What Clubhouse Has Taught Me In Just One Month

A New Social App That Offers Real, Genuine Connection

Clubhouse is a new social networking app that launched in May of 2020. The developers describe the app as “a space for casual, drop-in audio conversations,” but after using it myself for almost a month, I have quickly learned that it is much more than that.

Social media platforms have always boasted about their ability to connect people, share information, and learn about each other, but they rarely achieve these things. And if they do achieve them, it’s only halfway. Conversations (though they happen fast) don’t happen in real-time and words get lost in translation or cut short by a character limit. Meaningful, valuable connections are rare. Clubhouse changes that.

The real-time voice chat of Clubhouse eliminates that loss of context, tone, and meaning, making the conversations that happen on the app more valuable, clear, and collaborative. It’s like an in-person networking event, except better because you have access to people across the world, not just the people in the same physical space with you.

In less than one month of using Clubhouse, I have learned a lot about the app and the power it has. Here are the top ten things that Clubhouse has taught me:

1. Your Voice Matters

Everyone’s voice matters, Clubhouse has given everyone a platform to express their thoughts, perspectives, and ideas. 

2. Everyone Belongs

No matter who you are and what you are passionate about, there is a community waiting for you.

3. There’s Power In Diversity

One of the reasons organizations stagnate is they surround themselves with people who look the same, who have the same background, same experiences, and same perspectives. However, Clubhouse shows us the power that diverse thought has to build a better world.

4. Listening Is a Powerful Tool for Personal Growth 

Too often, we live in a world where we want to be heard, but Clubhouse teaches us that everyone has powerful insight worth listening to, even if they don’t have a prestigious title or a leadership role. Listening is the most important part of having a valuable conversation.

5. The World Is Connected 24/7

With Clubhouse’s Global community, we are able to collaborate 24/7 and work together to understand and solve each other’s problems. 

6. It’s Important To Be Clear and Concise

With rooms ranging from ten to thousands of people, Clubhouse teaches us the importance of getting to the point. Beating around the bush isn’t valuable or productive. With the ability to add a short personal profile, there is no need to introduce ourselves and our backgrounds. Getting to the point in a clear and concise manner makes for a powerful contribution.

7. Everyone Has a Role They Can Play

In Clubhouse, you can play any role you are comfortable with—moderator, speaker, or just a listener. These roles enable us to create platforms on topics for audiences of thousands or a private room for only two people.

8. It’s a Give and Take Environment

To flourish and grow, you have to give to Clubhouse as much as you take. The strength of Clubhouse is that it encourages everyone to be a part of the discussion. And for the topic to thrive, you need to participate with your voice as well as be a part of the audience who is listening in to the diverse perspectives of the others.

9. Two-Way Discussions Are Better Than One-Way

In a world of one-way presentations, lectures, and webinars, Clubhouse is showing us that hosting the voices of individuals who are passionate about the topic and listening to what they have to say is more powerful than speaking at them and asking for input later.

10. Multitasking Is Encouraged

Clubhouse is a 24/7 ecosystem. We all have responsibilities and priorities that need our attention, but that doesn’t stop us from listening in. Discussions can be put in the background like a radio while we do other things, and we can jump in when we can.

All these things come together to create genuine connections in a way that hasn’t been done by social media in recent years, or possibly ever.

Honorable Mentions

False Spins Are Checked by the Community

In a world driven by sales and marketing spin, the ability to have a live narrative allows us to call out the imposters and shed light on false or manipulative spins.  

Your Network Is a Powerful Tool

To build anything you are passionate about, you need a supportive network. Your network is not just your community, but anyone who can help you achieve goals or simply share in your passions.

Change Is Here

All the discussions that I have been a part of on Clubhouse have shown that the world is constantly changing and that change is happening faster than ever. Platforms like this one are a big part of that.

Your Voice Is Your New Look

Because Clubhouse is an audio-only platform, it eliminates most of the vanity that exists on other platforms and puts your voice front and center. 

There Are Unwritten Rules:

  • Turning your mic on and off repeatedly is like “clapping” to show support or encouragement.
  • Adding a host or guest to an event without permission from the room’s creator is frowned upon, even though the app allows you to do so. Be courteous!
  • Wait your turn. You will get your chance to speak, but listen first.
  • State your name when you start speaking and when you stop. This helps the folks who are hearing-impaired and using closed captions.
  • Everyone has the right to speak and offer their perspective. Titles don’t matter; passion does.

