Foursquare has taken its fair share of flack lately, as the company rolls into its fourth year in business. Some claim the company’s userbase had stagnated; others claim that the company lacks a sustainable business model.
After denying the negative user base claims earlier today, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley went on clarify that they do have a business model in place — in fact, March was their biggest revenue month to date.
I think there are a lot of people that think we don’t know how to generate revenue, that we aren’t generating revenue. This is wrong… We’ve been building merchant tools all along. We’ve seen revenue growth every month, and March was our biggest revenue month so far.
As for how that revenue is coming in:
We’re signing six-figure deals with national merchants. We’ve already got a million merchants claiming their business page — we can just say ‘Would you like to spend $50, $100 dollars to drive X number people into your store?” These aren’t just ad impressions they’re paying for. We only count when we actually bring people into your store.
Alas, Dennis declined to comment on just how much total revenue Foursquare expects to see in 2013.
“We’re a private company, so we don’t have to disclose our master plans to you” he said, “but we’ve set ambitious goals for the year, and we’re very much on target to hit them.”
“The numbers aren’t huge yet, but they’re starting to come together.” he added. “The smartest people we talk to… they can understand what we’re doing. There’s a reason that all four of our original investors are back in.”
But what’s Foursquare’s long-term goal here? Will they eventually go public? Will they sell?
We never really comment on exit strategy. The way we think about it: we spent 4 years building an amazing company. While we’re still working out exactly what this product can do, we’re in this sweet spot where people are finally building this hardware that you wear on your wrist, that you wear on your face. [That's perfect for us.] We can continue to operate as an independent company.
Renowned journalist Andrew Blum took to the stage at The Next Web Conference 2013 in Amsterdam today to talk about his inspiring journey to discover the physical infrastructure behind the Internet.
Blum used to write about architecture by visiting beautiful buildings and documenting their structural innovation. But following the release of the original iPhone, he found himself experiencing more and more of these places through a screen.
“I was spending all of my days – as most of you do – sitting in front of the screen, and then at the end of the day I was getting up and looking at this smaller screen in my pocket,” Blum said. “My attention was divided.”
The writer became hung up on the lack of physicality associated with the Internet. The journey to find exactly what places support and connect with the Internet was triggered following an unusual interaction with a squirrel in his backyard.
“My internet broke and the cable guy came to fix it,” Blum said. “He followed the wire from this dusty clump behind my coach, out to the back of my building in Brooklyn, and there he saw a squirrel running along the wire.”
“He said something to me that changed my life. He said ‘I think a squirrel is chewing on your internet’. And this of course seemed preposterous, because as all of you know the internet is the great changer of everything, it has changed revolutions, and dating and shopping and anything that you might imagine.
“But I got a very clear image in my head, and I realized that if I yanked the wire from the wall, it had to go someplace.”
Blum went on an adventure to find the buildings, installations and people who make the Internet what it is today. The results were extraordinary and in many ways, completely unexpected.
Blum also took the time to speak with The Next Web one-on-one after his keynote presentation. Check out his comments below, along with all our other #TNW2013 coverage.
Image Credit: Julia Deboer/Flickr
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Amazon Web Services believes wholeheartedly that the cloud is the future. And not just the cloud, but the AWS public cloud. As a result, Amazon sees big opportunity for its technology in the enterprise market and has been making some aggressive moves to fluster the incumbents and stalwarts, like Microsoft.
The strategy has been to continue offering more and more services, beating its opponents at scale, while operating on razor-thin margins. And so far it’s been working: As Alex said in December, through its programmable architecture, volume and tiny margins, AWS has built a “$1.5 billion business.”
Now, it seems that AWS is looking to apply its model to mobile to get deeper into enterprise — with the creation of what looks to be a whole new arm of its cloud division. TechCrunch today learned of a job listing that has been posted both on its own site and on Stack Overflow that, in its attempt to allure engineers, describes the position as one that will be part of a new business.
“The Amazon Web Services (AWS) team is launching a new business,” it says plainly, and is looking for someone who wants to build “amazing customer experiences on tablet and mobile apps on Android or iOS platforms.”
