Clubhouse: Everything you need to know as an indie hacker

No startup has ever grown as fast as Clubhouse at this stage of its development. At six months they reached 600,000 users, and now they are at 2 million. The audio-based social app is currently only available to Apple users, but once Clubhouse hits Android I can imagine a 3x growth in users.

Clubhouse 101: Based in San Francisco, Clubhouse is an invite-only audio platform that provides forums for casual, live conversations with people from around the world. The platform, created by Alpha Exploration Co. and launched in March of 2020, allows users to join or listen to conversations ranging from branding strategy and space travel to philosophy and gaming.

Unicorn upgrade: As recently as December, Clubhouse was valued at $100 million. The company’s recent funding round of about $100 million — led by Andreessen Horowitz — valued the company at $1 billion, representing a tenfold boost as momentum for alternative social media grows.

Days after earning a staggering $1 billion valuation, Clubhouse announced plans to offer users and indie hackers alike a variety of products to monetize their content. At the moment, Clubhouse isn't a profitable app — like Uber, Lyft, and others — but leave it to Silicon Valley to manufacture demand.

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Indie opportunities: Clubhouse contends that creators are its “lifeblood,” and over the next few months, the company plans to test creator payment systems through features like tipping, tickets, or subscriptions. Clubhouse also plans to use part of its new funding round to launch a Creator Grant Program to support emerging Clubhouse creators.

What they’re saying: Some — like Tae Kim of Bloomberg — are already claiming that Clubhouse could bump out TikTok as the next “social media star” as the company has reaped remarkable success in only 10 months. With its invite-only approach, Clubhouse's exclusive appeal is reminiscent of Facebook’s initial Ivy-only user base.

The COVID-19 pandemic has afforded many consumers more time at home for social media, prompting the question of whether Clubhouse will succeed after people can more frequently leave their homes. There’s also an array of examples of social apps — including Vine, Meerkat, Yik Yak, and Google+ — that have rapidly swelled and then quickly deflated.

Clubhouse’s rapid success also can serve as a useful guide for indie hackers looking for growth hacking ideas. Indie Hackers member @malavwarke has a great rundown of 11 insights on how Clubhouse successfully created a network effect with its growth strategies, including its exclusivity, endorsements, social currency, and more.

Proactive on moderation: Clubhouse has firmly stated that it will not allow abuse, racism, religious intolerance, sexism, and hate speech. Clubhouse says moderation is a “critical area of investment” as it works to create tools and policies that account for the unique dynamics of real-time voice conversations.

Will social media giants replicate Clubhouse? After Snapchat’s story function was copied by Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, some are beginning to wonder if incumbent social media will attempt to squash Clubhouse by replicating it. In December, Twitter launched its Spaces feature, which seems to be an attempt to duplicate Clubhouse’s offering. We’ll see if Facebook, Instagram, and others will follow next.

Do you use Clubhouse? What are your thoughts on the platform? Do you think it has long-term viability? Please share your thoughts.

  1. 8

    I got my invite today, logged in, and,... groan!! this will not make my life better in any way. soon to be just another pool of all the people in the world, mostly trying to sell me stuff. and a big beast sucking every available ounce of user data out of all of us.

    haven't we all figured yet, that the future is smaller communities (like IH), tailored to specific interests, not one big monster melting pot!

    1. 2

      Agree! The future is community but analysing the rise of platforms like this show that the general public still follow the noise. Somehow fomo is still king 🤷🏽‍♂️

      1. 1

        Sry - can you tell me what is "fomo" ? I think I do understand you :-) but where comes the word from? Thanks!

        1. 1

          fear of missing out (fomo) is an internet slang :P

          companies use it within their marketing strategy (especially through social media) to create buzz around a product or service

          fomo is also used when a store does a SALE because it creates the desire for you to buy before it sells out

          1. 1

            Thank you :-)

            Currently I'm following a croatian woman, a freelancer, who got on the list of the 50 global change makers for her way to "co-create" the "Virtual Assistant" (I think). I didn't know neither the woman, nor the list nor her profession "VA". Also I was off from all those platforms like yahoo-groups, facebook, Whats-app and its groups, linkedIn or this one for longer times :-) I didn't even know that there are so many people rethinking work and the world already. I have been too long into business as usual. Bad way to go!

            But I read your comment and thought, that "fomo" will also fit to her thoughts, the books I am reading at the moment, the plan, my wife (archaeologist), a good friend (artist) and me (DevOps) are creating (with force and focus since two weeks, but we've seen the way to go since years). Crazy. Every. Day.

            Here you may find her latest post on linkedIn and in there a link to her "diary about washing dirty clothes in public": https://www.linkedin.com/posts/sanjaveletanlic_upisala-sam-studij-prije-nešto-manje-od-tri-activity-6761750293295198209-N1c_

            1. 1

              Amazing how she is building her career around being a VA (very well done!)

              I have been working on a similar concept and have built the ideological structure but I lack the development resources to implement. However she has gone for the old school and blended it with her expertise, wit and delivery 👏🏾👏🏾

              As for you, congrats for having that realisation. It’s never late to leverage the internet (what a glorious time to be online)

              Sounds like you have found joy in your project too

            2. 1

              This comment was deleted 7 months ago.

