Why I sold my Clubhouse invite
I read that people are selling invites over eBay, Craiglist, and Etsy for a new app called Clubhouse. As an experiment, I signed up for a fresh eBay account and sold one of my six Clubhouse invites. Ended up selling one text message invite code for $20.
This got me thinking about my own consumer psychology and why anyone would buy an invite code to a mobile app. I first heard about Clubhouse in June 2020 with their $10M Series A raise announcement. A social audio-only network with only 4000 people in their beta program valued at $100M. However, this year, celebrities such as Elon Musk have joined the platform and they have skyrocketed to 2 million users.
What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse allows people to create ‘rooms’ to talk about anything they want. You get access to the app through invitations. Rooms ranging from tech startups to silent meditations are being hosted. The easiest description of a Clubhouse experience is sitting at the dinner table with your role model.
Let’s take for example you are invited to a special dinner with Keanu Reeves. He talks about how he became the John Wick. You are able to listen to the conversation. You are awed by his presence and super glad to have had access to the conversation.
The growth of Clubhouse.
To break down how Clubhouse’s growth is best to combine the analogies of the exclusive dinner party and the concept of building a village.
Phase 1: The first few dinner parties.
Having raised from a16z and being connected to the top SV/VC community, they started to leverage them as beta testers.
Within the tech community, Naval is a well-respected thought leader who rarely makes social appearances. Everyone looks forward to his tweets and learns from his wisdom. Turning up in Clubhouse rooms had an influence on making the experience desirable.
Other prominent Silicon Valley/ Tech influencers who were at the first dinner party started to Tweet about the experience. A typical tweet would describe how awesome their “Clubhouse” experience was + “DM me for invites”.
The audience who sees these FOMO-inducing tweets end up wanting an invite. This starts the initial network effect.
Phase 2: The next ten dinner parties.
Between Phase 2 and 3 is where a lot of interesting network effects started to unfold for Clubhouse’s user growth. A few common human desires and behaviors are being acted upon during the process.
Authority: We follow and engage with authority leaders that we respect since we want to be like them.
Social Proof: We view a behavior as more correct if we see others performing it.
Likeability: We all want to look cool and liked to convey our sense of social standing.
Scarcity: As part of economics, when something is scarce, society values it more. The less of it there is and high perceived value, the more willing we are to pay for it.
When we combine these factors, we realize that Clubhouse has been able to create a lot of FOMO. We care about the scarce invites, we want to be like our role models and we want to look cool.
Phase 3: The village | The Lion King production
In the Lion King production phase, the app is no longer reserved for the tech community. It has started to reach a global village.
Let’s assume that 1 Million people are now on the app and they all have 5 invites to give out.
1,000,000 x 5 = 5,000,000 network effect opportunities
This allows so many opportunities for people to invite one another and be a part of the exclusive app. It then starts to spread from the US to Japan, Brazil, and the UK.
Other celebrities such as Elon Musk, Joe Rogan, and Kevin Hart have joined and talked in rooms. Our role models from various cultural backgrounds have joined into Clubhouse rooms. This unlocked the floodgates for many audiences and interests. From art, meditation, parenting, to crypto, many people are joining.
Other Notable Mentions
iOS Only: Being an exclusive iOS only social app deserves a mention. Globally, iOS devices only represent 28% of the mobile phone devices with Android at 72%. Creating an exclusive iOS club contributed to the scarcity and spread of the FOMO.
Covid as an accelerant: It is important to note the timing of this social audio app. To use audio in a mobile app is no super innovative idea but it is because of our current timing of Covid. We consume more social media and be more open to trying new consumer applications.
This is not to discount the hard work that the Clubhouse team has put in. The founders have created and been a part of many startups so we cannot undermine their success. However, a reminder that Covid and timing played a role in people wanting to use this platform.
Where is Clubhouse heading?
This is the most excited consumers have been about another social app. It will be interesting to see how Clubhouse maintains its user growth whilst balancing its needs. Twitter also has a similar product called Spaces so it will be interesting to see how the social-audio platform space grows!
P.S. I refunded the Clubhouse invite because I am a troll. For anyone who wants an invite, I am more than happy to invite you.
A Clubhouse Meme.
💬 How has your Clubhouse experience been and if you think back to your user behavior, what caused you to join the platform?
⬇️ Let me know below in the comments below or on Twitter :)
References | Acknowledgements.
Getting a Clubhouse invite:
- Reddit: Invite thread on r/Clubhouse
- Linkedin | Twitter | Facebook Groups: You can search for keywords such as “Clubhouse invite” and try to find groups and individuals giving out invites.