Foursquare Hackathon Winner Will Tweet-Shame Your Flabby Abs Into Shape

The winner of the social check-in company’s first hackathon of the year is Gym Shamer.

If you do not check in to your local gym, not only will your glutes sag, the Gym Shamer will know. And it will tell your friends via social media.


The app is the winner of Foursquare’s first hackathon of the year. The lovely little service allows users to set personal fitness goals and then it keeps them honest by tracking their check-ins to the local gym. If they break their resolutions, an automated friend will tweet or post that miss to Facebook, something like “I failed to go to the gym 3 times this week. Ouch!” Fittingly, Tal Flanchraych and Volkan Unsal, the New York-based programmers behind Gym Shamer, earned a Foursquare title belt–the sort often hoisted by prize boxers or World Wrestling mega studs. They’ll also get to video chat with CEO Dennis Crowley.

More than 200 people globally had participated in Foursquare’s main event–-as many as 110 crammed into the company’s New York office–using Foursquare’s open-sourced API to push out a total of 84 apps in less than 24 hours. Entries included irreverent candidates like Nasdrunk, which attempts to correlate bar visits with Nasdaq closing values, and CouchCachet, a service that gives you suggestions for nearby events to either go to or check in to and use fake-tagging to simulate actually going are already up on HackerLeague.

To appeal to as many operating systems as possible, most contest made apps are platform agnostic. Still, it’s a bit surprising that none of the winners were built for Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform. Other major companies have been pushing out offerings for the new operating system. For instance, last November, Facebook held its own hackathon to build more rollout-related features, though none have been announced yet. This week, Dropbox announced their own app, which basically will let its 100 million users store and share files far more artfully. At Foursquare, unaffiliated coders themselves seem to be supplying the coolest brainstorms already; 4th at Square, a Windows 8 app that brings the company’s best mobile features to the bigger screen and also has a local search feature comb for nearby check-ins and find user recommendations, was built by Brandon Paddock, a Microsoft programmer.

Sure, not every CouchCachet might wind up being a hit. “It was a real head scratcher for us,” says Akshay Patil, a Foursquare lead platform builder. “It’s a very playful app but we are still trying to figure out if it’s within our policies.” But such subterfuge sure would be fun to see scrawled out in a unique way across Window’s tile-like interface.

[Image: Flickr user Aaron Parecki]

About the author

Ben Paynter is a senior writer at Fast Company covering social impact, the future of philanthropy, and innovative food companies. His work has appeared in Wired, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the New York Times, among other places.