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You First! Leading By Example – It’s About More Than Just Your Team

April 10, 2013

Microsoft Sales Guy: “We think Microsoft Exchange 4.0 will work great for Australia Telecom.”

Australia Telecom: “You first.”

Back in the 1994, Microsoft was getting ready to release their newest email program, Microsoft Exchange 4.0. Interestingly there was no Microsoft Exchange 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0. But, there was a Microsoft Mail 3.0 program. And it wasn’t very good. I should know, I had to support it. In fact it was so bad that at Microsoft, we didn’t run it ourselves.

We ran something called Xenix mail. Considering that we were trying to sell Microsoft Mail, the company didn’t really advertise the fact that we didn’t use our own product. Even internally, it wasn’t well know. At one point in 1993 a guy in Support wrote a book on how to use Microsoft Mail. The problem was he used his corporate account for all his screenshots. We were pretty surprised when support started getting calls asking how to access the features that only existed in our corporate system.

We had a chance to sell Aussie Telecom on Exchange. They were a huge account. One of their stipulations was that Microsoft go first. We had a rapid internal rollout to get everyone on the new email system before the date the contract was supposed to be signed.

So, what’s it have to do with dog food? 20130410-001445.jpgThe phrase “eat your own dog food” means to use your own products.

Generally this makes sense. If Microsoft won’t run their business on their products, why should you?

Similarly, when Pepsi officials travelled to Redmond to discuss adopting Exchange with the development teams, Microsoft removed the Coke machines from every breakroom in the building.

This lesson applies to each of us as well.

My daughter manages a Standard Optical store in Orem, UT. If you need glasses, contacts, or LASIK, stop by and ask for Ila. You’ll notice she’s wearing glasses. She has perfect vision. But, if you want to sell people eyeglasses, you better be willing to eat your own dog food.

When I was in my local Macey’s store, I passed a guy in a WinCo shirt. WinCo is another local grocery store. His basket was full of food. . .there was no dog food.

Many years ago, WordPerfect adopted M&M candies as their snack food of choice. The sales guys handed them out like candy during presentations to clients. . .we didn’t get the Nestle account. The story is that the presentation was going great until he started tossing packages of M&M’s, manufactured by Mars Candies, to the Nestle employees.

Whether it’s your own company, not wearing a logo shirt when frequenting your competitors or not handing out competitors product, remember the concept of eating your own dog food.

(David Madison contributed to this report!)

One Comment
  1. John permalink

    That reminds me of a story I heard a number of years ago. A company was pitching Ford on a new engine to use for their Lincoln models. The presentation was going great and Ford was really interested right up until the presenter exclaimed that this was the Cadillac of engines. Needless to say they didn’t get the contract.

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