Clubhouse, which bills itself as “the collaborative home for modern software teams”, reports that it has grown from 30,000 registered users to over 100,000 since September 2019.
In a field awash with alternatives like Asana, Jira, and Trello, Clubhouse has decided to focus on building a fast tool that works well for product and engineering teams in high-growth companies. The focus is clearly paying off as customers switch from other tools after trying Clubhouse.
“We made a bet on building an easy-to-use, fast, and powerful platform that enables modern software teams and their collaborators to do their best work, while still being a joy to use,” said Kurt Schrader, co-founder and CEO of Clubhouse. So far, the approach seems to be paying off.
Clubhouse co-founders Kurt Schrader (left) and Andrew Childs (right)
James Rice, Supplied
I spoke to some Clubhouse customers to find out why they adopted Clubhouse. All of them had used other tools before (Atlassian’s Jira was frequently mentioned) and decided to move to Clubhouse after becoming frustrated by the limitations of their existing option.
“What I’ve always found missing from other tools is the ability to tell the story to a wider audience,” said Christophe Louvion, CTO at PatientPop. “When executives and non-engineers—you know, the head of sales, marketing, all of them—try to understand the roadmap, other tools tend to be really, really bad for that audience.”
“Last quarter all my teams presented their roadmaps directly from Clubhouse,” said Louvion. “What was in our previous tool was never presented directly to executives. People were making PowerPoints and other things that could be consumed by other people, and this time the teams just decided to show the executives their Clubhouse screen.”
Leigh Marie Braswell, product manager at Scale AI, had used multiple tools before Scale AI settled on Clubhouse. “We wanted a more intuitive solution,” Braswell said. “It was very easy for everyone to get on-boarded and it’s very easy to use.”
The adoption of Clubhouse has been largely organic, rather than the result of top-down direction or enforcement. “We definitely saw increased participation from engineering, but then other teams across the company like sales and operations just adopted it,” she said.
“It’s pretty incredible how much people have been using it,” said Braswell. “With previous tools, I used to have to sit down and teach an engineer how to make a ticket or how to start a sprint, which is kind of insane. This has been so easy that teams I’ve never even talked to about Clubhouse have already started their own boards.”
With a huge number of people now forced to experiment with new ways of working due to physical distancing requirements, I’d expect to see a big spike in use of all collaboration technologies, including Clubhouse. It’s a big opportunity for them to prove their worth, or at least to prove they’re worth considering once the crisis has passed.
These are unusual times, so we should be careful not to assume that what people do in a crisis reflects what they would do in more ordinary circumstances. But if people use this time to discover what really matters, then it will be interesting to see what they decide they actually need and what they were merely doing from force of habit.