Reboot Podcast Episode #47 – Embracing Both Sides of Yourself – with Amir Salihefendic, CEO of Doist

The Reboot podcast showcases the heart and soul, the wins and losses, the ups and downs of startup leadership. On the show, Entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and Startup Leaders discuss with Jerry Colonna the emotional and psychological challenges they face daily as leaders.

Episode 47 // September 8th, 2016

“I am not what has happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”


Amir Salihefendic

Amir Salihefendic

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Episode Description

Amir Salihefendic, the founder and CEO of Doist, is the creator of the powerful and popular productivity tool, Todoist (which is awesome). He comes to Jerry feeling torn between two seemingly different directions for his business.  On one side, he feels the ambition to do big, world-changing things and to be on every smartphone and desktop.  But on the other side, as the son of entrepreneurial parents who owned a grocery store, he knows how important it is to just keep the business alive and take care of yourself and your family (and to be grateful for that) – to not put your family, your health, yourself at risk. The ambitious path with burnout or the steady, safe path with possible regrets? He has wrestled with this something he must decide, but what if there isn’t a choice? Or what if there is a 3rd option he’s not seeing? Jerry joins Amir and they explore this apparent conflict, talk about his upbringing and his family’s escape from the war in Bosnia when he was young, and in this exploration, they uncover a new path forward for Amir and the business, one of integration.

Amir Salihefendic on Twitter 

Show Highlights

Top Quotes:

“I have bootstrapped this company from the ground up. This wasn’t because I couldn’t raise money. It was because I wanted to do it that way.” – Amir Salihefendic

“My biggest struggle right now is figuring out how to take this company that is making millions of dollars in revenue, and grow that to tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue while scaling the team and product base.” – Amir Salihefendic

“Having very high ambitions may be problematic.” – Amir Salihefendic

“I am never satisfied with the status quo.” – Amir Salihefendic

“It is really annoying that no matter what you do, you will never really be satisfied.” – Amir Salihefendic

“The problem with ambition is it keeps growing. You reach one level and then you look for the next. Once you reach the next level you look for another one. It seems like a never ending path. This is positive because you grow as a person and build something meaningful, but it is also very tiring and dangerous at times.” – Amir Salihefendic

“The danger with ambition can be depression and burnout.” – Amir Salihefendic“If you put too much pressure on yourself or other people, it can possibly lead to misery in the end.” – Amir Salihefendic

“Too often, people don’t prize the value of bootstrapping and actually building a profitable business from the get-go.” – Jerry Colonna

“There is nothing wrong with running a business where you simply have more money at the end of the day than you did at the beginning of the day. This is the goal.” – Jerry Colonna

“The struggle is that a lot of things become much harder once you scale. Everything is easier in the beginning when you are just a few people with a product. Communication is easier. Building things is easier. Your responsibility is easier.” – Amir Salihefendic

“The vision of the company is to have hundreds of millions of users, and to have a company where people are healthy, taking care of themselves, and not hating their lives.” – Jerry Colonna

“If you as a founder only think about yourself, that is a very short-sighted way of looking at the world.” – Amir Salihefendic

“A lot of people are not happy, but other people are struggling a lot more. My life has been a lot easier than my parents. Starting my business has been a game compared to them starting theirs. They had to start their business without even knowing the language.” – Amir Salihefendic 

“We should be grateful for the opportunity that we have because it is much better than most other people in the world.” – Amir Salihefendic