We eat our own dogfood
If you’re an engineer or investor, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Eat your own dogfood.” It’s a simple idea that basically implies that one should use the product you sell in your own internal operations. The phrase started with Microsoft in the 1980s and is probably why their software is so successful.
You’d be surprised how many companies don’t eat their own dogfood, but for MakerFleet, it’s one of the biggest tenants. From the beginning, it was the most important part of our software: we would not sell what we would not use. Our founder started the company on the board of multiple Makerspaces and even started one in college.
Later on, we found that our most creative engineers were the ones that were also working part time at a Makerspace. Features like our “Surface Quality Visualizer” and “Smart Queuing” were all born from makers who saw the status quo and thought, “This could be done much better.”
That openness to change was also incredibly helpful when we looked at how others were managing their 3D Printers.
Across the Charles River from one of our customers was a university using one of our competitor’s software. During finals period, we walked across and watched how the university operated. It was fairly amazing software, in that it did what it promised: 3D Print from the cloud. The place was packed, with printer queues being over three days long. Students were stressed, oftentimes camping in front of the printers for six hours at a time.
But one of our engineers who worked at a Makerspace watched and said “We can do this better. Students shouldn’t be this stressed” and then in one long night, built the smart queuing system that accounts for printer failure and increases the throughput of a fleet. We’re glad that students that use our platform aren’t as stressed during finals; it’s that pain and stress that we’re trying to solve.
That mentality is what later created our surface quality checker, our first layer checker, and so many more features that help makerspaces, schools, and universities run smoothly.
And that’s why we’ll continue to eat our own dogfood, because we believe that innovative products come from empathizing with our customer’s pains and having the passion to solve them.