A few months ago, buzz began growing about an all-new type of social network app coming out of Silicon Valley.
Although only in very restricted (or kinda-VIP-only) beta with 5,000 users Clubhouse nabbed a $12M Series A in May 2020 to build-out a ‘voice-only social network’.
With massive Zoom-fatigue and a-few-too-many social media channels to deal with, I kinda ignored it. After all, we all had a slight office-usage crisis to deal with.
However, recently they opened up the app to even more users, and I got invited to check it out on January 5th this year.
Today (24 January) a new round of funding was announced too, with a promise to make the platform more accessible, stable, supported and the funding of a new Creator Grand Program.
What follows is my thoughts after almost 20 days on the platform. It includes some possible opportunities for coworking spaces on the platform, current challenges with the platform as it stands.
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A primer, or 'What is Clubhouse'?
In the tech-world the app defines itself as a ‘voice-only social network’, but what does that mean to people who focus on community over tech every day?
I like to visualize the app as a long corridor of meeting rooms, with each room having a discussion on a particular topic that you can walk into and listen to (and participate in).
The app allows anyone to host a ‘room’ or call. These rooms can be open to any users on the app, just those you follow on the app, or closed just to those who you invite. (Rooms can also be started immediately, or scheduled for a future time).
Rooms are the whole app, and network. There’s no private messaging, likes, votes. (You can launch private Rooms with anyone who follows you though).
It’s also what makes the app ‘feel’ so different.
And the wide-breadth of rooms allows for users of the app to dip into new conversations and communities.
There are a lot of recurring “intro to clubhouse” rooms constantly happening in the app, so it’s pretty fun to start learning.
You can follow other users to be notified about when they join or start rooms.
You can also invite users who follow you into rooms that might be of interest to them. Going back to my corridor analogy, consider it going and bringing a friend into a room that could help them, or where they can be of assistance to another participant.
Clubs are most similar to ‘groups’ on other social media platforms. They’re usually interest-based, and can be used to group calls around related topics.
Coworking opportunities in Clubhouse.
As with any new platform or medium, we always ask ourselves how it could be used to enrich, support or expand the values of coworking.
But it is still so new. With changing rules, processes and massively growing numbers.
Many of us are still figuring out what works best, what needs to be created from scratch, and what can be brought in from traditional coworking programming.
Personally, I like to think the platform could be a great way to bring coworking operators into conversations with parallel industries like creators, freelancing and real-estate.
It could also be a great way to build local brand or thought leadership, by engaging in conversations about local business issues, challenges and discussions.
There’s already a growing number of ‘virtual coworking’ sessions happening every day. This could either be a challenge to virtual programming by traditional coworking spaces, or a huge opportunity.
Further reading: Cat Johnson also shared an intro into Clubhouse for Coworking and flex spaces on AllWork.
How to get started.
I definitely would recommend grabbing your username, and participating in some calls as you formulate your plan to create value for your members or potential customers, partners or collaborators.
And there’s definitely things I’d keep in mind regarding what NOT to do.
Current challenges facing the app.
I leave this section to last, as I do believe in the power of audio-only conversations in the currently video-call-overloaded world of work we currently live in.
However there are a few challenges we see with the platform, that are probably all being addressed by the talented team at Clubhouse. They’re shared to help round the picture of the platform’s opportunity.