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Poisioned by Your Own Dogfood

I don’t know if any other industries use this phrase, but it’s very common in software to talk about “Eating Your Own Dogfood” – in other words: Using the products that you make. You’d think this is basic “support the home team” kind of thing, but it doesn’t always happen, and when the word gets out it is usually a big PR problem.

Now you can get the punchline when I tell you that we use the software development tool that we sell at work, and the server name is Alpo.

This does lead to an interesting situation I’ve only seen twice, and the second time was last week. I get forwarded emails on a regular basis from companies that sell leads and other information, and occasionally from firm that append data.

A data appending service will take your existing lists, and then try and fill in the blanks. This can be very helpful if you have a list of emails and are looking for mailing addresses, or vice versa. There are different methods to do this, ranging from fully automated (we know that HugeCorp uses first initial last name @ for email, so just do that – and come on people! You can do that with excel yourself, for the love of god!), to completely manual – a team of callers updates and refreshes info.

Be careful of these services to confirm that they don’t use your data to clean up everyone else’s…

So my co-worker David (name changed to protect everyone involved), forwarded me a message from a data appending service.

The email starts “Dear Deborah,”

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