Idle Podcast Tycoons?
In the five years since launching Idle Miner Tycoon, our first game and now one of seven titles in our portfolio, we’ve found success in the idle gaming market, and grown to be an important voice in our genre. Our founders and employees have spoken at conferences and written articles about our processes and philosophies. Three years ago we started publishing a blog, that’s grown into an important recruiting tool and source of information about life inside a mobile gaming company.
If it sounds like we have a lot to say about our industry, we do! So much so, in fact, that in April of this year we started a podcast. In the spirit of how we develop our games, we set ourselves the task of producing a “Minimum Viable Podcast” – a six episode first season in which we’d try out something completely new, evaluate, and then iterate upon if it proved its worth. Over our first six episodes we’ve talked about joining Kolibri Games as an ex-pat (twice), had guests from Sensor Tower and GameRefinery by Vungle, and brought on a couple Kolibris to talk about their different paths into the gaming industry. It’s been a fun first season and now it’s time to assess.
Will There Be a Season Two?
TLDR – yes! Season two is already in development and the first episode goes live in August.
Our first season was a success. Our goal was to have it become 1) a source of information about what it’s like to be a Kolibri, 2) a place where mobile industry topics are discussed at a high-enough level to be interesting to people outside of gaming and deep enough to pull in veterans. This focus reflects who we expected our listeners to be, namely job applicants, and people in or interested in idle mobile gaming. This isn’t a podcast where we’ll be talking about the latest Marvel movie or sharing recipes. Note: we love both food and movies, but there are plenty of other podcasts talking about those topics.
For our first season we tracked, but didn’t set targets, for listenership. At this point, listener numbers for the sake of numbers is not our main concern. What’s important is the right listeners. As we move into season two and beyond we’ll work on growing our base intelligently, without losing focus on why we’re doing the podcast.
Podcast as a Recruiting Tool
One thing we hear whenever we talk to an applicant is that our blog helped them understand our company and how we work. Recruiting is complicated because it’s not just about finding the right applicants for our open positions, it’s also about applicants determining if we’re the right company for them. All companies have cultures and we want to open ours up to everyone who wants to know more about us.
In the three months since launching the podcast we’ve already gotten great feedback on it from applicants and new hires. It’s reaching its intended audience! It’s now one more thing we can point applicants to so that when they come in for trial days, or join Zoom calls, they know what to expect.
Podcast as Internal Communication
As we’ve grown, we don’t all know each other as well as we used to, especially with the past year of home office, and not every Kolibri knows what every other Kolibri does all day long. We feature “A Day in the Life of…” blog posts, and “Meet X…” presentations in our company all-hands meetings but even so, the more we know who we work with, the better. On the one hand, it’s just nice to get to know your co-workers, but it also goes beyond that. Our teams, like teams inside many mobile games companies, are cross-departmental. Designers work with artists, who work with office management, who work with finance, who work with HR, and so on, and so on. The more we know how other departments work, the better we can work together, the more agile we can be, and the more quickly we can respond to issues and come up with solutions that work. There’s no downside to knowing who you sit next to (or whose Zoom window is next to yours).
Perhaps not surprisingly, Kolibris listen to our podcast! And they give us feedback and help us come up with ideas for future episodes. Mission accomplished! Accomplished, but not finished. We still have plenty more Kolibris to bring on as guests and plenty of more stories to tell.
Podcast as a Learning Tool
By which we mean both sharing our learnings, and bringing on guests so that we can learn from them. All good relationships go both ways.
We hosted two non-Kolibri guests in the first season and grilled them (in a very friendly way) about what they do, how their companies work, and what the mobile gaming market is like from their perspectives. It’s crucial to make space for voices outside of your own organisation, because they bring different experiences and may be able to see into some of the blind spots any company invariably has. We’ve been doing this for years with our Wisdom and Waffles speaker series – but that was for Kolibris only and not recorded.
Here on the podcast we can do it and reach an even wider audience than just Kolibris – and we have! One takeaway from the first season is that our episodes with external guests reach wider audiences. This is a valuable learning we’ll keep in mind for future episodes: Guests not only bring in fresh perspectives, but also new listeners.
The Future of the Podcast
As noted, we’re already working on season two. We’ll be talking about hiring, game design, introducing new Kolibris, and more for another six episodes. Six episode seasons, publishing a new episode every two weeks gives us clear, definable goals and equally clear opportunities to reflect on how each season went. For season two we’re planning to promote it more across our other channels, invite on a few more guests and keep the experiment going.
We think the podcast has a promising future and it’s fun to be at the start of a new initiative.
Have you listened yet? (If not, find us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else you listen to podcasts) Do you have a favorite episode or a great suggestion for a guest? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org