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Poll: Do you actually use the product you are working on?
144 points by k-i-m 1333 days ago | hide | past | web | 219 comments | favorite
Many of us are working on their own projects, side projects or for some companies. And we all know that the best way is to develop/work on a product that we also need/use (eat your own dog food).

Do you need/use it (other than for testing purposes) or are you just developing a product for the sake of doing something?

Feel free to comment what's the product :)

I don't need/use it
644 points
I need/use it every day
631 points
I need/use it at least once a week
267 points
I need/use it at least once a month
119 points
I need/use it at least once a year
60 points

This poll is so social local saas web.

I'm building a wafer stepper. That's a machine that's used to make chips and LEDs. We're building the very first one of its kind now. I'm not sure what it'll sell for, but it's not something you typically get together on Kickstarter. I guess I'd be using it if I owned a semicon foundry or something.


The idea that you should "eat your own dogfood" doesn't make a lot of sense if the product is (to draw from my personal experience) an x-ray machine, mechanical respirator, semiconductor metrology tool or electron microscope.

It would be tragic if dogfood workers were forced to eat dogfood.

*their own dogfood.

There are some items that friends have worked on that they never want to use personally and hope no one they know needs it. They work for a medical device maker.

Indeed. We build utility-scale lithium-ion systems. A small one retails for a little over $500,000. Maybe a billionaire could use it as a super-duper backup generator?

Exactly. When I was working for GE Aviation I wasn't flying fighter jets.

Thinking about the larger issue, I think It's actually somewhat rare for professionals to consume their own "product". Lawyers, for example, are often discouraged from doing so.

On the other hand I think that it's rare for someone to build an app that he wouldn't use.

I think you'd be wrong.

We're building a survey app for dentists to give to their patients.

We also have a dental practice management app.

And an practice management education tool.

I've also worked on monitoring apps used by electricity companies.

I can continue, but this should do. Anecdotal, fair enough, but I'm using them to paint a concept.

I would imagine exactly the opposite. I have never ha the pleasure of developing software that I could realistically use, and I'm sure that's the case in general.

You guys never stay after hours and print crazy LEDs just for personal projects? C'mon now.

We would, had we not needed 10-ish other machines to complete the process. Our machine only does the 'difficult' part (lithography), not all the nasty chemistry parts.

Admittedly, this means that my description of what the machine does was cutting some corners. Ridiculously many, actually, but ok :)

You build a Z axis with angstrom steps?

...I cannot begin to imagine what's involved in vibration control.

Not even close. We're building an "easy" machine, which can do about 1 micrometer precision. 1 km from where I work, there's ASML, the world's de-facto monopolist in high-end lithography. Most chips in your phone come from their machines. They're going towards the angstrom pretty fast, but they also need 500x the amount of engineers (and a frighteningly enormous pile of legacy code) to do that.

I hooked up a Xbox 360 controller to our wafer handling robot for fun.

How involved was that? Was the some kind of I/O protocol or were the buttons simply broken out?


I spend my days working on an ERP system. Apart from entering my weekly timesheet and the occasional expense claim, I don't use the system. If I wanted to enter payments and reconcile bank accounts, I would have become an accountant.

I used to repair KLA wafer steppers and loaders back in the day as ppart of my job. Not something you would find outside a fab, lab or test facility.

Very similar: The product I work on is something that you really only need to use once (unless your genome changes somehow, but that doesn't happen to most people).

However, I use my side project http://www.3dprintingpricecheck.com quite frequently for working on my other side project which involves making 3D-printed geographical models (http://www.printablegeography.com).

Maybe you use it indirectly? Do you use chips & LEDs produced using your wafer stepper?

I wouldn't say "social local saas web", but rather "new product category". If you're building a new version of something that already exists, then the original question (do you use it?) is not really relevant.

oh another ASML employee :p

Big EHV representation here :)

Yeah, I'm pretty impressed. Maybe we should do an Eindhoven HN meetup of sorts, someday!

Actually, no. Not even close (except geographically).

Dog fooding is certainly one way to develop software, and I respect enormously the companies that do it, but "software for software developers" is a rather small subset of e.g. B2B software.

I don't use Appointment Reminder like my customers do. I can't, because I don't own an HVAC company with 200 appointments this week. I suppose I could force myself to use it for e.g. reminding myself of my own appointments, but that's so drastically different from what my customers care about that it would corrupt the whole product if I started adapting it to my own requirements.

Dogfooding doesn't have be limited to "software for software developers." A lot of it is "software for software businesses" or "software for problems which occur in software businesses, but which are not unique to software businesses."

