This is a basic tutorial on how to set up a Book’d beta account. It also includes some details on our plans for a public beta!

Prioritizing the “Coming Soon” List

We spent two hours this morning copying to do’s and upcoming features from PivotalTracker (pretty useful tool, development teams) on to a whiteboard. Why? Because sometimes you need to see the list off of a computer screen to really analyze it in detail.

This results in…

Needless to say, we’ve got a lot of ideas and we’re working as fast and as hard as we can, but each item - big or small - takes time. So, although we’ve internally prioritized some of the items, we’d like to hear from you.

What piece of functionality do you think we should implement next? Note that it doesn’t necessarily have to be on our list and it could be a small design change, etc. Tell us!

*We don’t advise trying to understand the markings in the picture because by the end of our conversation, we weren’t sure what all of them meant…

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Location seems to be top of mind for many of Book’d beta users. We’ve had questions about integrating location types and very positive feedback about the flexibility Book’d offers by making locations service-specific and allowing multiple locations to be associated with a given service. Since this is a prevalent topic, we thought it would be helpful to just do a post on the current capabilities, how to work them, and what’s coming soon.


Book’d allows each appointment type to be offered in multiple locations.

Each type of appointment you offer through Book’d (known as a Service) can be offered in multiple locations. As an account holder, you can have as many locations tied to your account as you desire. You can also add or delete locations at any time.

Here’s what that makes possible:

  • You can allow the people booking you to choose whether they want to meet in person, over the phone, or via Skype. Or you can make them abide by your preference and schedule the meeting via your preferred method.
  • You can add temporary locations when you’re traveling or at a conference.
  • If you work in two offices, you can set availability in each physical location for when you’ll actually be there (i.e. MWF at one location, TR at the other).


Setting up locations in Book’d is easy.

To get out the door, we had to go with the easiest location type: physical locations. However, we purposefully did not make the fields required, so that you can temporarily set up alternative types of locations. Location types will be introduced in the coming weeks (more on this below).

Locations are managed in your Settings. In the left column, you should see a list of Settings areas. Click on Locations. Your screen should look like this:

Below this header, you should see your current list of locations, including the location you entered when creating your account. Click on “Edit” to change something about an individual location.

To create a new location, click on the large red “Add a New Location” button. To create a physical location, simply enter the necessary fields.

To create a different type of location, do something like this:

As depicted here, the only required fields are the initial address field and the country.

Note that if you have group accounts in addition to your personal account, locations are managed separately for each, but the process is the same.

Once you have created a location in the Locations tab of Settings, you can then add associated availability at that location for any of your services.


Setting up different types of locations (i.e. virtual, phone, “I’ll come to you”) on Book’d is going to get better very soon.

Within the next two to three weeks, the setup information above will be replaced. Given how critical location is to accurate booking, we are working on building out the necessary functionality to offer different types of locations with associated custom fields.

For example, if you are a sales manager willing to go to a customer’s location for a sales meeting, in addition to offering “over the phone,” you will have the functionality to offer the “I’ll come to you” location type and then have the user enter their address and associated information when completing the booking.

We will update you as soon as this information becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any feedback or ideas on how location-oriented functionality should work, we’d love to hear from you! Tweet or Facebook us!

BREAKING DOWN THE BOOK'D LANDING PAGE - a slideshare deck

A short guide to help beta users understand the purpose of, how to find and how to set up your personal Book’d landing pages on which others may book time with you.

GETTING STARTED WITH BOOK'D - a slideshare deck

A short guide to familiarizing yourself with your Book’d beta account and configuring key settings.

ACCEPT PAYMENTS FOR BOOKINGS

Starting out in beta, Book’d allows you to accept online payments in one way: Stripe. Stripe is a “full-stack” payment platform that allows you to accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB and Discover. Think of it as your merchant account plus more.

Some of you may be wondering if we forgot about PayPal or other payment gateways. We are starting with what we feel is the best way to accept payments online. That’s Stripe. If you, our users, tell us you absolutely have to have another payment gateway, we’ll implement it, but we encourage you to give Stripe a chance.

Our favorite things about Stripe center around its simplicity. It’s pricing is straightforward: 2.9% + $0.30 per successful charge. No setup fees. No card storage fees. No additional charges for international or business cards. And it’s also really easy to setup…

Activate Account screenshot

Create a Stripe Account

  1. Go to Stripe.com and click “Get Started with Stripe.”
  2. Enter the email address and password you would like to use for your account. Press submit. A confirmation email will be sent to your email account, so be on the lookout.
  3. Your Stripe Dashboard will appear. A white introductory lightbox with four guides listed will pop up. Just click out of the box.
  4. Click on “My Account” in the upper right. Click on “Activate Account” and enter the details about your business. (shown above)
  5. Press submit and your finished. Ridiculously easy, right?

