entrepreneurship, Lessons Learned, startup

On Location Based Services

Painted in Waterlogue

Writing on the Wall: A Business Model Canvas, complete with festively colored Post-Its, Atherton, CA June 2013.

This post has been gather digital dust in private draft form since May 2013. I thought I’d finally publish it to share with anyone interested in location based services.


In what now seems like eons ago, I founded a location based tech startup called “Gauss - The People Magnet“. It took me on a roller-coaster ride around the world - from the front page of The New York Times to near personal bankruptcy in the course of about two years. It folded before we got somewhere significant. If you’re interested in the background for founding ‘Gauss - The People Magnet’, there are a couple of old posts for that.

Gauss was an iPhone app to help you discover who’s nearby and what you have in common; To discover the hidden connections to the people around you in real-time – and out of necessity at the time – a self-made cloud backend that did a lot of magic for that to actually work.

To its users, it was a People Magnet for their pocket.

In this post I’m completely cleaning out the closet with my thoughts and experiences related to that startup, including potential revenue sources and business models. It’s a long and winding read - a very mixed bag, assembled from scattered notes.

Caveat Emptor 2016: If any of this looks familiar or straight forward today, rest assured they weren’t when we started out back in early 2011. To wit: successful monetization of non-dating social discovery apps arguably still hasn’t happened yet. No, Zenly’s 2017 exit to Snap does not a successful monetization make, but kudos to the founders.


I know this is a long and bumpy read, so here’s the short version:
Continue reading