Nearly ready with ours. As you mentioned mumsnet I will trot out my home page eureka moment. It was during a fever bee Richard interview of the founder.
During question time I asked what thought process went into the mumsnet home page. She rolled her eyes skywards and said "no one looks at a home page!, that's just for advertisers!"
I took that to mean that all her traffic arrived via Google directly into an individual search topic related thread.
And the home page was a good place to have a prominent "contact us (here) to advertise" message & link.
I was genuinely shocked how little importance she felt it had.
So we have squares that show off stuff that we feel represents our core strengths at a glance and a big message for advertisers.
"At a glance" was important for me and I asked the team to distill the most important thing we wanted to get across.
To decide on the squares and to organise the "auto population" of their content has been a difficult, drawn out painful journey and I have resisted investing too heavily in development for it.
Note: We have become a development addicted organisation with every admin team member able to come up with seemingly endless "it would be nice if x did y" functionality suggestions. Each of which costs money and time to implement. We have a giant someday maybe "good ideas" pile.
I think I just realised, our new page doesn't have a sample of recent popular discussions.... Yikes!