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App of the week: Eisenhower, the to-do list to keep you on task – just 32 of them Written by Nina Fowler on 5. September 2012

Eisenhower – Tim Brückmann and Andreas Kwiatkowski

Eisenhower – Tim Brückmann and Andreas Kwiatkowski

Web and iOS app EISENHOWER is putting a new spin on old US president Dwight D. Eisenhower’s four-square system for getting things done.

Eisenhower matrixBuild on the maxim “what is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important”, the Eisenhower matrix divides tasks into four boxes depending on importance and urgency. In other words: do now (green), schedule (blue), delegate (yellow), don’t do (red).

Andreas Kwiatkowski, based in Cologne, ex-head of product at German music streaming service Simfy, liked the tool and couldn’t find an online version for what he wanted so decided to build one. After spending $150 on an outsourced minimum viable product, using that to find a technical co-founder – Tim Brückmann – and without giving up his day job (Tim didn’t either), the EISENHOWER app is now live for web (free) and, as of yesterday, for iPhone ($1.99).


It’s a good story, but how’s the app? The standout is that – unlike other to-do list apps we’ve used, including Asana – there’s a tight limit to tasks: just eight for each box. That helps solve the problem of writing tasks and reminders down endlessly and not doing any of them. There’s also a timer tool to dedicate users to the task at hand.

Unlike Asana and Wunderlist, from Berlin startup company 6Wunderkinder, this seems like an app for personal use only, with no apparent option to share tasks or lists with others.

The web app, live since December 2011, so far has slightly more than 500 users – with the caveat that the team haven’t spent anything on advertising or put much effort into publicity beyond this guest post on VentureVillage in May.

That’s enough for Kwiatkowski and Brückmann to be prepared to continue bootstrapping the project until they get an iPad version out. And after that? “Android definitely needs some funding or, even better, many people seeing value in our iOS app, generating revenues,” Kwiatkowski told VentureVillage.

Hedging their bets, the team also offer A5 paper notepads ($3.70), plan to offer B2B services such as time management training and high-volume notepad orders and are “currently in talks with our first two business customers”.

It’s a sensible approach to a small but potentially useful tool and potentially profitable business. The direct competitor is Priority Matrix, as well as Asana, Wunderlist and all the rest, but in a market this subject to personal preference, there’s always room for the right newcomer.


Why you should stop looking for a technical co-founder – at least for now
Don’t drink the startup Kool-Aid – just find a problem and try to solve it