We spoke to Ali Albazaz, CEO and founder of Inkitt, a data-driven publisher that uses an artificially intelligent algorithm to analyse online users’ reading patterns. With a background in computer science, Ali believes predictive analysis has the potential to make the publishing industry more fair and objective. We asked him about how he came to form his company with designer Linda Gavin, the value of data in book agenting and how they built up the site’s core audience and readership.
Category Archives: Startup
We are pleased to reproduce this brilliant essay on typography’s evolving significance in a digital landscape by UX designer and typography enthusiast Matej Latin. Read on for an abridged history of typography and its changing relationship with humanity. This article was originally published on Matej’s blog A Day in the Life of a Designer. Among Matej’s other ventures is Gutenberg, a web typography starter kit that brings meaning and craftsmanship to web typography. Matej is originally from Slovenia.
We interviewed Michel Lafrance, the founder and managing director of The Owl Field, a 3D audio storytelling production company. His work received the bronze award for The Bookseller FutureBook BookTech Company of the Year 2015. Here we speak to him about the beginnings of his company, the source of The Owl Field’s content and which genre lends itself particularly well to a 3D audio experience.
We spoke to Guy Vincent, founder of crowd-publishing startup Publishizer. Publishizer allows authors to gather pre-orders for their books in order to be matched with the publisher or publishing service providers that are best for them. Guy elaborated on the challenging initial period of setting up his business, the future of publishing and why we should be looking to data for our answers.
Just over three years ago, whitefox was approached by one of the larger on-line freelance marketplaces (they had raised $ millions) to see if we’d be interested in helping them curate the part of their platform that related to publishing. I am assuming at the time a number of requests went out to different sectors. It didn’t happen. We said no. I’ve no idea if anyone said yes. But it got us thinking at the time about the old adage, how does the guy who drives the snow plough get to work in the morning? Or more accurately, who is curating the curators?
This year, whitefox will celebrate four years of trying to create a new business model within the world of publishing. Many of the conversations we were having back in late 2011 and early 2012 which must have seemed somewhat outlandish or unnecessary to some people are now taken for granted. No one now blinks at the talk of more outsourcing, the need to bring down fixed-costs, the drive for greater trust, transparency and quality, vetted services within self-publishing. It is accepted that freelance professionals will play an increasingly important role operating in the space between writers and readers.
In our experience, there are plenty of pure play tech companies merely succeeding in negotiating investment bingo ( if you include the magic words mobile / crowd-funding / marketplace / freemium / data / platform in your ten slide deck ) and lots of seemingly analogue 20th century businesses expanding rapidly, but who may have taken five or more years to prove their particular concept by doing good, recommendable work and start making profits.
Andri Nel runs a digital publishing company called Digi-Taal and is completing her MA in Digital Publishing. Before coming to the UK she completed her undergraduate and honours degrees in Publishing at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and worked on numerous digital publishing projects with both authors and publishers. She is driven by a passion for publishing and the process behind creating books.
When you stop working for a large corporate and start rubbing shoulders with entrepreneurs and VCs, and talk about launching your own venture, part of you thinks how institutionalised your business brain must appear, how risk averse your attitude compared to the serial gamblers, because you have to be something of a driven maverick to make and lose millions. But you forget at your peril that in any sector, some experience and knowledge of what might stand a chance of working is at least useful. Which is why we cheered when Dan Kieran from Unbound said last year in an interview “ Publishing is really hard…there isn’t a technical thing we’ve all forgotten.”