Social Mapping, Location-Centric Networks, and the Institutionalized Belief in the Greater Fool


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 21, 2023

3 min read


Social Mapping, Location-Centric Networks, and the Institutionalized Belief in the Greater Fool


The convergence of social media and location-based services has always held promise, yet few platforms have managed to strike the right balance. However, with the recent launch of Atly, a social mapping platform, and the rise of virtual events platform Hopin, the landscape is evolving. In this article, we will explore the potential of social mapping platforms, the challenges faced by location-centric networks, and the dangers of the institutionalized belief in the greater fool.

Social Mapping: Atly's Entry into the Market

Atly, often dubbed as the "Reddit for real-world locations," aims to create a new social paradigm for mapping and discovering places to go. With a recent rebranding and $18 million in funding, Atly has gained traction during its beta period. The platform has already garnered over 120,000 members and 6,500 map-centric communities. Atly plans to introduce new features, including community management and monetization tools, to leverage the potential of its growing user base.

Location-Centric Networks: The Challenge of Depth and Trustworthiness

While platforms like Google Maps and Yelp dominate the search-and-review space, they lack the expansiveness, depth, and trustworthiness of true social platforms like Atly. The community-driven approach of Atly, where users can share maps with friends, family, and social media followers, enhances the authenticity and reliability of recommendations. By tapping into the power of social networks, Atly aims to bridge the gap between traditional location-based services and true social connectivity.

The Rise and Fall of Hopin: Lessons Learned

Hopin, a virtual events platform founded by Johnny Boufarhat, experienced exponential growth during the pandemic. However, as COVID restrictions lifted, the company faced a sharp decline in demand for its flagship virtual events product. This highlights the need for startups to carefully consider the sustainability of their business models, especially in times of rapid change. It also underscores the dangers of overvaluation and the reliance on short-term market trends.

The Institutionalized Belief in the Greater Fool: A Risky Mindset

The concept of the greater fool refers to the belief that there will always be someone down the line willing to purchase an overvalued asset. In the context of startups and venture capital, this belief can lead to unsustainable practices and the perpetuation of flawed business models. The 13-year bull market has fueled the institutionalized belief in the greater fool, prompting businesses to focus on quick profits rather than building sustainable enterprises.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Prioritize long-term growth: Instead of chasing short-term gains, focus on building businesses that have strong foundations and long-term potential. This mindset encourages sustainable growth and mitigates the risks associated with relying on the greater fool.
  • 2. Seek genuine value creation: Build products and services that genuinely solve problems and add value to people's lives. By prioritizing utility and customer satisfaction, businesses can ensure they are not solely dependent on market trends or speculation.
  • 3. Embrace liquidity while maintaining integrity: While liquidity is necessary for founders and investors, it's crucial to strike a balance between financial gains and the integrity of the business. Avoid falling into the trap of selling out to the greater fool and strive to maintain control over the direction and values of your company.


The emergence of social mapping platforms like Atly and the challenges faced by location-centric networks shed light on the complexities of merging social connectivity and location-based services. The rise and fall of Hopin serve as a cautionary tale, emphasizing the importance of sustainable growth and value creation. Ultimately, startups and investors must resist the institutionalized belief in the greater fool and focus on building businesses that stand the test of time. By adopting this mindset, we can foster a more resilient and responsible entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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