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Every Business Should Eat Dog Food and Crowdsourcing is No Exception

BY MAUREEN MURTHA | 2 min read

"Eating our own dogfood" is something this company tries to do as much of as possible. At best, it sounds like we've got a dog blogging for us now (not quite, not...yet) or at worst, a really disgusting and possibly dangerous health decision.

Oh but alas, no animals were harmed in the writing of this blog post and we don't have kibble in the breakroom (lol we don't even have a breakroom.) Instead, it's simply a figure of speech -- and a particularly amusing one because, outside of the programming/software development world, it's not all that well known.

What’s dogfooding?

The term comes from Microsoft in the late 1980s, where manager Paul Maritz suggested to Brian Valentine that they should be “Eating our own Dogfood” with respect to their network software. In other words, they should force themselves to use their own networking software to figure out how to make it better.

It sounds rather obvious, doesn't it? At the most fundamental level we tend to assume that if you do something for others, you probably do that thing for yourself, too. If you were to walk into a famous painter's home, you would probably expect there to be some art on the walls. It might even come as a shock when you discover the art they have on display belongs to someone else. But in the way of the world, this phenomenon isn't so unusual.

Even small business owners can probably relate: sometimes it's difficult to justify the time spent on using your own product or service because it doesn't have the same monetary reward as the time spent on a client or customer. It can also feel like you're already using that product or service because of how intimately you know it, or how much time you spend ensuring a positive customer experience. 

It's not the same as dogfooding, however, which is the act of roleplaying as a client or customer and utilizing your service/product in exactly the same way someone on the outside would encounter it. Going back to the example of software development, it's good practice for creators of a software product to utterly rely on the software product to get their job done. The programmers will have not only the awareness of, but the impulse to address needs to be fixed, and have the incentive to fix it as quickly as possible.

If you’re creating an email program, you should only use your own software, even if it’s a miserable experience. Then you’ll want to make it better.

The latest in crowdsourced dogfooding

As a result of this belief in dogfooding-as-best-practices, HeroX is putting our money where our mouth is, literally (literally literally, not even figuratively literally.)  The very words you're reading at this moment could just as easily have been written by you, if you had a good enough idea and an incentive to write. Isn't that exact spirit of crowdsourcing in a nutshell? I mean, we think so, and now we're going to find out if it actually holds up. The Crowd Content Challenge is the manifestation of HeroX using the HeroX platform, and all of the same tools we provide our clients with, to crowdsource the next writers for blog. Yes, this blog, the one you're reading right now. Is that too meta? Not meta enough?

This is a crowdsourcing platform using their own crowdsourcing platform to crowdsource blog posts about crowdsourcing. It really does not get any more meta than that, folks. This is your chance to help us find out if this whole thing really works: the platform, the blog, and crowdsourcing. Just like that. And right now, in this instance, we're actually using the BLOG to promote a crowdsourcing challenge run by a crowdsourcing platform to crowdsource stories about crowdsourcing for THAT SAME BLOG. Is this madness? We'll find out. In the meantime, find out if you have what it takes (including the inspiration, and at times, yes, madness) to write for the HeroX blog



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