Meet the founders
The Story Begins...
At xigxag, we want everyone to enjoy more books. Co-founders Mark and Kelli met in 2017 as colleagues and started xigxag in 2019 with the aim of revolutionising reading.
Together, they’ve built the xigxag app, offering users the first-ever fully integrated listen-and-read experience, at an affordable price without a subscription.
About the x-book®
At xigxag, we’ve created the first-ever fully integrated listening and reading experience for audiobook listeners, which we call the x-book®.
This powers first-ever features for audiobooks: now you can search, see illustrations, take notes, share quotes, lookup words and switch to reading or read along.
Our aim is to deliver great prices to our customers while paying authors and narrators fairly for their work.
Our prices start at £7.99, with a selection of titles always available at £3.99. No subscription required.
We’re a small, independent business based in Cornwall and London. We offer listeners an exciting alternative to big tech.
We encourage collaboration and sharing. And we put listeners at the heart of everything we do.
Once Upon A Time...
A team of adventurers set out on a heroic journey to take on a giant.
Kelli is a busy mum of two keen primary school readers (and listeners), based in North London with her husband.
Her own reading habit started only in her early 20s – on a long deployment to Bosnia as a young Army officer. Her business career has spanned nearly 20 years, working mostly with tech-powered consumer brands.
Outside of work, she can be found on the school run or in the garden – always listening to something interesting.
Mark began his career as a trainee broadcast engineer at an ITV franchise in Plymouth and worked his way up to Director of Production Technology at ITV. He’s worked in digital media technology for more than 25 years.
He’s based on a farm in Cornwall with his wife where he keeps bees and loves to build things. His three grown daughters are his most committed product testers.
Digital Marketing Powerhouse (Advisor)
Karen is an independent consultant who specialises in PPC and Paid Social for companies ready to scale. She focuses on running campaigns for us that build brand awareness and help create our amazing community.
As a lifelong reader, it took her a while to convert to audiobooks, but now she sees them as an ideal daily walk companion. Karen lives in Hampshire with her husband and two children.
Publishing Guru (Advisor)
George has spent nearly twenty five years working in books and publishing, including senior roles at Little, Brown and Hachette. Now a consultant to media and entertainment companies, he advises us on getting the best range of audiobooks available in the app.
He lives in Wiltshire with his wife and two children.
My favourite quote
“I’ll just repeat the problem, because this is a bloody audiobook and you can’t look at a picture.”
- Rory Sutherland, Alchemy
I love this quote because it perfectly sums up the best and worst of traditional audiobooks.
I get to hear the author reading his story to me: in his own distinctive gravelly voice and swaggering style. For me, it evokes the glory days of Mad Men. He just goes a bit off script, but it made me laugh out loud.
But it also made me think: why can’t I see this picture if I’ve bought the book? Questions like this led us on the journey to start xigxag – to complete the story for listeners.
My favourite quote
“I decided to call the man in this story ‘Ratface’ for a few reasons: 1. Giving him a nickname makes him more of a character. 2. Giving him a negative nickname conveys my dislike while giving the reader a humorous insight into my own petty defensiveness. 3. He was a rat-faced twat.”
- Adam Buxton, Ramble Book
This is a piece of perfect audiobook. On paper it’s quite funny, when it’s delivered by the author, with proper comic timing, it had me literally laughing out loud. Fortunately I was walking the dogs at the time and there was nobody around – bursting into laughter on a commuter train is more embarrassing. Ramble book was released as audio before the physical book was published, so it’s a very xigxag book in my view.
My favourite quote
“A good path to creating something mediocre is having rigid rules for what you’re making and how you’re making it.”
Adam Horovitz, The Beastie Boys Book
This quote really resonates with me because it’s about being an artist, which I’m not. But I admire artists hugely and it’s also an important lesson about business and product, which is my world.
Having found xigxag after decades in corporate life, it also speaks to the experience of working in a startup like this one with a small team.
And, especially if you’re a nerd of a certain age, the audiobook it’s taken from, read by the surviving members of the band and some special friends of theirs, is about the most fun you can have with this app.
My favourite quote
“I was tempted to quit every second, but I was stern with myself. Ten minutes a day is not too long to spend finding yourself, Glennon. For god’s sake, you spend 80 minutes a day finding your keys.”
Glennon Doyle, Untamed
In these busy times faced with endless distraction, this is a great reminder that we can find time to do the things we want to do, if we really try. Glennon’s voice brings humour and warmth to this book and the joke about the keys made me smile. So relatable.
Untamed is a brilliant title to try if you are new to audiobooks, as you’ll quickly understand the power of hearing a story the way the author intended. It’s also a great xigxag pick as there are so many incredible quotes that you can share on your socials.
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