This 3-minute read will save you hours of scratching your head.
But the TLDR is this:
- Airchat is a new invite-only audio and video-based asynchronous communication and social networking platform by Brian Norgard (of Tinder) and Naval Ravikant (of AngelList).
- Airchat takes a little time to get the hang of, but will save you lots of time and help you efficiently grow a mission and vibes-aligned network.
Last updated 2023-06-01
- A Brief Backstory 📜
- What is Airchat? 🚀
- Who is Airchat For? 👨💼
- Why Use Airchat? 💡
- How to Use Airchat? 🤔
- How Does Gary Use Airchat? 🤓
- Public vs Private Rooms 🌐
- How Does Airchat Help You Connect? 🤝
- What Airchat Rooms You Might Want to Create 🏠
- Some Rooms I Have Created
- Airchat-Native Interviews
- Some Favorite Rooms Of Mine Created By Others
- Rooms I Think Should Be Created
- How to Get Onboarded ⛴️
- Setting Up Your Profile For Success 🚀
- Need Help? 🤝
- How to Get Invites 📨
- Why Airchat is Way Better Than Clubhouse 🏆
- The Power of Async Communication 💬
- The Power of Being In Public 😊
A Brief Backstory 📜
I was introduced to Airchat by a friend, Tyler Choi, who knew I’d make the most out of this platform. Little did I know, I would fall head over heels with it.
Seeing how the platform was built by Naval Ravikant and Brian Norgard, two people with incredible demands on their time, I quickly appreciated the efficiency and depth of connection it allowed.
What is Airchat? 🚀
Airchat is where “conversations that matter” happen.
Check out the announcement thread from May 22nd, 2023:
Naval on Twitter
Social media isn’t social - it’s performative.Where’s the chitchat, the banter, the easy laughter?We made something new. Push-to-talk, whenever you want. With perfect transcripts and AI art.A dinner party in your pocket.Follow @getairchatNever feel alone again. pic.twitter.com/V9urTOVf4u— Naval (@naval) May 21, 2023
Airchat is an audio and video-based asynchronous communication and social networking platform.
In my mind, it is the digital garden bed for generative conversations that plant the seeds for a flourishing future for humanity 🌱🌞🌍
While it is not designed only for future builders, artists, and funders, it is AMAZING for people who fall into this category.
For all kinds of people with deep passions, Airchat will be a breath of fresh AIR in a world full of social media apps where you feel forced to perform for an algorithm.
Who is Airchat For? 👨💼
Airchat is a platform designed to accommodate various types of interactions, making it suitable for a wide array of users.
Here are just a few examples:
- For individuals: If you have a close friend or family member and you want an ergonomic and visually pleasing way to exchange audio and video notes, Airchat serves as an excellent platform for one-on-one communication.
- For friend groups: Airchat is great for groups of friends looking to stay in touch in a human, audio-visual manner. It offers a private and comfortable space for group communication.
- For teams: Teams can utilize Airchat to share brain dumps verbally and keep everyone in the loop. The platform supports efficient and effective team communication.
- For thought leaders: Thought leaders looking to connect deeply with their audience on a large scale can take advantage of Airchat's asynchronous communication model.
- For professionals: Professionals seeking to network and advance their work can use Airchat to connect with their peers and share insights or seek advice.
- For movement builders: Movements can create rooms that help people understand why its leaders believe in the movement and create a window into the movement to build trust.
While I am personally most excited about the peer-to-peer interactions among high-level entrepreneurs, thinkers, artists, and visionaries, Airchat is truly for everyone. Its flexibility and design make it a universal communication protocol for a multitude of users.
Why Use Airchat? 💡
For future builder-type people, Airchat saves you time and helps you network efficiently. You will connect with a curated crowd of high-level individuals in a natural, trust-building environment.
As I mentioned, Airchat has many use cases, but if you aim to connect with top-tier professionals and advance your mission, Airchat is the platform for you.
How to Use Airchat? 🤔
While setting up an Airchat account is straightforward, here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Start by lurking. Browse your Discover page, follow people whose insights interest you, and watch for rooms that pop up with appealing conversations.
