Compared to some of their competitors in the mobile app space, Inode Entertainment may seem like a small company. But don’t be fooled. Even though there are only 10 people on their staff today, they are consistently crushing the competition when it comes to download numbers. In fact, Inode recently surpassed 300 million downloads of their apps and content in the Nokia Store, making them king of the hill standing tall above their closest competition.
At the helm for Chihuahua, Mexico-based Inode is Jaime Enriquez, CEO and director, who got an early start with apps learning about computer programming by the time he was 10 years old.
A few years ago, Jaime began to learn about Java programming, and when the Nokia Store first opened in 2009 he was among the first publishers to upload content to the site. He knew right away that this platform was different. “From the beginning, the Nokia Store offered something that others did not – the ability to target different types of users.”
Back in November 2011, Inode had 35 million downloads – a great milestone on its own. By May of 2012 they had passed 100 million. Their growth trajectory has been nothing short of extraordinary. Today, Inode produces a huge range of content in the Nokia Store – everything from themes and personalization content for Nokia Series 40 and Asha phones to games and productivity apps for S60 5th Edition and Symbian^3 touch-enabled devices. There are more than 100 different Inode titles available in the Nokia Store alone; and this year they began to diversify their portfolio even further, publishing several games in the Windows Phone Store, too.
We recently spoke with Jaime (pictured above in the middle of his team, wearing the Che Guevara t-shirt) to learn about his successes in the Nokia Store, and to find out about what’s next for his small, but growing company.
On your website you say: “Most of our content is free, because we think that good content must be available for all.” Why is that a priority for you?
Jaime: In the beginning, we wanted to create a name for ourselves. Our strategy would be to produce most of the content for free, and that has worked. Ninety-nine per-cent of the content is free, and that one per-cent that we monetize has enabled us to grow the team, and be successful.
What are some of your most popular apps or games in the Nokia Store?
Jaime: Lethal Mission and the Moto Challenge each have three to four million downloads. They are free games with paid versions available.
You create content for many different types of Nokia phones? Does that pose a challenge – due to the different types of form factors for the devices?
Jaime: The challenge is that you need to be very good at understanding the difference in screen sizes. Compared to other manufacturers, Nokia makes it really easy for the developer. For example, with an Asha phone, you are developing for 10 or 20 devices at a time, not just one.
You also have apps in the Windows Phone Store, right?
Jaime: Yes, we’re really interested in the Windows Phone platform. We have published some games, and will publish about 10 more in the next few months. I’m happy about how we have grown.
How does your team decide which types of apps or content to work on next?
Jaime: Every day, I personally spend two to three hours checking out the market place – Nokia Store or Windows Phone Store, and other stores, and when I see that something does not have a lot of content, we make it a priority to cover it.
Also, we download items from the competition and see what they have … and what could be improved.
How do you use feedback from consumers?
Jaime: When we get emails, we try to answer right away. And we look at ratings of the content, too. If it only has a few stars, we try to see why and work on it to make it better. If the app has 5 stars, what did they like about it?
We are in to measuring the results … The Nokia Store has a really nice dashboard so you can export the data for analysis. We use that, and we use the comments on each of the items, too.
What trends are you seeing when it comes to the types of content that individuals want on their mobile phones today?
Jaime: Three years ago, we produced good content, but it required relatively large files. Now users are more relaxed about the size of the apps. With Windows Phone we can upload files that are 30 – 40 MB or more, and that isn’t a problem today. Users want more content-rich items, like videos and things like that.
Do you have a memorable experience you would like to share while developing for Nokia devices?
Jaime: Yes, back in November 2011 we had 35 million downloads, and we and other developers were invited to meet with Nokia CEO Stephen Elop. He congratulated us for the 35 million downloads and even congratulated us via his Twitter account. This was a very inspirational moment for me and the end result was that in just five months we increased our download totals by three times, and reached 100 million in May the following year. This showed me the great potential and commitment Nokia has for developer. It’s not every day you get congratulated by the CEO of a great company such as Nokia.
Did you ever imagine that your company would have 300 million downloads of its content?
Jaime: I remember a couple of years back, I said to the Nokia local team that we saw ourselves reaching 100M downloads, and they looked at me like I was crazy! And look at where we are now.
What have you learned with these 300 million downloads?
Jaime: Well, if you look at how we have increased the number of downloads two and three times in a very short period, that is because we have learned what people like. Using our statistics, we can tell what content users will like in a given country in a given month. User preferences can be seasonal and each country has its own holidays and things people relate to … for example content with the color red might be popular in a certain country in September, but unpopular in May. We use this type of information to determine what users will download and this is huge for us. We have live user feedback that gets validated a million times on a good day. Moving forward, we will use that same type of information to reach new markets in the Windows Phone Store.
What message would you give to other developers?
Jaime: Develop for Nokia, it is where the best opportunities are. Try it out, Nokia has the best developer programs in the market and support is great at every level.