June 12, 2019

Give the people what they want

Gabe Alves

TrackMySubs / EXTAG

Ammo Marketing caught up with Trackmysubs & EXTAG founder Gabe Alves. In this podcast, Gabe discussed how he built two customer-centric startups and how to navigate the often silent killer "feature creep".


Trackmysubs / Extag


Trackmysubs: Tracking recurring payments (subscriptions) to online services is cumbersome and regularly results in overpaying for services you don’t want or need

Extag: Digitising previously manual identification processes for engineers in the field


Trackmysubs: Small businesses and freelancers (design, software, etc.)

Extag: Mining & Oil & Gas Corporations

Two big pieces of advice

Don’t believe the hype. Set your expectations realistically. Most start-ups are a business like any other and don’t go on to become the next Canva. Most businesses will fail in the first 18 months and if you can get to 5 years, you’re going to be one of the rare ones. If you treat your business like any normal business, then you won’t be disappointed when that doesn’t happen and you’ll plan for the longer-term, rather than short-term. Start your business with a long-term plan in mind to make it sustainable.

One thing leads to another thing. You never know what’s going to open the next door, but the one certainty is that if you don’t open the door, you’ll never find out what’s behind it. You build momentum by getting started and not being afraid to go through tough learning curves


(5:20) – Thinking outside the box to build your product: hiring a university student

(7:00) – Reaching your first customers through understanding your unique selling proposition, target audience and where you can find them

(9:29) – Determine who needs your product the most and focus your messaging on these customers. Trying to be everything to everyone is an ineffective strategy for acquiring customers, particularly in the early stages of a start-up

(11:52) – How to prioritise features within your product. Early days the focus is on functionality over design, i.e., creating the required functionality to solve your customer’s problem, but not allowing feature creep to occur (features that are ‘nice to haves’ not ‘must haves’)

(17:40) – One big learning for founders of direct-to-consumer businesses: Don’t believe the hype and stay grounded in your expectations

(19:12) – The importance of understanding where the ‘aha’ moments are for your customers. Reducing friction and providing value for them as early as possible

(23:00) – How Trackmysubs retains users

(25:15) – Word of mouth and referral mechanisms

(26:15) – The benefit of having a paid product: if you don’t charge for your product, customer expectations can be lowered which in turn makes them less sticky

(30:15) – Using an end-user first approach to sell business-to-business

(32:35) – Relationship farming: B2B sales requires expanding your network of potential customers and building trust over time

Show & Tell

Family comes first: building a culture that allows founders and employees to put their family first is critical to long-term success and employee wellbeing