- Once you understand how others use the platform, decide how you want to use it. I recommend creating two kinds of rooms: an open question or open topic room and a personal room where you can give peers insight into your life. This increases your visibility and chance of connecting with individuals who might support your work.
How Does Gary Use Airchat? 🤓
I use Airchat as a platform to feed my curiosity and to offer insights into my thought process and lifestyle. My approach is genuine and not performative, even though the quality of my questions might reveal aspects of my character and potentially boost my reputation. I am genuinely interested in the answers to the questions I pose.
For instance, I once asked, "How do you manage your time as someone whose demands on their time are growing exponentially?" The responses I received from Naval and others in my network were insightful and valuable.
Recently, I created a room titled "Loving Neurodiversity". I've been discussing neurodiversity more frequently with people I know well, but I wanted to hear perspectives from a broader audience. I'm interested in how people embrace their neurodiversity, how it affects them, and how we can better appreciate and incorporate neurodiversity in team-building.
Beyond asking open questions, I use Airchat as a window into my life. I share my thoughts, lifestyle, travel experiences, social interactions, and the challenges I face. My goal is to build trust and provide a deep context about who I am and what I stand for.
On that note, I created a room called “AMA (Gary Sheng,” so anyone can ask me questions I can answer. I encourage everyone to create a room like this. Most people want permission before asking you questions.
I have also started to interview my friends in Airchat-native podcasts. Click here to learn why I think Airchat is great for podcasting:
When the time comes for me to seek partners, co-founders, or funders, I want to be able to point to my Airchat records. I want potential collaborators to see me as a real person, understand how I think, and appreciate what I am about. All of this becomes easy to grasp through the documentation I've been maintaining on Airchat.
So, in essence, Airchat for me is more than a communication tool; it's a chronicle of my journey, a testament to my curiosity, and a bridge that connects me to like-minded individuals globally.
Public vs Private Rooms 🌐
Airchat stands out for its flexibility in creating both public and private rooms, each serving distinct purposes.
A private room is akin to an exclusive club, where you invite a select group of individuals, and no one else can listen in. This feature is particularly beneficial for teams seeking efficient coordination and collaboration, or friend groups desiring a space for unfiltered conversations.
On the other hand, a public room is open to all, allowing for broad educational discussions or simply fostering a transparent dialogue for the benefit of a wider audience. It's an excellent feature for those who believe that their conversations may offer valuable insights beyond their immediate circle.
The ability to choose between public and private rooms adds a layer of flexibility that tailors to diverse communication needs on Airchat.
How Does Airchat Help You Connect? 🤝
Airchat is unique because it allows you to deepen existing relationships and expand your second-degree circle. By creating rooms (i.e., conversations), you can connect not only with people you invite but also with people trusted by those invitees (if you enable that setting).
The way I want to use the platform is to facilitate human connection, where the focus is on supporting each other's work and encouraging each other to keep doing the hard thing.
What Airchat Rooms You Might Want to Create 🏠
Before you create an Airchat room, check out other people’s rooms. Figure out what you like or don’t like. Listen to what is genuinely interesting to you in terms of topic and room design.
If you want the responsibility of creating an Airchat room, consider that it will not “succeed” if you are not committed to breathing life into the topic.
You can create all kinds of rooms.
Some Rooms I Have Created
Here are a few I have created or will create soon (and why I am creating them):
- “Humans of Zuzalu”: As soon as I got to Zuzalu, I was overwhelmed with the talent and goodness of the people here. I had to capture it, a la Humans of New York style (except with video).
- “Zuzalu Fam & Friends”: I wanted any Zuzalan to be able to share with the world what they felt was worth saying or capturing about Zuzalu. And I knew everyone would want to look back on the experience in the future. Think of this as a mini, decentralized documentary.
- “Golden Age Festival”: I am committed to building a global music festival in Montenegro that brings together top artists in Afrobeats, Reggaeton, country, K-Pop, EDM, and more as well as world leaders and innovators. The goal is global unity in service of sparking a Golden Age for all of humanity.
- “How Afrobeats Will Unite The World”: I believe music is DEEPLY underrated in its ability to make a better, more peaceful world. And I believe Afrobeats is the best genre for uniting the world. This room will help me bring on speakers who have great insight into why this is the case.