Any of the above is probably "dogfooding" for small companies where people wear many hats while having lowish internal firewalling and power disparity. It's often much less useful at a BigCo where the product team may never see the internal users without scheduling a meeting in advance, and where fixed development schedules and internal politics are creating design lock-in.

Also keep in mind that, for every story about dogfooding improving product quality, there are others about dogfooding creating a runaway blind spot because the company confused the needs of internal users with the needs of customers. Internal use can be a useful resource, but it can't replace customer research.

Mobile OS/app development also has excellent dog food potential among geeks.

Great point, it's entirely possible to build and market a successful product that you have no need for yourself and even no interest in using.

All I would say though is if the product isn't something you use frequently then be absolutely sure others are actually using it or do want it.

I believe building something you really need or want yourself is a great way to validate an idea and it'll keep you motivated to build it.

Very much so, in fact Close.io <http://close.io/> was built out of our own sales team's need for better sales software / we hated all the CRMs we tried. Then it turned into its own product. We would have never known how to make Close.io better than existing legacy CRMs except for seeing the pain our sales teams actually had while doing sales.

Now the entire focus of the company is on this internal-project-turned-product and now we get to use Close.io to sell Close.io, which is great. We get to solve our own problems (usually) and others benefit from it (and our product gets better).

Wrote more about it here: http://blog.close.io/coworkers-as-your-first-customers-your-...

Same with CircleCI (https://circleci.com). We were running CI and then CD for ourselves practically from day 1. Everyone who writes CircleCI uses it every day.

It's great to dogfood, but IMO its not enough. Many customers will have different ways of using the product from you and different workflows. I'd recommend doing heavy customer development very early on to understand those differences.

Similar experience with http://www.exponential.io (Exponential.io).

We needed to develop both prototypes and production apps faster, so we built tooling...which turned into Exponential.io (tooling as a service).

> seeing the pain our sales teams actually had while doing sales.

This is a great way to find a product. At a minimum, you know you're solving one company's problems (your own). As it's likely there are similar companies, then it's a good indicator that there is potential for the product.

At my previous employer, a small browser vendor that decided to abandon its own rendering engine and browser stack, I stopped using our product because Linux wasn't a priority. Numerous reasons were given, such as low market share, “only geeks use it”, all journalists use Macs, &c.

This was to the point of ridiculing the platform and the people working on it, frequently citing “Linux jokes” such as “you'll probably have to recompile your kernel first” whenever the question was seriously raised about when we'd start at least getting the core libraries working.

And when I say it wasn't a priority, I mean that we didn't even have something that was in a compilable state. A few people had started fixing up the broken code to get something that would compile on Linux in their own free time. After a few weeks of hacking, they were told by management to stop what they were doing and instead focus their volunteer efforts on the project goals, being to ship a Windows and Mac version.

So the company began the process of forcefully moving developers who'd worked on Linux for over 15 years to platforms they felt uncomfortable and unproductive working on.

This is a much longer tale, but it tells the story of a company alienating not only their loyal user base, but also a significant proportion of their own developers. The result? Lack of motivation and resignations.

Well done.

Just to make sure I understood right. I read some translation of your post, and I think translation was not 100% correct, so I wanted to ask you.

In your phrase “So the company began the process of forcefully moving developers who'd worked on Linux for over 15 years to platforms they felt uncomfortable and unproductive working on”, you meant that developers who wrote code for the product for Linux, were forced to start writing code for Mac/Windows? Not that they were forced to change their actual development environment OS from Linux to Windows or Mac?

Thanks in advance.

Density of advanced users and developers is much higher in Linux world. It is an epic fail to skip such community!

I have been using Opera 12 since release and now the dream of having my favorite browser on favorite platform is ruined! So sad! Of course I will have to switch away from Opera on dozens of other devices.

The sad thing is that if Opera 12 is/was your favorite browser (as is mine), you will very likely hate Opera 15+, because it is the very opposite of everything that made O12 great. O12 was the most customizable browser and O15+ is just a mediocre Chrome clone.

Opera is actually doing their Linux users a service (albeit not on purpose) by not letting them see the travesty of a browser that now bears their name. I wish there was no Opera 15+ for Windows, at least then I would keep the hope for more good versions, instead of knowing that the best browser has died.

