Overall, I think it's a truly innovative idea. It encourages spending, socializing, competition, and promotional discounting.

As someone who resists fads, opinion leaders, and “groupthink,” I may finally have a reason to jump on a bandwagon. I don’t have a smart phone and I didn’t feel as though I was missing anything perhaps until now. The phone I’m currently using fulfills my few basic needs (it’s very small, I can talk on it, and most importantly it plays music). Whether or not it could save me money, wasn’t an issue until today. I saw a news story about a new social medium that allows consumers to save money by flashing their smart phone.

Back in March, I took a ride on Mega Bus and I thought it was cool that I could write a little code (pre-paid ticket) on a notepad, show it to the driver, and then have a seat. Right before I boarded, the woman in front of me just flashed the driver her phone and she got on. Much cooler than what I did.

In the following months we had some discussions (in Strategy and Positioning) about the potential of advertising via smart phones. One guy had the idea that we consumers would receive certain perks by simply walking by an establishment. For example, think of a real-time pop-up ad. We’re not quite there yet, but Foursquare is a step in that direction.

CEO, Dennis Crowley, explains it much better than I could.

My first impression is that it seems like something I’d expect to be an add-on for a videogame. To be more specific, an MMORPG game. After all, Foursquare has badges (a cue taken directly from Xbox Live achievements and Playstation Network trophies). Overall, I think it’s a truly innovative idea. It encourages spending, socializing, exploration, competition, and sales promos. And here I thought Yelp! was cool. (I’m late on this one). I don’t know enough about Foursquare to justify upgrading my phone, but at least for now the idea is on the table. For first time I’m on the wrong side of the digital divide.

And judging from the logo, Foursquare looks like the same game I played growing up except we called it “Kingball.”

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