Jon Paris the co-founder of the task managment app Astrid tell the story of how he got started.

Today we meet Jon Paris the co-founder of Astrid: an app which seeks to provide an easier way for people to better manage tasks and emails, and thus become more productive.

Q: Tell us the startup story behind Astrid, where did the Idea come from and what exactly does it do?

Jon:  Astrid started as a side project. While Tim (our CEO) was on vacation in Las Vegas. He wanted an app that would pester him until he would do what was important to him.

In the first week Astrid had 10,000 downloads on Android.

Since then Astrid A cross-platform, shared to-do list designed to help individuals and groups become super productive

At its core it is the same. We help user put the right things on their lists, stay organized and get things done.

QWhat are some of the projects you are working on right now?

Jon:  We just launched our iPad App and a premium version of Astrid

To learn more about it,  see press coverage below

Techcruch post 

Lifehacker post

And we plan on extending this to other platforms. Desktop users currently have an on-line version and we plan to launch an offline version with an amazingly fast and trustworthy sync.

QWhat’s the total number of user are currently using Astrid, and how do you plan to keep growing?

Jon:  Astrid currently has over 500 Monthly Active Users. We plan on growing in three ways. First through App Stores. Users on iPhone and Android looking for a shared list making app or even a simple to-do list discover us. Second through user referrals. Users share lists with non-Astrid users and new Astrid uses are born! Finally we are working on some amazon top secret stuff that we will launch shortly. We will show it off shortly 🙂

Q: How do you go about marketing your business, what has been the most successful form of marketing for you?

Jon:  App Stores and Mobile SEO is the best form of marketing for us. If you build something people are looking for, and they are happy when they find you then you have a winning product.

Astrid app

Q: Share a few tips and advice for new entrepreneurs on how to bring new ideas to life.

Jon:  You cannot beat the build -> measure -> Learn lifecycle of the Lean Startup movement. The first version of Astrid was built and shipped in about two weeks.

Most of my advice would be to people software products and services and it depends on where you start:

If you are an engineer build something quick and start testing it on users launch it with the second best name you can think of (save your best name for later). Put in analytics to see how users use the app. Watch comments and iterate.

If you’re a designer start with a rough sketch of each screen.  Test it on people. Even better use or something similar. While you are doing this save up some money or practice your pitch and work on getting an engineer to build it for you.

If you aren’t a design or an engineer then figure out how to recruit people who are. Your role in the startup will probably be marketing or recruitment so figure out how to identify and recruit talent!

QWho or what would you say inspired you the most to become an entrepreneur? How do you stay motivated?

Jon:  At Astrid we want to solve big problems. What people see is just the beginning. We believe that we can help over 1 billion people become happier, healthier and more productive. We believe we can help both the overwhelmed and the underemployed live more meaningful lives. With a fantastic team and a big team it is easy to stay motivated.

QWhat is the worst mistake one can make when starting a tech startup such as Astrid?

Starting with the wrong founders. I was lucky, I know great people – even so we had good legal docs and founder agreements in case things didn’t work out.

Q:  What is one thing that you on a daily basis to grow as an entrepreneur?

Jon:  I measure

Q: What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Jon:  These are not original but

Not sure these are skills but I’ll tell you what is important:

To start you need to be able to build stuff or recruit people who can. To continue you need to be resilient, hardworking and quick to learn from mistakes.

Q: What is your favorite entrepreneurship quote?

“real artists ship” attributed to Steve Jobs

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