Pop Quiz, Monday with Tony Laudato, President and Founder at TDJ Systems
The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.
I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.
Can you please tell everyone your name?
What is your job role?
President and Founder
Tell us about your company?
TDJ Systems was founded in 2016 with its flagship product TDJ Golf; the industry’s first golf mobile app that brings together on-course play and fantasy sports. This blending of reality and digital sports is ushering golf into the eSports arena.
Golfers can now partner with their favorite pros each week and compete against friends at their local golf course, or with other players across the country in virtual pro-am tournaments.
TDJ is a family company. My co-founder, Dante Reynolds is also my son. We are both lifetime golfers with a distinct vision and raw passion for the sport. We want the app to fuse together the experiences of pros and amateurs alike, connecting golfers to increase engagement — resulting in golfers playing more rounds and following the professional tours more closely. We firmly believe that this unique and innovative approach is excellent for the golfer, beneficial for golf courses and an essential step for the golf business.
What do you love most about your job?
I have always loved building products from the ground up. At TDJ, we are breaking new ground every day since we are creating a brand-new category in the golf industry. As with all start-ups, there are ups and downs, but working directly with our users to deliver them a personalized sports experience is priceless.
What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
The thrill of a start-up! Each day brings new and different challenges. My abilities are tested every day, and I am guaranteed to learn something new. I know that only my best effort will do to help make us successful. This applies to the specific projects I am working through, but also about how I work with the others on the team to drive them towards excellence. It indeed is a team effort, and I am very thankful for the team we have and the effort and individual skills they bring to the table.
How do your co-workers inspire you?
I am in constant awe of our team. Their continual ability to learn and adapt is genuinely inspiring. Delivering a new product category to the market has its challenges, but the team’s constant attention to detail improves our product and our marketing approach with every interaction we have with our clients. They all think in different ways allowing us to approach opportunities and challenges in the best way possible.
How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Being a golf-tech company, we spend a lot of time on the golf course! We also have a lot of fun with our social media presence. There are so many unique people out in the world playing golf. We love to highlight the talented and at times the ridiculous. If you can’t have fun golfing, you should not be playing.
What are some of the challenges of your job?
Being the Founder, you are pulled in multiple directions. Finding the right balance of current issues and forward-looking strategy is a constant battle. I dedicate time every day for work on each of these. It’s easy to get consumed with one or the other on any given day. Without this balance, and especially under stress, it’s natural for people to revert to what they know best, slowing the progress of the company down.
What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
Know when it is time to cut bait and move on. Since there is a lot of investment of either time or money into decisions we make, there is a natural tendency to give them the benefit of the doubt when deep down we know the right answer is to change course and move on. These are hard decisions, but the ones that need to be made for the continual development of the company.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
Build a balanced team that you trust. If the team all approaches issues in the same manner, you’re destined for problems. A “whole-brain” is needed to run a company and having the right talent successfully is essential. One thing that will also become apparent is to understand the difference of things you and tour team “think” versus what you “know.” Truly knowing something is a very high bar to clear. Challenge all of your assumptions to anticipate and prepare for the problems that will inevitably arise.
Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web: