Meet the man who created apps that have consistently ranked on list of Top Apps for both iOS and Android. Omer Perchik, is the creator of Any.Do, the best To-Do app. I loved it so much that I decided to do this interview to take a peek into his brain.
1) What motivated you to start Any.do?
I came up with the initial idea for Any.do after a particularly frustrating US Visa application process – an experience I’m sure many others share with me. There were so many forms, deadlines, and little bits of information to remember, and I was struck by how there was no useful resource for a task that is so common. I asked myself why, in general, there was no tool for the countless other processes similar to a Visa application. Just as they say necessity is the mother of invention, Any.do was borne of my experience.
Of course once I really got into the concept, I realized that truly advanced task management and productivity is not about getting more done faster. It’s about preserving and focusing time for the things that truly matter to us but never get written into a to-do list: spending time with friends, finally starting that novel, going for a long walk, and so on. I was inspired to create the apps that would literally shift people’s time in a positive direction. It seems simple, but the impact can be significant.
2) Walk us through your career journey.
After serving two years in the Israeli Defense Force, I co-founded a marketing agency in Israel. Shortly after that I went back to school for an accounting degree, but dropped out (due to boredom and restlessness to start my own venture.) I started Any.do in my third year of pursuing my accounting degree and never looked back.
3) What specific daily habits has greatly improved your own productivity?
There’s a running joke that entrepreneurs excel at being focused because they’re so shallow – focusing on their work simply means focusing on themselves – and I can tell you it’s true! But I do have a rotation of tools that keep me going even when my focus is challenged.
Right now my Bose noise cancelling headphones are the single most effective tool for helping me be productive. I put those on, turn on a playlist, get into my groove, and plow through work for hours at a time without being mentally or aurally interrupted. It’s hard to knock me out of focus once my headphones are on.
4) Other than Any.do, what other productivity apps do you use?
The Any.do team and I use apps like Dropbox and Whatsapp to keep communication flowing. Any app that can help us all stay in the loop is awesome.
5) What is one of your biggest failures in life? How did you overcome it and what life lessons did it teach you to become a better person?
When I finished my mandatory term in the Israeli Defence Force, I decided to co-found a marketing agency in Israel with one of my closest friends. It was a really exciting time and my first chance to make a name for myself by doing something I loved with a partner I trusted. I was really eager to make mark with this new company and change the marketing landscape, no matter how small in magnitude, with my vision.
However by two years in, things had changed. My partner and I started having creative differences, and those turned into deep rifts within the company. My vision and drive were suddenly replaced by uncertainty and it made me question my own ability and future in marketing. It occurred to me that I had two definitive choices at that point – struggle to reclaim and build the company I had such high hopes for, or walk away and have the guts to start something completely new. At times it seemed like the difference between fighting the good fight and admitting defeat. But when I took the time to listen to my intuition, I knew that walking away was the right choice. I wanted to create, to build, to contribute to my world. Wasting any time squabbling over creative differences with my partner stood in direct contrast to that, so I took a leap of faith and moved on to Any.do.
Best decision I ever made. Not because it led to a successful startup, but because I bet on myself and won.
6) Who do you admire and what qualities in them do you admire them for?
Elon Musk. That may sound cliche coming from a tech entrepreneur like me, but Musk truly is the innovator of our time. He’s obviously a genius, but he’s also such a creative and daring visionary, it’s hard to name anyone else quite like him. He consistently takes on and conquers challenges few others would be willing to tackle. I think collectively, both in and outside of the tech community, we should be thankful to people like him who dare to think on such a grand scale for the sake of bettering our society. I admire his fearlessness, his commitment, and above all his tireless pursuit of the next frontier.
7) What is the best advice you have ever received?
The best advice I ever got was to challenge things that seem obvious, and to see every challenge as an opportunity. It’s all a matter of the perspective.
Name 3 things on your bucketlist that you are most passionate about.
Go to Japan. The country and it’s people have always deeply impressed me and I’d love to immerse myself in the culture.
Have a happy family, be a good father and husband, and leave behind a legacy for my children.
Give a TED Talk before I turn 40.
9) What 3 books you’ve read would you highly recommend to others.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman – A terrific exploration into factors influencing our intuition, thoughts, and perceptions
Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of Hayim Nahman Bialik – A beautiful collection by one of my favorite poets
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – I’m always moved by this deeply touching tale of life, love, and loss, as told in an unassuming children’s book