Product Dev archives: Foursquare

Seeing the recent news of Foursquare adding pictures and comments to their service, i remembered not too long ago, July of this year actually, a small class of Syracuse University graduate students sitting in a room with Jonathan Crowley, brother of Foursquare CEO, Dennis Crowley, pitching them ideas for Foursquare and creating product dev projects for the company. Now this didn’t go anywhere as there was a debacle with the whole Handshake magazine and the Crowley’s (Google it or check Gizmodo) and all was forgotten, however when i saw this announcement it reminded me of a document i had lying about on my computer. Now i’m not saying they got the idea from me, or weren’t thinking about this before, just a memory i thought i’d share. The real idea that came out of the project was a checkout system (Tom Showalter Impule CEO at it again @tomshowalter). Here’s a link to his project Foursquare Checkout on his linkedin Page:

You have to view the full profile to see it. Don’t be surprised if they announce a checkout feature in one of their next updates.

Here’s mine:




1       Summary of Idea 2       Elevator Pitch 3       Discussion of target market 4       Usage Scenarios 5       Definitions and Roles


The idea for 4square is to create an infrastructure that allows users to see images taken at the different places they’ve visited in their history. It is broken up into the backend, which is what Foursquare sees and a front end, which is what the users see. Users can now check back and not only see who was with them at a specific location on a specific date, but they can also see all the pictures and video taken on that day.



The user logins into his account and clicks on the history tab. He sees the usual list of places he has visited. He can click on an event and see the pictures he and his friends who were with him took at that location. He has the ability to remove or add any pictures that he took, but those taken by his friends can only be changed by them.


On the Foursquare side, they need to add a program to their app that allows users to upload images to a site that tags the images with the location they are currently checked into.  These images are then populated in their history under the set location and date for the user to see and remember.


The idea for 4square is to create an infrastructure that allows users to see images taken at the different places they’ve visited in their history.

Currently, 4Square is text based and contains no images except for profile pictures. Also when people go out, users have to search a number of sites like Flickr, Photobucket, YouTube, and Vimeo for the pictures their friends took from the night out and hope that they are tagged correctly so they show up.

This add-on to 4square in a sense acts as an aggregator of images that allows users to relive outings by seeing where they have been and any pictures taken at that location by them or their friends.

¨This idea will add a new value layer to Foursquare’s current users, increasing the brand loyalty to foursquare, as well as opening up new expansion possibilities and giving them an upper hand over competitors.


  1. Users go to a location and check-in.
  2. Fourquare users get the option to share/upload images to Foursquare.
  3. While there, any pictures (and eventually video) they take can be uploaded to Foursquare.
  4. The media object is uploaded to Foursquare’s servers and tagged under the correct location, userID, date and time.
  5. The images are then populated into the users history based on their tagging.
  6. After checking out, the users can later go back to their history and pick which pictures they want to leave in their history or remove.
  7. The user can see who was at the location with him and all the pictures taken then.




1)    Foursquare is responsible for:

2)    Creating a new section in the Foursquare History Page called Images.

3)    Creating a program that receives images and tags them accordingly.

i)      This program takes different pictures uploaded by users and assigns them to a userID, tags them with the location currently checked in, the date,and the time.

4)    Creating a program that sorts the uploaded objects and populates them in their correct locations.

5)    Give users capability to add captions to or remove images.


Its Friday night and Joe and his friends plan to meet up for a night on the town in NYC. After meeting up with his friends, they decide to go to a lounge in the meat packing district. At the lounge Joe is his usual brotastic self, and his friends have a surprise for him. They tip the bartender and tell him that if a guy comes up and orders an Apple martini, to ice him. They dare Joe to go to the bar and order an Apple martini, and pull out their phones to capture the moment. Joe walks up to the bar and is iced immediately. He gets on one knee and starts to chug, while his friends take photos and share them with Foursquare. As the night goes on Joe blacks out. The next day, not remembering anything, he logs into the Foursquare website and checks his history to piece together the previous night. He sees the different places he visited, and the pictures taken at the venues. He is mortified by the pictures of him doing body shots off of a guy in a bar. He goes back to bed to nurse his hangover.


The user is responsible for:

1)    Checking-in

i)      This is just like your usual check in. The user checks into a location

2)    Creating media

i)      The user is responsible for taking images and uploading them Foursquare

3)    Managing their images

i)      The user is responsible for checking the history and taking down any of their pictures they don’t like.



This application is for anybody and everybody who uses Foursquare.


  1. API developers – these individuals ensure the app can be built upon by third party applications.
  2. Program Manager – these are the individuals who own the process of creating the app. They act as a link between the product manager and lead engineer, coordinating market specifications with technical developments.  This individual is responsible for creating the functional specification documents for the app to ensure an analogous vision between marketing and engineering and manages the product development process from marketing conception to final technical development.
  3. Product development manager– these are individuals who conduct research and perform a market analyses and have a vision for the application. They obtain the market specifications, requirements and customizations and lay the ground rules for the application and their vision is transformed into the app. They work at all levels of the app development and manage the product’s overall design ensuring that it addresses the needs of the target audience.
  4. Lead Developer – this individual owns the technical aspect of the app creation process. He designs the technical systems and specific program necessary to implement the necessary changes. Distributes the work to other programmers, architects and engineers, and oversees all of the technical aspects of product development.
  5. Beta testers – these are individuals who will work hand in hand with the programmers and find out any bugs in the application.
  6. Business development – these are the individuals who work with other companies to create partnerships. They work on getting discounts as well as setting up promotions with companies and individuals who want to work with 4square.
  7. Device manufacturers – these are the individuals who create the devices that the apps are on. They know the device capabilities and work with programmers to find a seamless way to make the app work as well as the best practice to make it a functional app.
  8. Design team – this team designs the app look and feel and its interface. They work with the programmers and product developers.
  9. Customer service – these are individuals who ensure that the customers are happy with the app. They help them with troubleshooting and any other problems they have
  10. Legal – these are individuals who take care of the legal aspect of the app.

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