Eat your own dog food

Lorne Greene advertising Alpo dog food
one of the original adverstisements

“We’ve got to eat our own dog food”

I’m not sure that I would eat dog food, even if I worked for a dog food company, so I find this saying a bit odd.

Apparently it comes from 1980’s ads when Lorne Greene made testimonial style ads (as shown on the right) although he never said that he ate the dog food himself. The source usually cited is the Microsoft email sent in 1988 entitled “Eating our own Dogfood” indicating that Microsoft should also use its own products.

It’s a good philosophy, for a start you gain experience of your own product from a client perspective – this should help you resolve bugs/service issues faster. It should also be a more cost effective choice over choosing an external supplier. The third reason, and the one generally meant by the phrase, is that you are proving your belief in your own products so it should be a reputation builder.

But dog food?

I think part of the reason this expression has gained ground is what I like to call the “gross out factor”. The idea of eating dog food is pretty off-putting so anyone that does so is really showing dedication.

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