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Foursquare Thoughts from #MayorTunde: escort service, deals and whiskey

I love Foursquare. I'm the reigning Mayor Of The Year, after all, so I've got a lot invested in the system. I've been really impressed with how useful the service has gotten since this summer, so I recorded a few thoughts on the matter which you will now enjoy. 

Here's the deals/tip promotion I refer to in the video. Love the integration. Confused by the language. "50% off for free??" Just cut the last two words. You're saying "You don't have to spend money to get 50% off?" Guess what: if I don't spend money, that's actually 100% off for free!

The UK Defence Ministry thinks terrorists will dance with you, have tea with your mum and babysit all thanks to social media

This is pretty amazing. The Telegraph has the story of the MoD warning servicemen and women (and their families) about the potential dangers of posting information to social networks. The videos are well done and do actually lead you to think before you post. However, they have conclusions which lead to far more important lessons.

Take the video above. Toward the end, as the tension builds, I'm expecting the sailors to get attacked, kidnapped, beheaded or something. Instead, the closing shot is of the servicewomen dancing with a fully-masked, fully-armed, presumed-terrorist. This begs much larger questions than "Did these ladies overshare on Foursquare?" Questions such as:

  1. What sort of security is the nightclub operating under? Maybe the MoD should do a public campaign about the dangers of shit bouncers?
  2. What sort of British sailor spots an armed terrorist and chooses to dance with him? Granted, a lot might have happened off-screen. Maybe the terrorist threated to murder every single club-goer if these sailors didn't dance with him. Maybe that's what he really wants in life, not money, not the release of a political prisoner. Maybe he just wants to feel sexy for once in his life.

There are a total of four full scenario videos in the series. Here's my absolute favorite.

I mean, that's just brilliant. If terrorists are providing free child care, we need to rethink this entire War on Terrorism thing from the ground up!

A Message From Foursquare Mayor Of The Year, @Baratunde at @DeliNYC

This week, I was honored to receive a Shorty Award for "Foursquare Mayor Of The Year" due to my inspired campaign, along with Jennifer Magnolfi, for mayor of Delicatessen. It was presented by Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley, and you can see my acceptance speech here: 

The stiff competition included Big Boi, an American astronaut and the mayors of Momofoku and Shake Shack.

Please see this video message I recorded yesterday:

I also did an interview with Mashable right after the awards event, and for the most complete story behind the campaign, see my Web 2.0 keynote called "This Is How You Mayor."

What Jennifer and I did was essentially convert a Foursquare mayoral campaign into a real political contest, complete with blogging, rallies and endorsements. What we were trying to do was experiment with this new platform for the purposes of building community, supporting the great employees (and food) at Delicatessen, and acting the fool and having fun.

We succeeded on all counts. I'd like to thank those who nominated me for the award as well as those who supported my campaign with their time, their ideas and their money. In no particular order


  • Campain manager Zane Latta, who brought his experience as mayor of Madiba in Brooklyn to bear on my campaign
  • Communications manager Karla Ovalle
  • Counselor and lifetime friend Mikhia Hawkins
  • Communications director Michael Galpert and the team at Apiary who donated this amazing art which we were able to use in campaign fundraisers via t-shirt sales
  • My friend Ming-Tai who helped instigate the contest with Jennifer on Day Zero
  • Former Delicatessen Mayor Ron Williams, who introduced me to the venue in October 2009
  • The staff and management of Delicatessen. Go there, and order a "Whiskey Thurston" from the bartender. You'll love it.
  • Jennifer Magnolfi! Troublemaker and great friend.
  • Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who's the true "mayor of the year" in my book. His advocacy for his city, inspirational tone and hands-on approach to problem has inspired my own urban snow storm adventures.
  • Foursquare and its employees, for building a platform upon which creative and engaged people can build and connect.


My Web 2.0 Foursquare Talk: "This Is How You Mayor"

For 30 days, my friend Jennifer Magnolfi and I answered the question "What would happen if you treated a Foursquare mayor battle as a real political campaign?" This short talk I gave at the Web 2.0 Expo in NYC attempts to answer it. Several of you tuned in to the campaign along the way, but my talk includes a lot of never-before-seen video footage. Who knows, I may put together a digital short (with all my free time!)

By the way, I'm still trying to pay off campaign debts. You can help the cause by purchasing a Mayor Thurston shirt! You can customize the shirts based on quality and style. I recommend the infant creeper. 

Here are the slides:


A great primary victory for New Yorkers, for competence, for integrity - Gustavo Rivera wins!

Last week, while most national attention was focused on Tea Party victories or losses in congressional and U.S. senate primaries, New York state came out ahead when state Senate leader Pedro Espada lost his primary challenge to first-time candidate, and my friend, Gustavo Rivera. It wasn't even close, with Rivera getting 62 percent of the vote to Espada's 33 percent.

In case you missed it, Espada was in the pocket of the city's landlords, subject to no less than four government investigations, was caught on video tape throwing money at housing advocate protesters, has a history of voter intimidation and has been called "the poster boy for Albany corruption," which is saying a lot

Meanwhile, I had made my case for Gustavo on several occasions and went so far as to perform at two comedy fundraisers, promote him online, record a video endorsement and, most importantly, go canvassing door-to-door in the Bronx. It was that decision, to campaign for a real race, that famously cost me my Foursquare mayorship of Delicatessen

But it was all completely worth it to be able to see Gustavo's victory speech, embedded below. It's easy for people of decency and common sense to feel left out of our often insane political process, which elevates and protects those without our best interest at heart, but Gustavo's victory is a reminder that we still have some say in this participatory democracy experiment, and it's wins like these which keep me going.

Thanks to all who helped in whatever way you could. Let's keep making moments like these possible.

Gustavo Rivera Declares Victory in the Bronx from Jon Reznick on Vimeo.