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Theodore Gray - The Elements - TOC

The Elements: How We Did It and Where We're Going | Tuesday, 2/15/2011


Theodore Gray, Co-Founder of Wolfram Research and Founder of Touch Press


The Elements for iPad has been one of the most successful ebook titles for the iPad, despite being about a subject that frankly no one would think they are interested in before seeing it. We tried to build something pure and beautiful, with the guiding principle being WWHPD? (What Would Harry Potter Do?) In other words, we thought, if Harry Potter checked a copy of The Elements out of the Hogwarts library, what would it look like, what kind of magical interactivity would it have? Then we built that magic. In this talk I will describe how we did that and how we’re applying the same thinking to future titles.


Video of Theodore Gray's Talk



"Let's find out what books can be"


To develop something like The Elements, you need a good author, real programmers, and television producers (or a television producer's eye).


You need text that you would read if it were just on paper, video and images that you would watch on TV, and code you would actually use.


Launching The Elements and The Solar System are different than traditional publishing releases. Tease, but don't tell. It's more like a software company announcement and not like a publisher's early announcements.


You should have TV people involved to make it as watchable as TV (like The Waste Land upcoming app).


Touch Press is not an educational/textbook company, they're an enrichment company. Textbooks may not have a business model, but enrichment might if it has deep and interesting interactivity.

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Taken on February 15, 2011