Have you eaten your own dog food?

I’m at Smith College this weekend presenting a session on the cloud and Amazon Web Services at NITLE’s Information Services Camp. Even though I came in Wednesday and am leaving today, I’ve had the chance to meet and share with so many great technology folks from colleges around the country. I even got to spend some time chatting with Jedi master Bryan Alexander.

The accommodations for this conference are not in a swanky resort or hotel – we’re staying in one of the dorms here at Smith College. It’s a beautiful campus, but this dormitory is so…dormy. I haven’t stayed in a dorm since I finished school in 1998.

It got me thinking – have you experienced your school like a prospective student will? You may have eaten at the dining halls, but have you ever spent the night in one of your dorms? Have you taken a shower in one of the shared bathrooms? Have you trudged early in the morning from the dorm to breakfast?

I think having a sleepover in a dorm would be beneficial for not only admissions folks, but public relations folks too. We market the college experience, but how many of us have really lived it – and lived it recently? IT folks – I think something like this would also be beneficial for you too. Bring a laptop and get connected. Try the wireless or in my case, fight with Cisco Clean Access for awhile like I did when I arrived.

I love the term “eating your own dog food.” Wikipedia has a great description of the term, saying: “To say that a company “eats its own dog food” means that it uses the products that it makes.”

3 thoughts on “Have you eaten your own dog food?”

  1. I — like many of my coworkers here — take classes at our university.

    It really opens your eyes to the quality — or sometimes lack thereof — of instruction, student services, etc.

    I like to think, as a marketer, it helps to keep me grounded when we’re working on promotional things for students — so that we actually portray things they way they are versus some detached ideal.

  2. Good post, Mike. I agree! In fact, I think it would be fantastic to have the CFO and the president stay in the dorms for a night or two. It would be sort of like what admissions offices have in the summer: the money walk. It’s the admissions tour of the campus with the president, CFO and other administrators/VIPs on campus. The walk is in preparation for the new recruitment season on campus to make sure they know what needs to be improved on campus.

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