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This may sound crazy at first - switching to Clubhouse for all of their team meetings! But why not give it a try, says Sahil, co-founder of Gumroad.

Let's rewind a bit & decrypt all the hype that is Clubhouse.

For starters, Clubhouse is an audio-based social media platform with a powerful network effect. It was launched in April 2020 at the peak of a global pandemic that forced many people to rely on their smartphones for social interactions. 

How big is it?

At the end of January, the company reported that over 2 million people used its app in a week. It recently achieved a $1B valuation, making it the fastest-growing startup ever.

So, what is all the excitement about? 

It is currently in the beta stage and only open to a select few users through invites. The invite-only model makes its exclusivity very appealing for users.

Oh and it's an iphone-only app, so Android users just have to skip this one 🤷‍♂️

What makes it different from other social media platforms?

Unlike existing social media platforms, Clubhouse’s audio format allows for deep, spontaneous, and respectful conversations. 

Finally, what do skeptics say?

- Clubhouse hasn't figured out its revenue model
- The app is not available for Android users
- Invites are being sold for hundreds of dollars in marketplaces

Gumroad to have all team communications over Clubhouse

The reasons:

- Easier to engage with creators in conversations
- Turns Gumroad team members into content creators
- Video is largely unnecessary.  
- General bet that Clubhouse is a big part of the future
- Clubhouse has a strong social element, but Zoom is less so.

What do you think about Clubhouse? Can Clubhouse be the future of team communication? 


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    Hi Shahul!

    It's so funny, I was actually thinking the same when I woke up this morning. 

    I tried Clubhouse yesterday for the first time and, as a curious newbie, I kept on browsing the rooms and didn't really put much effort into one conversation. 

    My first thoughts : 

    - Experience can be a bit overwhelming (especially when you use it as I did... so I'll try to be more focused and engaged in one conversation next time)

    - Being in most of the rooms feel like listening to a Podcast, but I know that other people are listening as well, plus I have this "live show" feeling

    - I feel the same vibe as any other social media: same discussions, influencers popping out, and a lot of people teaching you how to improve your "Clubhouse" presence

    - I want to express myself, have a conversation (otherwise I'll just play a podcast). Forums feel more equitable in this sense because everyone can write something and read what the others say. We're not obliged to listen to the loudest voice or the guest star. We don't have to take the entire stage to make our voice heard.

    Why not create my own room and invite my friends? But I can do a WhatsApp Signal call. At least I won't be tempted to browse what other discussions are happening and I can be present with them. What about inviting my team? Well, it's exactly the use that we have of our Whereby video room when we have our camera switched off. We can pop in the room anytime and see who's there. 

    - Using Clubhouse to engage with users as Gumroad does. Sure, it's an easier way than getting in a Zoom event. And you can tune in any time, even if you didn't see the LinkedIn post or read the email telling about the event: just check Clubhouse and find that there is a Gumroad conversation on. But what happens when every brand comes on Clubhouse? How will we cut through the noise? 

    So my feelings are a bit mixed about Clubhouse and its potential to revolutionize. I'm very curious to hear read what others think here. 

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      Thanks for this, Sophia. I have only followed the popular media on what the Clubhouse experience is all about. So, this is quite enlightening and aligns with what I thought some of the problems might be.

      Invite-only maybe sorts the problem around the quality of conversations. But how the conversations will be more inclusive is yet to be seen. Otherwise, as you say, it might just become a more fancy podcast.

      Any thoughts on how you would try to express yourself in the next conversation you want to be part of?

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        For general conversations? I don't know yet...

        But I found a practical use case for Clubhouse that solves a huge and unanswered problem: practicing foreign languages. 

        I've been in this field (instructing/learning languages) for over a decade and the ability to practice with someone else without the friction of going to a polyglot café or setting up a tandem is one of the major problems that keep people not practicing and improving their language skills.

        I think the fact that is only audio can reduce the stress of people that are shy and don't like to feel exposed when they struggle with a language. 

        I don't know how you can create easily breakout rooms from a discussion room in Clubhouse, but if so, I have tons of ideas on how to facilitate language practicing sessions. 

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          Hmm, that's a specific use case I hadn't thought of.

          I was thinking of it from a social media platform perspective where today I get to participate in text conversations when I want to, but in an audio conversation, I wouldn't know when to jump in and also if I have lost any context if I join in a bit late & so on.

          So, was interested to know how Clubhouse tackles such natural drawbacks.

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            I definitely agree. If you join late, it gets difficult to catch up with what has been said and run the risk of repeating or not making the conversation go forward. Maybe a transcript feature that highlights the main points would help? 


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        Great points Sophia. I haven't used the app as much but from what I understand it seems to be a fusion of an events platform and a social network. So questioning on why you should be using Clubhouse vs say Zoom, Whereby or a podcast platform is well placed, just that Clubhouse seems to be aiming to combine all of those experiences.

        To be honest though, I was quite lost on what I should be doing on the app when I joined. As you said, I am using other platforms already to cover all use-cases & don't have much complaints around it. Maybe I will explore it a little more and reshare my experience.

        Also, I believe the point of having only one person speak, asking others to request to speak & of course the invite-only conditions is to filter the quality of conversations on the platform from the word go. For networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, content moderation of any form has always been an after-thought. So I feel that's going to positively impact the app in the future.

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          You're right, Hrishikesh, they did a good job of thinking about moderation from the beginning (though, I'm not so sure that it was for moderation or to create an exclusivity feeling that urges a lot of people to seek an invite, maybe both).

          Do you think the invite-only process will be effective much longer? 

          I'm not sure about that. Also, I can invite whoever I want. So if a troll comes in, he/she invites all his/her troll friends.

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            True, I think they will still need to moderate/regulate content but the problem would hopefully at a much smaller magnitude compared to the ones we see right now. They also have a number-verification process, right? (I don't remember exactly if I entered my phone number when I signed up). So that's an additional verification.

            Also, as you said, all of this is still possible when there a couple of million users but what happens when they want to reach a billion users & whether they will relax these restrictions.

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          Great points Sophia! 

          I agree with a few of your points! 

          I just joined Clubhouse a couple of days agao (thanks to one of my friend accepting my invite):

          - I was quite overwhelmed by the UI. Definitely does feel quite similar to other social media platforms.

          - Unavailability to Android users and being invite only is definitely quite restricting. I am not sure how it can replace Zoom entirely, especially with so many other features that Zoom/ MS Teams/ Google Meet video calls offer, screen share as one of the most used features of these calls. 

          - While being audio only maybe a sigh of relief for people who stress out on video calls, I believe Clubhouse at best can be a replacement for Happy hour/ Team Bonding meetings where people can be their true selves! 
          Audio has it's own charm when its come to increase personal connections.


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            I agree with you with the charm of audio! 

            I've been back to clubhouse since my last post and my thoughts have evolved a bit, though I still don't see its use case for team's communication: 

            - It is indeed easier to join a talk from someone you want to learn from, than joining a webinar (no need to wonder whether your camera should be on and no need to turn on the computer for people that don't have the zoom app)

            - it's much easier to express yourself in a room that has less than 15 people. Moderators actually invite you to. I also found that the discussions I joined in small rooms were deeper.