Business, Economics, Accounting and Finance

Questions to ask the engineers before dogfooding a hardware

Mandarin Chinese

Dogfooding refers to the practice of a company's employees using unreleased products for quality control purposes. Here's a list of questions I ask the distributors (often the engineers who made the device) every time I dogfood a piece of hardware:

  1. What is this designed use case/scene? Most engineering prototypes come in an unassuming, plain, pitch-black look. Such design usually implies a business-oriented scenario, but this might not be the case for an engineering sample. Should I take the current visual appearance as the final design and take it into consideration during the dogfood period?

  2. Is this device designed to be a low-/mid-/highend product? Products targeting different markets deserve different standards of evaluation. I would expect my latest Pixel phone / iPad pro to excel in every way, especially considering I paid quite a fortune out of pocket purchasing it. Since dogfooders do not pay anything for the device, this "monetary gauge" is absent. Engineers distributing these devices should inform dogfooders about the price tag, or at least the targeted market.

  3. If this device meant to be a replacement/direct competitor/successor of some existing product? If so, what are they? This piece of information enables dogfooders to evaluate the device by comparing it horizontally (if replacement or competitor) / vertically (if successor) with its peers.

Mandarin Chinese


  1. 这个外表是最终设计吗?这个产品所针对的使用场景是怎样的?大多数原型机的外观都是朴素、漆黑的。通常,这样的设计暗示着这个设备是设计给商务人士使用的,但是对于工程样本而言可能并非如此。我是否应该将当前的视觉外观作为最终设计,并在狗粮时期考虑这一点?

  2. 该设备是低、中、还是高端产品?大概售价多少?针对不同市场的产品,应具有不同的评估标准。比如说,我会希望我最新的 Pixel 手机或者 iPad pro 在各个方面都能脱颖而出,尤其考虑到我自掏腰包、花了很多钱购买了它。由于狗食者无需为该设备支付任何费用,这种“价格量度”是缺失的。因此,分发这些设备的工程师们应告知狗食者该设备的大概价位,或至少描述目标市场。

  3. 该设备是否打算替代某些现有产品或是与其他产品直接竞争?若是,哪些?这条信息使狗食者可以通过与同级设备进行水平的(如果是竞争关系)或者垂直的(如果是传承关系)比较,从而客观地评估设备。