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"Eat your own dog food" quote

I always thought the phrase "eat your own dog food" is one of those profound statements that says a lot more than the simple words mean. I've used the phrase a few times in meetings to refer to projects, even if I had to explain what it meant.  The phrase is concise and once someone understands the reference, nicely summarizes the question.

Now I'm beginning to hear the phrase a lot more. Last month it was used on a teleconference when someone was explaining the production process on their web site. Last night I read it in the latest copy of PC Magazine.

My question; is the phrase properly attributed to Joel or was he quoting someone else? How common is it in your work environment?

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

I heard it in regular use at microsoft for years before I used it. Don't attribute it to me.

Joel Spolsky
Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Just read "Showstopper".

Sebastian Wagner
Thursday, April 11, 2002

The Jargon File attributes it to MS & Netscape:

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Thanks for setting me straight. I didn't realize that the phrase had been around for awhile and was in widespread use. That should qualify as one of the 5 new things I learned today, 4 to go! I haven't been explaining the concept too well and the jargon file has a pretty good summary, as long as they don't come back and ask me about some of the other terms found there.

I didn't think that "Soul of a New Machine" was that great a book and the review for "Showstoppers" says that it's not as good as "Soul..", but I may pick it up if I see it on the shelf. Thanks for the reference.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Don't remember where, but I lately noticed the "Eat your own caviar" variation.

Jan Derk
Saturday, April 13, 2002

This expression comes from long before Microsoft and Netscape even existed. The fact is that it comes from a time when FM Master Foods (the pet food division of the more famous M&M Mars candy company) was trying to sell canned dog food to grocery stores back in the 50s (or maybe even earlier). At the time, dogs typically got the scraps of the day and the thought of  a grocer selling pet food was unheard of.

In order to convince grocery store manager that dog food was ok to sell, the sales associates at FM Master Foods were instructured to open a can, with a silver fork pull out a juicy bit, and eat it. Hence --- it is so good that you are willing to eat your own dog food.

Marc Fiuczynski
Thursday, October 30, 2003

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