22 Comments

Summary:

While most 15-year-olds are happy playing video games, Parker Liautaud is on an expedition to reach the North Pole, where he will check in with Foursquare and earn a specially-created Last Degree badge on the network. The expedition is aimed at raising awareness about the Arctic.

You think you’ve gone out of your way to earn a Foursquare badge? Not as far as Parker Liautaud, who hopes to be the first to check in at the North Pole using the mobile social network later this month, which will earn him the specially-created Last Degree badge (pictured below). Oh, and he’s 15 years old, which will also make him one of the youngest explorers ever to ski to the North Pole. Parker, who was born in California but goes to school at the prestigious Eton College in England, is trying to raise awareness about and funds for environmental issues facing the Arctic. His expedition is being sponsored by General Electric.

Although Parker’s willpower and determination is not in question (he is also accompanied by experienced Arctic explorer Doug Stoup), mounting such a resource-intensive expedition is probably helped by the fact that his father is Bernard Liautaud, who co-founded Business Objects and later sold the company to SAP in 2007 for almost $7 billion. Parker has a Facebook page set up for his quest, where he has been posting videos, and fans can also sign a petition that the young adventurer hopes to present to world leaders or they can record and upload a video expressing their thoughts about the environment. Parker also has a YouTube channel and is on Twitter.

Embedded below is a video of Parker talking about the expedition and the various kinds of cold weather gear and equipment he has to pack into his sled.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Beverly & Pack

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  1. Will Paoletto Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    You know what I would do…This move would probably be too aggressive for the people involved in Gowolla, but this is such a big deal for branding that I think it would be worth it. Without offering cash, I would do EVERYTHING I can to make sure this kid ALSO uses Gowolla to check in at the North Pole.

    It’s obviously very important for branding. You want every news story to read, “teen uses Foursquare and Gowolla to check in at North Pole.”

    So, how do you this? Lots of ways. Invite him to visit Gowolla offices etc., put him on Gowolla’s website etc.

    This is a very, very big deal because this story will be covered by mainstream media when it happens and obviously is viral.

  2. Doubledown Tandino Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    POINTLESS! Absolutely Pointless.
    You can check in to anywhere with Foursquare without GOING there. http://foursquare.com/mobile/checkin

    … I’m tempted to check in to the North Pole right now

    1. Yes, that’s a good point — unlike Gowalla, you can check in anywhere with Foursquare.

    2. Actually, Foursquare is rolling out some controls that will prevent people from stealing mayorships and badges by checking in at places where they aren’t: http://blog.foursquare.com/post/503822143/on-foursquare-cheating-and-claiming-mayorships-from

  3. $1000 bucks says that there is no cell reception up there for a 4sq check-in.

  4. you’d think a kid smart and adventurous enough to venture all the way to the north pole would realize how pointless and idiotic a digital “badge” from foursquare is, and how it cheapens his entire pursuit.

    foursquare is becoming an inverse intelligence beacon. for that, it is indeed useful.

  5. I wish my daddy was rich enough to send me on a trip to Antarctica.

    1. I wish my daddy were smart enough to teach me that the north pole is not in Antarctica.

      1. *were

        (subjunctive tense)

    2. Yes, that’s the opposite direction, Ryan :-) Maybe he will go there next.

      1. And perhaps he’ll use Gowolla instead of Foursquare. This event is a game changer. It will forever cement Foursquare’s branding, and Gowolla will continue to play second fiddle, even though the service is better.

        This is an outrage. Someone has to get to this kid and explain to him why the check-in must be done with Gowolla, not Foursquare.

        He’s making a mistake.

  6. (Headlines) – PSFK Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    [...] Teenager Heads to North Pole to Check In With Foursquare [...]

  7. @Matthew Ingram
    “Yes, that’s a good point — unlike Gowalla, you can check in anywhere with Foursquare.”

    I have news: You can check in from anywhere using Gowalla as well. Check out the latest post on ngenuity.org for more details.

    1. Thanks — I’m sure there are ways around the controls that both Gowalla and Foursquare either have or are implementing (see my comment above), but at least they are making it harder to check in somewhere you aren’t.

  8. I hope he knows he has to check in at least twice to become the mayor and it can’t be on the same day.

  9. Teenager Heads to North Pole to Check In With Foursquare – ladyblu’s posterous Thursday, April 8, 2010

    [...] You think youve gone out of your way to earn a Foursquare badge? Not as far as 15 year old Parker Liautaud, who hopes to be the first to check in at the North Pole using the mobile social network later this month, which will earn him the specially-created Last Degree badge.Source:http://gigaom.com/2010/04/06/teenager-heads-to-north-pole-to-check-in-with-foursquare/ [...]

  10. Foursquare North Pole Check-in: It’s a Race! Thursday, April 8, 2010

    [...] told you about Parker Liautaud, the 15-year-old who is trying to be the first to check in at the North Pole using Foursquare, as part of an attempt to raise awareness of the environment in [...]

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