Mike Isaac

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Gowalla Co-Founder Josh Williams to Depart Facebook

joshwilliamsJosh Williams, co-founder of the location-based check-in startup Gowalla (which was “acqu-hired” by Facebook in 2012), plans to soon leave the social giant, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Williams hasn’t announced his next moves (or his departure, for that matter), but sources said he plans to stay in San Francisco and work on starting a new company.

“Joshua has been a valuable member of Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson told AllThingsD. “We wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors.”

Incidentally, Tim Van Damme, another former Gowalla employee who joined Instagram before Facebook acquired the photo-sharing service, is also leaving the company. The departures are not related, according to sources.

“Tim has contributed a lot to the look and feel of many of our products and we’re thankful for his contributions to our design team,” Instagram told AllThingsD. “We wish him the best.”

Launched in 2007, Gowalla was one of the biggest players in the mobile location check-in space back in 2009 through 2012, along with Loopt and others. Foursquare was Gowalla’s largest competitor, and remains independently financed to date (though the company’s plans have changed from its gamification roots, as it is now about location discovery rather than check-ins).

After joining Facebook in 2012, Williams became Product Manager for Facebook Pages, Locations and Events, where he most recently revamped the Pages product with a focus on user ratings and reviews, an apparent affront to a comparable competitor like Yelp.

After a year and a half at the social giant, Williams’ last day is on Friday. (I’m sure the company will miss his epic beard, pictured above.)

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work