“The biggest thing I’ve learned is that it’s really practical to do things 10 to 100 times faster than other companies. The nature of software lends itself to significant differences in speed. We’ve been able to internalise, lean into that and work more quickly and more productively than the competition. That’s much more effective than prioritising”.

 – Alex, Co-founder at Workforce and Tanda

Today, I’m speaking with Alex Ghiculescu, co-founder of both Tanda and Workforce.com. Alex is known for blogging and has a Substack newsletter where he shares stories from his 10+ years of building Tanda. Additionally, through Keen Strategies, Alex invests in B2B SaaS companies offering early-stage investments alongside technical and operational experience. In 2012 he received a distinction Bachelor of Business and Information Technology, Software Engineering from QUT (Queensland University of Technology).

Tanda is an Australian Payroll, Rostering, and HR software designed for businesses that employ hourly workers. The company is headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, and also operates internationally as Workforce.com. Tanda offers an all-in-one solution that includes time & attendance, workforce scheduling, payroll integration, and reporting tools. In case you’ve not realised, Tanda stands for Time and Attendance.

In this podcast, we cover…

– Alex’s experience founding Tanda as a university student and the early days of building the company.

– Lessons learned from expanding Tanda’s operations internationally, including challenges of the US market.

– Perspectives on what Australian businesses can learn from sales and marketing approaches in the US SaaS industry.

– Tanda’s journey innovating in the workforce management and payroll spaces over the past decade.

– His views on the importance of listening to customers, building quickly, and focusing on speed in software development.

Summary of the interview:

  • Workforce management platform development and sales strategies
    • Alex found that poor attendance and rostering management were major factors in a university bar’s financial struggles, so we decided to create a solution to address these issues.
  • Software development and prioritisation
    • Doing things 10-100 times faster than other companies is key to being productive and effective in software development.
    • The impact of understanding the importance of speed in software development, and how it influences decisions and priorities.
  • Company culture, hiring, and software development
    • Hiring inexperienced programmers (21 y/o) led to successful projects, despite initial doubts.
  • US medical system and business expansion
    • Alex’s Colorado experience: a great adventure and learned a lot.
    • He advises against expanding to the US without proper research, citing difficulty in understanding local market nuances.
  • Entrepreneurship and business expansion
    • The underestimated extent of differences between US and Australian businesses when expanding to the US.
  • Sales and marketing operations in Australia.
    • Sales and marketing operations in Australia are more mature and sophisticated than in the US, with a cultural bias towards more aggressive and competent sales tactics.
    • The speaker was surprised by the level of operational sophistication in the SaaS industry in Australia, with many businesses having a high level of talent and experience.
  • Entrepreneurship, leadership, and business strategies
    • The value of not having a college degree in business, noting that it can help avoid an inflated ego and better connect with customers.
    • Discussing the book “In the Company of Giants” by Jager and Raphael, which features interviews with successful entrepreneurs and business leaders.
  • Productivity habits and app preferences
    • Using Spotify for music and the Tesla app for electric vehicle management, finding them fun and functional.
    • Working on a payroll system is interesting and a fresh spin on the industry.
  • Automating payroll and accounting tasks
    • Alex on building the most functional and comprehensive product in the country, with a focus on automating payroll and accounting processes.