77. Alex Rainert

Head of Product of Foursquare, How To Build On Early Success

When Alex Rainert joined Foursquare in March 2010, its user base was 500,000--and people were mostly just checking in places and earning badges. Now that number is nearly 40 times larger, on account of Rainert utilizing what those first 500,000 provided. "We have so much rich data about the time-specific connection between people and places; we can give people real-time content that reflects those three axes," he says. New services include tracking user check-ins to offer honed, personal recommendations on where to go, allowing users to search for new places based on their own history and others' recommendations, and letting musicians reward fans if, say, enough check in at a concert. It's part of a grander vision, he says, which isn't just about places: "It's a way to keep track of all the things you want to do."

Timeline

  • 1998

    Graduates from Trinity College with a degree in philosophy

  • 1998

    Accepts first job, at Razorfish, after offering to take any job they had; taught himself enough programming in six months to become a front end developer

  • 2002

    Enrolls in NYU's Interactive Telecommunications program, where he meets his future wife and Dennis Crowley; builds Dodgeball

  • 2004

    Presents dodgeball.com with Dennis Crowley as master's thesis

  • 2005

    Google acquires Dodgeball

  • 2007

    Leaves Google and Dodgeball behind to start building Foursquare from the ground up

  • 2010

    Welcomes first daughter, Elise; starts full-time at Foursquare and grows product team from two to 13 members

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