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Going Local: How Foursquare uses Dropbox Business to stay in sync

Foursquare is a location-based mobile application designed to connect people and places. The app allows people to share and save the places they visit and get personalized recommendations based on where they've been. The Foursquare community is more than 25 million users and one million merchants strong.

Addressing a growing organization

When Foursquare launched its first product in 2009, the small team occupied a single office. This upstart crew was in close quarters and had no trouble sharing documents and project information. Eric Friedman, Foursquare Director of Sales and Revenue Operations, remembers, "It was just a handful of us, so it was easy to stay on the same page." But as the business grew, the headcount did too, and it quickly became apparent that Foursquare needed a more robust, reliable solution for sharing files across locations- and oceans. Says Friedman, "With offices in San Francisco, New York, and London, we needed a viable central file system that would allow us to easily create, organize, and manage all of our digital documents." Friedman set out to evaluate different systems, with security, quality, and reliability at the top of his list of requirements. As an early Dropbox user himself, Friedman says he quickly recognized that "Dropbox was the best solution for digital collaboration." Unlike file systems or network drives, Friedman knew from experience that Dropbox not only made files accessible from any device, but also synced them to the computer. This meant that even when Foursquare employees were traveling and didn't have an Internet connection, they could still access important documents.

"Having all of our files local on everyone's machine and backed up regularly is invaluable. Our rule of thumb has become: if it's not in Dropbox, it doesn't exist."

Operating on common ground

Because Foursquare was such an early adopter of Dropbox, many people from the organization had individual accounts before Dropbox Business was introduced. By the time the company switched to Dropbox Business, it had the system down pat. "Every one of our clients and partners has a home in Dropbox," Friedman says. "Everything that happens with them lives within the application, and it's also where our sales reps, account managers, legal, and design teams store all of their important documents." Having a centralized repository for critical assets makes it fast and easy for employees across the company's three locations to access client contracts, sales presentations, and internal collateral. And when employees need to edit large files in Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Office, they can access documents and photos quickly because a copy is stored locally on their computers. Dropbox Business has helped Foursquare streamline previously time-consuming administrative tasks as well. As Friedman explains, "It's been incredibly helpful to use Dropbox during new employee onboarding. I can just add people to the team, share one folder, and they'll have everything I reference throughout my welcome process." Foursquare's interactions with external clients, such as merchants and agencies, has also been enhanced by Dropbox Business. Rather than emailing documents as attachments-and causing inbox overload-Foursquare staff can just send links to files in Dropbox. "It's a big time saver, especially when you're talking to twenty or thirty people in an email thread," Friedman says. "It definitely lets us work much faster."

A system that's become indispensable

When it comes to choosing favorite Dropbox Business features, having the ability to share with a link, undelete, and restore previous versions of files rank high for Friedman. He explains, "One instance that really helped me understand the power of Dropbox Business was when someone accidentally deleted a bunch of files we needed. Right away, I was able to go online and restore everything. It's nice to know that you can unwind from an accident very quickly if it happens." Above all else, having local, centralized access to files is what makes Dropbox Business most valuable to Foursquare. "With people on the road and in different offices, it's critical for us to make sure all our important information and documents live in one place and can be easily accessed at any time. Having all of our files local on everyone's machine and backed up regularly is invaluable." Friedman adds, "Our rule of thumb has become: if it's not in Dropbox, it doesn't exist."