Foursquare Engineering and Innovation Labs Advisor Max Sklar
Do you remember when Foursquare launched at SXSW in 2009? For those that don’t, it was a huge location-based social network, which let people check in to locations to share with their friends and earn badges. In 2014, Foursquare split its main app into two separate apps, the Foursquare City Guide and Swarm.
Swarm let users check in to locations and earn mayorships and other stickers, focusing on the social utility that was eventually de-emphasized in favor of lifelogging. Foursquare City Guide, on the other hand, used past check-in data and data from Swarm to power a Yelp competitor, giving users a way to find great restaurants and experiences in their area.
In short, here in 2020, Foursquare labs have evolved. But today’s guest is Max Sklar from Foursquare Labs. Max is a software engineer and new product developer by trade, with a focus on machine learning, content discovery, and prototyping.
The bulk of his work as a machine learning engineer was at Foursquare, where he built Foursquare City Guide’s critically acclaimed 10-point venue rating system and the Marsbot app. More recently, he led the development of a causality model for Foursquare’s Ad Attribution product and now works at Foursquare’s innovation lab. He’s also the host of The Local Maximum Podcast.
We talk about machine learning, rapid prototyping, building products, emerging technology, the state of the tech industry, Silicon Valley, Foursquare, and much more.