By the way, there is a project to create a free browser inspired in O12- - http://www.otter-browser.org/

When Web Kit Opera was announced, I thought only the rendering + js engines will be replaced by WebKit/Chrome stuff and the UI etc. will be left intact. Oh boy, how wrong I was. :/

I got here coming from http://linux.slashdot.org/story/14/01/31/1629253/former-dev-...

And in there, they speak about the Otter-browser (which I already knew about), an open-source project consisting in a web browser aiming to imitate the Old Opera interface. It is till in alpha state, but already usable.

But, but... stock price. http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/OPERA:NO

Wow, Sounds like you used to work at Opera.

Really? You think? Gosh. If only this were /. & I could award you +1 for being so insightful.

@OP: sad story. I am a little surprised, a little disappointed, and sad that it's only a little.

I'm detecting a slight note of sarcasm there.

+1 Funny

tbh I don't want opera chrome on my laptop. I'll keep using opera 12 for now, untill I make the complete migration to my chromebook. I will still use an arch linux powered laptop for owncloud, with opera 12 on it as long as opera 12 will work.

sounds like Opera to me, too.

And if this is the case, it's really sad, I am still Opera fan (many years) and also linux user :(

Well done, indeed. :(

Opera is ded.

Better set sail for other browsers guys.

what a waste. -_-

I know this is a somewhat tangential comment but...

The "eat your own dogfood" approach has never sat well with me. I think of Microsoft forcing it's employees to use Bing and Windows - rather than improving the products it seemed to lower morale and ignored the reasons why people were choosing Google or Apple.

If the idea is to improve the product by actually using it I think a better approach would be to "eat everyone's dogfood including your own," because so many good ideas come in bits and pieces from competition and new ideas can come from surveying the entire market to see what's missing. It's not just about experiencing the good/bad of your own product, but seeing where you fit in the market, who would choose your product, and why.

What makes you believe that anyone at Microsoft is forced to use Bing?

Since we offer free VOIP phone calls to US, Canadian an UK land-lines, of course I use it every day! But by using Upptalk almost constantly I've come across hundreds of small bugs and fixes that otherwise I might not have found.

But to be honest, the reason we built Upptalk was not because we needed VOIP telephony, but that we were incensed with habitual overcharging and roaming charges.

I work on the Dart programming language team. I hack on libraries and applications that come with the platform. In particular, I worked on the documentation generator, unit test package, and an arg parser. These days, I mostly work on the package manager and asset build system. That stuff is all written in Dart. :)

We make mattresses. Every member on our team sleeps on them each night. It's absolutely critical for us to have this first hand experience, especially as our team becomes larger with varying body types and personal preferences.

We iterate on our own internal feedback in addition to our customer's.

I want to work for you as a Senior mattress tester.

I've got no problem with sleeping most of the day.

I'm working on a website that sells top-end, hand-made fountain pens at $2,000 apiece. They'd be wasted on me -- lousy handwriting -- but boy do I want one.

I'm having to restrain myself from telling you, at length, just how beautiful and desirable they are. I would LOVE to have one of those things in my hand at some kind of ceremonial contract signing. And if someone asked me "Where did you get that pen?" I'd just swoon with happiness.

So I don't need it. I don't use it. But I'm still very much eating my own delicious dogfood.

Just like American Psycho. That was a prescient book.

I don't recall any dog food consumption in American Psycho. But it's a long time since I read it.

I think he was talking about this [1].


I'm creating a leangains diet planner and exercise+nutrition recommendation system. I'm nearing the end of my cut, during which I've lost 15 pounds and gone from 20%-13% bodyfat in about three months with significant strength improvements. After I'm done I'll go for a few months bulking while I finish up the documentation (lots of scientific studies to comb through!) and then I'll be launching. I use the software I've written for it everyday.

rfnslyr, it looks like you're hellbanned. better get in touch with pvnick through some other route.

Contrary to popular belief, you can make lots of money even if you don't use or aren't the target user of your product. Having taste is really the most important thing.

I just launched my first side project a couple of days ago. It's a tool for mathematical optimization of bids in online advertising campaigns (http://www.dopfer-software.de/ad-budget-optimizer/), which I can't use for my own adwords campaign, because I do not have any historical data yet. I have used it successfully with other companies' data, though.

I have a subscription club which sends random Japanese sweets twice a month (http://www.candyjapan.com). This means I get to select what is sent to everyone. I cannot just totally go with my own personal taste, as people expect variation instead of getting my own personal favorite shipment after shipment.

We use out product, JackDB[1], everyday both for analysis and to develop the product itself further. It's a database client entirely in your web browser and we use it to run queries to analyze stats, research database features, and just general querying.

