea to the North Pole to the International Space Station. And Foursquare is quite literally at the center of changing how we engage with our phones and the broader world around us. I’m so grateful and thankful to Dennis and Evan and the entire Foursquare team for taking a shot on me and then giving me the chance to make an impact on such an awesome product with such a talented group of people. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
But six weeks ago just as I was starting to think about what could be my next chapter, I met Abe and the team at Shake and started to hear their vision for a mobile-first tool that makes legal agreements understandable, cheap and accessibleI was immediately intrigued. For small businesses and individuals, finding a lawyer for the types of casual transactions that are increasingly commonplace — hiring a freelancer or contractor, keeping something confidential, loaning money, a bill of sale for a rather large purchase — is so expensive, annoying and time consuming that we don’t even bother. Instead we shake hands with someone, we cross our fingers and we hope for the best. But we shouldn’t have to take that risk. There should be a way to very easily enter into a legally binding agreement which both parties understand and are protected by and doesn’t cost anyone very much, if anything. And it should only take a few seconds to do. And that’s *exactly* what Shake does and why I think the company is on to something very big.
Just like Square democratized payments for the vendor at your local flea market, Shake is going to democratize agreements for your friend who’s a freelance photographer and your neighbor who bought that rad used bike sight unseen from the web. If you haven’t seen it, go watch Mike Monteiro’s F*ck You Pay Me rallying cry of a presentation to the freelance community and you’ll get a sense for how real this problem is for a significant part of our creative and digital workforce. And when you consider how quickly the P2P/Sharing Economy has been growing and how many people it will touch in the coming years, well that’s when I got really excited and decided I wanted to be a part of this thing.
So as of Monday, I’ll be officially joining the Shake team to run Business Development and help get Shake’s tools in front of as many people and small businesses as possible. It’s going to be a big challenge, it’s going to be a lot of fun, and it’s going to be very rewarding. I can’t wait.