Do you eat your own dog food?
Have you ever heard the term “eat your own dog food”? Also called dogfooding, this slang term is kind of a gross-sounding way to say that you should use your own products and services. It seems common sense, but there are a surprising number of businesses that will offer their services or products to a client, and then use a different service or product within their own business.
Investopedia breaks down the term well: “The basic premise behind ‘eating your own dog food’ is that if a firm expects paying customers to use its products or services, it should expect no less from its own employees. Not using its own products for internal operations may imply that a company does not believe its products are best-of-breed despite its public proclamation of the fact, and that it has more confidence in a rival's offerings. This could not only have a negative impact on employee morale, but can also potentially turn into a public-relations debacle.”
If a firm expects paying customers to use its products or services, it should expect no less from its own employees.
The term’s roots are a bit murky, possibly beginning with the president of Kal Kan Pet Food eating a can of the company’s dog food at the annual shareholders’ meeting (ew!), but it took off in 1988 when a Microsoft manager sent an email titled “Eating our own Dogfood,” arguing for an increase in the internal usage of the company’s product.
This philosophy is not a lack of support in competitors’ work (think Coca-Cola not allowing employees to drink any Pepsi products) — we know there are many Saskatoon web design and content creation companies that are fantastic. Instead, the focus is on the functional aspect of the work we do.
At Vireo Creative, what you see is what you get. Our staff and freelancers serve us the same way we will serve you. Not only does dogfooding show that we’re confident in the services we offer, it’s also a way to test our system in the real world. By the time we offer you our services, we’ve already worked out all the kinks.
Due to the unappealing nature of the phrase “dogfooding,” many companies have tried to get other terms to catch on, including “drinking our own champagne,” “icecreaming,” or “eating our own cooking.” Maybe one of these other phrases will become more popular eventually, but for now it looks like we’re stuck with dogfooding. Dig in!