I feel very torn writing this blog post, and thought hard about deleting it a couple times. But, in the end, I’ll just put it out in the ether… because this blog is little more than me thinking out loud, and this is what I’m been thinking about for most of the day.
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.
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.
If you work in the tech industry then your daily conversations are littered with tech terms. You’ll probably have at least a vague idea of what these mean, but if you’re not in a technical role it’s sometimes hard to put these concepts and buzzwords in precise context.
In this post I’ll briefly explain ten basic terms that engineers use every day. Whatever your role in the tech industry, you’ll benefit from knowing exactly what these mean.
Brevity will require me to leave many important details out. If you’d like me to elaborate further, or if there are other concepts you’d like explained, let me know! I’ll be happy to write another post in this vein in the future.
Why all the critiques of Apple Lightning got it way wrong
In all the iPhone 5 hubbub this week, the sharpest critiques of Apple have come regarding Lightning. Users, the media and accessory manufacturers are up in arms that Apple would dare to change the standard connector that they pioneered with the first iPod way back in 2001. Very few people seem to realize that this is almost definitely a good thing for everyone in the ecosystem. Perhaps not tomorrow but definitely by next year.
Why is the annoyance you’ll have to put up with for all your legacy chargers, accessories and docks worth it in the end? A few reasons:
1. AirPlay is much much better anyway. If you have a Sonos, a Jambox or Bluetooth-enabled sound system in your car, you’ll know this to be the case already. There is no need to plug your device in, no need to have it locked to your accessory and you can enjoy the freedom to multitask while being device-connected. Quite simply, it’s a better technology and thanks to Apple’s market power and the introduction of Lightning, accessory manufacturers will have to embrace AirPlay/BlueTooth significantly faster than they would have otherwise. I am fairly confident that within 18 months the *only* time you’ll actually plug your iPhone into anything will be to charge it up. This is a good thing.
2. A decade is quite a long time for a single hardware standard. But because this particularly standard was attached to the most successful consumer electronic device ever (and spawned a huge economy predicated on it), people are pissed. But the new standard is smaller, lighter and supposedly better. Despite the headache, that should probably be reason enough to warrant a change on its own.
3. It works upside down. This insight is so obvious and dumb that of course Apple is the one who executed on it and brought it to market. Every connector should work rightside up or upside down, right? I am sure (or at least hope) that there are technical reasons this can’t be the case for USB and mini-USB, otherwise it would have been done already.
The Apple fanboy in all of us respects the company because they are the most innovative in the world and they never ever give in to inertia. To criticize them for the same base reason we also love them is hypocritical.
“the company [foursquare] is developing the ability to become the Amazon of locations: Serving up recommendations for places you would probably like to visit based on your profile and check-in history”—
“foursquare has become everything I wish Yelp was. The recommendations are fantastic. I’ve found a ton of places I wouldn’t have normally gone to. The tips keep you hip to what to get/try/avoid. Oh, and there is a certain barrier to entry with foursquare that keeps the spam out (I believe the use of real identities is super important when it comes to recommendations).”—@Matt_Kiser, from a great post that really gets to what we are working on at foursquare.