Dennis Crowley: How Ethics Got Foursquare Through the Last 10 Years [Video]

Dennis Crowley launched Foursquare at SXSW 10 years ago and changed the tech scene with the “check in.” At SXSW 2019, he reunited on stage with journalist Laurie Segall, his original interviewer, to discuss the industry changes in the collection of location data from then to now and how that’s impacted the way they do things behind the scenes – as well as debuting the new technology from Foursquare, Hypertrending.

When reflecting on what led Crowley to decide to prioritize ethics training for all levels of employees, Crowley cited the announcement of the Muslim ban as a large motivation for auditing all of Foursquare’s tech to make sure none of it could be misused. Through the specific company culture Foursquare has cultivated over time, Crowley found that he had created an environment where staff felt empowered to create their own safeguards within the code of their tech and everyone on every level felt comfortable to speak out when they saw something that they thought could be questionable.

“As it gets harder to navigate what technology companies are supposed to do and not do, it was clear that the employees would ask questions and we would be thoughtful in explaining how everything works so everyone felt good about what we were doing. Doctors and lawyers, they get ethics training, why not people who work at a tech company?”

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Featured Image by Amanda Stronza

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