🔥The Hottest Takes on Clubhouse

The exclusive pre-launch social audio app getting the Tech Twitteratti all hot and bothered

Yo! It’s Brett again. Trying something a little different for ya’ll:

Introducing 🔥The Hottest Takes 🔥

Quick roundups of the hottest takes from Tech Twitter on topics that are too juicy to cover in the weekly newsletter.


🧐 What is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is a song by tech parody (but mostly serious) musician Monte Del Monte


…jk. It’s also an app built by Paul Davidson and Rohan Seth that:
✅allows users to create or join public audio conference calls with any number of people
✅is in private beta so basically only VCs and other well-connected tech people are using it right now.

💊 People are authentically addicted

For those lucky enough to get an invite to the beta, Clubhouse is incredibly addicting. And let’s be clear: this isn’t the faux addiction of a bunch of VCs pretending to be users a product just because they want allocation in the next round. Everyone and their mom is pushing for allocation, this app is definitively addictive AF.

The data shows:

🚨 FOMO level is 9000

The Clubhouse team has mastered the dark art of FOMO better than anyone else in recent memory. Whether intentionally or unintentionally created, FOMO is the invisible force that is driving both engagement with users and hype with non-users.

FOMO driving engagement:
The current userbase is basically the who’s who of tech plus Jared Leto and me. There are incredible conversations going on most evenings, stretching well into the night.

The ephemerality and unpredictability of these discussions incentivize continued listening. Nothing is recorded and you don’t know where a conversation is heading so it’s best to stick around if you don’t want to miss anything. It’s science and it’s “you had to have been there” culture.

When you’re not in the app, you also receive notifications saying something like “Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Tom Cruise, Barack Obama, Brett Goldstein and The Pope are talking right now!”.

… and you think “omg… what could they be talking about. I need to know.” FOMO.

FOMO driving hype:
Obviously, with the incessant tweeting about how cool Clubhouse is, those who have not yet been anointed with an invite to the app, feel immense FOMO.

To be able to join the 1,000 users currently on Clubhouse, you need to get an invite to join… a waitlist. Waitlists are important controlling user growth while ensuring apps don’t break (both technically and behaviorally). They are also incredibly effective at driving demand - I mean the club must be really bumping if there’s a line to get in, right?

📞 Audio as a medium breaks down barriers

If you’ve ever taken a conference call while still in your pajamas, you know how great audio is. Social networks depend on people socializing and audio dramatically reduces the threshold for people to socialize.

You don’t have to worry about how you look, making eye contact, or multi-tasking. No one can see, no one cares.

👥 Co-presence is a hell of a drug

Messaging apps create the feeling of co-presence via status indicators (little green dots) when someone is in a chat with you. It’s the feeling of being somewhere with someone.

Clubhouse accomplishes this with avatars - all the names and faces in a room represent people actually listening in or speaking right now. It’s subtle but magical. Even more subtle and magical is the feeling of being seen - I’m pretty sure Jared Leto looked at my avatar a few times 😍

🤯 Sky is the limit for alternative use cases

Today, Clubhouse is mostly used for public group conversations but some have been more creative:

Some of the main use cases beyond organized or ad hoc discussions I expect to see include:

  • Games shows - singing/rapping (Clubhouse Idol), dating (Clubhouse Bachelor), trivia, debate

  • Group classes - especially languages

  • Performances - music, spoken word, script read throughs

🦠 High usage due to COVID lockdown will subside

The COVID lockdown is driving people to seek more ways to connect with others and spend their free time in general.

This has made it a fantastic time to launch a consumer social product but engagement is sure to decrease as the world opens up again and people start socializing IRL again.

📈 Expanding the user base won’t be easy

Today, Clubhouse’s user base is a small group of highly interconnected and interesting people - at least interesting to each other 😜. It’s nearly impossible to go one night without a really exciting discussion happening amongst people you know and people you admire in tech.

As Clubhouse opens up for broad adoption beyond the tech community it will be a huge challenge to maintain the quality in content and experience.

Paul and Rohan will have to make some tough philosophical decisions that will make or break the product experience.

Here’s Mazzeo’s take:

🙌 Either way, you gotta give Paul and Rohan props

👌Other great takes


✌️ Thanks

You made it to the end! As a reward, here’s the beta sign up list!


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