A Very Literati Story

A word from Founder & CEO, Jessica Ewing

The first book I remember was a cloth “Quiet Book” that was hand sewn and given to my mother as a gift. I can still recall every page from that book in vivid detail- picking the felt apples off the tree, tying the shoe, etc. Even as a very young child, it stimulated my brain and ignited my curiosity: so much so that it sparked a lifelong love of literature and learning, that’s still with me today.

Until Literati, my interests and career were divided into two very different arenas. I first spent 5 years working as a Product Manager at Google, which was all about technology and innovation. Then, I spent 5 years writing a novel, which was all about creativity and introspection. I suppose it’s not surprising that I would start a company that combines the two. 

The universe rewards creativity and it rewards risk. Any time I’ve “played it safe” I have regretted it. Any time I’ve done “the thing that everyone else is doing” I have regretted it. You just can’t innovate without taking a leap, putting yourself out there, and risking it all. I find that to be a minor price to pay, however, for the exhilaration of getting outside the box, trying something new and untested, and discovering a new frontier. 

When I think about how much richness and knowledge books have provided my life, and then I stop and reflect on the fact that so many people simply can’t read, or can’t read well, or have never learned to love books, it hurts my heart. The things that hurt your heart? That’s what you should be working on. That is what gives life meaning.

At Literati, our mission is to ignite a love of learning and a love of life. We do that through a mixture of human and machine intelligence, and we are just getting started. I loved building things at Google, that work is intellectually rewarding. But Arts & Literature has provided my life with color and meaning. I think Literati is the marriage of those two things for me.

There is an idea in Hermann Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game in which knowledge is sought through Hegel’s dialectic. We begin with a thesis. Then we move to the “anti-thesis”, or antithesis. Then we move to a synthesis.

Google was my thesis. Novel writing was my antithesis.

Literati is my synthesis.