Inspired by Iconfactory’s Pixelpalooza,
I got into pixel art, drew hundreds of icons,
and met my ﬁrst two co-workers.
• Frustrated with our billing solution,
we wrote our own and decided to
make it fun. And useful.
• Thank You Notes were an
unusual selling point that resonated
with those who used the service.
• Originally known as Project Agape,
Causes was envisioned as a standalone
site to encourage social giving.
• Ultimately Causes was re-imagined
as a Facebook application.
• Over $25 million has been raised.
Add Go to a Wallaby
and you get a Gowalla. Really.
In many ways Gowalla was in the right
place at the right time. We’ve grown
our community from 2,000 to 500,000
in the last 12 months.
The hype machine is great,
but living in reality is better.
A Word of Caution
Beware of placing your trust
in the future web proclaimed by blogs,
investors and so-called “social media gurus.”
“We are the music makers,
And we are the
dreamers of dreams.”
• Checking In
• Game Mechanics
• Checking In is the status update for
the places we go. It has succeeded
where other concepts have failed.
• Now we’re checking into television,
books, video games, states of
consciousness, and more.
• Overload is upon us.
Checking in isn’t cool.
You know what’s cool?
Winning an iPad
after you check in.
• A new wave of services are
repurposing ideas from Farmville and
World of Warcraft for practical means.
• They provide simple incentives for
completing ordinary tasks.
• However, they are subservient to the
usefulness of the service.
• Nothing new under the sun.
• As a reward system, they’ve become
the poster child for the success of
• Badges and achievements are driving
activity around the web,
but are they really?
is the primary driver
for activity on today’s web.
• We share on Facebook in order to
receive comments and likes.
• We post to Twitter with the hope of
being re-tweeted, which in turn
boosts our follower count.
• We upload to Flickr and look forward
to being favorited.
• Every week a new location-based
service is born seeking to cash in on
some perceived gold rush.
• Location in and of itself is boring.
People don’t care about the technology.
Nor should they.
• Context and value matter.
• Checking in is a temporary solution to
a more complex problem.
• Badges and game mechanics
are not a special sauce
that magically makes everything tasty.
• “Geolocation” is not people friendly.
“The Future isn't what it used to be.
I'm not surprised, I'm not surprised.
Most of us live on boats of luxury.
We're so conﬁned. We’re so conﬁned.”
G d Morning by Rogue Wave
• Mobile: Get off your ass!
• Background Services and
• Activism & The Social Good
Get oﬀ your a !
• People have visited places in over
170 countries with Gowalla.
• Location is central to the mobile
• Mobile devices give us the ability to
connect with people and the world
around us in new and remarkable ways.
Rise of the A s!
• While the future is most certainly
mobile, the App culture is wrinkle in
the fabric of the Mobile Web.
• Device makers and carriers around the
world are fragmenting our engineering
efforts. We have taken a step backward.
• Make no mistake, this is about money.
“I think many of our problems as a country
would be solved if people had thick passports.
There's just no substitute for
actually going and seeing things.”
Pa ive A lications
For mobile services to become truly useful,
they must not interrupt our daily
lives or social interactions.
• Flickr and Wikipedia set the example.
• 1.9 millions places crowdsourced
on Gowalla (we were naive).
• 700,000 photos taken on the spot.
The Case Against Corporate Responsibility
“The idea that companies have a responsibility
to act in the public interest and will proﬁt
from doing so is fundamentally ﬂawed...
Governments are a far more effective
protector of the public good than any
campaign for corporate social responsibility.”
Anîl Karnani, WSJ
• Find the extraordinary in the everyday.
• Provide a magical experience when
people check in, share photos, write
stories and leave recommendations.
• Inspire people to discover and share
the world with their friends.
What does this mean
for you and the projects
you’re creating for tomorrow?
• Are you creating products that
provide real value to real people?
(startups for startups = Google Wave)
• Build a community... then delight it!
• Connect people with the real world.
• Inspire people to do the remarkable.
Find me on Twitter @jw
Keynote Illustration by Will Bryant