About Clubhouse

Right now, the Clubhouse app is still in beta, and new users need an invite to join. Each user receives two invites when they sign up and this method of adding new users has spread like wildfire. The number of users has jumped from 600,000 in December 2020 to 10 million in February 2021. It’s quite possible that everyone will have Clubhouse before the app’s official release. It’s a testament to how great this platform is, and also how innovative. 

Clubhouse didn’t wait around until everything was completed to be shared with the world—they don’t even have a website yet. The app already has millions of users, but those users are also beta testers, and the improvements made based on their feedback will undoubtedly make this app user-friendly and sustainably successful.

The conversations that are happening all day, every day on Clubhouse are truly amazing. If two heads are better than one, imagine what 10 million can do. 

To learn more about Clubhouse, you can click here

If you’re already on Clubhouse, follow me! My handle is @mattalex5. I’m participating in conversations about the Future of Higher Ed every day. I would love for you to join me.

If you don’t have an invite yet, finding someone who is using the app and can invite you is getting easier every day. Reach out to your network on Twitter or LinkedIn; I’m sure you’ll be joining conversations very soon.

5 Reasons Campuses Are Unwilling to Change

The world around us is moving at an incredible pace, and industries are modernizing right in front of our eyes. This shift is due to the urgency to stay relevant and, more importantly, sustainable in a competitive, post-pandemic marketplace. 

Within these modern industries are agents of change who hold various roles from the highest level of leadership to the operational level of the workforce. They have innovated to stay relevant and competitive. Their goal is to ensure they create products and services to meet the expected, fast-paced demands of their consumer. And their nimbleness has allowed them to succeed.

So why has Higher Ed struggled to modernize?

1. Comfortability

Humans are creatures of habit, and we are comfortable with what we know and do. The same goes for Higher Ed, which has relied on the same methodology and technology for decades. Even though these things slow institutions down and inhibit their innovation, Higher Ed is comfortable and unwilling to change.

The good news about the global pandemic is that it has finally forced Higher Ed to evolve the outdated practices that should have been changed years ago.

2. Title Ownership

People are entitled by their titles. Their assigned roles are heavy with accountability. This responsibility creates fear of failure but also over-empowers the role. The focus is on personal advancement, not on the advancement of the institution.

3. Boxed-In

Many leaders are insulated by their campus, laser-focused on internal operations. With their head down, it is difficult to imagine that their problems are the same problems that other institutions are facing. They believe that their problems are unique, so they cannot innovate in the same way as other schools.

Campuses are unique, but not as unique as their leaders may think. Enrollment sustainability, campus affinity, transfer rates, and technology are all top-of-mind within Higher Ed. All campuses need to evolve, and that evolution will be easier and more valuable if campuses look to each other for how to innovate.

On a large scale, campuses need to transform together. Then, once they’ve accomplished that, they can tailor their approach to fit their smaller, more unique needs. It’s time for Higher Ed to lift their head up and look to one another for ways to change. 

4. Tenure Workforce

Faculty and staff (more often than we would like to admit) view tenure as a security blanket, and, once they are under it, they cease to improve upon their role. This goes back to the comfortability of Higher Ed. But comfort inhibits innovation.

Higher Ed is a competitive landscape, and faculty and staff must constantly strive to make improvements. If the tenure doesn’t go away, it at least has to change. It is among the many elements of Higher Ed that do.

5. Retirement Horizon

Similar to the tenured workforce, leaders, faculty, and staff who are within retirement age are not motivated to make improvements. Their sights are set on their personal advancement into retirement, not the advancement of the institution.

A common theme arises among tenure, retirement, and title ownership: the individual is placed above the organization.

What needs to change? Whether it’s a change in operations or a change in culture, Higher Ed needs to align their institutions’ value with the value to its faculty, staff, and students. There is no motivation for innovation within an organization that cannot inspire loyalty. To create loyalty, value must be placed on the campus experience, the services the university offers, and a shared mission.

So how do campuses address each of these struggles?

Try starting here: Consider every campus role with term limits. Put people on the clock and give them a set time frame to make an impact. This will create motivation that leads to innovation. 

