Clubhouse, the audio-based social media platform that gained immense popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic, is now reportedly downsizing its workforce by over 50%. In a letter to employees, the co-founders stated that the app has seen a significant decline in usage since the world began to reopen after the pandemic.
“As the world has opened up post-Covid, it’s become harder for many people to find their friends on Clubhouse and to fit long conversations into their daily lives. To find its role in the world, the product needs to evolve. This requires a period of change,” the founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth wrote in the memo, reported India Today.
Amid the Covid pandemic, social distancing measures led people to turn to technology for socialising, and this is when community apps like Clubhouse gained prominence. Clubhouse is an invite-only app that allows its users to share audio updates, posts, and engage in audio-only conversations with their peers.
The app, which was launched in 2020, was initially available exclusively to iOS users. However, it was later made available to Android users over the next few months.
According to the founders, a "reset" is needed for the company in the post-Covid era. They emphasised that a smaller, more focused team is required to make the necessary changes to the product.
“In order to fix this we need to reset the company, eliminate roles and take it down to a smaller, product-focused team. We arrived at this conclusion reluctantly, as we have years of runway remaining and do not feel immediate pressure to reduce costs. But we believe that a smaller team will give us focus and speed, and help us launch the next evolution of the product,” the memo read.
Similar features emerged from other companies, such as Twitter Spaces, Facebook Live Audio Rooms, and Spotify Live, due to the buzz around the app.
Despite its initial success, Clubhouse has faced challenges in maintaining its popularity, particularly with the emergence of competitors such as Twitter Spaces. In an effort to adapt to the changing landscape, the company launched a feature called "Houses" in August 2021.
This feature allows users to create private chat rooms with friends and acquaintances, providing a more intimate setting to connect with others.
Davison and Seth are of the opinion that a smaller and more concentrated team will aid them in making quick changes and creating the perfect product. They have a well-defined vision for Clubhouse 2.0 and are determined to recognise and value the contribution of their colleagues who have helped them reach this stage.