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Gumroad is switching from Zoom to Clubhouse

So here's a potential and interesting trend.

It's hard not to see how Clubhouse is booming at the moment. However, until this conversation, I viewed Clubhouse as a place to have conversations and build an audience, but I had never really thought about using it for team communications too.

I was listening in on this call with @sahil.

I should've taken notes, but am going on memory from this, and I wasn't around for the whole call.

The general summary was:

  • Clubhouse is the first post-COVID company with a real network effect that is now booming as result
  • Zoom is hard, not user friendly, and no social/network effect. Clubhouse is the opposite.
  • Gumroad are going to be using Clubhouse for all team conversations, hosting conversations openly where relevant
  • It turns the Gumroad team (@randallkanna and @dvassallo were there chiming in) into content creators, which very much aligns with who Gumroad are and serve.
  • It's a growth opportunity, but it's also about being able to speak to their customers, being open and helpful.
  • there is no specific sales tactic, but by growing and being helpful hopefully some of them will come back to Gumroad at some point
  • the simple idea that it's now just so easy to talk to people without the hassle of recording is powerful
  • people are too fixated on the need to record everything, most podcasts/videos don't get many listens/views, or have much impact. The IH was mentioned as an exception 😇
  • the room had 1.2k people in it, probably more than most podcasts ever get.

I know there are mixed feelings about Clubhouse, but it's growing on me day by day.

How do you view this?

  1. 28

    Discord has audio rooms and is available on web, Android and iPhone.

    Why people need to go on CH for internal chats? Does that mean that they won't speak to Android phone users?

    I really hate when iPhone users think that the rest of world has to use an iPhone.

    1. 9

      Gotta stay relevant by riding the hype.

      1. 1

        Yeah I think that the hype is the main reason CH remains iPhone only.

        1. 1

          It's also just been a few devs working on CH in the beginning and they were probably more familiar with iOS than Android. But yeah, exclusivity for the business/tech bubble also helps with the hype ;)

    2. 3

      I've been using Discord for a very long time. While Discord is a communications tool that is great for what it is, Discord isn't close to user friendly (yet). CH has very few controls.. and that seems to be a strength.

      Clubhouse has heavily automated the user onboarding in a very clever and thorough way to get you interconnected quickly with users and groups and into content. Discord is very juvenile in comparison, and so far CH is also mainly adults. You don't need to know where you're going when you sign up for Clubhouse, but you can quickly find where you'd like to be. Discord definitely doesn't have that going for it.

      Android audio is tougher to code, in particular the background audio code. I'm sure the release is coming soon :)

      1. 6

        I get your points, but using a tech platform that is compatible only for iOS means excluding all those using Android and computer.

        It's fine for private use, but not acceptable as a company.

        1. 1

          A lot of apps start as iOS only depending on the levels of native functionality it uses and the skillset of the devs. Some go Android first! It's upsetting to many I'm sure either way it happens, but they always catch up :)

          1. 6

            Again I agree with you that many apps start on iOS. But Clubhouse has raised $110M funding!

            So we're not talking about a bootstrapped IH trying to build a MVP at night. We're talking about a startup which has more funding than all the revenues + funding of the whole IH community.

            1. 3

              Can't say much to justify not spending a bit of that $110M on some Android devs...

              1. 1

                As I pointed out before somewhere else, why spend money on something you're doing pretty well without? I don't see why this feels surprising for some.

                Clubhouse was not conceived as some B2B "team communication" app, there's no rush to develop an app when the iPhone has a ~50% market share in the US.

      2. 1

        Discord has won almost entirely on the basis of superior UX.

    3. 2

      No one cares about the tools, it's the people -and the culture they create- what's valued.

  2. 6

    Talked to Sazzala (Chief Tech at VMware) yesterday and he made a few interesting points about human psychology in the context of remote vs. office-based work.

    I'm a huge fan of Sahil and have spoken to him a few times but I can't help but wonder if Gumroad isn't going too far in removing all human connection.