If you have the luxury of working on a product you use yourself (anybody work on developer focused solutions probably falls in this category) then I highly recommend it. Daily use of a product shows you let's you really see what parts of our product are not quite "smooth".

Just don't go down that rabbit hole too far. The features you use and how you use them don't always align with everybody else. As an example, when we first got started with it, what we considered a "low barrier" for a new user to try it out was actually quite a leap. Seeing real users struggle with that let us solve it. In your own bubble you might not notice things like that.

[1]: http://www.jackdb.com/

I'm the architect of ElectricAccelerator (http://www.electric-cloud.com/products/electricaccelerator.p...), a high-performance replacement for GNU make. I use it every day for all my builds, including builds of ElectricAccelerator itself.

Is ElectricAccelerator written in C/C++? How many kLOC and how long does it take to run the build?

(disclaimer: my company https://circleci.com is a competitor to the direction you guys are taking with Continuous Delivery)

ElectricAccelerator is predominantly written in C/C++, with some Java for the cluster manager server component. As of the 7.1.0 release, it's about 375KLOC in C/C++ (excludes comments and blank lines) and 100KLOC in Java (excludes comments and blank lines). Compiling and linking from scratch takes about 29 minutes serially, but only about 2 minutes when I use ElectricAccelerator to build it (with a cluster of 16 worker agents).

We use ElectricCommander to orchestrate our CI process:

* checkout from Perforce

* build (which uses ElectricAccelerator)

* run unit tests

* build installer

* install on test cluster

* run integration tests

We used to do dog fooding in our company with our intranet product; after about 5 years our client wishes diverted so wildly from what we used it for that it began to work against us. We were actually building features for clients which interfered with the features we used/needed (and over 200 people in our company depended on) which resulted in a lot of time lost to make sure both everything worked well. In the end it was not sustainable; we almost went under because of it when we started work on the new major version.

I guess the answer is; it depends, but i'm very cautious now because of the above; once you have your whole organization and client base working with it fulltime, it is hard to switch and you often cannot say no to features as the competitors will be adding them. We should've (hindsight) just forked our intranet and forget about selling that part with the 'new' stuff.

Stuff for work? No. I develop, other people use. I have no need to do the things I write software for - nor do I want to.

My personal code projects? They're not products, they're tools: they get written to solve specific problems or to do specific tasks. Sometimes only once, usually a few times, then they are never touched again.

Localytics: http://www.localytics.com

We dogfood it all the way, so definitely every day for our own needs. We analyze the performance, event breakdown, engagement stats, funnels, and everything about our analytics dashboard within our own analytics dashboard. Traditionally we do analytics/marketing for the mobile space, but it works great for web as well.

We also have a couple of people on the mobile team who launched an iPhone app for tracking the Boston subway: http://proximitapp.com/. They of course use Localytics for their analytics and in-app and push marketing and gave us great feedback.

We've learned a ton from real-world use of our app in both contexts. Dogfooding really is invaluable for us.

Yes, I was a Webmin user before beginning to work on it, and I continue to use it (and Virtualmin and Cloudmin) daily, fourteen years after I first installed it; it's been among my most consistently used tools, alongside vim, bash, Linux, Apache, Postfix, Perl, and Python (roughly in that order of usage) throughout all of that time. I don't use Usermin as much as I used to, now that there are vastly better webmail clients (GMail is damned hard to beat, though now that I'm taking encryption more seriously and there isn't a good client-side encryption option for GMail I'm back to using Thunderbird for most mail tasks)...but, we're working on fixing that problem, so might begin using it again as my daily mail client within the next six months to a year.

I'm using Pinegrow Web Designer (http://pinegrow.com) daily. It lets me easily work with layout, design and content of our static websites. From the very beginning it was something I wanted to have for myself - an GUI web builder that feels natural to developer used to working with code.

And internal use also drives product development - whenever I come across an annoying task (for example, changing between different form layouts in Bootstrap) I try to add a tool for handling that, preferably with a single click.

I can't imagine any other way of developing a great product.

Edit: Just read a good point by patio11. What I said of course only works if you are a member of your target audience.

Yea, I use my latest side project which is an OS X menu bar app that blocks distracting websites (like HN): http://www.heyfocus.com/

I don't think it's a "need" but I do enjoy using it and built it because it's something I wanted.

If you're interested I just did a write-up on it http://bradjasper.com/focus.html and open-sourced it http://github.com/bradjasper/focus

My goal lately is to try and find stuff that I like building and that has a market—not having to pick either or.

