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?

Moving Books Between Book Lists

To improve the management of your personal library, we've added the ability to easily move books from one book list to another. In the detailed view of the book list, you will find the "Move to list..." option next to each book in the list. Click on it and select the book list you want to move the book to. It's as simple as that.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Organizing Your Personal Library With Tags

In this post we'll let you know how to use tags to organize and find books on Bookhuddle.

What are tags and what are they used for?

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of tagging, tags are keywords (or small phrases) that you can assign to books to informally categorize your books. Tags can also help you find books as any tag added to a book becomes a hyperlink that, when clicked, allows you to find all books that have been tagged with that tag.

Adding tags to a book is simple and easy, just click on the tag icon or the "Add tag" link on most pages displaying books and then enter a tag. The following image highlights them in orange.

You can add any number of tags to a book.



How are tags different from book categories?

Bookhuddle uses predefined categories organized in a hierarchy to organize the books and to help you browse for related books. For example, The Glass Castle is associated with the categories Biographies & Memoirs > Family & Childhood. You can find this book by browsing through Biographies & Memo, then through Family & Childhood. However, you can't modify these categories.

With tags, you can add additional information that will help you find this book later. If you own this book and read it last year, you can tag the book with the words: own, read, and 2007. If you click on the 2007 hyperlink, The Glass Castle will appear in the search results, along with other books tagged with 2007.

How are tags different from book lists?

Tags and book lists compliment each other to help you organize books. Book lists allow you to describe what the list is for, control who can see it, and order the books in the list. Tags give you a way to label a bunch of books without a specific order or purpose.

You can choose to use book lists or tags exclusively to organize your books, but combining the two gives you the most flexibility.

Tag Cloud

A tag cloud shows you a list of tags that have been associated to books. The more books that are associated with a tag, the larger in size it will appear. It offers you a quick way to find your books and to see which tags have been used most often.

You can see your personal tag cloud in the "My Dashboard" or on your profile page. So, if you tagged several books with oprah and you wanted to find out which books they were, you can click on the hyperlinked word oprah to find out.



Book pages also show a tag cloud of the most popular tags that the book has been tagged with. You can use this to see which books other Bookhuddle members have deemed similar to the book.

Tags And The Community

Anybody can tag books on Bookhuddle, so you can see how others are categorizing books and use those tags to find other books.

Tags are a great way to discover, organize, and share book information. Try it out!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Organizing Your Personal Library With Bookhuddle Lists

Have you ever tried to remember what books you've read or want to read and forgotten most of them? Ever bought a book, brought it home excited to read it only to find that you'd already read it?

We can help. Bookhuddle is a book-focused social networking and book reference site created to help you discover, organize, and share books.

In this post we'll show you how to organize your personal library with Bookhuddle. We'll focus on a simple tool that helps you track your books and reading: lists.

A related tool is tagging, which will be covered in another blog post.

Book Lists

We want to make it easy for you to track the books that you...

  1. have read
  2. are reading
  3. want to read
  4. own
  5. consider your favorite
  6. want to categorize in any other way

When you sign up, five lists are created to help you start tracking your books as soon as you begin using Bookhuddle (corresponding to items 1-5 mentioned above). You can also create as many book lists as you want to help you better categorize your books.

Creating a list

To create a list, click on the drop-down arrow next to the "Lists" item in the top navigation and select the "Create a List" option. Enter a name and an optional description and click "submit". The list will be created and you will be taken to the detailed view of the list where you can start adding books.

Adding books to a list

It's easy to keep track of book using lists. For example, if you've read Tim Russert's Big Russ and Me: Father and Son--Lessons of Life and want to keep track of it, you can search for it and add it to your "Books I've read" list. It only takes four steps:

  1. Find the book (via searching, browsing, friend recommendation, etc.)
  2. Click "Add to list"
  3. Choose whether you want to add the book to an existing personal list, a new list, or a list in one of the groups you're involved in.
  4. Click the submit button. The book is now in your list!

You can add the same book to more than one list. For example, if you have read, own, and consider this book one of your favorites, you can add it to all three lists.

The detailed view of a list provides a very fast and convenient way of searching and adding books. Click on the "Add books" link, search for the books that interest you, and add them to your list.

For example, if you are a big Tom Clancy fan and want to add his books to the books you have read, simply access your "Books I've read" list, click on the "Add books" link and search for "Tom Clancy". You can select all the books returned in the search results and add them to the list.



Removing books from a list

To remove a book from a book list, go to the detailed view of the list and click on the "X" icon next to the book.

Accessing your lists

For your convenience, you can always see your lists in your Dashboard or on the Lists area of the site.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Discovering Books With Bookhuddle

In this article we highlight some of the ways that members (registered users) and visitors (non registered users) can discover books using Bookhuddle. Bookhuddle is a book reference and social site and it offers users access to millions of books and many options to make finding new books both simple and enjoyable.

There are many ways to discover books using Bookhuddle. You can either directly go and search for books (e.g. browsing book categories, searching for specific books) or you can let the community and your friends do the hard work for you! (e.g. receiving recommendations, viewing friends' activity feeds)

It's easy to find books! Some of the ways include:

Book Browsing

The "Books" area is the starting point. On this page, you'll find several areas to help you focus on what you are interested in. On this page you will find New Releases and Top Selling Books (Amazon.com is the source of this data) as well as the Most Recommended, Most Listed, and Most Reviewed books on Bookhuddle. On the left side of the page, you will see the list of book categories and clicking on any one of them will show you the same areas, only constrained to the category you choose.

