Gersy Ifeanyi Ejimofo is founder and director of Digitalback Books. After starting her career working in tech and academic publishing (for the likes of Pearson and Macmillan) Ejimofo changed direction a few years ago, at a discussion on African writers. After hearing about the difficulties of publishing and bookselling in the region and for the African diaspora - a lack of distribution, piracy, high production costs - she realised there could be a technological solution. "That," she says, "was the lightbulb moment." Two and a half years later, Digitalback Books - an online platform dedicated to African writers - has secured partnerships with more than 30 publishers, including Zed Books, Peepal Tree Press and New Internationalist.
Here, she shares five things inspiring her to think and work differently right now.
Hardware: My iPad mini. Outside my core fixed working hours, I am constantly on the move, so I need something nifty enough to hold all my work essentials. The iPad mini is discreet, fits perfectly in my handbag and is multi-functional.
Software: I Skype to manage contacts and partnerships across several time zones. It's perfect for group calls and recording interviews for podcasts, but the big bonus for me is its 'Share Screen' function, a godsend for presentations and remote demos. Having tried out Webex, Cisco, Gotomeeting and so many others, all of which attracted a monthly fee, this is perfect. I can't imagine work without it anymore.
Book: I dip in and out of three to four books a month and the themes vary depending on what I am currently focused on. My current top of the list would be Blue Ocean Strategy by W Chan Kim. When I first launched Digitalback Books, I got asked to consider expanding the focus of the catalogue or to maybe change to a more classic digital retail model. But to me, there really is no value in replicating what is already in existence (unless of course you can do it better). This book for me is an important reminder to focus on your unique selling point and what will differentiate your product from others. That way you are not competing in a saturated market, but carving out a niche where you can hopefully truly bring value.
Idea: I am sold on the idea that "If you judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree, it will spend it's life believing it is stupid". This quote inspires me a great deal both in work and in parenting. We are all so obviously different yet we can fall into this trap where we use the same standards to measure success, or worse, try and do everything ourselves. Identify you or your team's competence and outsource the rest!
Person: All creatives. They give the world such pleasure!