Inside the Clubhouse
The suprisingly compelling audio app that has consumed my life.
About a month ago I got a DM inviting me to “a community for casual, drop-in audio conversations.” So I downloaded the app, created a profile, and was greeted by a blank screen.
Then, a face appeared! Its name was Paul — and it spoke!
After we exchanged pleasantries, Paul explained how the app works. There’s one global “room,” and when you join you start off on mute, but anyone can unmute themselves. When you open the app, it sends push notifications to everyone on the app, so they can join you and chat if they’re free.
Strange, but delightful!
We said our goodbyes, and the app shrank into its place, like a genie sucked back into a bottle. The icon was a black and white photo of a guy with a funny grin, for some reason. Beneath it was the name:
. . .
If your corner of Twitter is anything like mine, you’ve seen a lot of talk about Clubhouse in the past weeks.
The reactions are, like many things these days, polarized and overly meta:
- Some people LOVE IT because it’s the first exciting new social app they’ve seen in years, and they miss the good old days when the internet felt fresh and full of possibility.
- Other people HATE IT because it’s become known as an invite-only “elite silicon valley” thing. (To be fair, the founders want to open it to everyone as soon as possible, and anyone in the beta would testify it’s definitely not ready for scale yet.)
- Some people love to let you know they’re in it, because they think it makes them look cool. (Oh shit is that me?)
- And finally, some people love to let you know that they know the only reason people talk about Clubhouse is because they think it makes them look cool, because they think that makes them look cool. (Get it?)
But honestly, I’m not interested in the chatter. I’m interested in the product, and its potential as a business.
So let’s focus on that.