The post continues:
In this role, you will be responsible for creating and owning world-class production tablet and web client applications across major platforms including iOS and Android … As a member of the founding team, you will have significant influence on our overall strategy by helping define the product features, drive system architecture, and spearhead the best practices that enable a quality v1 product setting the ground work for a successful v2 and beyond.
While we don’t know yet what Amazon has cooking (we’ve reached out and are awaiting their comment), we do know that they’re launching a new business that is focused on building “quality software” for mobile and for those with deep experience building tablet apps. It will be a new product, something AWS hasn’t done before and the team will be small, iterating quickly in a “hyper-growth environment where priorities shift fast.”
Again, Amazon needs a way to get deeper into the enterprise market as well as offer more for developers who increasingly look to their mobile devices to manage their apps.
AWS has been showing off its capabilities by adding the ability for its customers to quickly create virtual private clouds, and it’s been dropping its prices across the board. EC2 discounts, messaging and notifications, you name it.
Rishidot Research Founder Krishnan Subramanian says that Amazon looks to me “making a play on the front-end and looking to build out a management service to build apps for AWS on multiple mobile platforms.”
For the most part, developers access AWS through the web, Subramanian said. Third-party providers are offering mobile apps, not Amazon. This new group could be charged with building a new arsenal of mobile apps.
AWS does need to make a backend play but this job posting does not reflect that. As it stands right now, Amazon doesn’t have the middleware, or cloud-based mobile SDK, which would allow mobile developers to build an app without having to worry about building their own stack. However, given how well
Last October, Minecraft creator Mojang followed in the footsteps of Rovio’s Angry Birds franchise and inked a deal with specialist children’s publisher Egmont — for book and magazine publishing rights for the virtual world block-building game that has sold close to 10 million copies. Today Egmont has now revealed the first paper-based Minecraft products it will be launching in September. The publisher acquired global rights to Minecraft, excluding the U.S.
The range includes four guidebooks covering various aspects of the game: The Beginner’s Handbook, The Redstone Handbook, The Combat Handbook and The Construction Handbook, plus a Minecraft Annual, Minecraft Poster Book, and All About Minecraft Magazine. The handbooks will be priced at £5.99 each, while the annual will retail for £7.99 and the poster book for £9.99.
As well as including developer-related content from Mojang, Egmont plans to run a competition for Minecraft fans to win the chance to have their designs featured in the Poster Book. It said it is also in discussion with a number of “superfans” about them contributing to the titles.
Here are full details of the range of Minecraft publications:
Minecraft – The Beginner’s Handbook
For beginners who find themselves alone, in a mysterious new world, full of hidden dangers, with only minutes to find food and shelter before darkness falls and the monsters come looking for them, The Beginner’s Handbook might just save their lives, giving novice players the knowledge they’ll need to survive and make it to the next level.
Minecraft – The Redstone Handbook
Handbook two will allow fans to wire up and get connected to one of the most complex areas of Minecraft – Redstone. In The Redstone Handbook experts will guide players through all aspects of working with this most sought after mineral including: mining, smelting, using repeaters, circuit components and circuit designs.
Minecraft – The Combat Handbook
The Combat Handbook will teach fans everything they need to know to defend themselves from attacks in Minecraft. It will include tips from Minecraft experts and step-by-step instructions on building forts, setting traps, crafting armour and weapons and how best to prepare for one-to-one combat with hostile mobs and enemy players.
Minecraft – The Construction Handbook
The Construction Handbook will showcase all the awesome things that people have built in Minecraft. Ranging from building detail like arched windows and spiral staircases in a castle to outstanding rollercoasters and the infamous cow launcher, this book aims to inspire fans with step-by-step tutorials to build particular elements of grander projects.
Minecraft – The Annual 2014
The Annual will celebrate the limitless possibilities of Minecraft. Packed with step-by-step instructions for exciting builds and projects, tips from the experts, cool things to make, games to test your brain power and codes to unravel, it’s everything Minecraft fans have been waiting for.
Minecraft – The Poster Book
Packed with iconic pictures from the world of Minecraft, fans will be able to immerse themselves in the epic world of Minecraft in the Poster Book! Packed with awesome artwork to display on bedroom walls, the pull-out posters will include images of the scariest creatures, impressive landscapes, striking scenes and some of the most jaw-dropping constructions ever created in Minecraft.