The focus on audio rather than text, photos or videos is a differentiator and part of the appeal. Delia Cai from the Deez Links newsletter wrote about her experience on the app: “It felt spontaneous and engaging and luckily it didn’t include a camera.”
Who’s on it
As the name suggests, Clubhouse is based on exclusivity: you need to be invited by an existing user. Early members of the club include venture capitalists from Silicon Valley (Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, both early investors in the app), web-savvy entrepreneurs (Mark Cuban, Tim Ferriss), some artists and cultural influencers (Tiffany Haddish, Drake, Virgil Abloh ) and people with random claims to fame (Vanilla Ice, Roger Stone).
The clubhouse has been criticized by some for its male-dominated, brutal energy (although there are plenty of women on the platform too). Its open exchange of information has also made it popular with users from countries with repressive governments. China blocked the clubhouse this month. Currently, the app, which is still in beta, has that rare (and likely fleeting) sense of a small world. It’s still a surprise when you meet someone you know or when Senator Tim Kaine shows up in a chat room, for example.
What happens to it?
The clubhouse can at times reflect Silicon Valley’s relentless focus on personal optimization. Networking, strength training, early retirement, pitching investors and Bitcoin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin – the hectic culture is real and present. But there is also a huge theater scene with staged plays and a dating scene. And conversations are often free, meandering and completely blank. That unpolished quality is part of the charm.
Last week there was a talk show called “Housin ‘Around” hosted by comedian Alexis Gay. a pitch event for entrepreneurs with start-up ideas; a lecture entitled “Creating black creative spaces in fashion”; and karaoke in the clubhouse, including discussions. Daily and weekly shows have emerged from informality, such as “The Cotton Club”, an after-hours chill zone hosted by musician Bomani X, and “Good Time”, which summarizes the technical news of the day every evening at 10 p.m. Pacific time time. Hopping between rooms is easy and great fun.