Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I have a really good feeling about Facebook because they were smart enough to acquire a cutting edge company called Push Pop Press, created by two of the most amazing young interface geniuses, Mike Matas and Kimon Tsinteris, winners of the 2011 Apple Design Award. For my upcoming humor book series and trademark launch, I was trying to figure out a way to insert interactive video and audio into a digital book and stumbled upon Mike Matas' Ted Talk. Matas is one of the most creative minds I have seen in years. He reminds me of a young Steve Jobs, without the ego. All the features of this stunning new interface can be seen in the innovative book Our Choice.

For Al Gore's book Our Choice, the startup has created an ebook that talks, spins, moves, and folds, featuring video, interactive infographics, maps, and more, all seamlessly interwoven with the text in a way that helps bring the concepts to life.  Even if you've already read Our Choice, a follow-up to the urgent environmental call-to-action of An Inconvenient Truth, the app offers something completely different. While this digital version has the same rich photo content and clear writing as the book, it transforms the act of reading into something totally new. Amy Lee Huffington Post
Yes, Apple has created iBooks Author but I hope Facebook doesn't stick Push Pop on the shelf and keep this secret from the world. I hope Facebook starts publishing digital books, so Push Pop Press can join forces with us as we are about to launch the funniest, most mind-bending content imaginable. The books, videos and audio are already in the can, we just need to seamlessly integrate them into our books in the fluid way only Push Pop can.

Here's what tech columnist David Pogue of The New York Times said about Push Pop's technology: "...this is one of the most elegant, fluid, impressive apps you've ever seen. It's a showpiece for the new world of touch-screen gadgets.” 

Here is the Apple part of the story. I'm a huge fan of Steve Jobs and have been devouring the Walter Issacson book "STEVE JOBS" at a pace that allows me to relish each chapter, laugh out loud and gasp in amazement and wonder so often, I even re-read it out loud to myself.. especially the parts in which Jobs makes out with women, pines and cries publicly! I couldn't believe he asked everyone's opinion on which woman he should marry, which one was prettier -- Laurene Powell or Tinda Resde!  How embarrassing! For the women. What I loved most about the book was the evocative nature of this time in history -- the juxtaposition of technology and the sexy spiritual-intellectual-hippie lure of the West Coast where people really are more open-minded..  the beginnings of Silicon Valley, and the historical journey through this new Edison-like-minded world. I love this wonderful merging of conscious, thoughtful sandal-wearing Peppermint soap-bathing Jobs, inventor-geeks like Wozniak and creators of things-they love so much they finally- give away like Stewart Brand's "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish" The Whole Earth Catalogue!  Ahh to live in a world in which the profit model does not reign supreme.  I wish we were all more authentic, less driven to "grow" our economy but more driven to love each other, feed each other and walk into the sunset together, sowing, planting, reaping hand-in-hand.

I have noticed a mean-spirited, ugly, lethargic, un-inspired society lately. As Arianna Huffington so brilliantly put it at the Panetta Institute in Monterey: "We have a lot of talking heads, a lot of opinions, a lot of social interaction, but no wisdom. No one is making good moral choices... look at Lehman Brothers, etc"

But I admire Jobs because of his passion, focus and purist vision in creating the greatest American company of our times. In 1996, Jobs personally sent me a free computer free after I wrote Apple a letter about how upset I was that my desktop Performa had crashed prematurely.

Jobs could be the rudest jerk, and seemed to lack the compassion gene. But had impeccable integrity. He made me feel as if perfectionism isn't such a bad thing, especially if you're about to change the world. I laughed out loud at the way Oracle's Larry Ellison complained that Jobs "made him" go to the fake mock-up Apple Store on weekends to practice shopping, just to see if the store was laid out in a minimalist feel-good way. Jobs created this practice store in a warehouse and wouldn't open any of the Apple stores until the layout was perfect.

But here is where Jobs went wrong: allowing Push Pop's founders Mike Matas and Kimon Tsinteris to leave Apple. How could he let them get away?  Why would Apple not want to keep the cream of the crop around instead of using the blandly boring industry standard ebook software. This does not fit Apple.

Jobs should have kept this amazing inventor and his partner happy.

I have no idea yet what ibooks Author can do. It seems there was a conflict over who owned the copyrght to original software created while under Apple's auspices: "Jobs reportedly delivered an ultimatum to Matas that resulted in the company selling itself to Facebook as a talent-based acquisition that abandoned its allegedly tainted ebook apps business model.

Because Push Pop Press planned to deliver its version of ebooks as native iOS apps, Apple's iOS App Store was ultimately the sole potential distributor the finished work Push Pop Press would have created, giving the company little leverage in arguing around any IP claims by Apple.  

But this sounds Greek to me. Maybe Facebook will join forces with talented content creators/authors to launch interactive book franchises. As a content creator, I have spent years writing and creating, NOT going to parties, trying to stay out of the public eye. It hasn't worked: in the past two years I have done 25 charity events, 17 TV shows, plus a feature film. But now my own content is ready to launch.

We are a Disney-Pixar-ABC-Apple family. When I was five years old, I decided to come out to California and move into Disneyland.

Too Close for Comfort, the hit series I starred in with Ted Knight was an ABC primetime hit that followed Three's Company on Tuesday nights. with 35 million viewers during primetime and in syndication for 25 years so far. We were number one and in the top ten and twenty for years. Too Close for Comfort is now on Tribune Broadcasting's new comedy channel @AntennaTV.

Like Pixar's John Lassetter, my son goes to CalArts in the fall, and Disney is building 20 new soundstages on the Golden Oak Ranch land Walt Disney himself set aside for his Renaissance vision of an arts institute comparable to science/technology institutes Cal Tech and MIT. My father, a violinist born in Russia and raised in Shanghai, attended the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, which merged with Choinard Art Institute to form California Institute of the Arts.

As a comedy writer creating original TV shows, books and movies, I can't wait to work with Disney and ABC again. I am so happy that Bob Iger, a CEO who really trusts and 'gets' artists, is in charge. He was smart enough to acquire both Pixar and Marvel Comics. The Avengers is amazing!  I also adore Anne Sweeney. And I think Facebook is quietly waiting until some of their best decisions pay off. And Apple has just created the best products with unforseen advantages that will help us for years to come. My son had his first Apple computer at the age of two years old. I don't want him to see this blog, or he will be mad that I'm talking about him. I'm not supposed to brag that he won the Playstation E3 Contest winner for video effects award at the age of 15, and was too young to accept the prize.

- Luv xo Lydia
ON ANOTHER NOTE: PLEASE LISTEN to this PSA I recorded to benefit traumatic brain injured children and young adults on behalf of Pat Boone's charity honoring his wonderful grandson Ryan. Ryan's Reach and HIGH HOPES: