Episode #450: How NARR8 is rethinking the publishing industry and keeping everything free – with Darya Trushkina

Episode #450

There is something SO great about unbridled entrepreneurial optimism. Seriously. Seeing someone so passionate about an idea while they are living it is an incredible thing to witness – especially when the credibility and confidence is there because they’ve done it before.

Darya Trushkina embodies the confidence required to set an industry ablaze and that’s what she and her company, Game Insight, have been able to do to it the gaming industry and they’ve now turned their focus on publishing. Game Insight flew in the face of convention when they launched three years ago focusing on the then underdog Android platform. They did it again as they focused a considerable amount of effort and resources on selling into emerging markets. They did it again by not charging for their products – nor did they sully them up with in-game ads. They did it again by eschewing venture funding and spending on marking while bringing in a cool $80-90 million in revenue.

Now they are at it again with NARR8, a publishing platform to help inspire the next generation of readers (or non-readers trying to find their way back). Applying the same tactics that made Game Insight successful, NARR8 has already been downloaded over 700,000 times and boasts 12 published series inside the app with many more coming quickly.

This is the story of the success Game Insight has had and how Darya and her team plan on duplicating that success with NARR8. There is a heft here – a confidence reserved for only those that have hit on something or see something that others don’t and I like it. They have audacious goals of world domination, of building incredible product every single time and of disrupting a staid and insular industry in serious peril and need of new thinking. After listening to this episode you get the sense that they are just starting to hit their stride.


Here is a quick reference of what we covered in the show. Click on the link and the video will take you to that clip

1. About Darya’s first company, Game Insight 2:00
2. How did you build a $1M game on Android without funding or marketing? 4:00
3. Why go into smaller markets? 5:30
4. Tactics on how Game Insight approaches emerging markets 9:30
5. How did you decide to focus outside of the US first for mobile games 11:00
6. What is your largest market for Game Insight? 13:30
7. What countries are emerging behind the US for opportunities 14:45
8. Why move from Game Insight into NARR8 17:15
9. Why launch NARR8? 20:20
10. What is NARR8? 21:50
11. Why attack this publishing discovery challenge? 25:00
12. How can this be free? What’s your revenue model? 27:35
13. How do you move a free user into someone who pays? 30:30
14. How NARR8 flies in the face of business convention and plans to succeed 33:30
15. How NARR8 is reinventing publishing from new eyes 35:25
16. What is the impact that you thing NARR8 will have on the publishing industry 36:40
17. What is the next platform that will dominate and you are focusing on? 39:45
18. How long does it take to create the content for NARR8? 41:55
19. What do you wish you did differently as you built NARR8? 43:15
20. How do you decide what content goes into the app (and what doesn’t) 46:38
21. What’s more important – deciding on the stuff you put in the app or the stuff you leave out? 48:45
22. Are the companies that make decisions quickly what makes them succeed? 50:30
23. How are you marketing NARR8? 53:00
24. What about BlackBerry? 56:35

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About Darya Trushkina
Darya Trushkina Game Insight NARR8Darya Trushkina is Game Insight’s Senior Vice President of Business Development, and a member of the original core team that started the company. Her extensive travels have paved the way for the company’s explosive international expansion into key territories including Japan, Korea, Brazil, Russia, North America, and the Middle East–resulting in the company’s games becoming available in more than 100 countries. Her responsibilities aren’t limited to signing crucial deals with major telecom carriers, publishers, and social networks. Given Ms. Trushkina’s previous professional experience as an investment consultant, she also provides much of the company’s strategic planning with respect to platform-based development, targeting territories for expansion, and analytics research that directly informs the company’s operations and its continuous processes of scaling to meet the demands of a company with more than 500 employees and a userbase in excess of 100 million users. Ms. Trushkina also frequently represents the company as a speaker at key game industry events such as GDC and Casual Connect.

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of UNTETHER.tv and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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