Connect a Stripe Account to Book’d

  1. On Book’d, click your top left drop-down menu. Go to Settings - Online Payments.
  2. Select your currency, if you have not already done so.
  3. On the Payment Gateway and Options page, select “Accept payments through gateway (Stripe).” Two fields will appear: Stripe Secret Key and Stripe Publishable Key. 
  4. In a separate window or tab, log in to Stripe. In the upper right, click “My Account” and then “Account Settings.”
  5. A pop-up window will appear showing your account details and six areas across the top. Click “API Keys.”
  6. On API Keys, you will see test and live versions of your keys. Copy and paste the live versions of your secret and publishable keys into Book’d. (lightbox shown above, but notice that the live keys are underneath the test keys)
  7. Save your changes. That’s it!

Have questions about Stripe? Feel free to ask us or ask Stripe directly.

Have feedback about the online payment functionality in Book’d? Post it to our Facebook page.

20 SERIOUS WAYS TO TELL OTHERS YOU PREFER TO BE BOOKED THROUGH BOOK’D

We’re starting to send out beta invitations, which means we need to inspire you to tell your social network to book you through Book’d! It’s the only way you’ll be able to see how awesome it is. Without further ado, here are 20 ways to tell others you prefer to be booked through Book’d. These are all quality recommendations. Seriously.

  1. Put “Book me at bookd.com/username” on your business card.
  2. Put “Book your next appointment at bookd.com/groupprofile” on your receipts and invoices.
  3. Put a Book’d window cling in your storefront window.
  4. Put “Book me at bookd.com/username” on your email signature.
  5. Tweet “Book your next meeting with me on Book’d.”
  6. Tweet “Tungle left me, but I’ve found Book’d. The world is not ending anymore.”
  7. List your Book’d URL on your About.me and Flavors.me pages.
  8. List your Book’d URL on your LinkedIn account.
  9. When people ask questions that require long explanations on Facebook, reply and say that you’re happy to discuss this in person and that they should book time with you on Book’d.
  10. When your mom calls, send the call to voicemail and then text her to tell her to book time with you via Book’d.
  11. Put a sign on your laptop that says, “I’m busy. Book time with me on Book’d.” (see example above)

See the rest of the list on our Facebook page.

FIVE QUESTIONS ANSWERED ABOUT BOOK’D

A few questions have been raised about Book’d. We’re excited that you are digging for more information and thought we’d answer a few questions here…

Is Book’d really a new product? I’ve seen some stuff around the Internet dating back to 2009.

Book’d, the company, was founded in 2009 by Jamie Stephens. He had a theory about how online booking could be improved and launched a product in the same year. However, the Book’d that we are going to begin beta testing this month is an entirely new system. The dev team took feedback from the old Book’d user base, along with new trends and ideas, to develop the new Book’d. It’s an entirely new platform, built from an entirely new code base and functionally different from the old version.

In short, same company, new engine.

How much will Book’d cost? Will you have a free version?

Book’d will be free during beta. We want our beta users to tell us for what they are willing to pay. Value for value.

A paid monthly subscription model is expected to roll out late this year. We plan to always offer a free version, but what that will include is yet to be determined. We promise to give plenty of warning before pricing is implemented!

Can I still get a beta invitation to Book’d?

Absolutely! At least for now, we have opted not to close beta. Click here to register for a Book’d beta invitation.

When will I get my beta invitation?

If we knew that answer, we would definitely tell you! The team is working as hard and as quickly as possible to work out bugs and ensure that when you register for Book’d, you have a great user experience from the beginning. So far, we have let only a few close friends in to help us catch last minute bugs. We plan to begin sending beta invitations to those registered within the next few days, depending on how quickly these last rounds of changes go.

With what calendar systems will Book’d be compatible?

In beta, Book’d will be fully compatible with Google Calendar, meaning that it will both grab appointments scheduled through Google Calendar to block time in Book’d and push Book’d appointments to your Google Calendar. This is known as two-way compatibility, meaning that the two systems will talk to each other. As a result, you can avoid double-booking your available time.

Book’d also integrates iCalendar functionality, meaning that you will be able to subscribe to feeds and have them appear on your Book’d calendar. You can also produce a Book’d iCalendar feed, which you can subscribe to in Apple iCal, Microsoft Outlook and others. In the calendar world, this is known as one-way compatibility, which means it won’t keep you from double-booking yourself, but it will allow you to view multiple calendars in one place. (Just to be clear, iCalendar and Apple iCal are not the same thing.)

From there, we plan to add two-way compatibility with more systems, based on user demand.

Tell us what else you want to know.

A FEW BOOK’D SCREENSHOTS

Greetings! Emily here. I’m CEO of Book’d. I’m sitting here with our dev team as they attempt to finish things up so we can send out the first few beta invitations. I’m pretty much useless (I only know zombie Rails). I’ve been doing my best to cheer the team on (i.e. play music, get them food), but I’ve run out of constructive ways to help them right now, so instead…

I thought I’d share a few screenshots so that you can get a better idea of what Book’d will look like when you login for the first time with your beta invitation!


Desktop View of My Calendar

Book'd Account Calendar

Displaying my personal calendar and my calendar with the Book’d group. (I promise I usually have stuff going on. However, we’ve cleared our calendars until we launch.) The white space indicates time I’ve made available for a Book’d-related service.


Mobile View of My Dashboard

Book'd mobile dashboard

When I login, Book’d takes me to my dashboard. It shows me any upcoming bookings. It also shows my collections and services, which I can easily manage from a mobile device, if needed.


