Simon & SchusterIn a news item that made it all the way to the top slot on Publishing Talk Daily, Simon & Schuster has just demonstrated how totally well it gets this social media stuff by announcing an exclusive book publisher partnership with Milq. That’s right: Milq. Yes, you heard it: Milq.

In case you’re wondering … um … Milq who? well, so did I. Never fear, though: “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.” Whew, thanks for clearing that up, Ben Sisario. There I was floundering in ignorance and now I’m enlightened. And so kind of S&S and Milq to reference you in their press release. I’m sure that with the Ben Sisario imprimatur, S&S and Milq’s path to global social media domination is clear.

Just to get the publishing detail out of the way before the real fun begins, here’s how S&S fits in to the whole picture. They are “the exclusive book publisher partner” of Milq, supporting “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 … Numerous Simon & Schuster authors are starting Beads around topics tied to their writing.” Milq is apparently busy enlisting similar backing elsewhere: “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.”

Sadly, the “Team Milq” section of the Milq site, about “the amazing people who make Milq,” doesn’t exactly foreground information about its founders. Well, courtesy of TeleRead’s diligent investigative journalism (a.k.a. five minutes’ Googling), I present to you the men (yes, no women) behind Milq: Don MacKinnon, Jordan Jacobs, and Tomi Poutanen.

And now, for your entertainment and edification, I present the entire elevator-pitch-up-a-very-tall-building/investor spiel for Milq, as per the joint press release. And perhaps you have to be a real connoisseur of hype, puff, smarm, and money-grubbing b/s to really appreciate the unwitting irony and eyes-wide-shut self-satire in this, but if you want a perfect example to get you going, you couldn’t get much better.

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.

You’ll notice an awful lot of media in all the Milq stuff but not much social – media as in Big Media. Exactly where the poor lowly punters are supposed to fit in to this grand picture is not exactly clear, but with the endorsement of these great names, how could they not throw their eyeballs at Milq and deliver another Facebook or Twitter-style IPO? I mean, just roll those names off your tongue. Viacom. Bacardi. Execs from Google. And above all, Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs. Ever-lovin’, regulator-corruptin’ Goldman. How could you not want to abdicate all your cultural discovery to Milq, and follow the Goldman trail? And make GS execs even richer? You know it makes sense … to Don MacKinnon, Jordan Jacobs, Tomi Poutanen, and a bunch of GS execs.

Considering that all the real media buzz out there right now in social media-land is about Ello, a platform that explicitly and aggressively undertakes not to make money out of you or mine your social media citizenship for marketing bucks, Milq could be ever so slightly barking up the wrong tree. But you can’t keep a good Goldman exec down. Just ask the Wall Street Fed. (Oh, you don’t have to, cuz it’s all on tape alweddy …)


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