Eating our own (delicious) dog food
February 6, 2013 in Company Culture
Working at UserVoice is a little like being in the movie Inception. We’re expected to use our own platform to talk about our platform. If that sounds super meta, it totally is. And there’s a good reason for being that way: if you’re a software company using your competitor’s service, why should your customers use you and not them? For instance, at UserVoice we do customer feedback and helpdesk tools.
Our idea forum for feedback is a UserVoice forum. Our ticketing platform is our own helpdesk. We’re literally using our own services to talk about our services and that’s exactly how it should be. It’s called eating your own dogfood. There are few origin stories of where the phrase came from, but my favorite tells the story of the CEO of a dog food company who would eat a can of his own product during board meetings to display his confidence in its high quality.
At UserVoice, we eat our own dogfood (and like it too). Why? Because using our own product shows our customers that we have enough faith that our product gets the job done to use it ourselves. It forces us to have a deeper understanding of how our tools are used that, in turn, helps all of us, from support to sales to UI, empathize with what our customers need. And that’s the other awesome thing about dogfooding – the better you know your product, the more efficient you are at improving it. For example, our Head of Support Ted had these words on the subject:
“Eating our own dogfood is crucial in improving our product. I don’t understand how a company could not do this. It adds an extra layer of personal investment in the product.”
We care about making UserVoice as excellent as possible, and we couldn’t do it without eating our own dogfood. It’s a best practice we readily accept as an integral part of our company culture.