Alpha Launch: Building Fount Together
Finally, our Alpha is here and we couldn't be more excited. It took us a while to get to this point. We are perfectly aware that most of the product is going to change anyway and that the mere fact of launching a yet untested Alpha doesn't mean a lot. Yet, we are proud to be here. We want to use this short blog post to share how Fount started and which challenges we face going forward. First and foremost, we want to encourage you to build this product with us together and to share every thought and idea that could make Fount better.
The Fount Founding Team
A year ago two of us went bouldering in Hamburg and had an idea out of which Fount was born. It was one of these scratch-your-own-itch types of things. Both of us were looking for a tool which allowed us to seamlessly save thoughts from all different kinds of sources. Be it Twitter, Kindle, Medium or other sources, we were tired of being stuck in silos and not being able to combine and structure these gems according to our needs. Beyond the possibility to just curate for oneself, we were lacking a way to easily share these curations with the world.
Picking up on this, Fount evolved around two core beliefs. The first one deals with the question of how we curate information. Instead of just working with bookmarks, we focus on consumable snippets of information such as Tweets or Kindle and article highlights. We call these snippets Insights and consider them the fundamental building block in Fount. Besides their function as building blocks, Insights change the way we digest information. Instead of saving an entire article for example, the user focuses on the few key takeaways he or she wants to push into Fount .
The second core idea is social curation: having everybody contribute to filtering through the infinite sea of information. Twitter for example took traditional blogs and broke them up into microblogs, thereby empowering millions of users to share their thoughts. We intend to do the same to the curation space. Instead of having some few curators sharing newsletters, imagine the power of the many if you give them access to the right tool. A Pinterest for a world of ideas.
A few weeks after the initial idea was born, we came together as a founding team of five and have grown to seven since then. At the moment, Fount remains our passion project on the side and this is just fine. We love what we do and enjoy the freedom that comes from bootstrapping a company without the danger of running out of cash. Now, eleven months after the initial idea, we are ready to launch our Alpha. Are we nervous? Sure enough. This is our first gig on our own and there is so much we don't know.
Many concepts are easily understood in theory but hard to apply in practice. What really is our minimum viable product? Considering that much of the initial codebase might be thrown away afterwards, how much time should we spend on questions such as architecture? The truth is that reality is incredibly messy. While it helps a lot to access the distilled learnings of some of the greatest minds, much of the real learning comes with experience and only with that.
During the last months, we talked to over fifty potential users, asked them about their behaviour and pain points, discussed Fount and ended each interview with the question "Why would this fail?" Two answers kept on being repeated. Firstly, the product is not going to work unless the network effect kicks in. For that to start, we need thought leaders to share their curations with the world. Secondly, our value proposition and narrative around it won't be clear enough. What is it that Fount solves? For tackling both challenges, we would love each of you, our users, to contribute.
Help us figure out where to go next and let's make this an amazing product together. Although we talked to so many of you and learned a ton, one thing remains certain. You don't know until you know. And for that, we are so excited to finally learn in our Alpha.