I guess it's not working then :)

By the way - it looks really nice. I'd use it if I weren't on Arch Linux.

Funnily enough, no! I started working on LiberWriter as a way to produce eBooks after I started investigating the possibility of writing some books about life in Italy ( still in the works: http://www.therealitaly.com/ ) and got sidetracked when I noticed how involved eBook production is. I figured if it was a bit tough for me, for the average person it must be impossible. I still keep meaning to make more time for the Italy books, as I'd like to write up my experiences here.

It is amazing that every time we use our own tool for some real purpose we find a shortcoming. Even after many years of development.

Our product is jotform, an online form builder. We probably create a form for our own use once a month or less. The last form we created was a survey for specific set of users. We found some problems on the sortable list widget and fixed it. http://widgets.jotform.com/widget/orderable_list

http://sandsquid.com (electronic component purchasing)

I use at least once a week for the mass production of another project I'm working on. You simply can not compare the quality of insight you gain from using the product yourself (not mock usage, but real usage and that's an important distinction) to any other kind of external feedback. The biggest difference is when improving the UX, especially in terms of coherency.

I'm a co-founder at WonderProxy https://wonderproxy.com/ I launched it to help a friend who was in QA. Our own site doesn't do GeoIP stuff, so I don't need it.

I enjoy working on it, have quite enjoyed the site re-write (https://admin.wonderproxy.com/) but my day to day life doesn't need to route traffic through Brazil.

Wow, this is a wonderful product! I've searched for something just like this.

On previous projects where geolocation/locali[s/z]ation was a high priority, we've had to rely on either a hodgepodge of VPN credentials or poking someone on Skype! This is 100x better. Great work!

I was writing an IDE that I planned to use every day, and it got to a usable point, but the perfectionist in me wasn't happy with some of the implementation details so I don't use it yet. Whenever Julia's C API matures enough that I can actually get it working, I think I'll pick my project back up and use Julia for most of it instead of C. But no luck so far on that route.

I've built a site that's like Goodreads but for video games (http://www.grouvee.com). It lets users catalog, rate, and share their video game collections. I'm on it every day almost because I play a lot of video games, and I love looking through people's reviews and collections.

Great idea, but I wish it had retro games as well. Retro gamers are the most likely group to really want to catalog everything.

I get the data from Giant Bomb, so we've got tons of retro games. There's 94 pages of Commodore 64 games right here: http://www.grouvee.com/games/?platform=commodore-64

Yes but not as much as I like to. The guys who build a project management tool may benefit the most I think.

We are building a site to engage people to write daily (in English), www.dailythem.es, and while I know using the site more is very useful, I have to keep thinking about the business direction and figure out user demographic before I spend all days using my own product.

In this case I probably should consider myself happy: I'm on the developer team of Collabtive, a free open source Basecamp alternative, i.e. a project management software.

In fact it is very easy to use our own product not only for project management in the strict sense of the term, but also for bug tracking, file storage and distribution and community management.

Besides it being useful for us, we have already been able to put a lot of our own requirements into the published version.

Here's some recursion for you! My team builds a web app that allows our clients to run their own automated, customizable customer referral program. We use it ourselves, and it has brought us new clients.

So if you like our referral program saas, you can use our referral program saas to refer our referral program saas to anybody else who needs a referral program saas.

I build Review Board (http://www.reviewboard.org), a code review tool, and its SaaS counterpart, RBCommons (https://rbcommons.com/). We use our public Review Board server for every change going into Review Board itself, and RBCommons for every change going into RBCommons.

While "eating your own dogfood" doesn't work in every industry or product (as some of the top comments are discussing), I'm a firm believer that if you're developing something intended for a typical person (developer, casual user, what have you) to use every day, you really should be using it every day as well. I've used too many products that were "mature" yet felt so poorly designed and developed that you'd have to wonder if anyone at the company ever touched them beyond basic testing.

I work at one of the biggest tech companies and ReviewBoard is our primary CR tool. I generally really like it and don't miss GitHub PRs nearly as much as I expected :)

As a side project, I built www.99juices.com to crowd-source e-juice recipes (the liquid for e-cigs). If I did a better job at building the community, I'd be on it every day. But it's a side project, so I haven't done enough outreach. Still use it at least once a week to glance at my saved recipes anyways.

Yep, switched from my custom mutt+offlineimap setup to using the FastMail web interface entirely a while back - and I very rarely miss it. Sure I could filter my email a little faster having one SSD all to myself rather than sharing IOPs with other users, but it's still plenty fast enough for my needs - and if it isn't, then I know it's time to get better hardware or find something to optimise in the code, because other users are feeling the same pain.

