“Once a StreetLiber, always a StreetLiber” – The StreetLib Family

 In StreetLibers community

At the end of 2016, one of our tribe member – Ciccio Rigoli – left the adventure to start a new one elsewhere and although we are going to miss him on our everyday StreetLib work, it was absolutely not a goodbye. Every member of our tribe is truly a family member and thus never really leaves. Ciccio talked about his StreetLib adventure on Medium and I thought I’d share it with you as it is both moving and a perfect illustration of the StreetLib spirit:

“Ciao Antonio, sono Ciccio, quello di De Agostini”
“Oh, ciao, che piacere!”
“Senti, non è che vi servirebbe qualcuno in Simplicissimus?”
“Veramente no, ma magari ne parliamo dopo”.

“Hi Antonio, I’m Ciccio, the one from De Agostini”
“Oh, hello, what a pleasure!”
“Look, would you happen to need someone at Simplicissimus?”
“Truthfully no, but let’s talk later.”

Ciccio from De Agostini was me, Antonio was Antonio Tombolini of Simplicissimus (today StreetLib). The best joint I knew in all the west to take care of digital publishing, the company with which I wanted to work. It was September 2010, we were at Porto Recanati’s eBookCamp. To give you an idea of the way Simplicissimus presented itself, the first edition of this eBookCamp took place in a bathhouse. It was the company tailor-made for me, no doubt about it.
I met with Antonio again at the Frankfurt book fair a few months later, and in front of a beer he asked me to become their eBook store bookseller. Had I ever done it? No. Did I have any idea on how to manage an e-commerce? No. Did I want to do it? I couldn’t wait.
Thus, in January 2011, I became the first online bookseller in Italy. From there 6 years went, and today is officially my last day working in StreetLib. We could call it a love story, as for years my name as been “Ciccio of Simplicissimus” and then, after the website changes its name, “Ciccio of StreetLib. I never was an employee, I’ve become part of a family. I never said “one of my colleague”, I always said “a friend I work with”. That, in itself, says a lot of how well I was for these 6 years.

First Picture: corporate dinner, as per my usual I start making a toast in rhymes, almost only in Calabrese. I can’t remember who, a StreetLib outsider, told Antonio: “aren’t you going to fire him?” and Antonio answered: “But that’s just the reason why I have him!”

StreetLib never was just an office. First thing: I actually never had an office or working hours. I worked from where I was, at the time of my choosing. And with a permanent contract, not as freelance. You know the smart working companies which have people work remotely one day a week and are considered great innovators? Here, right from the beginning in 2011 I always worked remotely. And there is no way on earth, or elsewhere, I’d go back to punching cards on the time clock.

First lesson learned: “I don’t care when or where you work, what I care about is that you do something.”

I have been digital bookseller, product manager, manager of the Publisher’s platform, Customer care specialist. I gave classes, I played teacher for the digital publishing Master, I played manager (ir)responsible of “Il Colophon”, I spoke with publisher, with self publishers, with bookstores. I had meetings with Amazon, international conference calls with Apple, I ate at Google’s table, I worked in Turkey, quarrelled with publishers, self publishers and bookstores… In short, for 6 years I dove into the digital publishing world as I think few people in Italy did. And if today ebooks are 10% of the Italian book market, I can say part of it happened thanks to me. It may be 0.0002%, but I made that.

Second Picture: Turin book fair, at the time Foursquare was still the biggest in most places and looking to own every piece of the market. I can’t remember who came out of the bathroom and said: “guys, I became the owner of the restaurant’s bathroom!”. Moment of great envy among all the others…

I can’t remember how many time this year I said “Tomorrow morning I’m getting up early because I have to go to Loreto” and I’ve always been frowned at like I was talking about the underground station “Loreto” (ed.: in Milan, where Ciccio leaves). I actually then learned to say “I have to go to Loreto, in the Marche region)”. I always took pride in the fact that, with an office in Marche and with a good part of the staff living there, StreetLib was an international company operating worldwide starting from the outskirts of the Empire.

Second lesson learned: It’s not the place you are in or the people you’re surrounded with that give you importance, but only the consideration you put in your work. The rest is a side dish.

Even though today I have concluded my direct experience with StreetLib, I always thought that “Once a StreetLiber, always a StreetLiber.” I’ll surely continue saying “we” when speaking about StreetLib, I’ll most probably continue using and recommending StreetLib tools. Not because I worked there, but because they work.
There would be a million other things to say and to remember, but it would become a mere celebration. Just know that somehow StreetLib saved my life. And it’s not an hyperbole.

Third Picture: streetLib international meeting, during which we necessarily speak English. I realize that “Ciccio” isn’t that easy to understand for everyone, so I take the nametag in front of me and write “Tcheechow”. Problem solved.

As for my future, you’ll soon find out where I’m going and most of all what I’m doing. But, as said above, don’t expect me to go clock in somewhere, least of all in another digital publishing company. Once you have worked for StreetLib, I’d have to be crazy to tie yourself to anyone else. It’s a story about love, right?
Grazie StreetLib, proud to be part of the family!

PS: Okay, let’s go, here is a bit of teasing for you: I will continue working in the world of publishing and show business. Write down the name SLAM, it will come in handy.


Ciccio Rigoli

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