One app took the world by storm in the last few months, and that was Clubhouse. The live podcast/discussion round app, has inspired millions to share their opinions in a new format.
The idea behind Clubhouse, which is only available for iOS users at the moment, is simple yet effective. A select number of people open the doors to their Clubhouse, and invite others to join the conversation. The talks are broadcasted live on the app. The cool thing is that everyone, who is interested, can listen in – eavesdrop on the conversation so to speak. Furthermore, the attendees can even raise their hand to say something and join the live discussion.
Clubhouse is live, quick, personal interactive and easy to use. The users don’t have to get dressed up to join the conversation. The only thing they have to do is buy an iPhone/iPad and work on their vocal skills. Since the app took off, other companies have been eyeing the concept for their own platforms.
Single purpose apps don’t tend to survive
One of the main problems for an app like Clubhouse, is that most single purpose apps don’t survive. Do you remember periscope, which was bought by Twitter and went absolutely nowhere? Or even further back in history an ingenious app called Siri, that ended up as a side product in the Apple ecosystem?
Innovation is hard to do, but it is even harder to sustain momentum with a single purpose app. Platforms like Facebook understand that customers require multiple tools to stay active on the platform. A high degree of flexibility and integration are key factors for success.
What can also be said, is that most product development copy-cat ideas by Facebook and Google, have been utterly flawed and never took off, either. If it is corporate, it is not interesting enough anymore.
Facebook plan to build their own Clubhouse
In an article by the New York Times, Facebook is said to start developing their own version of Clubhouse. I think we all know how this is going to end. But, it is interesting to see that Facebook is not taking the easy route and simply trying to buy the app in the first place. Maybe clubhouse aren’t open to being bought, and think that they can make it on their own. However this hypothesis is most probably flawed.
In my opinion there is only one real social media network that would fit the company. And that is Twitter. Twitter has already started to roll out their own voice tweet feature is in the last year. Making the platform more personal is one of the key tasks of senior management a Twitter. At least the rumor has it, that Twitter are working on an audio-only feature called Spaces.
Not to forget, Twitter recently (January 2021) purchased the live podcasting app Breaker. Yet, what if they put their eggs in the wrong basket? Why not acknowledge that there is a new king live streaming, and it isn’t in your portfolio…
Clubhouse could be a game changer for any of the big players and for Twitter in particular. However, is might be difficult for Jack to find the time to work on the purchase and integration, though. One of the main reasons being that Twitter’s CEO only works 50%, instead of the regular 120% that most founders do.
What should FB do?
I think Facebook should focus on video content instead of podcasts. They have to think about their use the demographics and what is required in the market. What does Facebook stand for and how do they want to be perceived? I don’t think it is the nerdy platform where self-proclaimed tech entrepreneurs meet to discuss their latest investments and how cool they are, or where minority groups meet to discuss their shared interests.
Facebook is for friends and families. And one where (small) business can meet and interact with their customers. Clubhouse is too niche to be become an important driver for growth and retention on Facebook. It is simply not visual enough. If I were Mark Zuckerberg, I would let this one slide and focus on the next big thing. Hopefully Twitter will come to their senses and do something, really anything, to make a serious move on Clubhouse. It is the perfect extension of their product offering and most of the users are already on Twitter in the first place.
Do I think Clubhouse will be a thing 5 years from now? I am skeptical. However, I do see the added benefit of the platform and enjoy the discussions. Yet, I still fail to see how live podcasts on Apple Podcasts or Spotify could not blow this app out of the water, within weeks. Let’s wait and see what will happen.
Also published on Medium.