From zero to hero to zero?

Is Clubhouse a fad?

I am on the fence. I just noticed that while everybody seemed to be doing rooms on Clubhouse before Easter, there was no mention in my feeds of any events after.

And when I asked on Twitter, the silence was deafening and in itself a verification that the red hot service might not be as red hot anymore.

This poses two questions of which the latter is the most interesting to me:

Is there a future for ‘live’ audio casting a la Clubhouse? I liked the idea at first and especially the part with having to be there in the moment versus leaving it for later and never listening in anyway. On the other hand I can also see that this dependency on time is the exact reason why I don’t use Clubhouse. So maybe it’s not so clever after all…

On a more generic level, if Clubhouse and it’s audio model turns out to be a fad, what does that say of the time span from hero to zero in our digital age? Normally we talk about how long it took for radio and tv to become mainstream versus digital services, and how things have speeded up.

But this is putting it in reverse; from zero to hero to zero again in no time.

Assuming of course that Clubhouse is a fad, which at this point in time of writing is very much debatable.

But if we follow through on this thought, what does that say about the risk of investing in building new innovative services? I mean, building Clubhouse has probably not been cheap, and the company has raised 110M USD so far from investors looking for a return. What if the party is over, before it started?

I realize there are lots of examples of cases, where investors have poured money into ambitious startups that has gone belly up – Quibi comes to mind here – but this is different.


Because this is not about investing in some new ‘me too’ actor with a slightly different take on an already well established model. This is about investing in a potential trend shift from ‘on demand’ to ‘live’ and ‘exclusive’ that might not be happening after all. In essence this is about reading the overarching trends in the right way or not, which makes it so interesting to follow.

Potentially also more interesting than the Clubhouse service itself.

(Photo: Screenshot)

The essential Clubhouse question

Why didn’t you build it?

Audio online is nothing new.

Talks with subject matter experts is nothing new.

Social networking is nothing new.

Refer-a-friend schemes are nothing new.

And so on.

All the elements are already out there and have been so for a long time.

So why didn’t you come up with this idea, build it and reap the rewards?

That’s the really interesting 1B USD question about Clubhouse.

(Photo: Screenshot)

In da (Club)house

Until yesterday I hadn’t been ‘fortunate’ enough to be invited to Clubhouse yet. But until the invite came, I could see some people complaining that there isn’t a ‘Listen later’ feature in the product, and how odd it is.

Actually, I think it’s borderline brilliant.

One of the big challenges of everything digital is that we have lost the need to be present when something happens.

We can always catch up later.

Few of us actually make an effort to do that, but we’re all guilty of not really being present in the moment for that reason alone – that we can always catch up later.

I think that is a big issue. On an almost existential level.

For that reason I love the idea of a service where you need to be there, when it happens – or miss out completely. I love the idea of forcing people to prioritize to be present to get something for themselves.

I think we need that. As humans. To be forced to stop, take pause, listen and engage. Live. And then go about our other business.

If Clubhouse can help a move towards that scenario, I am all for it.