Eating Your Own Dogfood

There are times when fate hands you a one-two punch.

Some time ago, two books published  at about the same time; "Being Digital" by Nicholas Negroponte and "Show-Stopper" by G. pascal Zachary.  These two works have had a significant influence on the technology generation in the past 20 years.  The combined ethos presents a unique perspective on the evolution of the digital landscape and the respective evolution of software creation.

Reading these two books in tandem,  provides an inspired focus to  research and development efforts.  One of the key themes from "Show-Stopper" is the concept practiced of  "eating your own dogfood".   In short, Microsoft developers built their release on the alpha of the same release that they were building.   In examining your own life, you can apply this to your own career and profession.  Working in Research and Development, if I truly believed in the digital evolution, I had to live it.  I applied I took this to all ends of the spectrum.   I eliminated sticky notes.  I adopted a PDA.  I ripped all of my music library to MP3 (1400 CDs).  I scanned photo albums.

At work, I purchased a multi-feed scanner and over the course of 4 weekends, scanned 4 horizontal file drawers of contracts, notes, memos and the like.  I feed the scanned images into an OCR package and then build a database driven index.  The resulting shrine (a Case Logic affair with 24 CD-Rs) was handed over to the Senior VP of marketing when I left the company a decade later.

Eating your own the dogfood though is a paradigm shift in my thinking.  It is one thing to dream up digital visions.  It is quite another to live it.  You become pragmatic and yet you become addicted.  You see the gains of early adopters and feel the pain of digital death over and over and over again.  At the end of the day, you find yourself with a digital zen.

Le Roi est mort vive le Roi!
(The King is dead, Long live the King)

The bit is dead, long live the bit.

About Sprawlgeek.
A Seasoned Technology Visionary possessing a deep understanding of technology and business processes.

Doug has accumulated over 35 years of experience in the technology and media markets. His broad career has ranged from leading Research and Development work for a 300+ million dollar company to an E-Government startup. His efforts have been recognized by major trade associations as well as Tier 1 clients.

Doug is now a private consultant and continues to provide his insights to the industry.