Share:

  • Facebook
  • Hacker News

Follow:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
Chris Cardell

Interview with Amir Salihefendic (Todoist)

Todoist an easy to use personal task manager and todo list application.

I interviewed Amir Salihefendic, Todoist founder to find out more. This interview is the forty ninth in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Amir for the interview!

How would you describe Todoist in under 50 words?

Todoist helps you get things done and is one of the most powerful productivity tools that’s currently available.

What made you decide to start working on Todoist?

In 2007, when I started Todoist, I was still a student and I had two programming jobs on the side. I had a lot of projects and I needed to manage my work and productivity. I looked at the market and most of the solutions were crappy, so I decided to create my own tool. I didn’t see this as a startup and I didn’t have great ambitions.

When you started Todoist in 2007 you say you didn’t know much about design and mostly cared about functional products that solved problems. Has this changed?

I think I cared about design in 2007, but I just didn’t think much about it. I remember reading a Todoist review from Khoi Vinh (former lead design of New York Times) and I was amazed he thought Todoist’s design was good. In 2007 I just wanted to implement a great task manager and I didn’t think much about how it should look like or what logo it should have.

Today this has changed. I have probably exchanged 8 different designers in the past 6 months in order to find one that matches my vision. I have spent thousands of dollars and lots of energy on this quest. Finally, I found Jorge, a designer from Portugal that’s really talented and we work great together.

I think competition is more fearsome now and differentiation on functionality alone is dangerous. A great example is Apple: they combine great design with great technology. I think Apple’s strategy is the way to go.

You have quite a background in startups! Tell us about Plurk Inc. and Wedoist, and how you got to be where you are now.

I co-founded Plurk in the end of 2007 and we grew it to be one of the top 1000 sites in the world – with millions of users, billions of pageviews and billions of data items. It was an amazing project and I have learnt a lot doing it. This said, my passion has never been in social networks. While working on Plurk I only worked on Todoist in the weekends and nights. In 2011 I returned back to the productivity space and I am currently working fulltime on Todoist and Wedoist.

You participated in Start-Up Chile last year. Tell us what you got out of the experience?

I enjoyed Startup-Chile. I have met a lot of amazing people from all around the world. I now speak Spanish and I have a Chilean girlfriend. Chile is an amazing country and I would recommend anyone to apply for Startup-Chile. While the program isn’t perfect, it’s an amazing experience.

Has Todoist got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?

It’s got a lot more growth than I had expected, especially since most of the development happend in 2007. The feedback has been great and I am very happy to know that we have helped people complete millions of tasks.

This said, the vision is much larger now. I plan to work on this for a long time and I plan to spend a lot of energy on making the world more productive. We only live once and the biggest satisfaction is when you contribute something amazing to the world (that’s at least how I feel).

What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?

Our biggest challenge is growing the company and the team. We have right now 12 people working on Todoist and Wedoist. We work with a virtual team across the world. We have people in US, Chile, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Great Britain, Rumania, Turkey and Pakistan. It’s a challenge syncing everything up, but it’s also exciting, because we are not doing things like the other companies and we try to hire the best people from around the world.

What are you most excited about at the moment?

I want to make the world more productive. I wake up each morning and I am excited to work towards this goal.

Finished reading? Check out Todoist!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 at 8:24 am GMT. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.



Quick links

Print | Email this story

You might also like

    None Found

Most Popular


Recent Articles



Tell us a bit about your background before Marketizator.

I’m from Romania, born in the communist period. I began my mission as an entrepreneur mid 2000s when I bought cable internet in Bucharest...
Valentin Radu (Marketizator)

Valentin Radu
Marketizator

Describe Mobile Web America in under 50 words.

Mobile Web America has developed a solution called Live-Sync. Our technology is a complex parsing system that enables us to utilize...
Jason Pammer (Mobile Web America)

Jason Pammer
Mobile Web America

What one piece of advice would you give to soon to be startup founders?

“Overnight success” takes five years of hard work....
Tõnu Runnel (Edicy)

Tõnu Runnel
Edicy

How did you meet co-founder Brooke Paul?

Brooke and I met a few years back right around the time we both were exiting our startups at the time. Once I sold my business I started dabbling in some local...
David Hunegnaw (AboutOurWork)

David Hunegnaw
AboutOurWork

You have quite a background in startups! Tell us how you got to be where you are now.

I’ve had hits and I’ve had misses. You definitely need the misses to enable the hits. Never dread or lament a miss, it will be your biggest learning...
Kate Hiscox (Bablingo!)

Kate Hiscox
Bablingo!

What made you decide to start working on JobGizmo?

The idea of a job hunt organizer came to me back in 2005. I was in a continuing education program, trying to expand my web programming...
Avery Smith (JobGizmo)

Avery Smith
JobGizmo

Easy WebContent as a whole has 5 employees, do you see this further expanding as you continue to develop?

We kept the team small on purpose. It helps us collaborate faster and make changes without the politics involved in larger companies. Easy WebContent is backed...
Payman Taei (Easy WebContent Presenter)

Payman Taei
Easy WebContent Presenter