    Sahil said to Noah (Sumo Group) that they don't have a water cooler channel on Slack and that they aren't seeing any negative impact on their biz (this was one or two yrs ago) but just because you don't see short-term impacts doesn't exclude negative long-term ones.

    Besides, there could be disadvantageous effects that are simply hard to measure or quantify. I.e. Maybe your data is lying to you.

    One of the reasons I like having women in business is because I feel like women tend to be better at grasping and nurturing the various things that are extremely important in a company yet simply don't lend themselves to quantification as easily.

    Now, I could be completely wrong here but my gut tells me a business that facilitates human connections will have a competitive advantage over the one that doesn't, ceteris paribus of course.

    1. 3

      " a business that facilitates human connections will have a competitive advantage over the one that doesn't"

      Couldn't agree more.

      I currently see a bunch of pre-existing video and community apps rush to try and highlight, or develop audio only features.

      However, to your point, whichever one succeeds at fostering human connections will have the upper hand.

      Allot of clubhouse's growth and attention comes from influencers. The invite only stage its currently in doesn't hurt either.

      It will be interesting to see how clubhouse handles it's success throughout the year.

      1. 1

        Yeah, doesn't hurt either when your first 1000 users are all Silicon Valley maffia hahah. a16z and the rest of the valley. Wonder what would've happened if that demo weren't the first users.

    2. 2

      Thanks for sharing such insightful thoughts.

      1. 1

        Thanks for reading Sally :)

  3. 4

    This is interesting because Sahil recently posted about how the Gumroad team works and he said they tend to avoid synchronous tools.

    1. 1

      I had read something like this too. Iteration issues derived from their async communication perhaps drove them to Zoom?

      1. 1

        Yes, I think we read the same article by Sahil.

    2. 1

      Seems they're switching from Zoom to CH, so replacing a synchronous tool with another synchronous tool, rather than going from async to sync.

  4. 2

    this is a really fascinating experiment.

    ... i don't have a strong opinion but it seems like a good and on-brand idea for gumroad.

    ... can't wait to hear more about it's effectiveness!

  5. 2

    Like Gary Vaynerchuck keeps saying, audio is going to be a big thing in the future.

    I think Clubhouse has got a really strong potential to attract the next generation of content creators. People might lean towards clubhouse conversations more than podcasts, mainly because of the fact that it's real time and quick to tune into.

    Can't wait to see the new ways people integrate it into their content creation.

  6. 1

    Gumroad is also planning a public open board meeting and plans to raise funding from the public (although this one will be on Zoom!)

  7. 1

    We are building a Clubhouse👋 for remote teams, bringing people together briefly, whether it’s a quick question or a longer discussion. Drop-in audio for work, It’s the easiest way to start a quick convo with a single click.

  8. 1

    Said it before: how is clubhouse different to a standard conference call?

    I realise it’s “open” to a certain extent and conference calls are invite only. However for a business use case where it likely won’t be open... what’s the point?

  9. 1

    Zoom has live closed captioning for disabled users, Clubhouse has been repeatedly hostile towards disabled users asking for more accessibility. This tells me a lot about how often disabled employees are thought of at the company.

  10. 1

    It’s a place where you can become more “extemporaneously” 😛

  11. 1

    I love how this is framed - as an experiment. Nobody knows for certain what Clubhouse will become. Maybe it will replace Zoom (as far as Gumroad is concerned) and maybe it won't. But I suspect they're going to learn something either way - just by shaking up the old way and being open to explore something new.

  12. 1

    People might be too fixated on the need to record everything, but that doesn't alleviate the demand for those who want the ability to.

    It will be interesting to see if someone offers a service to specifically record clubhouse calls before clubhouse themselves eventually offer this feature.

  13. 1

    It's also growing on me. It's got a certain.. something about it which is endearing

    1. 1

      Is that certain something... hype? 😂

      1. 1

        I don't have time for hype ;)

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