Notes & Links from Incslinger’s LBS Roadshow

Yesterday I had the pleasure to attend the Social Web Summit, Roadshow edition and hear Simon Salt @incslinger do a seminar on location based social networks (LBSN).

I must admit I’m a born skeptic and often find similar seminars, webcasts, and teleconferences to be little more than introductions to technology which I’m already familiar with. I usually come away being reminded I’m not the target market (i.e. people looking for an intro to these platforms) and gain very little.

Mr. Salt’s seminar is a most excellent exception.simon_salt_incslingers

He nails the fine line of catering both to a businesses just discovering these services as well as experienced LBSN user.

If you are a business evaluating these platforms you’ll find great practical case studies, ideas, and Simon’s enthusiasm in contagious.

If you are already heavily involved in LBSN you’ll be rewarded with excellent historical context, technical and business analysis, and his perspective on what we can expect next.

Simon is extremely knowledgeable, experienced, approachable, and even more important- thoughtful. Being thoughtful is about the best compliment I can give someone.

Simon Salt just got added to my shortlist of LBSN experts.

Takeaways

  • Will Facebook enter the LBSN arena? – Yes, but it probably won’t matter. Their mobile apps are dreadful and there isn’t a high demand in community
    • My take: Completely agree. Facebook could change the game with a purchase of one of the major players but I’m not convinced it will happen anytime soon.
  • Foursquare or Gowalla? – Simon says 4sq. He thinks their lead in content partnerships (Bravo, Zagat, etc…) will lead to continued 4sq dominance
    • My take: Even smart guys can be wrong ;). 4sq partnerships are too expensive and only include national brands that make little difference on the local scale. If Gowalla extends it’s virtual item platform and eases SMB adoption then I’ll put my money on Gowalla. More here – but competition is great and there may be room for both apps.
  • Is location accuracy an issue with Foursquare? Simon doesn’t think it hinders possible adoption because the business benefit outweighs the minority that will try to game the system.
    • My take: Undecided. In some cases it doesn’t matter but in others it is crucial. 4sq has made minor steps to improve accuracy but they fall well short of creating a trusted system
  • Corporate Responsiveness. Simon mentioned that 4sq is very responsive to the developer community and is open to input and ideas and this will continue innovation and development.
    • My take: I’m glad to hear that 4sq is listening to developers because they continue to ignore the majority of its user base on Twitter and GetSatisfaction. I’ve found Gowalla to be much more engaging and helpful.

Enjoy my notes (PDF) and links from the event.

#SWSroad notes

10 responses to “Notes & Links from Incslinger’s LBS Roadshow”

  1. Simon Salt says:

    Keith, you are too kind with your comments. Glad you liked the presentation. I think you make some interesting points about the competition between Foursquare and Gowalla and yes it's definitely possible that Gowalla will still beat out the competition to win the race or as you point out, maybe the space can sustain both. I think that latter unlikely just from past history (where is Jaiku now?). Ultimately I think that there are two elements that will determine the winner – you point one out very clearly – ease of entry for the SMB space. The other you also mention, Customer Service. Given the size of both organizations currently, I think they will both continue to struggle with the latter, but whoever gets it right first is likely to win a lot of support.

  2. arkstfan says:

    I think history shows that eventually there is a dominant player and any others wanting to survive have to find their niche. For example Apple won by losing. They found a niche and grew it but does anyone really think Apple will take even a fourth of the desktop market in 10 years? I don't but they will still have a market they can make money from.

    Gowalla's Blackberry presence is basically vaporware and Blackberry is going to be a strong player for years to come in the space.

    Gowalla to me is more fun to play but 4sq play is better set to encourage frequent check-ins. On my recent trip I relied on 4sq tips and Yelp! to find restaurants and things to do. Gowalla just isn't there.

    Beyond the fun of finding items (especially items with a cool history), Gowalla is my scrapbook. The stamps are a great way to be reminded of trips. As I said last night, that seems to open the door for it to be a scrapbook and way to organize and share photos and videos from trips and activities. That's a niche that 4sq isn't as well positioned to go to and probably doesn't want to move into.

    Thanks again for a great presentation. Well worth my time.

  3. amybhole says:

    Another great summary by Keith. I agree — Simon's presentation was very well-positioned for both newbies and advanced practitioners. More “experts” should take note. There *is* a way to present to a wide audience and still satisfy everyone.

  4. Keith says:

    Simon, thank you taking the time to stop by and comment. I really appreciate it.

    Concerning the space in the market: I'm honestly not sure but you are probably correct that one app will hold dominant market share.

    I'm hoping competition and community involvement will push both apps to be better.

    I really enjoyed your presentation and I hope we can welcome back to Little Rock again. There are some amazing people here and the our social media community is very active here.

    Pleasure to meet you sir.

  5. Keith says:

    Mark I always appreciate your comments. Your experience and insight are always valuable.

    I did neglect to mention that I think Foursquare tips are absolutely one of the most useful functions of LBSN and Gowalla has found a way to tap in to that social knowledge base.

    I like your analogy about Gowalla being your scrapbook. I think it is a perfect description. I'd also add that Gowalla seems to be a bit more social since I can comment on checkins and add images.

    Right now 4sq is a better fit for business and tips, Gowalla is a better place to interact and have fun.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by.

    PS: You are welcome to a guest post any day my friend.

  6. Keith says:

    Thank you Amy. Simon did show great skill in not talking down to his audience and had excellent information for any skill level.

    Thank you for the kind compliment, for helping bring #SWSroad to Little Rock, and for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it.

  7. amybhole says:

    Another great summary by Keith. I agree — Simon's presentation was very well-positioned for both newbies and advanced practitioners. More “experts” should take note. There *is* a way to present to a wide audience and still satisfy everyone.

  8. Keith says:

    Simon, thank you taking the time to stop by and comment. I really appreciate it.

    Concerning the space in the market: I'm honestly not sure but you are probably correct that one app will hold dominant market share.

    I'm hoping competition and community involvement will push both apps to be better.

    I really enjoyed your presentation and I hope we can welcome back to Little Rock again. There are some amazing people here and the our social media community is very active here.

    Pleasure to meet you sir.

  9. Keith says:

    Mark I always appreciate your comments. Your experience and insight are always valuable.

    I did neglect to mention that I think Foursquare tips are absolutely one of the most useful functions of LBSN and Gowalla has found a way to tap in to that social knowledge base.

    I like your analogy about Gowalla being your scrapbook. I think it is a perfect description. I'd also add that Gowalla seems to be a bit more social since I can comment on checkins and add images.

    Right now 4sq is a better fit for business and tips, Gowalla is a better place to interact and have fun.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by.

    PS: You are welcome to a guest post any day my friend.

  10. Keith says:

    Thank you Amy. Simon did show great skill in not talking down to his audience and had excellent information for any skill level.

    Thank you for the kind compliment, for helping bring #SWSroad to Little Rock, and for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it.

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