(optimising the code can be the tiniest things too - I stripped a misguided optimisation just the other day, for about a 10% speedup in some very common operations. Just removing a flag single test as every character was appended to a buffer - even though it meant having to potentially do a malloc and memcpy in the degenerate case - is a win overall in our tests)

I work in a digital agency serving corporate clients. We have build Costlocker (https://costlocker.com) a tool for monitoring our project costs and profitability.

We desperately looked for such tool to use it ourselves, but found nothing. So we decided to build it. Only in the process of making it, we have realised that there must be other agencies that need it too.

In the end we have a product that we use ourselves everyday and sell it to other agencies too. What's interesting, we are still learning how to use it in the best way possible and we then share our knowledge with other users. So the benefit of using the product yourself is not only in requirements specification and testing, but in workflow and usage best–practices.

Yes definitely. I personally see this as a key ingredient in order to make a project really work. Of course this doesn't work for things like an X-Ray machine, but for a SaaS company like CloudPelican it does.

We currently use it to investigate root-causes of disruptions, track down bugs in the development and staging environment, and most important: monitor our entire infrastructure. This is also in line with our company vision that should allow users to have a single overview on their entire stack of servers, websites and applications. This will reduce time spent on digging through log files, switching between lots of fragmented SaaS tools, et cetera.

Dogfooding is one of the goals behind our monthly hackdays -- even if you're an engineer working on our billing system, I want you to get a chance to use the product and demo your solution to a use case that you find interesting. ( http://www.pagerduty.com )

As silly as the end result is, you need a decent understanding of the product to integrate it with SnapChat ( http://blog.pagerduty.com/2013/10/pagerduty-can-wake-you-up-... )

KickoffLabs (http://www.kickofflabs.com) is all about generating leads, so we use it for quite a few tasks related to our business.

One thing as a business we are trying to do more of this year is put ourselves in our customers position. This was a big reason I started BootStrapped Weekly (http://bootstrappedweekly.com). I wanted to take a step back and start fresh with no existing leads, no inbound links, and no existing market.

It has certainly opened my eyes to new ways we can help our customers be more successful.

Every day, but only for parts of the year. (Do I take the average and say "at least once a week?")

It's interactive teaching software (in-class and online) that we've used in the course when it runs, but the course only runs for part of the year.


"Supercollaborative" teaching of software engineering is my main project; this was written because I found existing teaching systems didn't support collaborative classes online, and live-interaction in-class, particularly well.

Theneeds.com here.

I can't say I use it daily, but surely more than 1/week. My interests are tech and quite specific, and HN is better from that point of view, but for general news I use Theneeds. I'm also a person that doesn't post/like/share too much (neither on HN, Theneeds, Twitter, Facebook...).

My co-founders however use it daily. It's their primary source of news & things to share. Sometimes, we also use it to stream the "hot" music at home ;) Moreover, we recently added to the team a couple of "enthusiastic"... pretty cool (and satisfactory) imho!

I am creating a web browser for iOS that focuses on online privacy.

Like many of us, I use a number if privacy-focused plugins in my desktop browser (ABP, NoScript, Lightbeam, self-destructing cookies, etc.) but I also find myself increasingly browsing the web on my iPad -- where these protections are non-existent. Privacy mode helps a little, but it was never designed to combat the online tracking we see today.

So yes, I am building for myself. But hopefully I am not the only one wanting a powerful mobile browser that protects me and my loved ones from being tracked and fingerprinted online.

I've been building Soulmix [1], an online tool for organizing and sharing great stuff on the web.

I use it every day. Most content isn't notable enough that I would want to come back to it, or keep notes on it. However, a few times a day, I stumble across something that I really like, and then post it to on Soulmix [2].

If you want to give the beta a spin, just request an invite, and I'll send one to your email.

[1] http://www.soulmix.com

[2] http://www.soulmix.com/alexshye

I built a service that tracks new music releases because I got sick of missing things from the artists I was interested in (http://beathound.com - iTunes only for now) - it only emails you at most once a week, so I use it generally once a week.

As it has grown, it's been interesting to observe the parts of it that I work on a lot (the parts I use - I just today fixed a bug in something that I kept seeing in my weekly emails) vs. the parts that get neglected because I don't see them as often.

I made Bugrocket (https://bugrocket.com) in my spare time intending to convince everyone at work we should drop Bugzilla and use it instead (it worked :)).

