“Play by your own rules.”

Josh Williams, recounting the history of founding Gowalla and the inevitable tussle with Foursquare:

A week before launch I came across some interview with Dennis Crowley where he described a new project that he and Naveen Selvadurai had been working on. It was called foursquare.

A week later Gowalla and foursquare would launch on the same day.

Eventually, an unassuming entrant would join the story:

While we were busy playing tug-of-war over check-ins, someone else found a path to the goal with less friction.

That “someone else” was, of course, Instagram.

About a year after the launch of Instagram, Gowalla’s service would shut down and several of us would join Facebook. Others would move on to new endeavors of their own. Ironically a couple from the team would join Instagram.

This is really terrific writing from Josh, whom I’ve been lucky to count as friend for a number of years. The concluding advice is clearly coming from the mind of a very seasoned entrepreneur:

Listen to your users more than the press. Don’t get sucked into the gravity hole between you and your competition. Ruthlessly run your own path, not someone else’s.

Set aside time to read the entire piece. Oh, and more writing please, Josh.

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