Entry in progress—B.P.
Wikipedia: Eating your own dog food
Eating your own dog food, also called dogfooding, is when a company (usually, a software company) uses the products that it makes. Dogfooding can be a way for a company to demonstrate confidence in its own products, and hence a kind of testimonial advertising. For example, Microsoft and Google emphasize the internal use of their own software products. In 1988, Microsoft manager Paul Maritz sent Brian Valentine, test manager for Microsoft LAN Manager, an email titled “Eating our own Dogfood”, challenging him to increase internal usage of the company’s product. From there, the usage of the term spread through the company.
The idea behind “eating your own dog food” is that if you expect customers to buy your products, you should also be willing to use them. InfoWorld commented that this needs to be transparent and honest: “watered-down examples, such as auto dealers’ policy of making salespeople drive the brands they sell, or Coca-Cola allowing no Pepsi products in corporate offices ... are irrelevant.” The risks of public failure when using a company’s own products may explain the limited amount of public dogfooding. A perceived advantage beyond marketing is that it should allow employees to test the products in real, complex scenarios, and it gives management pre-launch a sense of progress as the product is being used in practice.
Forcing those who design products to actually use and rely on them is often thought to improve quality and usability, but software developers may be blind to usability and may have knowledge to make software work that an end user will lack. Microsoft’s chief information officer noted in 2008 that, previously, “We tended not to go through the actual customer experience. We were always upgrading from a beta, not from production disk to production disk.” Dogfooding may happen too early to be viable, and those forced to use the products may assume that someone else has reported the problem or they may get used to applying workarounds. Dogfooding may be unrealistic, as customers will always have a choice of different company’s products to use together, and the product may not be being used as intended. The process can lead to a loss of productivity and demoralisation, or at its extreme to “Not Invented Here syndrome” – i.e., only using internal products.
Origin and alternatives
The editor of IEEE Software recounts that in the 1980s television advertisements for Alpo dog food, Lorne Greene pointed out that he fed Alpo to his own dogs. Another possible origin is the president of Kal Kan Pet Food, who was said to eat a can of his dog food at shareholders’ meetings.
In 2007, the CIO of Pegasystems said that she uses the alternate phrase “drinking our own champagne”. Novell’s head of public relations Bruce Lowry, commenting on his company’s use of Linux and OpenOffice, said that he also prefers this phrase. In 2009, the new CIO of Microsoft, Tony Scott, argued that the phrase “dogfooding” was unappealing and should be replaced by “icecreaming”, with the aim of developing products as “ice cream that our customers want to consume.”
Dr. Dobb’s Journal: software tools for the professional programmer
Volume 18, Issues 202-208
Elsewhere, Dave Cutler at Microsoft has expressed this more colorfully: having the Windows/NT programmers “eat their own dog food” every day (doing a daily build of evolving NT system and installing it on all machines).
Google Groups: alt.fan.bill-gates
Newsgroups: alt.fan.bill-gates, comp.os.ms-windows.advocacy
From: (David Brown)
Date: Thu, 19 May 1994 07:18:44 GMT
Local: Thurs, May 19 1994 1:18 am
Subject: Re: UNIX login when telnet Microsoft.com
MS does encourage developers to “eat their own dogfood,” so to speak.
Google Groups: comp.sys.mac.programmer.codewarrior
From: (Robert Currey)
Date: 9 Dec 1994 09:33:02 GMT
Local: Fri, Dec 9 1994 3:33 am
Subject: Incorporate MW devolopment into PP. Please!!!
I’m glad to see that you are going to ‘eat your own dog food’ (quote courtesy of B. Gates).
Techniques for functional testing of software and systems
By Boris Beizer
New York, NY: J. Wiley
Eating Your Own Dog Food. I first heard this from Microsoft’s Roger Sherman. If you sell dog food, you should not hesitate to eat a bowl of your own product.
July 9, 1997 2:00 PM PDT
Netscape to use its extranet software
By Nick Wingfield
Staff Writer, CNET News
In the world of high-tech marketing, eating your own dog food is essential. Today, Netscape Communications (NSCP) announced plans to do just that.
The Motley Fool
Author Julie Bick on Microsoft
Transcript of the Live Event
August 6, 1997
TMF Czar: Good evening, Fools, and welcome to our auditorium event with Julie Bick (MotleyJule), author of “All I Really Need to Know About Business I Learned at Microsoft.”
TMF Czar: That’s great. I was looking through your book, and there’s an interesting lesson in there about eating your own dog food. Can you tell us more about that?
MotleyJule: Eat your own dog food means use your products like a real customer would. At MSFT that means using the new email even if it crashes all the time! You can see how it is to install, use, train, transfer files, etc… Same holds true for any biz—even a Godiva chocolates store. Try those truffles!
OCLC WorldCat record
Java Reflections - Eat your own dog food
Author: Brent W Benson Jr
Publisher: New York, NY : ACM Press, [1991-
Edition/Format: Article : English
Publication: ACM SIGPLAN notices : a monthly publication of the Special Interest Group on Programming Languages. 33, no. 12, (1998): 16
OCLC WorldCat record
Information Technology - EATING THEIR OWN DOG FOOD . Premier IT companies use their own products.
Author: Suruchi Mohan
Publisher: [Framingham, Mass., etc., International Data Group, etc.]
Edition/Format: Article : English
Publication: Computerworld. (November 1998): 21
The New Power Breakfast
by Adam Bryant
May 15, 2000
So whose brain came up with “eating your own dog food’?’ Gordon Bell, a former Digital Equipment Corp. whiz who’s now a senior researcher at Microsoft, gets credit from colleagues for coining the phrase. The expression, Bell explains, refers to a company using its software programs or products in their early stages, even if the process is somewhat disagreeable, as a way of testing them to improve quality. “We have to eat our own dog food to see if we get sick, find out how it tastes,” he adds.
Bell figures he simply updated an old marketing expression. And yes, Al Ries, a marketing consultant, says the phrase “Will the dogs eat the dog food?” probably originated in discussions about dog-food advertisements. The phrase came to be used for any situation in which a product was being sold to people who would not necessarily use it themselves. But the expression has long since slipped its leash, and is now being used in all sorts of contexts where it probably doesn’t belong.
Meme “eating own dog food” goes back way further than Paul Maritz at MS. At least to IBM in the 1970’s. Sorry, RW Web. http://bit.ly/Mcm4
2:33 PM Jan 10th, 2009 via web
VMworld 2009: Virtualization, controversy and eating your own dog food
04 September, 2009 02:50
by Jon Brodkin
9. Maritz also poked fun at himself by claiming that one of his only contributions to the IT world is coining the commonly used “eat your own dog food” phrase. “You can read about it on Wikipedia, so it must be true,” Maritz said.
New York City • Food/Drink • (0) Comments • Saturday, February 19, 2011 • Permalink