Archive for July, 2006

Before you buy – search!

July 29, 2006

Let’s say you’re out shopping, and a copy of “The Da Vinci” catches your eye. You’re all set to buy it, but then you realize, “this is ridiculous. One of my friends must already have a copy.”

So you pull out your cell phone and send us the text message: “item search da vinci”. We respond and let you know that both Brian and Mary have a copy. Amazing! BillMonk just saved you fifteen bucks.

In addition to searching the community library via mobile phone, you can also add items to your collection while on the go, using the ISBN or UPC code.

The message formats are:

item search <title or author>

item add <ISBN or UPC>

We’re pretty flexible. For searching, “library search”, “find item”, “lib find” all work equally well; learn more.

As always, whatever you can do on your phone, you can also do via email.


Library – CueCat scanner, UI fixes, similiar items

July 25, 2006

We’re happy to start this week with a bucket ‘o improvements to the BillMonk library.

Dig that “misc computer stuff” box out of the attic and find the :CueCat (c) scanner that you grabbed from RadioShack back in 1998. Plug ‘er in, go to the “Bulk Add” page (from the Library), and happily scan in stacks of books for your collection – we translate its wacky output to ISBN and UPC codes.

We also made some UI fixes:

  • When you pick which items to add, we tell you which ones are already in your collection
  • Rather than having to aim your mouse at teensy checkboxes to pick which items to add or check-out, you can now click anywhere on a line

Finally, we plugged Amazon recommendations into the “Add” pipeline, making it super-easy to say “hey, I own that, too!”

Date formats

July 19, 2006

Dear World,

We apologize for being so US-centric and using Month-Day-Year everywhere on the site. It is a bit archaic and doesn’t make much sense to the rest of you. So, we now let you pick Day-Month-Year (account preference).

Please stop sending angry letters starting like: “the REST of the world, which does things in a reasonable fashion…” and which continue to point out that, given that humans have ten digits, the kilometer makes more sense than than the mile, milk shouldn’t come in quarts, &c. Whatever.

With love,

The BillMonks

ps. Time zones are coming soon, but will make more sense once you can report things with hour-level granularity. Gotta say, we’re not loving all the wacky regional exceptions to daylight savings.

Bigger Library – 500 items

July 17, 2006

While the BillMonk Library feature was new, we limited its size to 99 things. Now that we’ve given it time to iron out wrinkles, we’re happy to say that we’re raising the limit to 500 items, and will no longer call it “beta”.

Minority Rapport interview (podcast)

July 17, 2006

Doug Sherrets, a recent Wharton graduate who is the co-blogger of Minority Rapport, recently interviewed us for this podcast (18m). He asked about how we got started; our competitors (#1: pen and paper); whether it’s natural and socially acceptable to use a system like BillMonk; why we left our jobs at Amazon to start BillMonk; the business model; and the 20-year plan. (Also posted in Mr. Markets).

BillMonk is Kim Komando’s Cool Site of the Day!

July 17, 2006

Kim Komando hosts the largest radio show about computers and the internet in the US. She sends out 5 million email newsletters weekly. Today, her newsletter on cool sites was all about BillMonk! Check it out here.

Thanks for the recommendation Kim, and welcome Komando readers and listeners. For those of you not familiar with her show, here’s a little more about Kim from her site:

Kim’s weekly three-hour call-in talk radio show is heard (via her own network) on over 400 stations. In addition, she does a Computer Minute radio feature five days a week; has written eight books about life in the digital age; sends out 5 million e-mail newsletters weekly; and authors a widely syndicated newspaper column, which also runs in USA


Happy half-birthday; Monk 10k

July 12, 2006

It’s our half-birthday today; we launched on Jan 12th at 4am. And what better way to celebrate it than by announcing that early this morning, we got out 10,000th user!


Media frenzy! Business 2.0, Digg, CNET and News 14

July 11, 2006

What a fantasic day of press! Our morning started with Business 2.0 posting the on-line version of their July 2006 article featuring us, Turning your cell phone into a wallet. Then we appeared in the CNET story BillMonk, the college student’s accounting system, and the Raleigh North Carolina News 14 story Tracking informal loans is big business.

But what really made our day was that our loyal and wonderful users dugg the Business 2.0 story so it surfaced to the front of Wow! Thanks, everyone.

Two Nice Posts

July 4, 2006

Who works on a lovely sun-drenched Monday before the Fourth of July? Besides, uh, the rest of the world, it also seems to be on-line journalists. We were delighted to show up prominently on two (count ’em, two!) great sites on a day we’d assumed would be relatively quiet.

Springwise (“your daily dose of entrepreneurial ideas”) gave this pithy profile about the service, which was categorized as a “Life Hack”. Heh.

Emily Chang of eHub posted this interview covering our design philosophy, goals, tools, and lifestyle. We appreciated her wide range of questions because they let us convey the number of different hats that entrepreneurs wear.

Makeover cont’d, Calendar

July 1, 2006

You liked the new site design, but you didn’t like the purple, and some of you simply prefer your sidebars on the right. Not a problem! Links are now blue, and you can control where the sidebar goes (Your Account preference). Thanks to everyone for their feedback.

Since we were in the revising-things mindset, we also went ahead and added a calendar widget, which the site had been sorely lacking.