My latest project is CourseCraft (https://coursecraft.net) and just due to its nature I use it less than Bugrocket. I've only made one course so far (https://coursecraft.net/courses/z9NcY).

Docker is built and tested with Docker :)

I work on Teaspoon (a javascript test runner for rails) that has support for Jasmine and Mocha -- I don't use it every day, but the team does use it on a daily basis. The thing is that people have submitted a bunch of pull requests for features that I don't personally use (QUnit, Angular, etc.) and that has made it harder to maintain those features.

I struggle with saying no, because I want the library to be useful, but I also don't want to have to maintain and potentially break features that I don't personally use.

I work for Virtru (https://www.virtru.com/get-secure-email), which allows you to send encrypted email from your existing email address (e.g. gmail). I use it daily for testing, but I use it at least weekly for actual use cases. For example, emailing my roommate a shared password, emailing sensitive business information, or simply sending messages to a friend which I don't want sitting on a 3rd party server in plain text.

We just added a new page in our admin panel labelled 'dog food' and will be using that as a testing lab. The product we sell is a technology for sales teams and now that we are out selling ourselves we have a greater need for our own product.

Although the conventional wisdom is to build things you had a need for yourself, I believe this is one of the riskiest ways to create breakthrough innovations. Far easier to go find people who have a problem and who are not developers and get them to pay for something.

I have an Android app that help people learning Japanese to have a easier time reading Japanese text file.


Originally, I wrote it for myself so that I can check meanings of Japanese word without an Internet connection while reading Japanese text.

But after I finished writing it, I lost interest in learning Japanese. So I don't use it, but I continue to put time on the app.

I can hardly express how much I appreciate this. I started learning Japanese a few weeks ago, 2 hours every day.

Hey cool, not having Rikaichan on android has been a huge pain, thanks!

I definitely dogfood Duet (http://duetapp.com), but I learned VERY quickly that it's not enough. My customers use the app in ways that would have never occurred to me and if I rely solely on dogfooding a lot gets missed. Especially since I use the product differently than most of my customers - I don't do much client work these days. Regardless, dogfooding is still a great way for me to catch most bugs immediately.

I previously did not use our app frequently as it only played one song and there was no play button. It plays audio in sync on multiple devices via the web and prior it did so without a play button.

Though after being on stage at a DC Tech event and hearing the organizer complain to the audience of the UX we added a play button & ability to play a bunch of songs. We now use it everyday and more people are too.

http://speakerblast.com (if interested)

One of my project started out as something that I built for myself. When I got popular though, I had no time left to use it for its original purpose as I had to put all of my time into development and customer service. Unfortunately I ended up becoming very detached from the market for which I was developing.

My other current projects are e-commerce related, for other people. I don't shop at their stores in particular, but I feel like shopping elsewhere on the web gives me similar insight.

Phew, so bad at proofreading on my lovely mobile device. HN, please forgive me.

I'm building software for a specific part of a large bank (I'm being intentionally vague), but since I don't deal in said area of said bank (only have a checkings/savings account, and at a different bank to boot), I don't really use it. I probably should, though; working with mock data served from localhost (or artificially delaying it (it's a mobile webapp)) instead of a real crappy 3g connection just isn't the same.

I'm working on a visual web testing automation tool Usetrace (http://usetrace.com).

Our QA process is relying on it.


- automatically checking our most critical features every time our code changes in our QA environment

- monitoring the end user experience on production environment using the same automated tests every minute

- creating and maintaining the tests with our tool

- getting live feedback to our development team's flowdock chat through our own APIs

I use our prototyping web app to create prototypes of our web app! http://www.marvelapp.com

I am building https://reesd.com. When it is ready I will use it since I initially started it for myself. It will be used for backup and file store, as-is but also for the other services I plan to offer (Docker image hosting, scp-triggered rebuild, http://packages.assertive.io, and more).

When I develop something for my own needs, most of the times I'll make it into a product. That includes mostly small web apps like disposable email, short URL, a guestbook service, a blog software, a CMS.

One of my projects (online appointment scheduling), though, I started using only recently for a reddit cake day reminder. People register and the software sends them an email when their reddit cake day is coming up.

You mean the one I build on as employee, or the one I build on as sideproject? Sideprojects are usually things I use daily, other stuff... well let's not say anything about that :)

This is why I believe in open source so much. It's all not-for-profit so it has to be worth something to you or you wouldn't work on it. This makes that it's always something useful, at least to you, and probably to others.

