Kit#9 Trevor Fountain

First name: Trevor
Last name: Fountain
Country: United States (based in France)
Occupation: Startup founder

Where to find Trevor online:

Trevor, what do you do?

I’m the founder of Quail a small SaaS business that provides software for antique malls and consignment stores.

What is your background?

I studied computer science (BS) and linguistics (PhD) at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Edinburgh, respectively.

Since then, I’ve co-founded a games studio, published a magazine, and shipped a grab-bag of B2B startups.

At the moment, my main focus is on Quail, a point-of-sale and store management program for antique malls and consignment stores.

Your favorite tools to help you with your work?

Linode gives me cheap, easy-to-manage VPSs that I use to host pretty much every product I build. There’s no vendor lock-in (*cough*AWS*cough*), no fuss — just quick, affordable linux hosts on demand.

I’m a product person at heart, and I hate boilerplate code. Yeoman plus a couple of generates usually gets me 50% of the way from idea to implementation. If I’ve sat down at my keyboard my goal is to build or grow a business, not futz with a build system. Yeoman just…generates what I need and lets me get on with it. <3.

Look, we all like to get paid. Stripe makes it crazy-easy to take credit card payments, handle subscriptions, issue refunds — all the paraphernalia associated with getting paid. I can’t imagine building an internet business without Stripe.

I’ve tried a zillion different analytics providers, and Mixpanel comes out on top for surfacing specific, actionable insights about user activity. It’s less great at tracking SEO or monitoring your traffic (use Google Analytics for that, obviously!), and once you break out of the free tier it’s crazy-expensive, but up until that point it’s just a no-brainer.

I run most of my side projects as a solo founder; helps me stay motivated by showing me what my current growth will look like in 3-6-12 months. Maybe I’m not feeling too proud of a newly-launched service that’s only collected a few paying users, but if Saascast shows me that if just keep doing what I’m doing I can grow it 10x. Sometimes.

If you’re building a SaaS product, you’ve almost certainly got a database back behind it somewhere. Datagrip is hands-down the best IDE for interacting with that database — again, not cheap, but it makes working with your DB painless and quick.

Your favorite tools on a personal level?

It’s like Hacker News, but smaller, more focused, and with a way more helpful community. I’m on here almost every day, taking the pulse of the hey-I’m-starting-an-internet-business community. There’s a lot to learn!

I live in France, and my French is…improving. Slowly. Linguee is a fantastic multi-lingual dictionary and translation tool. It’s probably not an exaggeration to say I might have starved to death without it.

I’m walking everywhere, all the time — and if I’m walking, I’m probably listening to podcasts.

Sadly, you can’t get all your news & reading from podcasts; it may be a little old-fashioned, but RSS is still a great way to follow the writers I want to read, and Reeder is the best way I’ve found to read RSS on the Mac in 2018.

Your absolute favorite tool in one sentence?

Stripe doesn’t just make it easy to accept payments — they make it _fun_. Seriously.