23yo, Learning Sharing Living | 2x Founder @_visualist, 1 exit '19
Clubhouse’s curve has a lot to teach to founders — especially those just starting. What difference did it make & how can it help your startup succeed?
I love building products & I’m currently building one, so it’s natural I’ll consider what I can take from Clubhouse after a year of beta launch. Though my observation isn’t around the future of it what made the app get the hype & then suddenly slow down.
And, why not?
Its founders are successful in what they build, and they did create something that every other platform wants to have. Look at Twitter; they created a look-a-like of Clubhouse called Twitter Space.
But it’s not just Twitter — Facebook, LinkedIn, Discord, Spotify, and Slack all are working on it.
So, how it became the next big thing?
The one thing I like about Clubhouse is how simple it has kept its branding — even after a year-long beta launch, very simple design, emoji logo, no landing page or fancy website, or not much social media presence.
All their focus was on building the product.
We tend to go for perfectionism before even getting a single user — name, font, landing page, blog, social media, etc. and consider the product as the second. Instead, we need to work on getting the product out as soon as possible. Get users, build a community & then work on architecture.
Build connections & community over time — that’s what the founders of Clubhouse did, which became the plus point of its success, through having a community prior.
The Clubhouse founders were able to take leverage of their connections with VCs & startup founders which helped them get the buzz.
You can build connections & community in any form: writing newsletters, articles, being active & making meaningful connections on Twitter, etc. If you have 10 people who would be happy to support your work — you’re building your connections & community. It’s doesn’t need to be only the top tier people.
Seriously, have you seen any ads or promotions for Clubhouse?
No, because they did the basic things. This is how they got more than 10 Million users.
The hype & growth Clubhouse experienced (I believe) was a big disadvantage. This is not what they were ready for (you can see they don’t know what to do & how to keep up with the competitors & building users).
See through this scenario 👇🏻
You got an idea & work on a few features to test on the beta list. They are enjoying it. Then you get the popular celebrities & the world’s greatest thinkers onboard — such as Elon musk (in sense), Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Oprah, etc. Now, you’ve got thousands of downloads overnight.
But you actually don’t know what to do with the app, how to make it better, how to keep up with the user retention, how to get creators, etc.
You created the FOMO by making everyone feel exclusive — an easy way to have a one-on-one unscripted conversation with popular people & listen to them.
When you were still testing (on iOS & only accept new users through the invite basis), you build up competitors. You really have no idea on how to keep up with the unexpected growth, hype & then suddenly user’s not using your app.
If you’ve built something that everyone’s using, you’re also building competitors.
“All failed companies are the same: they failed to escape competition.” ― Peter Thiel
You cannot run away from competitors, but you can still be better than them. You just need to figure out how to make a difference from your clones.
Since the mid-2020, Clubhouse has been the talking point of the tech market. There were talks that Twitter was buying it, but then Twitter quickly started publicly working on the same feature.
Which was a bad thing for Clubhouse because Twitter was also testing on Andriod & CH was only available on iOS.
But look how things turn around for Snapchat. Sometimes the idea doesn’t matter, but the execution does. Also, it’s not who came up with the idea first but who kept growing with it.
The biggest downfall of Clubhouse is its content & not very engaging users. They find it difficult to keep up with the user retention rates, and the most popular people aren’t able to help them too.
Bad chat rooms are causing more damage to the platform than good rooms providing value.
They are trying to improve retention, but somehow it’s not working for them. With features like scheduling, Q&A tools, and monetization content, they still lack curation.
As a founder, one of your most important tasks is to retain & keep your users engaged with your product. This is where Clubhouse didn’t focus. They build up the hype, got millions of users but couldn’t keep them on their app.
If the app is seeing less growth than the previous months doesn’t mean it’s the end. Though the FOMO somehow seems to be gone, Clubhouse is here to stay.
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