Book Tags

Tagging is a method of categorizing by associating a keyword or phrase to a book. All members can tag books to organize their books. If you click on a book tag, you will initiate a book search for all the books tagged with that keyword. So if you find a book tagged with "Harry Potter", clicking on the tag will help you find all the books related to everyone's favorite spell-caster.

When you visit another member's profile page, if their privacy settings allow, you can see the tags that they have used to categorize books in the "Tag Cloud" area of their profile. If any tag interests you, you can find all the related books that this member tagged by clicking on the tag.

Book Search

Bookhuddle has a powerful search engine that allows you to quickly find books. A search box is located at the upper right hand corner of each page and in the "Books" area.

Book Lists

There are multiple types of book lists and they all serve as a way to organize books, but also as a way for you to find new books.

  • Definitive Book Lists - These are reference book lists maintained by the Bookhuddle team. You can access them by going to the "Lists" area of the site. Some examples include: The Pulitzer Prize Winners For Fiction and The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2007 lists.

  • Member Book Lists - When you sign up, you will receive 5 default book lists representing the books you: own, have read, are reading, want to read, love. You can create as many additional lists as you want, whenever you want. You can browse through your friends' and other members' book lists to see what they are reading, have read, and so forth. This is a really nice way to discover new books if you have developed a friend network on Bookhuddle or if you have identified other members that share similar interests with you. You have control over the privacy of your lists and visibility is determined by the list privacy setting and relationship to the owner of the list.

  • Group Book Lists - Groups (or book clubs) also have book lists and you can view (depending on privacy settings controlled by the group) what's in those lists. If you find a group or book club that focuses on books or subjects that you enjoy, odds are you'll find more relevant books than you would searching randomly through the site.

Book Reviews

You can review the books that you have read, and you can always find out what's being reviewed by accessing the "Reviews" area. On this page you will find the book review stream showing the latest book reviews.

Recommendations

Bookhuddle is a social application and the interaction among members is a very powerful capability. Your friends can send you book recommendations when they come across a book that they think might interest you. Once that happens, you will see a recommendation notification appear on your Dashboard. You can also recommend books to people outside of Bookhuddle by specifying their email addresses.

Friend Activity

This is a great way to discover new books because it requires little or no action on your part.

If you have developed a friend network in Bookhuddle, you will receive notifications of your friends' activities on Bookhuddle on your Dashboard page. So if one of your friends adds a book to a book list or reviews a book, you'll find out. Then you can check out the book, see if it interests you and: add it to one of your lists, tag it, recommend it to someone else, etc.

If you are not a member yet, sign up now, it's free, it's fast. Enjoy a better way to discover, organize, and share book information.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Welcome Bookhuddle Members!

We would like to welcome all the new Bookhuddle members!

We created this site to help our members discover, organize, and share book information and we are really excited to see our members using the tools we created to do that. We are really excited to read the reviews our members are writing, to discover the books that are being reviewed or added to book lists, to see members establishing friend connections, and more.

We hope you are finding the site useful and we welcome your feedback.

If you are interested in letting us know what you think, these are two ways to submit feedback:

  • Bookhuddle-Feedback Group - join this group and submit feedback in the discussion forum. Messages posted in this forum can be seen by the public. If you prefer to submit private feedback, please use the link below.

  • Feedback page - This feedback is only seen by the Bookhuddle Team

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Welcome to Bookhuddle - Discover, Organize, and Share

We are proud to bring you Bookhuddle, the book-focused social community and book reference website created to help you discover, organize, and share book information with your friends.

We are passionate about reading, learning, and sharing of ideas and want to foster these activities in the world.

If you:

  • are an avid reader or interested in reading and learning more

  • are looking for good books to read

  • have read great books and want to let others know about it

  • want to manage your personal library, keep track of the books you have read, keep track of the books you want to read, and more

  • are a book club organizer or are interested in participating in a book club

Then Bookhuddle is for you! Join now, it's free!

Bookhuddle enables you to:

Discover new books by...

  • Browsing or searching our database with millions of books

  • Finding out what your friends or other Bookhuddle members are reading, have read, wish to read, are recommending, and more

  • Finding detailed book information including reviews, discussions, and members and book clubs or groups on Bookhuddle that are reading the book

  • Finding out about the latest releases, top sellers, most reviewed, most recommended books and more.

Organize your personal library and your reader friends by...

  • Using lists and tags to organize your books

  • Displaying your thoughts and opinions on the books that matter to you

  • Inviting your friends, meeting new friends, and creating a network of book lovers

  • Forming a book club to discuss the books that interest you and managing your clubs reading list

Share by...

  • Publishing your opinion, thoughts, and knowledge with others

  • Recommending books to your friends and others

  • Posting additional useful references

  • Contributing to book club or site-wide discussions

  • Sharing your book lists

Join today, invite your friends, form a book club, organize your library, have fun, learn, spread your knowledge, change the world!

The Bookhuddle Team

Bookhuddle - Discover, Organize, and Share. Join Bookhuddle now, it's free!