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Clubhouse – just another app ? Why could the maritime industry benefit from it ?

By Marco Wetzel

After getting a lot of LinkedIn DMs with questions about Clubhouse from people of our industry, I decided to write an quick article for those who are interested in new technologies and want to understand what it can bring to the maritime industry,

Foreward

6 weeks ago I scrolled down my LinkedIn feed and read some news about Clubhouse of some tech guys from the US. I had no clue what they are talking about and I started to do some research. But my understanding was still very unclear. So I decided to give it a try. Soon I got access to Clubhouse (Thanks to Phillipe)

What is Clubhouse ?

Before we go ahead and have an outlook about the potential what could Clubhouse bring to the maritime industry, let’s create a join understanding what Clubhouse is all about.

Clubhouse is an app which can be installed on iPhones only at this moment. The app is an social media app where people can come together in audio-only (virtual) rooms. Everybody can join rooms or create rooms on their own. Unlike Twitter or LinkedIn, Clubhouse is a platform with a hierarchical organized platform. A room has three different levels. The first level is the speaker / moderator area. The second level contains a group of people who have the presenters or speakers on their own “to follow” list.The third level are all other people who join the room and who have no „relationship“ to the speaker/moderator. The moderator has rights to bring people from the 2nd / 3rd level on stage to contribute the the specific topic. People from 2nd and 3rd level can also raise their hands to show their interest to participate. The „relationship“ is organized by a „follower system” which is comparable with Instagram. We could go much deeper into the app, however to understand the impact to the maritime industry, it would be enough for the moment being.

Status

The platform started to grow with some tech people from the Silicon Valley back in summer 2020 with a few thousand people. While the app had 1.500 members in May 2020 today we have an unbelievable growth up to 6 million in February 2020. Currently we have an exponential growth phase.

My first learnings

After some days playing around with Clubhouse, I quickly saw the benefits and the danger of this app. The benefits and danger areas are equal to any other social media platform . You can easily connect to people and discuss topics. But due to the setup it’s also possible to get „fake news“ and „wrong experts“. Another critical thing is the time waste factor which you can easily check with your iPhone usage summary. Despite all these negative factors, the benefits and potential are overweighting these things to me.

Why could it be a useful platform for the maritime industry ?

After my familiarization, together with some other maritime enthusiasts, we have created the first maritime rooms to discuss various topics of our industry. Soon has been become a weekly „mandatory“ appointment for some maritime professionals and outsiders. The maritime community is growing – but why ?

Due to the above explained concept of Clubhouse it’s easy to build up rooms and to get people inside. As a moderator I learnt that a good preparation and follow up is critical to run a successful room.

“A place where collaboration can start” Marco Wetzel

In our last rooms we got together a bunch of people from our industry ( supplier, ship manager, broker, maritime start-ups, supply chain experts) but also people outside of our industry. You can already imagine how big the shared knowledge base is. When you now use the concept of Clubhouse together with structured moderation frame works – you can immediately establish a room where insights, inspirations and collaboration can start to plant seeds. Co-creation can happen and valuable industry connections can growth and lead to find solutions for our challenges.

During the last weeks we discussed things like autonomous vessels, new business models due to platform technologies but also discussing current challenges like upcoming regulations. I heard already from cases where people started joint projects afterwards.

The potential is big and it will increase with all maritime professionals who are joining the platform our maritime rooms.

If you want to learn more about Clubhouse, join Clubhouse or our maritime rooms there, please feel free to reach out to me.

You can also follow me on Clubhouse to see the maritime rooms popping up in your “rooms feed”.

The guest blog of the week is written by Marco Wetzel, Host of Maritime Insights room on Clubhouse, every Thursday at 7:30 pm UTC.

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