Desktop View of My Settings

Book'd Settings

As you saw above, I have not created my first personal service (i.e. tennis lesson - anyone who knows me knows that this would be an infrequently booked service). Currently, I only offer availability through Book’d services. However, this is the area in settings where I would go to add or edit a collection or service. On the bottom left, you can see that I can also easily toggle to manage my Book’d group account, if needed.

We cannot wait to let you all in and see what you think!

Cheers, Em

EXPLAINING CONTROLLED AVAILABILITY

At last week’s TechCrunch Disrupt, Biz Stone and Evan Williams discussed the struggle of maintaining life balance while building a startup, saying that their solution was “scheduling time with their kids on a calendar.” As strange as that may seem to you,  our schedules have multiple layers - and if it’s not on the calendar, it’s probably not happening.

So, how can we manage our schedule layers - our personal and professional priorities - in a way that makes us accessible, but not so accessible we go crazy?

Traditionally, online scheduling has given people the opportunity to expose their calendar and say, “Here I am, world. Book the time I’ve made available.” This puts the control in the hands of the person wanting to book time, rather than the person making time bookable. We believe that this is the main cause of so many people’s eternally “busy” schedules, which nullifies the intention of having a bookable calendar.

At Book’d, we’ve designed a new system based on the idea of controlled availability, in which control resides predominantly with the person providing bookable time. This person does not expose their calendar to the public. Instead, he or she creates bookable “services” under which they are willing to let people book time (i.e. internal meetings, customer support, wine chat).

The account holder designates all attributes of a service appointment:

  • Duration - How long will the appointment last? What amount of buffer time between appointments do I need to keep from feeling overwhelmed?
  • Location - In what physical location(s) will I offer this service, if any? In what virtual locations? Am I willing to go to the person booking time?
  • Pricing - How much will my time cost the person booking time, if anything?
  • Availability - On what days of the week and between what times am I willing to offer this service?

Here’s what it looks like in practice….

Hypothetically, I’m a startup founder. While I could work 24 hours a day and still not get everything done, I know that my family will suffer in the process. So, I need to better control my availability based on my priorities. My company is a top priority in many circumstances, but so is my family.

Using Book’d, I make the following collections of services available:

My Company Bookables

  • Internal meetings: 20 min, virtual or in the office, $0, MWF between 8 and 11:30 a.m.
  • Client meetings: 30 min, virtual or in the office, $0, MTWR between 8 and 5 p.m.
  • Potential partnership inquiries: 20 min, virtual, $0, M between 2 and 5 p.m.
  • Emergency pow-wows: 15 min, virtual, $0, SMTWRFS between 8 and 8 p.m.

Miscellaneous Bookables

  • Entrepreneurial consulting: 60 min, virtual, $60, F between 12 and 6 p.m.
  • Lunches: 60 min, goes to person, $0, MTW between 12 and 2 p.m.
  • 9-hole golf outings: 120 min, golf course, $0, FS between 9 and 1 p.m.
  • Emergency quality time: 120 min, goes to person, $0, SRFS between 11 and 9 p.m.

For now, the rest of my availability will be designated to work or spend time with my family. I could set up more “Friends & Family Bookables,” but for now, I’m going to attempt to make that happen with the time left. If that doesn’t happen, I hope family members will take the initiative to book lunch or emergency quality time and remind me!

Controlled availability assists you in segmenting your available time based on your priorities, while still making appropriate availability accessible to your contacts. How you implement that with friends, family, colleagues and clients is up to you!


REPLACING TUNGLE.ME

This morning, Tungle.me announced that they are shutting down on December 3rd. While we intended to take their service head on all along, we are sad to see an innovative scheduling tool be shut down. We wish their team the best as they continue to refine the Blackberry productivity tool set.

Marc, founder of Tungle.me, suggested people look at Doodle as an alternative. We suggest you look at it, too. 

However, we’d also like you to register for Book’d in beta and here’s why:

  • Book’d is an online scheduling platform, which can be used to manage your personal schedule, professional schedule or both. It can also be used for groups and organizations.
  • Availability is on a per-service basis, so you don’t have to expose your whole calendar. Instead, you can set availability on MWF from 9 to 12 for internal meetings, while you set availability for client meetings all day, every day. You control your availability.
  • Availability can be offered in multiple locations, as designated by the account holder. Location types include physical addresses, virtual locations, and at the client’s location.
  • If desired, account holders can accept payments for designated services during the booking process.
  • Events and classes, including series of classes, can be created, in addition to the one-on-one meetings.
  • Full account history of each contact stored in a basic CRM, including invoice history, if the account holder is accepting payments.
  • Responsive design for easy access and management from your mobile device.
  • Just like Doodle, we integrate with Google Calendar, can send automatic appointment reminder emails, etc.

We’re sending out beta invitations over the next few days. We hope you’ll join us!

Feel free to ask us specific questions on functionality via Twitter or Facebook. We’re excited to share anything and everything that will help convince you to give us a try!

Coming soon to an inbox near you - if you’re signed up for beta.

Coming soon to an inbox near you - if you’re signed up for beta.