It will allow individual mobility to high-impact roles alongside the growing and evolving institution. It will also allow for others to get exposure to new jobs and experiences, creating a workforce with a diverse set of skills. All the while, campuses will benefit from innovative, driven faculty and staff who are striving to make a positive impact.

Innovative campuses are campuses that are constantly in motion, especially when it comes to the ever-changing technology that enables their innovation. Faculty and staff need to be nimble and comfortable in a fluid campus. And they have to start now.

As the new, post-pandemic era begins, will your institution be innovative? Or will it plant its feet in its old practices and get left behind?

BA’s Top 10 Predictions for Higher Ed in 2021

Higher education faced some unprecedented challenges in 2020 and we were forced to adapt. But though 2020 is over, Higher Ed still has a lot of work to do. We must continue to adapt and transform—as we should be doing every year—to create a better future for students of today and beyond.

Here are our Higher Ed predictions for 2021, including the challenges still to overcome:

Online and hybrid education will be here to stay post-pandemic.

Schools will continue to use online and hybrid education to expand their geographic market and reduce costs. The quality of remote learning will continue to increase as faculty build up their skills and schools enhance their technical capabilities. The prevalence of online courses will make it easier for students to transfer between institutions. More students will continue to live off campus which will greatly reduce housing and fee revenue.

COVID mitigation protocols will continue to impact campuses through 2022.

Schools plan for the possibility that the pandemic won’t significantly ease and many COVID protocols become permanent. The appearance of more contagious variants and the slow roll-out of the vaccine will mean academic years 2021 and possibly 2022 will look a lot like Fall and Winter of 2020. The Federal DOE will issue comprehensive COVID guidelines and institutions will have to change their current protocols to meet the new nationwide standard.

Students will expand their choice of institutions beyond traditional boundaries and transfer credit will increase at 4-year institutions.

Student transfers will continue to increase. Remote education will make it easier for students to assemble their diplomas by taking relevant classes from a series of institutions. At the same time, responding to the drop in number of college age students, schools will increase recruiting Sophomores from other schools to become Junior transfers.

Many institutions will reduce their workforces (faculty/staff) and many programs will be sunset due to budget constraints.

Tenured and tenure-track faculty positions will continue to dwindle. Schools will soon have faculties made up entirely of adjuncts and short-term contractors. State systems will consolidate their smaller, financially weaker schools. All schools will start evaluating their programs and close low enrollment programs that are losing money.

ERP / SIS transformation projects will be scrutinized.

The technology budgets of state and private schools will be slashed over the next two years. As a result, schools won’t be able to afford 9 figure ERP/SIS transformation projects anymore. Instead, they will focus their resources on smaller technology initiatives with clear strategic goals targeted on specific processes. There will also be an increase in high-impact transformation initiatives that are not technology based.

Consulting firms dependent on ERP and SIS will downsize.

Without a steady pipeline of large ERP or SIS initiatives, consulting firms that specialize in technology implementations will have to downsize. However, firms that specialize in developing strategy, business process transformation, and the student experience will thrive.

Parents will be more critical of the ROI of sending their child to college.

Parents (and students) will question why they are paying pre-pandemic tuition and fee rates for their children to take online classes. As the pressure to reduce tuition and eliminate fees increase, schools will have to find ways to redefine the value students receive from their tuition investment.

Schools will struggle to maintain their campus affinity with remote learning.

Online learning makes transferring from one school to another significantly easier. Students will see an individual school they’ve attended as simply one stop of many on their way to a degree. This weaker affinity will make it harder for a school to develop its students into institutionally loyal, lifelong learners, supportive alumni, and long-term donors.

Enrollment of socioeconomically disadvantaged students will continue to drop, especially in community colleges.

Enrollment for both 4-year and community colleges dropped in 2020. Economic uncertainty, housing and food insecurity, lack of internet access, and having to teach their children at home are leading many people to put off enrollment. As long as these roadblocks remain, the downward trend in enrollment will continue.

Private schools will have to increase discounts.

In the Fall of 2019, the average tuition discount rate for private colleges was 53%. Institutional aid paid, on average, 60% of the published tuition price, leaving colleges in a tight financial bind. In an effort to keep their enrollments stable, colleges will continue to increase discount rates and institutional aid—further weakening their financial position and causing some schools to close.


Do you agree with these predictions? What other predictions for 2021 do you have?