Clubhouse is the new Orkut? #GhostTown

Are you still on Clubhouse? Well, chances are that you are done with it.

Clubhouse, these days seems more like a ghost town.

And this reminds me of Orkut.

Remember Orkut? Of course, if you are born in a world without cassettes player, you don’t even know the Orkut story. Orkut was the largest social networking platform in India and Brazil – and while it seemed totally unbeatable at one point, Facebook just killed it. Rather, made it completely irrelevant.

How?

Facebook built the social (and interest) graph, while Orkut just remained a plain-jane social network that doesn’t know who your friends (plus their friends) are and what your interests are – i.e. zero discovery.

Your Orkut was no different from mine (except for friends list) and I can guarantee that most Clubhouse users see similar active Clubhouse rooms, with zero personalization and discovery.

There is literally no discovery of conversations and nothing related to one’s interest. That’s because, there is no social or interest graph.

A bird? A tech platform? Or media?

Plus, Clubhouse is actually going the Yahoo way.

As an ex-Yahoo, all I can tell you that Yahoo had every other Silicon Valley unicorn idea under its umbrella – right from WhatsApp (Y! Messenger), Dropbox (Yahoo files) to Instagram (Flickr)..and more (read: Yahoo! : A Few Billion Dollar Ideas That The Company Missed Out On).

Yet it failed to execute because the company couldn’t figure out whether it was a tech company or a media company.

But stupid, Clubhouse is a great product platform..What’s the media angle?

Clubhouse is no doubt a disruptive audio platform but soon became a media play.

Thanks to A16Z powerplay, Clubhouse was able to attract a lot of amazing celebrities – right from Elon Musk to Mark Zuck to pretty much all the important names.

Clubhouse soon became an events platform rather than a place to have real-world conversations (with people like you and me). While some of the real-world conversations definitely started on Clubhouse, they were often shadowed by big celebrity rooms.

You want to listen to Elon Musk or me? We all know the answers (sobs).

Here is what I wrote a few weeks back.


I believe the celebrity power of Clubhouse GTM has brought in more consumers than producers. I am talking about the intent of usage, which pretty much defines how you will use the product in the long run.

Most now see Clubhouse as a place to listen to celebrities and not a place to talk to people who are like them

No celebrities. No Clubhousing. As simple as that.

I can bet that most of the ‘normal’ Clubhouse owners don’t even know how to start their own room.


Of course, the regular 1% rule of social networks applies (1% create, 10% rehash and 89% consume) – but the challenge I see with Clubhouse is that the 1% creators were too big a name to inspire the next creators to create rooms on Clubhouse.

After all, how would you compete with a room that has Elon Musk or Mark Zuck? You can’t. You will stop competing.

So all we are seeing is either no great conversations (not happening these days as A16Z is focused on other portfolio companies, I believe) or just super low-quality conversations. There is nothing in-between, because there are very few creators out there active on CH – and the ones active aren’t being discoveable.

Reality check: Both Facebook and Twitter have social+interest graphs and expect some interesting play in the coming days.

Hope Clubhouse gets it right before it becomes irrelevant.

Meanwhile, enjoy this.

PS: Wrote this after a convo with Sameer (no, not on Clubhouse, but in real-world over chai).

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