    2. 2

      I found this too when I first opened it. However I gave it another shot earlier this week and finally found a couple groups that weren't people just tootin' their own horn.

      In those groups I had quite a bit of fun participating and listening.

      1. 1

        any of them useful for tech startup founders and indie hackers?

        1. 1

          Depends on your area. I talk a lot about ecommerce and what's mentioned above is 100% the truth, a lot of "gurus" and others that don't really provide value, but there are pockets of gold.

    3. 1

      Just got my invite today too. "the future is smaller communities" 👏🏼I completely agree! Though, is there no way to limit the capacity of each audio-gathering?

      1. 2

        It will depend on the popularity of that room. If it’s an open room and you advertise it/it’s popular, loads of people will jump on but if it’s a private group or not many people know of it, you’ll have much less members

        If you are referring to the number of speakers then yes you can choose you you bring up to the stage and even mute/unmute them

        1. 1

          Thank you for your insight!

    4. 1

      Any chance you'd be able to send me an invite? I'm curious about the platform, but I suspect I'll have the same opinion as you.

  2. 6

    I have to admit, I was initially kind of dismissive of it, but this summary makes me want to reconsider.

    One thing that worries me though is that many have argued that as the algorithm currently stands it largely boosts those who are already loudest and marginalizes newcomers. Not excited about that.

    1. 2

      I think that's the pathway of most platforms with algorithmic feeds boosting items that speeds up the flywheel - it's the obvious thing to do.

      I'm building things that include experiments in helping more distributed discovery of things that could be of interest to the user.

  3. 4

    great resources pool on clubhouse and thanks for including my post:)

  4. 2

    I love Clubhouse and spend 6+ hours on the app. I even created a product around Clubhouse Invites using Pay It Forward Invite train. You may read the journey here: https://www.indiehackers.com/product/clubhouse-invites

    1. 3

      The 6+ hours people are spending hosting and participating in Clubhouse rooms is a big reason I think it won’t succeed.

      “Clubhouse burnout” is already a thing, and the app just launched.

  5. 2

    A lot of comments seem sceptical, I was too. Because it allows open, or private rooms, I think it has value as a nice 'premium' feature for indies who create content.

    Say you run a free product (newsletter) but you have a paid tier. That paid tier could now include a weekly invitation to a clubhouse discussion on that week's newsletter. Maybe you invite a guest.

    Or if you run a podcast - get a chance to come be in a room with our guest this week and engage with them/ask questions.

    For my use case, its potential is as the audio version of the comments section. A great way to build meaningful discussion around something your content as started, without the nonsense of comments sections, and with a lot quicker facilitation of discussion.

    I'm bullish.

  6. 2

    Just as soon as I got my CH invite today, I also noticed one of the ppl I follow on Twitter hold a 'Twitter Space' for the first time ever. A coincidence? Most likely. Lol. But it was still really interesting.

  7. 1

    Just finishing up this fun project where we crawled the Clubhouse social graph and make it really easy to visualize everything: https://clubhousesocialgraph.com

  8. 1

    I agree with your viewpoint of Clubhouse brings unique dynamics of real-time voice conversations. I am enjoying it so far. Part of my experience was like a Tech Summit: asking questions, answered by VC/Tech leaders, Fun night talks getting to know new people.

    1. 1

      I am also Building Clubhouse for remote teams 💬, Drop-in audio talk lets teams Spark a conversation with a single click. Check out Tappy👈 if you are interested.

  9. 1

    Social Media which is Apple only or Android only for me is just a bad joke. And that this should now be a Unicorn... Silicon Valley Economy.
    It's invitation only... this makes it better, only exclusive people there... I saw some of them using and much say, it's for me in some cases more exclusive to be out of it :-)

    I'm rude... yeah... i just don't get hipper hipper with every new star, before they really do some money (and preferable not another one which do this with my data)

  10. 1

    I'm struggling with the concept here: are these conversations moderated? Do you join at a specific time for a specific convo or do you just bump into it half-way? Who gets to participate and who gets to listen?

    I think the monetization will be easy - there are many ways they can do it. The unproven element for me is the user stickability. I'm not sure what value users can get out of it.

    1. 1

      These are all really great questions that I've asked. I believe the "stickability" will depend largely on whether or not the convos are led by a great facilitator.

      I listened to a CH convo just earlier and I honestly was only interested in a few parts of the 1 hour conversation. People talked for too long periods of time too, to the point where I started wondering how long I could endure listening to a single person talk endlessly during what's supposed to be a convo with a couple of speakers lol.

  11. 1

    Just a thought about paying communities (might be totally off topic, sorry for that): does paying to be part of a group of people ensure that this group of people is better than the one you find on a free platform? It doesn't make sense to me.

    Making a community open only to some depending on specific criteria sounds to me a better way to look at the problem. Of course, it entirely depends on these "criteria", but I definitely think that money shouldn't be one.

    1. 1

      Good point but I guess it comes down to what that community or group of people identify value to be (if it be money then I guess they will attract similar minded people)

      Would be interesting to explore this criteria you speak about. What comes to mind is some sort of automated vetting system unique to each group ??

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