Sunday, February 15, 2009

New Features - Inbox, RSS, Currently Reading

We've just updated the site with some bug fixes and new features. The new features include:

Message Inbox

When you login to Bookhuddle, the first thing that you will see on your dashboard page is a message inbox that tells you how many:

  • Public messages
  • Private messages
  • Friend invitations
  • Group invitations
  • Book recommendations

you have.

This should make it easier to keep track of new messages and recommendations.

"Currently Reading"

On your profile, there will now be a "Currently Reading" section. Here, you can log your progress in the book you're currently reading. Make sure you've added the book to the "Books I'm Reading" list (or tagged it with "reading"), then click the "Update" button in the "Currently Reading" section. You can then enter which page you're on and an optional comment about how the book is going.

RSS Feeds

We've added RSS feeds for Lists and Reviews throughout the site. You can now get the latest reviews and contents of any public list delivered to your RSS reader of choice. Just look for the RSS icon () on pages with Lists and Reviews.

Current locations with feeds:

  • Books in a list
  • Recent reviews (http://www.bookhuddle.com/rss/review.rss)
  • Reviews written by a specific member (the member's privacy settings must allow anybody to view their reviews.)
  • Reviews of a specific book.

We hope you like the new features. Let us know what you think!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Planning and Evaluation New Ideas or Ventures

So I've been reading Clayton Christensen's Innovator's Solution and have found the book extremly informative. There are many pearls of wisdom in this book, but I want to mention the concept of discovery-driven planning that is discussed in Chapter 8.

The process that many entrepreneurs and companies use to make decisions on starting a company or pursuing some opportunity includes four steps:

  1. Make assumptions about the future and about the success that a new business idea will enjoy.
  2. Make financial projections based on those assumptions
  3. Decide to start the venture or pursue opportunity
  4. The team responsible for the new venture goes off to implement the strategy

The problem with this approach is that there is generally a feedback loop between #1 and #2, where assumptions are revised to support the financial projects that are required to win funding (from VCs or execs that control budget in companies) and that resulting strategy will likely be wrong (based on research mentioned in the book) when pursuing a disruptive, new market opportunity.

Discovery-driven planning provides a different framework for making decisions. It also has four steps, but the steps are in a different order than the process described above:

  1. Make financial projections
  2. Compile a list of assumption that need to prove true for us to realistically expect the financial projections to materialize. Rank order the assumptions in order of importance.
  3. Implement a plan to test the validity of the most important assumptions. This plan needs to, quickly and with the least cost possible, validate or invalidate the most critical assumptions. This allows the entre/intrapreneur to revise the strategy prior to deciding to implement through significant investment.
  4. Decide on whether or not to implement (in the case of the entrepreneur) or fund an idea/business/innitiative (in the case of VCs and/or companies).

This seems like a very reasonable approach and it can be applied to many circumstances. Test the waters before you dive in head first.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Facelift

Bookhuddle got a facelift over the weekend and some feature enhancements that we hope you like. Some of these features include:

  • Facelift - new style, images, and some reorganization of data.

  • Google book preview - from the book detail page you can now view the text of the book through the Google Preview Widget. If a book can be previewed, you will see this icon on the book detail page.

  • Default book tags for book lists - this feature allows you to define a set of tags to be applied to any book that get added to the list. You can specify the tags when you create the book list or when you edit the list properties.

  • Easier way to review books - anywhere you see a book image, you can hover over the image to see a set of action icons. One of these action icons is the "add review" icon .

  • Book club member book reviews - you can now see the reviews by club members for the books listed by the club right in the club's home page.

We hope you like these. If you have feedback, you can leave a comment here or reach us via these options:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Profile Images

The default member profile image is a generic male figure as seen below.


Don't worry ladies, you don't have to use that image. :) To use a Bookhuddle-provided female image, simply click on the "My Account" link on the top right corner of any page and update the "Gender" field to be "female". This will change your profile image to the female default image below.





You can always upload your own image via the "My Account" -> "Picture" tab.

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's A Small World

We all know how small the world is in the internet age. With the power of the internet it's fairly easy to find people across the globe that share similar interests to ours. In the case of Bookhuddle, it's great to see that people around the world like to read books.

The image below is a simple map of the world showing the countries from which people have accessed Bookhuddle. The darker the shade of the country, the more people who have visited our site.



What country are you from?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Book Reviews - Yours, Your Friends', Everybody's

One of the many things you can do on Bookhuddle is to read and write book reviews.
On this post we want to highlight a quick way to access the latest book reviews, visiting the "Reviews" link on the menu bar to access the "Most Recent Reviews" page.

On this page you will see three tabs:
  • Most Recent Reviews - here you will find the latest book reviews on Bookhuddle
  • My Reviews - here you will find all your book reviews starting with your latest
  • My Friends' Reviews - here you will find your friends' latest book reviews




While reading any of the book reviews on the "Most Recent Reviews" page, you can see more reviews for the given book by simply clicking on the "View Other Reviews" link.  You will see a page containing two tabs, one for all Bookhuddle reviews and the other for Amazon reviews for the chosen book. 




So go on, find out what books people are reviewing, express your opinion by reviewing some of the books you've read!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Book Clubs on Bookhuddle

Do you run, participate, or want to join a book club? Then check out Bookhuddle Groups.

As a Bookhuddle member, you can create any number of groups or join the open groups already on the site that appeal to you. If you create a group, you can invite others to join it and you can control the visibility of the group, restricting who can join the group or see your group pages.

Bookhuddle Groups allow you to organize with your friends, keep track of the books your group has read with group book lists, and share exchange opinions and ideas via the group discussion forums.

Check out Bookhuddle Groups, what are you waiting for?