It is really painful that Silicon Valley is introducing this one: an audio social network. Yes, an app called Clubhouse has raised around $100 million led by existing investor Andreessen Horowitz at a $1 billion post-money valuation. What this means is this: Instagram, TikTok and the peers have another competitor. This competitor focuses on audio!
But I must note here that audio social network apps have been trialed in Africa, but none picked any up because a full play social media business is usually hard to execute, when you do not have the financial war chest which typically comes from Silicon Valley and China. So, those ideas just flamed!
Clubhouse is having a really good month. The San Francisco-based audio social network has raised around $100 million, according to Axios, putting its post-money valuation at $1 billion. In addition, the startup, which launched less than a year ago, boasted 2 million weekly active users. So what is Clubhouse? In its own words, it “allows people everywhere to talk, tell stories, develop ideas…” and for now, it’s invitation only.
So, just like that, the natural communication system for Africans – talking, we do not read/write enough, with most parts of the continent failing to invent indigenous ways of writing for centuries, until the colonial warlords arrived – has been invented, socially, in California. Possibly, in a few months, post invitation-only phase, they will open it and we will begin to yarn. Why must California be creating these things for us?
When I remember that South Africa had a chat service like WhatsApp before we decided that WhatsApp is the operating system for African social communication system, Clubhouse could relax that it will pick traction in the continent since we typically like Silicon Valley products.
Yet, I do not think that Clubhouse is the real deal: there is something amazing about written things. It gives you confidence to sleep because it is there and you can revert and pick where you stopped. Just talking may not do it for many. So, this is what I expect: if this does well, WhatsApp or Instagram will clone the feature and with that most will stay where they are.
You do not need many apps on your phone – you just need one that can do many things, even decent enough.
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