- “Witnessing Miracles”: I wanted to created a Schelling point for where people can share miracles they’ve witnessed. I want to normalize talking about experiences that are miraculous.
- “Loving Neurodiversity”: I wanted to create a Schelling point for conversation around why neurodiversity matters and encourage people to build teams that have plenty of neurodiversity (for the benefit of their missions and the world).
- “AMA (Gary Sheng)”: I wanted to give people an opportunity to ask me questions in case they were curious. I believe that anyone who is open to answering questions from either their friends or the public should do so!
- “Advice for Young People”: I wanted to create a default place for people to share their best tips for young people.
- “How to Onboard People”: I created this room to help people understand how to use and explain Airchat.
I also started creating rooms with the format “Get to Know: <Friend’s Name>,” where I host Airchat-native “podcasts.” I love that I can interview multiple friends of mine at the same time and everyone bit of the interview is conducted asynchronously. This is nice because I am incredibly busy and my friends are also incredibly busy.
Some Favorite Rooms Of Mine Created By Others
- “Travel Tips”: A room created by Naval collecting a bunch of interesting travel tips.
- “e/acc & AI”: A room created by the creator of “effective accelerationism” to centralize conversation about eacc.
- "1 thing I'm grateful for": A room where people just share 1 thing they are grateful for. Simple and delightful.
Rooms I Think Should Be Created
Here are a few rooms I have suggested other friends of mine create:
- “Building Airchat”: I know a few members of the Airchat team, which is part of why I am so bullish on it. But it would only benefit the Airchat team to help the world understand this as well.
- “Building Gitcoin”: In the same way that the Airchat team will benefit from offering a window into the Airchat team’s world, the same applies to Gitcoin, which is full of soulful humans who are building for the public good.
- “Manifesting a Solarpunk Future”: One of my best friends Johnny is the most solarpunk yet digitally savvy guy I know. I would love for him to create the Johnny Real Reality Show of him documenting how he is building a solarpunk future.
- “Guild.xyz Usecases”: I’m good friends with the Guild.xyz team, and think they should create a Schelling point for people to share what their favorite usecases for Guild are. This will help people onboard to Guild.
- “Building Afropolitan”: I’m good friends with the founding team of Afropolitan, a digital nation of sorts for innovators in the African diaspora. It would benefit them and the world to create a room that clues people into how they are building the movement.
How to Get Onboarded ⛴️
To get onboarded, you currently need an iPhone (Android is not yet supported, but will be in the coming weeks) and to be officially invited by an existing Airchat user.
You will also need to authenticate you have been officially invited in one of two ways:
- [DEFAULT PATH] Create an account using the same phone number that Gary (or your inviter) texted you an invite. You will need to be able to receive a text message confirmation code.
- [ALTERNATIVE PATH] If you are unable to receive texts at the moment (lots of nomads can’t), read this:
If you’re struggling to log in, ask your inviter for help.
Setting Up Your Profile For Success 🚀
The first step you should take to succeed with Airchat is to fully fill out your profile.
It's all about providing a clear, concise explanation of who you are and why people should follow you.
Consider adding a link to your personal website or LinkedIn profile. Any platform where you actively express your thoughts and ideas can provide potential followers with a better understanding of your perspective. For instance, I have linked my Substack, as it hosts my latest and most profound thoughts.
It's beneficial to share information about your current job and any past accolades, as people often take interest in these details. Personally, I've mentioned my past experience at Google and my profound interest in web3, along with my passion for human flourishing. These details are significant parts of my identity.
Upload a nice photo that communicates a certain vibe about you. I chose a profile picture that conveys an easygoing vibe, as it aligns with my personality.
Be intentional about how you communicate who you are.
The rooms and chats you create, along with the content you share, say a lot about you. And your profile also plays a significant role in this self-expression. So, don't overlook the importance of fully filling it out.
Need Help? 🤝
If you have questions, feel free to drop them in the Telegram group called Airchat Army. Members of the Airchat team and I will be happy to assist you.
How to Get Invites 📨
Airchat is currently an invite-only platform. I encourage you to explore it thoroughly before you ask for invites. That way, when you do invite others, you can pitch the platform effectively and serve as a productive ambassador.
Welcome aboard, and happy Airchatting! I hope this guide helps you in understanding how to navigate this incredible platform.
