Ken Goldstein talks about how, in the business world, you must not only eat it, but like it.
Longtime Good Men Project supporter, evangelist and business strategist Ken Goldstein blogged recently about the phenomena of “Eating your own dog food.” In it, he explains why this is important as a business initiative:
“Yes, you must Eat Your Own Dogfood.
Some people trace this edict to the television commercials for Alpo in the 1970s and 1980s where Lorne Greene made a point of showing us that he fed the very product he endorsed to his own dogs. No, he didn’t actually eat it himself, but the way he looked at it, you could tell he might be considering it. His dogs were an extension of himself. That love made it clear he would only feed them a product he trusted, and he would only endorse it publicly because he trusted it. I am not saying he was right, I am just noting than his conviction was visceral.
In the software spectrum, the phrase “Eating Our Own Dogfood” is more commonly traced to a 1988 memo from then Microsoft Manager Paul Maritz encouraging his team to obsess over use of Microsoft’s products. His basic tenet was that to win a category and perfect your work, you had to be the consumer. The memo spread widely throughout Microsoft, over the gate and through the industry. It resonated with many of us, and began being accompanied by such observations as, “If you won’t use the software when it’s free, why should anyone pay you for it?”
The absolute necessity of eating your own dogfood is anything but limited to software. If you design cars for a living and are not planning to drive your own creation when it comes off the line, how can you attend to every nuance and detail that sets apart your vehicle from the vast number of choices already available for sale? If your team designs a new line of workplace apparel intended to be marketed as more comfortable, durable, and stylish than everything else already hanging on the rack, will you not be planning to wear what you have produced proudly at least a few days each week out of pure joy?”
The funny thing is – that’s exactly what I do with Good Men Project. The most phenomenal thing about it – for me personally — has been my ability to learn about men from the breadth and depth of stories and content. I’d rather hear about the news going on through one of the voices of our writers than almost anyplace else. Someone asked me if what we had here was a “lifestyle magazine”. No, I sputtered, a half-laugh at the quaintness of both those words. No…we’re a conversation. A multi-media, multi-platform, international conversation. It’s a conversation I want to have every day. It is a conversation that has changed me. It’s a conversation that has changed the way I look at men, their issues; changed the way I talk to men and women both. It is most often these days with “pure joy”. Yes, I most certainly eat my own dog food.
Ken goes on to note that it was Apple that coined the word Evangelism. Funny, we call ourselves Evangelists here too.
“Apple long ago coined this notion as Evangelism, and no Apple Evangelist in his or her right mind would try to get you excited about a product they weren’t already using themselves…Evangelism is a beginning, not an end, after which customer feedback must become part of the process, but if our goal is to engage our community in a supportive and seamless dialogue, then we owe it to them to initiate the dialogue with honesty, commitment, and passion.”
Initiate the dialogue with honesty, commitment and passion. Exactly.
Read the entire post on Ken’s blog Corporate Intelligence Radio.