Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Eating Your Own Dogfood?

Two posts this morning grabbed my attention. They are “Hide Your Ipod, Here Comes Bill,” (at Wired) and “Sanyo asks workers to buy goods to ease loss” (Hindustan Times via BoingBoing.) In a presentation at, Chet Richards applies Boyd to business. One of his suggestions, which isn’t new, is to get inside the mind of the customer by using your own, and competitors’, products services. “If you’re a Delta VP, book your own tickets, and fly Continental half the time.” Microsoft used to refer to this as “eating your own dogfood.” Product groups were encouraged to rely on the tools they built. (I tried at one point to get Zero Knowledge to block outbound web traffic, requiring all employees to surf via the Freedom Network.)

If Sanyo positioned this as an ‘own dogfood’ maneuver, it would be brilliant. “Why aren’t our products selling? Get them in your house and use them.” If I were running Microsoft’s media player group, I’d give them a very simple goal: Get 10% of Microsoft employees to ditch their Ipods by time X. Fortunately, their failure to do this means that their DRM-heavy systems are dead on arrival.

One comment on "Eating Your Own Dogfood?"

  • DM says:

    The whole “eat your own dogfood thing” is great. The last two companies I’ve been at have used this heavily. In both cases we rolled all the products out internally before shipping the product. In my current position, we roll out live before even shipping beta. There is nothing quite like having 5000+ people using the product in real life to find the issues that QA will never be able to test for.

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