globe: the free e-Book app
After being assigned to create a print magazine for his journalism degree final year project in 2012, Tahi Gichigi believed that publishing something digital was a more authentic way for him to fulfil the task.
His lecturer reluctantly agreed and there he started his experimental startup project, Globe; an e-Reading app that provides free, unlimited access to some of the greatest books. Always..
The globe journey
The idea was born out of my desire to do something for digital publishing. I founded it completely by myself but along the journey I met a guy called Remi who is a very talented UX Designer who mapped out the entire user journey and also a young guy called Charles who was an iOS Developer who coded the entire app.
Me and Remi weren’t working full time so we would sit in Ace Hotel everyday and work on Globe non-stop. We would go to Tesco’s and buy a meal deal, and go to the graveyard and eat it; that was the graveyard shift. We’d look at the gravestones, look at our sandwiches and then look at each other. I did think that would be us but we made it through, and I launched on Shakespeare’s birthday.
Challenges along the way
Research. When I get excited about something, I’m the kind of person who jumps into it. I’ve learnt to, not necessarily, restrain myself, but to do the research beforehand. Remi was a good balance as he researches first, and then he takes action. You can have a great idea but if there’s no market opportunity it’s just you and whatever you’ve created.
Talent. When you are boot strapping and you’ve got no money to pay people, having a friend that thinks you’re worth helping or people who aren’t necessarily your friends but are willing to see how it goes, those kind of people are invaluable.
It’s a business. A lot of people get carried away with the small details, and with the dream of it. The dream of having something that’s your own is great but also know that it’s a business. The important things need to be done first and these aren’t the beautiful things you’ll tell great stories about. Don’t get carried away with the idea of the business but actually get down and do the dirty work.
"Now I’m a writer with a journalism Bachelor’s, a Creative Writing Master’s and the Founder of globe - an eBook app; it’s a shame I can't thank her for any of it"
Predictions for the future of content
If you really want to build something that lasts, you have to think about- where will we be in 10 years time, and how does what I’m building fit into that idea that I’ve got, whether it’s based on research or a gut feeling. Because our lives are getting increasingly busy, people opt for more passive forms of entertainment, something they can do passively at the same time as something else.
Audio has been blowing up over the last couple of years, so podcasts etc and also VR (Virtual Reality). I have a sneaky suspicion that you’ll put on a headset and you’ll be able to explore a world like you would a book, whether it uses picture, audio or written messages.
English lessons at school
I had a teacher who would fly off the handle at the slightest provocation and demand that I be removed from the classroom. She would fling the classroom door open and scream into the hallway so the other faculty members would come running and order me out – and all this for something as small as chatting to another student. I wasn’t the only one, but over time I realised it was only ever black kids that were getting the ‘flying door treatment’.
Looking back I think she was more afraid than angry: she was afraid that if she dropped her guard, her authority would be compromised. She was my English teacher, and I was in the top set. Now I’m a writer with a journalism Bachelor’s, a Creative Writing Master’s and the Founder of globe - an eBook app; it’s a shame I can't thank her for any of it.
"Don’t get carried away with the idea of the business but actually get down and do the dirty work"
In line with International Women's Day and Mother's Day in March, Tahi's inspirational women goes to Barbara Ellen. When I was growing up, my Dad used to buy The Guardian and it has The Observer magazine in it and I would read columnist, Barbara Ellen. I started out as a journalist then moved into more creative forms of writing, and she is one of my main inspirations for going into publishing, literature and news media.
For more information on globe and to read some of Tahi’s work, check out his medium profile here
Socialise with Tahi and keep up with all the globe news - Twitter: @go_globe | Instagram: @t_a_h_i | Twitter: @TahiGichigi
Create your iON.