How I'd launch ScreenShared, a Clubhouse complement
Feb 10, 2021 6:20 am
The coolest new kid on the block since the iPhone, Zoom is all about video, but is video all that necessary? Audio-only is taking over thanks to Clubhouse, & today's product idea is positioned to explode alongside it.
Each week I help founders & marketers spark their creativity by sharing a new business idea & how I'd launch & market it.
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At most companies, it's frowned upon to turn off your video, even though 95% of Zoom's benefit is in the audio & screen-sharing. As a result, we're self-conscious about how our office backgrounds & add picturesque bookshelf filters to hide that we're working from bed.
However, we're slowly realizing the value of audio-only, whether by replacing Zoom calls with phone calls, or on pioneering audio-only platforms like Clubhouse. Often though, it's easier to show than tell, & audio-only means losing the ability to screen-share.
So, on to this week's product idea - ScreenShared.
- Gumroad, which makes $10 million annually helping creators sell digital products, just announced they're ditching Zoom for Clubhouse instead. In a recent chat explaining the decision, Sahil, the founder of Gumroad, said that Clubhouse can replace Zoom for most meetings, & that a simple screen-sharing product would close the gap completely.
- ScreenShared is a simple tool that lets you start screen-sharing in 2 clicks, & lets others watch via an easy URL (i.e. screenshared.com/luke). ScreenShared's positioning would be, "the quickest way to share your screen with anyone".
How I'd launch:
- I'm not sure if you could build an MVP of ScreenShared without code, but a working product wouldn't be too complicated. With a quick Google search, I discovered Screenleap's API can embed screen-sharing on any website. The user flow for the MVP would be 1) choose a unique handle for your URL slug, 2) click to start sharing your screen, & 3) share the link for people to join. Instead of links with complicated strings like qjj-b39o-aic, presenters get a personal URL slug that's easy to remember & type in. And instead of complicated meeting passwords, all meetings would be public, because 1) passwords & invites would complicate the MVP, & 2) anyone seriously concerned about privacy won't switch to a brand-new platform anyway.
- Speaking of customers, I'd try to get my first 100, & even 1000, customers from Clubhouse. Might even be worth branding as "the quickest way to share your screen with anyone while talking on Clubhouse". Ultimately, the Clubhouse market is going to be most relevant & might be sufficiently big. Remember Sahil & Gumroad ditching Zoom for Clubhouse? I'd try to land him as user #1. If he likes what he sees, he'll recommend you to every other founder who reaches out to him saying they're moving from Zoom to Clubhouse. In addition, I'd experiment with the hosts of popular clubs (Launch House, Startup Club, etc.) that meet regularly on Clubhouse. ScreenShared could be a great tool to let people follow along on slides if they'd like, & also lets hosts supplement a conversation by showing videos or other content.
How I'd scale:
- Screenleap's API isn't free, but you get your first 5 hours free, & it's just 18 cents an hour after that. I'd offer 3 hours of ScreenShared a month completely free to users, & charge $7 / month for unlimited hours. Even though ScreenShared is competing on simplicity & speed, not price, this is 50% cheaper than Zoom. And since ScreenShared doesn't provide any functional benefit on top of Zoom, a lower price point might be what it takes to get companies to switch from Zoom.
- Since ScreenShared really only works when paired with audio like Clubhouse, if you're pitching ScreenShared to a random company, you ALSO have to sell them on Clubhouse. The odds aren't great with a random company, but it's enticing for the right companies. Audio-only causes less strain, can be more relaxed & engaging, & it's cheaper than Zoom.
- As you scale, an interesting market to consider will be B2B webinars. Webinars are literally the entire content strategy for many B2B companies, but have become synonymous with boring. If webinars were audio-only they'd be easier to attend & more relaxed, & companies could use ScreenShared to let attendees follow along. I don't attend webinars anymore, but I'd 100% tune in to a Clubhouse conversation paired with an engaging screen-sharing. Want to show a video? Or live-demo a product? ScreenShared would be perfect for that, while still letting you take advantage of Clubhouse's casual environment.
- Finally, host your own events on Clubhouse that are ideally suited for screen-sharing. How about investor demo days where a line-up of founders pitch to a panel of investors, like live Shark Tank? Clubhouse is great for this because the audio of a pitch can stand on its own, & it's natural to screen-share a pitch deck. Not only do hundreds of attendees get to hear about ScreenShared, but any company that pitches will experience ScreenShared firsthand. As their needs scale, you'll be top of mind for "easy tool to engage people with screen-sharing".
Why it would work:
- ScreenShared is a product built around a single, simple use case, & that's the formula for lots of great products. Focus leads to doing one thing really well which leads to satisfied customers. Rather than seeming crazy to bring screen-sharing to audio-only, I think audio-only is the future & screen-sharing will be what lets it work for a wider variety of meeting types.
Why it might not work:
- ScreenShared's success hinges on audio-only taking off, because otherwise, Zoom's integrated audio, screen-sharing, & video will win. Will enough people embrace audio-only? And even if audio-only does take off, will people stubbornly just choose to use Zoom when they need to screen-share?
Question for you: Are you scared of niching down? Sometimes the smallest opportunities are the biggest opportunities.
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