New York / Toronto – Milq (milq.com and Milq on the App Store) is partnering with Simon & Schuster on the launch of Books as a new content category for its culture sharing app and site. Starting today, users can share audio and video around their favorite books on Milq, organizing them into collaborative, interactive playlists called Beads.
Simon & Schuster joins Milq as the exclusive book publisher partner for the launch. Numerous Simon & Schuster authors are starting Beads around topics tied to their writing:
• Walter Isaacson, acclaimed biographer and author of Steve Jobs, CEO of the Aspen Institute and former CNN chairman and managing editor of Time magazine, author of the forthcoming book The Innovators, (on sale: October 7) has started a Bead titled “Great Digital Innovations,” kicking it off with vintage footage of SpaceWar!, the world’s first video game created at MIT in 1962, as well as footage of “The Mother of All Demos,” a 1968 technology demonstration that Isaacson claims “remains unchallenged, even by recent Apple product launches.”
• Anna Todd, author of After—read over 1 billion times on Wattpad and now to be published by Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books on October 21 —has created a Bead inviting fans to share songs they feel resonate with the book, adding to the “Soundtrack to After.”
• Other Simon & Schuster authors who have created Beads for launch include Kresley Cole, Becca Fitzpatrick, Jenny Han and Christina Lauren.
• Further Simon & Schuster Beads will include their authors’ responses to prompts like “Books That Changed My Life” and “What Are You Reading?”
• Simon & Schuster’s “Off the Shelf” blog for backlist books will also create several Beads to build social engagement in line with its thematic approach to book discovery.
“Milq is an exciting new and wholly original forum that will enable authors and readers to connect in a way that extends well beyond the previous limits of author-reader interaction,” says Ellie Hirschhorn, Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer for Simon & Schuster. “For some time now we have avidly pursued new methods to satisfy the seemingly insatiable public appetite to learn more about the likes, interests and pursuits of their favorite authors: Milq can fulfill that role by letting authors share their enthusiasms with their readers on a social spectrum that ranges from expert and curator to friend and fan.”
“It’s inspiring to work with the team at Simon & Schuster, who see in Milq the many ways to create new experiences around books and engaging ways to connect with the authors themselves,” says Milq co-founder Don Mackinnon. “We’re in love with Walter Isaacson’s Bead – it’s so great to see all the vintage video of the advances in technology he writes about in the book, and we can’t wait to see what the rest of the world adds to the conversation.”
The launch of Books follows Milq’s recent collaboration with the Toronto International Film Festival and with Vanity Fair, Spin, VICE, Tribeca Film Festival, Kings of Leon, Ken Burns, Paul Giamatti, and many more. Milq will continue to unveil significant media, sports and artist partnerships throughout the fall. As reported on in an article by Ben Sisario in The New York Times, Milq debuted out of private beta earlier this year with the aim of becoming the front door for how people experience culture.
Just as with film and music, readers share their favorite books by adding them to thematic playlists. Users can also employ Milq’s unique features to take their reading further. Readers have already begun creating playable footnotes to existing books called MilqNotes featuring audio and video linked to the book’s content. See examples built around a biography of James Brown here and a novel by Thomas Pynchon here.
Milq’s three founders, Don MacKinnon, Jordan Jacobs and Tomi Poutanen, have unique expertise in cultural curation and building massive collaborative knowledge networks, and are backed by a who’s who of investors from the worlds of media, tech and finance, including former Viacom CEO Tom Freston, former IMG CEO and current Bacardi CEO Michael Dolan, Etsy and SmartThings exec Maria Thomas, tech entrepreneur and angel investor Daniel Debow and execs from Google and Goldman Sachs.
Milq was founded on the belief that the ingredients exist for a golden age of curation and discovery that is being held back by the feed-based structures of current social media. Virtually all content is now digitally available and shareable. Milq, which is free to join, is custom designed to strip out the noise and harness the collective wisdom of its members to create a highly curated, organized and seamlessly playable experience of ‘the great stuff’ across culture. Content is organized thematically in community curated micro channels called Beads. Users can follow Beads and collect posts they love to create an enduring cultural collection.
A Milq member starts a Bead by asking a question relating to Music, Film & TV, Comedy, Sports, Fashion, Food & Drink, Art & Design, or Ideas. For example: Cool New Music Artists? Greatest Sports Plays Ever? Bill Murray at His Best? Chase Scenes? Members join the conversation by posting answers to the question using video or audio from YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud and soon more sources, all of which are searched from inside Milq. Milq marries its community’s curation with powerful machine learning algorithms to surface the best content and to create a customized flow of content for each member based on their individual taste.
The three co-founders of Milq share a passion for curation and discovery. Co-founders and Co-CEOs Don MacKinnon and Jordan Jacobs met in 2006 through their passion for music. MacKinnon was the founder of Hear Music, a chain of 23 innovative music retail stores focused on supporting emerging artists and driving music discovery. In 1999, MacKinnon sold Hear Music to Starbucks and, as Vice President, Music & Entertainment for Starbucks, developed the company’s strategic music and entertainment platform. Jacobs developed and was an executive producer of the Emmy-nominated, The New York Times Top 10 TV series “Spectacle,” hosted by Elvis Costello and featuring guests including Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, Zooey Deschanel, Herbie Hancock and President Bill Clinton.
Jacobs and MacKinnon met when “Spectacle” partnered with Product (RED), and their friendship was forged over a shared love for music, film, comedy and Roger Federer. Their discussions often led back to the unfulfilled early promise of the Internet—that it should be easier to browse and discover the great stuff we aren’t looking for, and to connect with people who share our tastes.
Jacobs’ and MacKinnon’s decision to solve this problem led to an introduction to co-founder and CTO Tomi Poutanen, one of the top social search engineers in the world, and an MBA who had worked for years in Silicon Valley. Poutanen founded and sold two startups: one to Microsoft (while a student) and one to Yahoo! He ran Yahoo! international search and initiated and led the world’s first massive collaborative knowledge network, Yahoo Answers.