Brendan Lewis is the Director of Communications for Foursquare and is also a panelist at next week’s Startup Voodoo conference.
I had a chance to speak with Brendan a little about Foursquare, Startup Voodoo and launching a startup in general. Next week on Thursday, Sept 25th, Brendan will be a panelist at Startup Voodoo in St. Louis.
TECHLI: How does Foursquare stay relevant with so many new social media tools always popping up?
Brendan: Foursquare’s mission is all about helping people meet up and keep up with friends and find places to enjoy time with them, answering the question, “Where are my friends at today?”
We [Foursquare] have unbundled our two core experiences into two separate apps. Local recommendations and checking in have been made unique in their own right. This addresses the privacy concerns some people have- Don’t want to check in? No problem. Let Foursquare make recommendations on great places to be at. Swarm is for those who still enjoy the checking in process.
TECHLI: How many user does Foursquare currently have?
Brendan: Foursquare has been downloaded by more than 50 million people, Foursquare.com receives over 50 million unique visitors a month and 1.8 million venues have claimed their profile.
TECHLI: Regarding the Midwest, do you see a difference in the startup ecosystem vs. 10 years ago?
Brendan: I’ve lived in cities not necessarily known for startups and I see a few defining trends going on. There is a much greater distribution of technology happening and you don’t need to be in the Bay Area, Seattle, Boston or NYC anymore.
A lot of great ideas and thinking are coming from people living where they want to live and if you want to build a product you’re passionate about or think your friends would want to use, you can do it from anywhere. You have great cities all over the U.S. that attract people for different reasons and there is no reason you can’t get something great built from just about anywhere.
Basically, you can live anywhere you want with almost zero barriers to entry.
TECHLI: What advice do you have for a startup launching in the Midwest?
Brendan: Communities everywhere are starting to have tech meetups- go to them and meet likeminded people. You’ll find people you didn’t know at these events- network with them. Sure, you’ll have to cut through the wannabes and talkers who don’t do anything, but then you’ll eventually find the people who are serious and want to build something.
You can also get a sense of what trends might exist in your area, and then you can build something cool, something that can transcend your region.
The community aspect of startups is so much easier these days than it used to be- there’s no secret recipe here, just go out, find people and collaborate. The best ideas come from collaboration.
TECHLI: Thank you for your time
Brendan: You’re welcome. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone next week at Startup Voodoo!