Foursquare CEO on Transition From Consumer Social Network to B2B Enterprise Data Company

Jeff-Glueck

In Episode #779, Nathan interviews Jeff Glueck. He became the CEO of Foursquare in January of 2016 after 18 months as the COO of the company. Prior to that, he was the CEO of Skyfire Labs, co-founder of Site59.com and CMO of Travelocity. Previously, he was a strategy consultant at Monitor Company and served as a White House Fellow in the Clinton Administration. He holds a master’s degree from Oxford as a Marshall Scholar and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Good to Great
  • What CEO do you follow? – Adam Neumann
  • Favorite online tool? — Stitcher
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 7
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “It’s going to be okay when you take a risk”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:46 – Nathan introduces Jeff to the show
  • 02:53 – Jeff has been with Foursquare for 3 years
    • 02:55 – Jeff joined the company while it was evolving into a hot social network in 2012
  • 03:10 – Foursquare developed the technology of Pilgrim that turned it into a powerful enterprise business
  • 03:19 – Foursquare’s early valuation was based on the fact that it would be the next big social media network
    • 03:51 – The valuation was only made up because it wasn’t based on revenue
  • 03:57 – When Jeff entered, they raised a round and they’re now growing over 60% in the past 3 years
  • 04:13 – Foursquare is now more rationally valued
  • 04:55 – Foursquare has a powerful community of people mapping the world
  • 06:05 – Pilgrim is based on Foursquare’s nearly 12B check-ins
  • 06:13 – Foursquare is having more check-ins today than it did 2 years ago
    • 06:30 – The check-ins are called explicit ground trips
    • 06:55 – Everytime someone check-in, they’re mapping the business for Foursquare
    • 07:15 – The explicit ground trip makes the program powerful
  • 08:06 – Foursquare launched the Pilgrim SDK which is a white label way for their developers to add in background content and give users a better experience
  • 08:24 – Using the Pilgrim technology, Capital One can ask its user if they want to opt-in for being informed about how to receive rewards points
    • 08:36 – People overwhelmingly opting-in
    • 09:08 – The notification from Capital One encourages people to actually use their mobile wallet
  • 09:18 – TouchTunes uses the Pilgrim technology
    • 09:25 – TouchTunes runs 65K jukeboxes through mobile app
  • 10:37 – Pilgrim technology has learned when to send notifications
    • 10:47 – Pilgrim technology also informs their developers of the best time to send notifications
  • 12:08 – When Jeff joined, he saw how everyone, including Fortune 500 companies, was using them for free
    • 12:15 – Jeff told their CEO that they’re actually losing money and that they needed to start charging customers
  • 12:42 – Foursquare didn’t lose even a single developer after putting up a paywall
  • 12:49 – The model was licensed-based depending on the usage
  • 14:15 – Three of the largest headphones in the world are Foursquare’s customers
  • 14:40 – Jeff understands how the market changes
    • 14:55 – 92% of the consumer spending is far from the 8% they spend on e-commerce like Amazon
    • 15:10 – Foursquare has predicted how Chipotle’s sales will go down by 30%
  • 15:20 – “We’re not investors, we’re technologists”
  • 16:16 – Jeff believes that Foursquare’s mission is to be a location intelligence company
  • 16:34 – Jeff is proud of Foursquare’s technology; they can build tools that help companies
  • 17:07 – Foursquare started out as a consumer company but now, more and more apps are using them for their applications
  • 17:51 – Jeff believes that in the future, they can also make real estate better
  • 18:45 – 90% of Foursquare’s revenue is from B2B
  • 19:34 – Foursquare’s paying customers are some of the biggest brands in the world who want a company that is as good as Google Maps
  • 19:58 – People don’t want to be dependent on Google in the future
  • 20:18 – “A lot of smart companies want to build differentiated mobile experiences in the future and we’re helping them do that, that is our business”
  • 21:48 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Even if your company can go IPO, it doesn’t mean that it should.
  2. Offering your services or products for free may work for the short-term, but if your service adds value to your customers, they WILL pay.
  3. Focus on what your company is good at.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Simplero – The easiest way to launch your own membership course like the big influencers do but at 1/10th the cost.
  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • GetLatka – Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives