Put me in the camp of people who are still mystified by Foursquare. I think they got off on the wrong foot by first entering my world as a stream of unwelcome auto-Twitter posts. And even as I wrapped my head around the idea of “checking in” and becoming the Mayor of Starbucks, that doesn’t mean I comprehended why any of this was worth giving a rip.
But even I have to admit 1.8 million people-with-nothing-better-to-do are a trend worth heeding. And this week heavy-hitters in the venture capital community — folks who usually do their research post-bubble — have weighed in with $20 million that will allow Foursquare to expand its staff of 30 and move to New York (because if there’s one thing that’s a smart move for a tech startup, it’s taking on expensive office space).
Where people still struggle to comprehend the ways in which Twitter might make money, you can see why VCs would sniff more from Foursquare than the leftover scent of too many lattes consumed during a mayoral quest. The whole premise is inextricably linked to the retail industry. If you’re checking in on Foursquare, chances are 1) you’ve already got money, since you can afford that smartphone on your hip, and 2) you’re physically in a place where more money can be spent, like a coffee shop, restaurant, or Geek Squad break room at Best Buy.
It’s almost like Foursquare was designed… to make money to begin with! Now there’s a concept. And maybe that’s why it never quite smelled right to me.