Startups that manage to hit the one billion dollar mark are so rare and finding one is almost as impossible as finding a mythical unicorn.
This is why startups like the home-sharing leader, Airbnb, and video game company, Epic Games are categorized as achieving a “unicorn status” who has the potential to head in the same direction “super-unicorns” Facebook and Google are heading.
What is Clubhouse’s Drop-in Audio Chat App?
Clubhouse, a by-invitation audio-chat or audio-based social network in the form of an iPhone app launched in April of last year recently became a full-fledged unicorn when they reached $1 billion by January 2021.
Joining Clubhouse is not as easy as just downloading the app and signing in. Each user needs to be invited by someone who is already in the app.
It may seem a bit overly exclusive but the limited number of users might probably be attributed to the app still being on beta testing mode, or as explained by people with a background in software development, it is still in the second phase of software testing where only a controlled sample from its intended audience can try it as of the moment from which their experience is constantly being monitored or studied and eventually, will be forwarded back to developers so they can make final improvements before releasing or launching the software commercially.
The app which is only available for iOS can only possibly be accessed by getting on a waiting list and submitting a phone number after it has been downloaded. No one can tell as of the moment what is the exact probability that a random person may be able to join and how soon.
As for those who are already in, they get to enjoy scrolling through virtual rooms (that can be seen from the Hallway, the app’s main page) which are live as of the moment, and join any room they might be interested in.
It would be up to each user if they just want to listen or raise a hand by tapping a button if they wish to speak. With permission from the room’s moderator, the user will be allowed “on stage” or given permission to speak and get heard.
Facebook is Reportedly Developing a Clubhouse Clone
Also just recently, talks about Facebook working on a similar audio chat app have been circulating. There wasn’t any public announcement yet but according to the scoop, Facebook has ordered their employees to create a similar product.
Facebook has a history of cloning its competitors. It is a strategic business move because the more people spend time with new platforms, the less they go online on Facebook and this would mean there will be a strong decline in the number of captive audiences for ads. It would mean lesser income too so through the years, Facebook tried its best not to go against the flow and just keep riding the tide. The company always makes sure they have whatever others are having and mostly it might even be better. That is what classic market leaders do to remain on top.
Unknown to many, most of Facebook’s features were acquired strategically from another platform.
The like button and the newsfeed were copied from FriendFeed a company it acquired in 2009. 12 employees of Friendfeed joined Facebook and this is all part of the deal. This includes one of the four founders that developed Google, Gmail and Google Maps.
FB.com was acquired in 2010. Facebook paid the American Farm Bureau Federation to relinquish FB.org to have “FB” exclusively used as their domain email address.
Facebook’s largest acquisition was Instagram. The photo and video sharing platform still has its own stand-alone app and operates under its own brand but many features including photo sharing have been integrated with Facebook.
If they are unsuccessful in trying to buy a company, they end up cloning it.
In 2016 Facebook acquired the app MSQRD. It’s an app that allows users to swap their faces with goofy effects and it is very similar to Snapchat’s “Lens” filters
Instagram’s “Stories” blatantly copied Snapchat’s famous story format which allows users to post photos and videos in their profile that disappears after 24 hours
Facebook also now allows users to create custom camera “frames” where they can overlay over photos and add to their profile pictures. This is copied from Snapchat’s geo-filters.
It is no longer a surprise that Facebook will give Clubhouse the same strategic competitive approach it had given Snapchat if they will not be successful in an attempt to merge or acquire it.
Apart from not showing any indication of giving away its market leader hat in the next five to ten years, all these developments although frowned upon by many for not being original is still away to give convenience to its existing users by not having to move out or keep switching to different platforms just to experience something new or trendy which will eventually be replaced.
Again, Facebook was not really successful for being original. It has grown large by having a piece of everything else through its mergers, acquisitions, and ability to always follow the market’s recent developments for the convenience of the greater many.