Why Airchat is Way Better Than Clubhouse 🏆
In my view, Airchat holds a significant advantage over Clubhouse, and here's why. Clubhouse, while still operational, seems to function as a Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) inducing machine. It enforces a rigid timing system where you have to be present at a specific place and time, which is burdensome and inconvenient, especially for those leading busy lives.
The platform seems to compel people into hosting rooms, requesting them to carve out specific slots from their schedules, regardless of time zone differences or other commitments. This approach can be monotonous and dull, especially for those who prefer to listen to content at a faster speed than normal conversation.
In contrast, Twitter Spaces offers a slightly better experience as it's embedded within Twitter, a platform many of us use regularly. However, like Clubhouse, it still relies on live participation.
Clubhouse initially gained traction because it was introduced during the pandemic when people had plenty of spare time. It worked because the hosts were essentially conducting live podcasts, and people found it interesting to listen to individuals like Jason Calacanis, Marc Andreessen, or Elon Musk. But as we return to our busy schedules, this model isn't as attractive or feasible.
The design of Clubhouse is akin to a stadium social media, encouraging people to preach from their ivory towers to the lowest common denominator. This approach is not conducive to generating genuine insights, fellowship, or peer-to-peer dialogue. As the platform scaled and allowed more users to create rooms, the quality significantly dropped. The focus shifted to creating sensational content, mirroring the worst aspects of Twitter, but with the added inconvenience of having to be present at a specific time.
If you're a busy individual and you value your creative spirit, you would want to choose a platform that doesn't constrain you to be in a particular place at a specific time. Recurring and synchronous virtual meetings can be detrimental to the artistic spirit, and it's essential to preserve our creativity, especially in this era of AI.
Airchat, on the other hand, offers a more flexible, asynchronous communication platform that doesn't induce FOMO or place undue burdens on your time. It provides an environment conducive to generating genuine insights and fostering deep connections, making it a superior choice for those looking to balance their time, creativity, and social interactions effectively.
The Power of Async Communication 💬
Inspired by Airchat, I wrote about the power of asynchronous audio + video as a good new default for virtual communication: https://substack.garysheng.com/p/async
You might be wondering: why has something like Airchat not existed before?
It’s a beautiful convergence of factors that are enabling this platform to exist and find product market fit now:
- Incredible founding team
- Plummeting cost of cloud video storage
- Everyone has supercomputers in their pockets
- People feeling unsatisfied with existing communication and social networks
- And more…
On the note of async communication, one of Airchat’s greatest value props is that it allows you to “speak/capture once” into a room and be understood/appreciated forever by people who stumble into your room because they are interested in the room’s topic.
I believe that Airchat is foundational tech that will save humanity millions of hours of repeating the same talking point again and again and again.
Unlike with tweets, which essentially disappear into the wind, an Airchat room is not disadvantaged by being created a while ago, as long as there is demand for the topic of the room and the speakers create a generative conversation.
To create an Airchat room is to plant a seed for a conversational thread that could generate into really meaningful real-world outcomes, if watered with care by one or more conversational gardeners.
The Power of Being In Public 😊
Anyone who knows me is aware of my strong advocacy for learning in public and building in public. The reason for this is simple: the more people understand who you are, what you're about, the vision you have for the future, your values, and the challenges you overcome, the more inclined they are to engage with you. This may lead to opportunities such as job offers, collaborations, and funding.
This is why I'm enthusiastic about Airchat.
In my experience, Airchat is the best platform for building, learning, and ultimately, being in public.
Airchat allows you to express yourself freely. It provides an avenue to catch the world up on your thoughts, actions, and ideas in a comprehensive way, as opposed to haphazard, half-baked updates.
By using Airchat, you can present your thoughts to the world once and not have to repeat yourself. This approach is critical because, as a creator, your energy should primarily be focused on building things, rather than continually explaining yourself or repeatedly pitching your ideas. Create a compelling pitch for your company once, do it on Airchat, and then add to it only when necessary.
Airchat helps you efficiently communicate your evolution and development. It aids others in developing a better context of your journey. This function of Airchat is incredibly innovative.
It is, without a doubt, the one platform I would recommend for any builder seeking to be public-facing.