Crowley: The press puts tech companies through a hazing period

By Erin Griffith , written on October 11, 2012

From The News Desk

Foursquare is nothing if not a tech press darling. In 2009, it felt like tech blogs were covering the company's every move on an hourly basis. Dennis Crowley has been featured on the cover of countless magazines and featured in national ad campaigns for Gap and Best Buy. But is there such a thing as too much press?

When asked that question at PandoMonthly NYC tonight, Crowley said the press puts successful tech companies through a hazing period. It was the same thing for Facebook, he said. The tech press idolized it but the mainstream press -- and user base -- said it was just for college kids. The same thing happened to Twitter. Initially people thought it was just a bunch of tech geeks talking about sandwiches.

And even as tech blogs were drooling over Foursquare, the service was being ripped apart in the comments section. “If you go back to the TechCrunch comments when we hit a million users, people were like ‘Oh, this is a fad,’" he said.

“The press, God bless you guys, puts successful tech companies through a hazing period,” he said. He had to learn to ignore the haters because he believed that his vision -- to turn check-in data into world's best local search engine -- would have value beyond check-ins and badges.

Foursquare hasn't hit the adoption of Twitter or Facebook yet but the core usage of the app is different, Crowley said. "We’re still trying to figure out how many people we need to have in order to be a successful company.”

“It’s not like, if we don’t hit a billion users we don’t make it. It could be 50 million active users, it could be 100 million," he said. "This is local search, it’s not just social on mobile or social on desktop.”