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In which I pretend to be a PM for apps like Talisman, which was top product of the week on ProductHunt. Talisman promises a better way to audit, manage, and plan a  software subscription budget. In this episode, I talk to my friend Gabriel who's the CFO of Caju, a São Paulo based startup. 

As a PM my objective is to help build products that provide value to high-frequency use- cases so it can acquire newer users at lower cost and retain existing ones at higher value. 

  • Use-cases: How often and how severe is the use-case. Is there a higher frequency, higher severity adjacent use-case. 

  • Acquisition: What are barriers to try and switch. 

  • Retention: Can value be delivered sooner to avoid risk of churn. 


  • Software spend monitoring for Gabriel is a low frequency (monthly), low severity activity. 

  • Caju, a growth stage venture doesn't appear to need to monitor SW spend "live", the way an (eg:) an indie-developer or Seed stage venture might need to. 

  • The driver for SW spend at growth stage is value. If the SW is delivering value, the cost is more or less justified. Cost could be a driver for a smaller companies with shorter runway. 

  • "What happened next" as a conversation hack to get detailed and reliable user feedback worked

Next steps with Gabriel and others:

  • Mockups/ prototypes: Talisman's product today appears to be aimed at the price conscious startup/ small business. So their dashboard shows cost related information like YTD spend and # transactions. As a PM I'd be interested to show Gabriel mockups of value metrics (eg: 5 star reviews by his coworkers). 

  • Talk & test: Chat with more potential users and buyers at companies at various stages to fine tune who the ideal customer is. 

Big thanks to Gabriel for his time and knowledge! 

Other than the main thing above, some other things I learn from Gabriel

  • It isn't hard to fly economy again (he switched from McKinsey to startup)

  • Companies in Brazil get a tax break when offering employees meal vouchers

  • Kaaju in Hindi comes from Caju in Portuguese

  • CFOs can have a growth mindset too

  • Startups in Brazil grow responsibly (spend a buck when you have 3) 

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