Tiffany Zhong
Jul 11, 2017 · 3 min read

From the get-go, I’ve been skeptical of Houseparty and as time went on, it became very clear that they completely misunderstood Generation Z (I’m 20 and hear many anecdotes from my college & high school friends 👻).

1. Houseparty has an anti-network effect 🗣

What I mean by “anti-network effect” is that the product gets worse and worse as more and more of your friends join.

Obviously the antithesis of a network effect 😵

The more friends you have, the more push notifications you’ll get when your friends are “in the house.”

As a result, most users:

  1. get really annoyed at the incessant notifications
  2. probably end up turning off push notifications

That’s how a product that is completely built on top of social push notifications ends up losing users. Just look below👇

Let’s take a look at companies that have attempted similar concepts.

Remember Sean Parker’s Airtime that raised $34m from top investors? It was live video chatting with friends. Know anyone who actually uses it? Yeah, me neither. 🤔

Tumblr’s Cabana is having an incredibly tough time taking off.

Cabana’s SQUAD and Booyah already both shut down. ☠️

A couple others that are also tackling video but with a focus on asynchronous communication are Bunch and Marco Polo. Jury is definitely still out for them but they don’t face the same problem around constant live push notifications.

2. As a consumer company, you have 1 chance to make a good first impression 💥

This isn’t 2008 where every app is given 10 chances to retain users.

This is 2017 where you are competing with a million other consumer apps – your users’ first experience better be stellar! 🔥

3. And even if you’re able to do that, teens are fickle and move on quickly 🙋

It peaked in January at 7m monthly active users and went downhill from there. Data (App Annie) shows that they’ve now dropped to around 2m.

Oh and they barely added new features since they launched. 👎

At the same time, Fam is introducing games and trying to be more of an entertainment platform than just pure group video chat. IMO they have a higher chance of survival because of their fast iteration and introduction of new features.


If you’re a consumer company, you need to understand Gen Z.

Teens just really want an incredible user experience. Do whatever it takes to give them that.

User experience encompasses the initial onboarding as well as product engagement and retention, which means you need to conduct qualitative research.

If your consumer product has the following 3 things, you win.

  1. Utility – it solves an actual problem
  2. Entertainment – it’s a fun product
  3. Narcissism – it appeals to people’s inner narcissistic nature

Let’s help you win. If your company is interested in understanding youth, drop me a note: tiffany [at] 🤗

📬 Subscribe if you wanna know about the latest trends:❤️ Please hit recommend if you found this entertaining!@tzhongg / @ZebraIQ

Zebra IQ

Brutally honest youth insights

Tiffany Zhong

Written by

Follow on Twitter for teen consumer insights @TZhongg @ZebraIQ

Zebra IQ

Zebra IQ

Brutally honest youth insights

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