Will Clubhouse Last?

Written by Courtney Raguso, Social Media Content Creator

A surprise chat between tech billionaire Elon Musk and Robinhood CEO, Vlad Tenev, on the new audio-based social media app, Clubhouse, has propelled its value to the top of the startup charts. This new app operates as a “space for casual drop-in audio conversations,” and is similar to a live, unfiltered podcast. So, you log in and can jump into different chat “rooms” where live discussions are happening around a variety of topics. All conversations are permanently deleted after the session ends instead of being saved or archived, so if you want to hear someone’s session you have to actively participate in real-time. This new app is invite-only and users have to join a waitlist or ask an existing user for an account since members get to invite a limited number of friends. Over the previous year, the app has grown significantly, especially since this past week when Elon Musk joined, which sparked a scramble for invitations to the exclusive service. With this happening, the demand for invitations became so high, a market for them has grown on platforms like Reddit, eBay, and Craigslist. Now, people want to invest in Clubhouse’s growth, even though it’s not public. In fact, some even believe investors could be playing up Clubhouse’s popularity by buying shares in Agora, which they think may have powered the app. However, Clubhouse and Agora have not yet responded to a request for confirmation on whether the app actually uses their software.

Listen to the Full Clubhouse Interview:

So why is this app not public? Clubhouse is still in beta testing mode and is available for iPhone only. While they’re working to perfect its features, a select number of people have been given invitations to test and explore the app, including notable figures in the tech, entertainment, and media industry. As each person receives an invite, more invitations will be shared, and more people will be able to use the app. What makes this great is that it promotes valuable content by having these select people choose who they want to share an invite with and feel would add value to discussions and overall experience. Most of the discussions amongst users are currently about technology, entrepreneurship, and other Silicon Valley matters. Needless to say, this app offers a new and faster way to communicate, network, and get social in a more interactive way, which we know always works well with users. Now, in a post-COVID world, many casual meetups and hangouts have disappeared due to social distancing orders. So, it’s easy to see what this app has to offer people. One user, Gary Vaynerchuck, is a big fan of Clubhouse and sees a lot of potential in its future, recently stating, “I love the audio platform… I think a year from today, a lot more people will be on it. I’ve been using the app for several months now”. He believes it’s “wildly underrated” and will be successful because voice is a passive consumption product. Meaning, with people multitasking at such a high level, it’s important to realize that voice allows people to do other things while still listening to your content. People have less time and shorter attention spans, and this new feature helps make up for that since live voice offers users a way to multitask.  

Clubhouse has already experienced some backlash from those who criticize the closed-door nature of chats. They have also been criticized for harassment and hate speech in their chat rooms, some of which are private and public. Some critics even saw Elon Musk’s appearance as a massive PR stunt by the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which, in addition to being a big investor in Robinhood and Clubhouse, also backs startups associated with Musk’s companies. The app has released a statement saying that it doesn’t tolerate bullying and is investing in tools that detect and prevent abuse and hate speech, as well as adding features for users to moderate. Clubhouse plans to become widely available and is even working to create business opportunities in subscriptions or tickets to events. Some of these users are celebrities and influencers, and you may even end up catching their attention if they hear your idea and see value in it. Ultimately, the app is another way for people to stay connected, and regardless of the outcome, if your intent is to be authentic, provide valuable insight, and listen to others, you’re going to gain a lot of value out of this app. Although we can’t join this app quite yet since we need an invite, when we can we will. “The next search engine is voice,” and Gary Vaynerchuck has expressed the rise for this demand over the recent years. Voice activation is becoming more prevalent and consumers are headed that way, and we see it happening every day. It’s coming, so be ready. 

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