What is Clubhouse?
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By now you've probably heard about Clubhouse, the hot new social app. While I'm sure many of you are already on the inside, perhaps even hosting your own events, I've learned a few things since I joined that you might find interesting.
- What's it all about?
- It's audio only
- It's live and ephemeral
- It's invite only (but everyone is going to get in)
- The app icon is not the founder
1. What's it all about?
The cornerstone of Clubhouse is the concept of rooms and sharing of ideas. It's best thought of as an infinite number of lecture halls. Anyone (and everyone) can start a room and start talking. Rooms have topics and can be public or invite-only — even limited to only two people (aka private chat). Because Clubhouse cleverly started with celebrities, celebrities do seem to check into rooms from time-to-time.
2. It's audio only
In a world dominated by video streaming, Clubhouse has gone the other way and created an audio-only app. I think this is not only a smart move to avoid screen fatigue, but it also significantly reduces costs (video streaming requires x10 to x20 the bandwidth as audio). Even with this lower bandwidth requirement and the likely almost 100% Cloud infrastructure, I've seen the app struggling to keep up with demand recently.
3. It's live and ephemeral
Unlike most social media we are used to (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) which lives forever, Clubhouse content is live-only. There is no recording left behind, which should encourage contribution and real-time participation. If you aren't there when it's happening, there's no record which you can listen to at a later date. This is like Snapchat, but again thematic and audio-only.
4. It's invite only (but everyone is going to get in)
For now, Clubhouse is invite-only. I got my invite last week from my friend, Brazilian celebrity, Guilherme Berenguer. But we are at most only 6.6 degrees of separation from any person on the planet¹, so eventually, everyone will be able to get in. Building FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a great marketing tactic, and Clubhouse has managed to perform brilliantly.
5. The app icon is not of the founder
The icon you see on your phone for Clubhouse is a face, and it's not one of the founders. As of writing this email, the face is is currently of lullaby musician Axel Monsoor:
How often do they change it? I'm not sure. How do they pick the faces? I have no idea. But it's all part of the fun as this new app takes the world by storm!
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