Why SmarterTools Eats Its Own Dog Food

Google Management's Public Use of Google+

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Although overshadowed by Steve Jobs’ death, last week’s revelation that Google’s management doesn’t use Google+ is a pretty big deal. So much so that Mashable’s Ben Parr called the technology giant out and challenged its senior managers to eat their own dog food in his op-ed, “If Google’s Management Doesn’t Use Google+, Then Why Should You?

It’s an excellent question—one that the senior management at SmarterTools has asked since the company was founded in 2003. You see, everyone at SmarterTools, from our CEO Tim Uzzanti to our sales and support staff to our graphic designer, uses the products we develop on a daily basis. We send messages from SmarterMail, answer sales and support requests with SmarterTrack and evaluate our website statistics and SEO rankings with SmarterStats every single day. Call it what you want: “dogfooding,” “ice creaming” or “drinking your own champagne.” The bottom line is we do it. The next obvious question is: Why?

Well, our developers (and customers, for that matter) know that our management team has a lot of trust in our products when our day to day business operations rely on the quality and usability of our internal software. Since we use our software daily during all stages of development—from ALPHA to BETA to production—we’re able to test the products in real-life scenarios, which gives us the information we need to fix bugs faster, improve usability and identify potential features for future versions. As a result, we’re able to deliver a higher-quality production release to customers because we’ve identified as many bugs and improvements as possible in the pre-release versions of the products.

Perhaps more importantly, we’re delivering software solutions that actually fix some of the problems small businesses face. Believe it or not, SmarterMail, SmarterTrack and SmarterStats were created because our management team couldn’t find comparable software on the market that met our business needs. Odds were, they reasoned, other businesses felt the same way. And so, from the very beginning we not only developed software that we wanted to use, but that we do use.

And in the grand scheme of things, isn’t that the point? If you build something—doesn’t matter if it’s a house, a vehicle, or even a software solution—shouldn’t you use it yourself? Shouldn’t you be using it every day, kicking the tires, slamming the doors, and performing blank text field searches just so that you know, deep down, that what you’ve built is not only functional but that it actually does what you set out to do? Besides, wouldn’t you think twice if Alan Mulally, Ford Motor Company’s CEO, drove a Chevrolet? Would that give you any confidence in the company? At SmarterTools, we actually use what we build and we build what we want to use. Thankfully, a lot of other people think that’s a good way to set about building a company.

This post was written by Tiffany D., a marketing and technical communications specialist for SmarterTools. If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to the SmarterTools Blog so you don’t miss an update.

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