The Power, Importance of Dogfooding

The last few weeks have been nothing short of exciting. Not only have we become increasingly more public with our efforts (especially with Jeff’s announce) but we’ve started scheduling in time to connect with some of our early test group individuals, teams, and organizations.

Naturally, it’s tough to do the latter considering that many folks are “clocking out” for end of the year activities, holidays, and the New Year that is fast-approaching (can you believe 2016 is nearly over?!).

This has given us an incredible opportunity to not only hone our initial Alpha Demo but also participate in the much-needed activity of “dogfooding” our own product, as they say.

Any good engineering and product team will ultimately know their product better than anyone else and for good reason: If the team doesn’t end up using their own product and find it exceedingly useful then the product isn’t actually providing the proposed value.

This seems obvious but you and I have been around long enough to know what it’s like to meet folks who, for whatever reason, do not even use their own products. This is especially worrisome when the founders “build but don’t use” and should be a tell-tale sign of what’s working and what’s not.

Personally, one of the things that I’m more comfortable with than I ever have been is admitting to myself (and the team) when the product isn’t meeting my own internal standard of use. This is mostly because I’ve built more than a handful of products in the past and I know exactly what it feels like when I’ve personally abandoned my own work – again, for whatever reason it might be.

Being honest and forthcoming in your product and engineering process is paramount for business success. You can only get so far on the whispers of utility and on the excitement of trying something new. At some point you either end up using it or you don’t.

And that’s why dogfooding is so important.

So, it might be a great time to ask yourself and your team – is what we’re building exceedingly useful for ourselves? Why or why not? What’s missing and why am I (are we) not using it, even as we try to market and sell it to others?


Also published on Medium.

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