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How Foursquare knew before almost anyone how bad things were for Chipotle

From The Washington Post:

Chipotle announced its first loss as a public company Tuesday. But two weeks earlier, an unlikely source —the social media app Foursquare — had beat Chipotle to the punch, predicting in a blog post that the burrito maker’s sales would drop nearly 30 percent. Chipotle made it official Tuesday afternoon — reporting a drop of 29.7 percent.

Source: How Foursquare knew before almost anyone how bad things were for Chipotle – The Washington Post

foursquareFoursquare knew Chipotle was in trouble because fewer people were “checking in”. Foursquare is designed specifically to track where you are and people who use it know they are giving up some privacy for a perceived benefit.

However there are many apps that track where you are using GPS and cell tower data that are not specifically a location app. The app gathers this data in order to sell it to people who can use it to their advantage. For example a stock trader could make a killing if he or she knew the earnings of a public traded company would fall 30% before the rest of the world found out.

The vast amounts of data – such as your location at any given time – that mobile apps are accumulating provide a treasure trove of information about how humans behave. In theory we could use this data to learn to interact more effectively and to improve the human condition.

On the other hand there is a definite creepy factor to knowing someone else can see where you are and where you have been at all times. There is also the issue of apps gathering location data and other bits of personal information that are not essential to their function but can be sold for a profit. When you download an app they are required to tell you what data it will be accessing. Most of the time we just click past this without looking. Don’t. You will be surprised at how many apps want access to personal data including location tracking. Think twice before saying yes. As a general rule if the app is free then you are the product.

So far using tracking data as Foursquare did with Chipotle works with large multi facility organizations that rely on walk in traffic. At this time there is no direct application for dentists looking to improve their practice. However in the future there easily could be.

520 replies on “How Foursquare knew before almost anyone how bad things were for Chipotle”

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The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

Sorry for the huge review, but I’m really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

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