No, foursquare! What have you done? AKA Mayorship RIP

A startup has a predictable life cycle and this holds as true now in the mobile era as it did in the “web 2.0” era before it:

1) Initial rush of excitement

2) Meteoric growth

3) Plateauing

From here there are two paths:

4) Innovate incrementally towards success; Or

4) Innovate sporadically or radically towards failure.

I believe foursquare has chosen the second road. Why? In sum, they got rid of their stickiest feature: MAYORSHIPS!

I downloaded the recent new versions of foursquare and swarm for my new iPhone after a six-month-ish hiatus. Why were there two apps now I wondered? I soon found out why — foursquare has devolved itself into a check-in app without a hook (mayorships), and a pseudo-yelp location-based service.

Now I ask you, with Yelp well-established: why would I care about using foursquare as well?

I used to be a slave to mayoring like so many others and the points boards were a useful incentive. This was their strength because people gave them data slavishly for the silly rush of online competition. They should’ve kept these features alive. Instead they’ve “rebranded”, “repositioned” and rendered themselves irrelevant.

They’re not the first to “kill their golden goose”, nor will they be the last.

A darn shame regardless.

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