Why Are People Spending Hours On Clubhouse? It’s Not (Usually) The Money

Clubhouse "is very similar to Twitch," Kan said, and like his former company, is fostering a new form of creator, in this case one who thrives in the audio-only format. "There's new talent that gets created in this kind of environment, and that's kind of fascinating."

Like Kan, Baratunde Thurston entered the fray only once the user base broadened this year. As a longtime speaker, consultant and comedian in the tech world, he received an early invite and signed up to claim his name but didn't spend much time on the app.

"It was very VC dominant, Bay Area tech stuff," Thurston said. "I was like, 'do I need to listen to venture capitalists talking about race in America? Probably not.'"

Once he saw more friends piling in at the beginning of the year, however, he decided it was time to jump in. Now he hosts multiple rooms each week, and is warming up to the infinite audio landscape.

"It's like a super conference, because it can host any panel, any fireside, any performance on any subject," Thurston said. He's found himself tuning into the Black Billionaire Crypto Club and cited a popular room called Bearded Black Men Reading to You Before Bed, which is precisely what it sounds like, as an exemplar of the kind of creativity that the app rewards.

"As someone who's spoken at a lot of conferences, including like Surf Summit 2013, it turns out that everybody kind of wants their own," Thurston said. "Will people from every type of community in the world want to gather simultaneously to discuss something? I think yes."

And as a frequent early adopter and public panel host, Thurston advises moderators to practice moderation. "I try to keep my rooms to two hours, two and a half hours," Thurston said. "I can't do these six-hour rooms or 24-hour rooms — I don't have that much to prove, and I need to eat, and talk to my wife."

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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