Clubhouse's Growth Hack
Clubhouse, an up-and-coming, live audio-only social network, is experiencing a lot of hype. The pandemic has made people receptive to new types of social networks, both work and personal, and I doubt Clubhouse would have been as well-received if it launched in 2019.
Clubhouse is currently in an invite-only closed beta. Closed betas are a common tactic for a lot of startups while they work out the bugs. In Clubhouse’s case, the bug they need to work out is how do you moderate a real-time audio-only social network. The magic that makes Clubhouse work is the quality of the conversations, and if that diminishes, the network could die quickly.
Many startups have used waitlists to create exclusivity and build up a list of prospective users once the product is ready for a broad launch. An example of this is the email client Superhuman. What makes Clubhouse unique is that it has taken the waitlist to the next level.
Instead of letting you sign up for a waitlist, Clubhouse allows interested users to reserve their user handle. It is a smart tactic because not only does Clubhouse get to benefit from the usual waitlist exclusivity hype, but they are also creating scarcity that pressures people to join a waitlist that they might not have otherwise. Clubhouse is taking advantage of the economic principle of loss aversion - people more often go out of their way to prevent losses (not having my preferred username) versus generating gains (knowledge of when the product launches).
Clubhouse isn’t the first startup to ever use this tactic. About.me did something similar back in 2010. However, I believe Clubhouse is the first to require you to download the app and validate your mobile number before letting you reserve a username. This hack could help to sustain growth if interest starts to wane.
If you have not already joined Clubhouse, I suggest you download their app and reserve your name while the options are still plentiful.