👋 Clubhouse

Clubhouse is not for friends.

Clubhouse is a media app. It’s entertainment, education, and news. Like Twitter and Instagram in a different form.

It’s not messaging. It’s not for friends, or for meeting people, or for intimate conversations. That happens on Discord, in DM’s and dinner parties.

We should stop trying to "give a voice to everyone" and start making good talkers famous.

Show me the one conversation I need to hear when I open the app. Let me nominate speakers from the audience.

After all, Clubhouse is a competition for the best conversation on the platform—the juiciest, most objectionable, most entertaining...

It’s not a social app. It’s content production and content consumption.

There are no communities. There are clout chasers and there are listeners. There are celebrities and there are fans.

This is not a problem.

It’s a performance. It’s a stage. It’s not authentic.

It’s the future of news, the future or radio, the future of celebrity interviews.

Clubhouse has always been about access. Balaji, Naval, Marc Andreeson. The hype was real. People wanted to listen.

Now it’s about 21Savage and Kevin Hart. Same game, different people.

It’s relational commodity. You’ll never know Drake, but you can listen like you do.

For Naval, Clubhouse is chatting with buddies. For you, it’s listening to him talk.

The App

Clubhouse started with one screen. A single room where anyone could talk. More apps should start this way.

"Drop in audio" turned into "Listen to rapper war stories.”

I don’t need to follow people, I don’t need to find my friends or see when they’re live.

Learn what I like and show me more of that.

I don’t want to join clubs. I want to learn things from smart people and get in on internet beef.

If they get this right... Clubhouse scales. Everyone likes to listen to interesting people. They just have to make it easier to get in the room.

A hundred daily notifications about who started a room doesn’t help. Just tell me when Seinfeld shows up.

Entertainers are naturally great at Clubhouse, most people are not. Don’t make me talk, give me something to listen to.

Some of it is authentic, a lot of it is fake, and meta drama. But, the chaos of Clubhouse is key to its success.

You can tell how a social app is doing by how many people are constantly tweeting about.

If they’re complaining...even better

They created no hype machine. They created an app that popular people loved. Everyone wants to use the thing that popular people love.

We don't need another app to talk to friends. Clubhouse gives you access to heroes.

The Clones

I’ve yet to see a compelling competitor to Clubhouse. Adding features isn’t a competitive advantage. Clubhouse doesn’t need chat. It doesn’t need web support. It needs less features.

Adding video to the clubhouse experience makes no sense. The whole point is that you don’t have to look at the screen.

Cut clubs and private rooms. Build a good recommendation engine. Market it to teenagers and get big talent on it. You might have a chance.

“Clubhouse but we have no waitlist” won’t work for obvious reasons. Which app is Kanye on?

Sonar, Rodeo…these are “messaging” apps. For friends. Clubhouse is media, they aren’t competitors.

Clubhouse is competing with Twitch “just talking”, TikTok live, Twitter threads, Periscope (RIP), and Youtube.

Who gives you the best access to the most sought after musicians, politicians, and athletes? Whoever does that, wins live.

Recorded audio is boring. Live video too. This is the only audio format that works.

The only live format that works too.

Twitter spaces won’t work. Quiet apps can’t be sound apps.

You open TikTok expecting to see and hear. You open Clubhouse to listen.

Twitter is for reading. I use it on the train, in between tasks. I’m opening it for updates, not entertainment.

Audio is the most demanding, least rewarding medium. No visual cues, no visual effects. Headphones in, sit and listen. No skipping ahead, no skimming.

But if it gets you access, it still wins. You won’t get Lebron on a livestream, but you might get him on Clubhouse.

Anyone can build a Clubhouse clone. It’s a Twilio account and three screens. Few can pull the audio talent, therein lies the value.

How did TikTok beat Musically? They poured billions into acquiring users and paying talent to post on the platform.

Musically had a several year head-start and they still lost.

UX doesn’t matter. Branding doesn’t matter. People follow the talent.

Musically thought it was a social app—about community and friendship. Then they realized, it’s entertainment, it’s fun, it’s getting famous.

The clout chasers on Clubhouse want fame. The listeners want inside-stories.

Sign daily shows, get singers, musicians, and comedians.

Clubhouse is about access, and it always will be.


Preston, lets make apps