I’m a late adopter.
I don’t like investing time into shiny new things. They have a habit of fizzling out and dying, and I don't like watching my time die.
…but I do use Clubhouse.
If Clubhouse dies tomorrow, I'm fine with it. I've already captured all the value I put in.
That's because I'm not really investing in Clubhouse itself. If you use Clubhouse the right way, it's more of an investment in yourself.
Clubhouse consists of audio chatrooms, most of which are terrible.
Joining a room is like listening to a podcast… That nobody prepared for… That you skipped to the middle of… Where the original hosts left and were replaced by totally random audience members. It's consistently among the least interesting things you can listen to on the internet. It's live, so it feels exciting and valuable. Trust me, it's not.
I almost never just sit in the audience.
Instead, I start rooms and talk. Clubhouse shines when you take action for four reasons:
Speed is underrated, and Clubhouse is fast.
I remember trying out Google Glass years ago. Yes, I was a glasshole:
But I probably called my mom 10x more while I had Glass than before. Why?
Because moving my finger to my temple was 10x faster than finding and unlocking my phone.
When things are fast and easy, we do them more often.
And Clubhouse is making everything faster.
Back in the day, if you wanted to talk to someone, you had to call them. Half of the time they were busy, because you were interrupting. But often they weren’t, and they would answer.
Calls were fast.
Today if I want to call an acquaintance, I need to message them asynchronously first. I have to hunt down their Twitter handle or email address. Send them a Calendly link. Schedule the call, probably multiple days out. Then hop on Zoom at the appointed time.
Calls are slow.
On Clubhouse, if I see someone interesting is online, I can click to invite them to a conversation immediately. They’re likely to answer, in part because they aren’t doing anything else besides sitting around on Clubhouse. It’s normalizing instantaneous calls again.
One of the great things about calls is how fast you can exchange information.
Over email, feedback loops are slow. There are literally days between replies. Over Slack, things are faster, but it’s hard to go in depth.
But when you’re speaking with someone, you can go deep and iterate through rounds of feedback very quickly. It’s the ideal format for workshopping your thoughts and ideas.
If I wanted to workshop this essay, I wouldn't send it to a friend. I'd open up Clubhouse, ping someone, and read it aloud. Lag time: zero.
The other great thing about calls is that voice builds affinity.
We aren’t wired to get to know people through writing. We’re wired to react to the sound of the human voice, with all of its moments of hesitation and excitement and hints of emotion.
This becomes very obvious when you have a podcast.
There's one thing that Indie Hackers podcast listeners say to me more than anything else when I meet them in person. Can you guess what it is?
It's, “I feel like I know you!”
Nobody has ever said that just from reading my tweets or my essays.
I was in a Clubhouse room with Tim Urban the other day. We spoke for maybe just a few minutes. But he already feels like a new friend. He immediately followed me on Twitter.
This often happens to an even deeper degree when I spend an hour recording a podcast episode with a guest.
But Clubhouse is making it faster and easier, which means I'm doing it more, and you can, too.
Do you ever get nervous speaking in front of an audience? I sure do.
Have you ever wished you had a small audience to regularly practice in front of? I sure have.
Deliberate practice is the key to getting better. Quick iterations are the key to practice. And Clubhouse makes practice quick.
Clubhouse means you can materialize an audience out of thin air, at the push of a button, and practice speaking any time you want. On any subject you want.
If you want to condition yourself to speaking off the cuff in front of an audience, there’s literally never better a better tool than Clubhouse.
I have three golden rules I follow.
They're not in the "spirit" of the Clubhouse "tradition." I don’t care, and you probably shouldn’t either.
Audience size is a vanity metric.
Having more listeners isn't going to make your conversation better. It's not going to help you workshop your ideas. It won't make you any closer to the people you're talking to on stage. Perhaps you get a little more nervous speaking in front of a larger group, so it's better public speaking practice.
But otherwise it's pointless.
If you think this way, you'll be in the minority. Everyone else speaking on Clubhouse is trying to get to massive user numbers. Ignore them.
I'd bet 99% of these audience builders won't ever move their followers off platform. They won't convert them into paying customers or true fans. And because Clubhouse is live, you'll be lucky if 2% of your followers ever see any of your conversations, anyway, whereas with Twitter I often see >100% impression rates.
If you want to workshop ideas and have meaningful conversations, it helps to know what you're going to be talking about.
Come with a topic in mind, and name your room after that topic. This will help remind you and your co-speakers what you're here for.
It's okay for interesting conversations to meander. It happens. But if you find that you've exhausted the original topic and you're talking about uninteresting things, wrap it up.
There's nothing wrong with a conversation ending when it ends.
Too many people with Clubhouse rooms feel like they've caught lightning in a bottle and are afraid to end it. Droning on about nothing for 2 hours is a great way to waste your time and everyone else's.
Do you remember that talk you went to, where the audience members took to the stage and did a much better job than the speaker you came to see?
Yeah, me neither.
If you're hosting a room, turn off hand-raising, and don't invite totally random people up to the stage. Sure, this feels rude to the 3 or 4 people who want to talk. But it's actually an act of kindness to yourself, to your co-speakers, and to everyone else in the audience. Don't punish the many to please the few.
If you're going to invite people on stage, invite people who you know will improve the conversation. Or people you want to build a relationship with.
This is how I justify using Clubhouse. If it works for you, feel free to steal it.
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