Using game theory to build a business

Foursquare launched in Dublin towards the end of last week. Foursquare is a service that allows you to share what your location is to people you are connected to on the service. Most of it is done via a mobile phone. Smartphone or ordinary phone It has a prepopulated list of businesses for each city they’re in. So far so what. To encourage people to use the service it rewards you with a points system and a leaderboard to see how well you’re doing. The person that checks in to a location the most becomes a Mayor and they can be ousted etc.


A cool enough way to build a network and they’re already tieing in with businesses. Encouraging them to reward frequent users etc. They are also trialing hyper localised advertising which is going to be where the money is in the next few years, thus Google’s purchase of Admob yesterday for 750Million. Right now they seem to use data from Yelp but maybe we’ll see them tie in with a local provider like hmm perhaps?


One of the founders Dennis built Dodgeball a few years back and sold it to Google and was quite blunt at the crap way Google treated them after acquisition. Looks like this is everything Google could have done with Dodgeball. I’ve only been on it a few days but I love it. Right now it appears that there’s just around 100 people in Dublin using this. Tiny numbers but watch how it grows.

Maybe I should have done this as a top ten post and riddled it with keywords for traffic? Ah well.

12 Responses to “Using game theory to build a business”

  1. You could have called this “Top 10 awesome ways in which Foursquare will totally Transform Social Media and lessons every Web Guru Must know” but then people would think they’re reading Smashing Mulleyzine or something.

    Foursquare is great fun though – I wasn’t surprised at all to see you were number 1 last weekend!

  2. Mick says:

    thanks for the mention damien – there are a number of players entering the location based social networking field. After all we already have, which is great service.

  3. Joe Scanlon says:

    Is the logout button kinda hidden at the bottom to keep old people like me logged in longer? I don’t get it, i’m not sure I want to and the first thing I usually want to do is logout. bit like my feelings for Bebo 🙂 I have been labeled a cranky old bastard numberous times before, so maybe it’s just that?

    I’ll stay tuned, maybe when they create a city called Cork i’ll like it more

  4. Joe: I’ll refer to your comments about blogging and twittering in that famous email. 🙂

  5. Ronan says:

    Game theory is very, very exciting.

  6. I have been using it for a few days. I think the local recommendations from your friends and users are great. I thought it was funny when i got a notification that Pat Phelan was in Macari’s Takeaway in Clondalkin during the week. Lovely chis they do there 🙂

  7. I had to read it twice before I actually made sense of what Foursquare is, but it sounds class. I imagine the tech friendly businesses will be climbing on board at a fast pace.

    Not a service for those worried about invassion of privacy though and stalkers will find it very useful 😀

    Any plans to spread it throughout the country?

  8. Joe Scanlon says:

    Damien : I think we all agree that blogging will never catch on.

    On a serious note : Will Foursquare kill off a lot of the review websites out there in your opinion?

  9. niall larkin says:

    “One of the founders Dennis built Dodgeball a few years back… was quite blunt at the crap way Google treated them after acquisition.”

    Ego alert! Can’t let this go without mentioning that Alex the other founder of Dodgeball cited a blog post of yours truly ‘as the best job yet at summing up the experience Dennis and I had bringing dodgeballl to Google.’ Ah that still gives me the warm and fuzzies 🙂

  10. […] discounts if you try something different on the menu. Game theory like I mentioned in the last FourSquare post. Perhaps too have secret menus for FourSquare. In and Out burger have a secret menu (though not so […]

  11. […] business. So you pay Foursquare for you to reward repeat customers or potentially new customers. See other post on Foursquare. I look forward to Irish Foursquare apps […]