Building Frido without Frido

Madsen Vale
Published in
4 min readMay 16, 2021


Frido was born from a long-lasting discontentment with to-do solutions out there.

Frido's logo was designed by one of the most talented designers I know

I’ve been always surrounded by very talented people and it was painful to watch them struggle with the anxiety brought by seemingly endless lists.

One after the other, they would give in to procrastination. Not because they wanted to but because they didn’t know what else to do.

Even the ones who were always doing loads of things, always felt they were never doing enough. And they were.

Making a Decision

Yeah science!

It was a warm Sunday afternoon (probably not) when I decided to finally tackle the problem. What did I do? Well, I did what any designer would: tried to reverse engineer the problem. of course!

Countless hours spent reading scientific papers, talking to people, going through several apps until I could connect the dots.

As it turns out, my anecdotal evidences were not completely delusional. Dozens of studies and testimonials adding up to the hypothesis that the problem was there and that it’s much more serious than I thought.

Some good weeks went by and this is where I was at:

To-Do Lists + Procrastination = Anxiety

The initial research helped with the definition of the 3 major hypotheses:

  1. People find it difficult to select one item to tackle when confronted with lots of choices
  2. People are draw to simple tasks because of the short-term psychological payoff
  3. People lacked commitment devices to steer then into working on things they are resilient to

It's not just an App

Having the idea and validating through research is not even half of the story.

My previous life experiences allowed me to get a good understanding of product design, marketing, coding, recruiting and a fair amount of business development.

Knowing that, it became obvious: I couldn’t possibly do this alone.

I reached out to close friends that always trusted my potential and even so it wasn't easy. First because everyone has a "disruptive" idea these days , second, some thoughts and concepts were barely explainable verbally.

It took me long enough to realize I was spending too much time trying to explain what Frido was instead of just showing people what it was. Guess what I did? Well, I designed a prototype.

Scribbles and more scribbles

Having the first prototype was a game changer, it made inspiring people to join a much easier task.

I got priceless support from some very special people along the way, however, running a side hustle can be very taxing and ultimately they gave in to being overwhelmed.

We needed Frido to build Frido, after all.

The Founding Fridoers

A toast to the first open beta

In a different life, Karkid and I had the chance to work together in a very complex app ecosystem. The moment I posted on LinkedIn I was going in with Frido, he promptly shared his curiosity and interest in joining me on this journey. And since then, he have been a loyal partner in founding.

To this day, I cherish the memory of the very first discussions we had about the algorithm behind the sorting of Fridos. It was clear I was way out of my league but with the support of the friends we made along the way, we managed to get it done and now, well, it’s there for your to enjoy.

Where do we go from here?

We do have a roadmap and we stick to it

One thing I can categorically say: we are far from done.

The first findings are very positive but we have cultivated a backlog packed with very exciting ideas that we can’t wait for you to experience.

We will just take our time to get there. And so should you.

Frido is currently on Beta and you can get your invitation at: