Building Shepherd - Year end summary and Merry Christmas!



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3,000 authors have turned in a book list for Shepherd or committed to writing one (amazing as always 😃).

December 13th to December 24th
Thoughts on burnout.
I am notorious for working and living my life in a series of burnout cycles. And, I love it. I like to work very hard and then balance that with significant downtime. The challenge is timing when to slow down and making sure I get quality downtime when I do. I didn’t do a good job with burnout this year. And, I am paying for it now with a cold, general exhaustion, and a physical injury I got a few weeks ago.
It is really hard when a business is new and small to be able to take quality downtime. When I did manage some downtime I went on an adventure instead of a vacation, and that didn’t replenish me (I also needed an adventure and I don’t regret that). It also didn’t help that we didn’t go on a family vacation in 2021 due to covid related reasons.
I take solace in the fact that I am about 100x better at managing myself than I was 10 years ago… as I used to just run through walls. It was fun but I don’t want to do that now for myself or my family. I will do a better job at this balance in 2022.
so true.
so true.
Updated recommendation section(Q1 2022)
Currently, at the bottom of every book recommendation list we have an area where we recommend closely related, distantly related, and random book lists to help readers keep moving through the website. The current system looks to see if any books on that list are recommended on another list and then looks at 2nd and 3rd-degree connections as well. This system has worked well while we built real topic support and a more advanced recommendation engine.
In Q1 2022 we will launch a big update and you can see a screenshot below. This new system works like this:
  1. Are the books recommended on the list also recommended on another list? If so that is a good sign they are related and we feature the lists under “author recommended”.
  2. What does our topic system think your list is about? We use machine learning to analyze your list and connect it to five topics. And, if we have bookshelves for those topics we show that in the “author recommended” section as well.
  3. The “Shepherd recommended” section is where we show recommended book lists and bookshelves based on the topics around the list you are viewing. So these might be a little more distant than the “author recommended” section. As always the goal is to help readers keep following their curiosity and bump into new books and ideas.
Version 2.0 of our recommendations on the bottom of each book list.
Version 2.0 of our recommendations on the bottom of each book list.
Bookshelves are 75% done :)
Bookshelves are advancing fast and take a look at what has been added here:
We are on track for January and very exciting to see this come alive :)
3 key features coming January 2022
Update on Search Feature
You can test this feature here. It is 99% ready to go! We still need to add authors who made book lists to this system (and their books). And we have some small changes coming to tweak the UI/UX a bit.
Update on Bookshelves
The developer has started working on this feature and it is going great! Preview links above and we are ~75% done with this page.
Update on the new Frontpage
The developer will start work on this next, it is the simplest piece.
What else is going on?
I am taking off next week and I wish you a Merry Christmas, happy New Years, and I will return in 2022 :).
Thanks, Ben
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Ben Fox

Follow along as I build the Shepherd book discovery platform (updates every 2 weeks).

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