I've been dog-fooding on https://www.wisecashhq.com from the very start.

In retrospect, finding a product I would be able to truly benefit from was really a very good idea - I believe it really helps me daily to keep the level of persistence which is required to grow a product (both sales-wise and from a benefits/features point of view).

We've developed in-house a web application for telephone answering services, which we 'dogfood' 100 times a day because we are also an actual TAS, with an operator who also functions as a UX geek and software developer.

The ultimate form of ethnographic immersion - rather than just watching someone do their job, or ask them probing questions... actually do their job for seven years.

Every day! I'm currently working on a project management tool called Matterhorn (www.matterhorn.io). The whole team uses it along with most of our clients. The problem we have is not working on it! balancing client work along with actually building a product is tough. Although the feedback we are getting from people actually using it is driving what we work on next.

I make Zudio (http://zud.io), a tool for managing Azure storage, which uses Azure storage for its own system data. I've made it a goal since day one of developing it that I wouldn't use any other tool, and I've successfully stuck to that. It's been an excellent way to drive the development forward.

I made GoalCalendar, a website that tracks your goals on a calendar visually, and I use it every day. http://goalcalendar.com

I also created the Min CSS framework, an extremely tiny (995 bytes) CSS framework, which I use in all the websites I make. http://minfwk.com

Yes, we're building http://goldplugins.com to encapsulate some of the most common features we find ourselves building for custom WordPress websites into reusable plugins.

As a result, we use the plugins themselves quite often, including on the website itself. Its definitely a great motivator to fix bugs!

I'm building my product for the explicit reason that I want to use it. Its value to other people is just a (very) nice bonus.

Same here, good luck!

A rather intuitive question would be - would you use your own product?

I have been working on form building solutions since over a year. For the first 6 months or so, I made custom forms when I needed them. Lately, I've started using my own product, simply out of need. It's surprising how much you learn when you are a genuine consumer of your own product.

Now I do, but at one time I was a back-end / db developer who did some report creation. I had the amazing[1] experience of talking to some customers about one particular report for the last 8 holes of golf. They felt some "improvements" could be made and were very happy to share these thoughts with me.

1) read WTF / why have I not ran for it

This side project reduces my iTunes bill daily. http://www.fuckm.tv

We at PressPad publish "Digital Publishing Guide", a digital magazine using our own self service platform for mobile publishers http://presspadapp.com/- We do it mainly to understand challenges our publishers might face and to provide relevant support.


[blatant self-promotion and links to all of my apps]

Mailrox: https://www.mailrox.com/

Stemmed from something painful I had to do every day (build HTML emails) that a web app didn’t exist for. Then I slowly went from using it to every day to running it every day. If you’d have asked the question a year a go I’d have said every day.

My main project is to build an online environment [1] for writing and using mathematical software, and I have been building it from within itself since April 2013. Thus I basically use my main project all day every day. [1] https://cloud.sagemath.com


Using it for invoicing for my side hustles. I would love to use it more as that probably would mean I was making more money :). In any case; seeing your own product through the eyes of the user is extremely beneficial and something I would recommend to anyone.

I work on a TV platform. I watch TV every day. If I weren't working on it, I am not sure I'd pay and use it.

I work for the Wikimedia Foundation, and help build parts of Wikipedia :) I do definitely use it every day, almost...

How do you like your job and what do you do there more specifically? Love to hear more.

I've never worked on something that I can find a use for personally - as others have commented, its because the software is in a specific niche, e.g. petrophysical analysis, or process control for example. But for side projects, then I make a point of only developing something that I will use or need.

I created http://tomato-timer.com when I was trying to see what the Pomodoro technique was all about and if it'd help me writing / coding. I haven't used it in a while personally but it still gets some organic traffic.

I built a simple Android app CursRo (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.appzine.cu...) which I use every day: It informs me about currency values of the that day.

In many cases this isn't possible. For example if you're making software to manage a hair salon then you're not going to be using it.

Outside of software for developers and IT I suspect the majority of companies don't use their own software, which is counter to what most people here believe.

I work on League of Legends (well sort of, I'm an infosec guy) and you bet I play it every day :)

It's actually a big part of the culture at Riot Games, the idea is that we're trying to be the most player focused company so it is important that we all play, it helps us make a better game.

Yep! I built http://smitecamp.com/ and I use it every day to discuss different Gods, approaches etc.

Once I finish my new counterpick feature (user based) I'll use it even more to see what the Hivemind thinks about God counterpicks.

While not software like most ITT but As a hobbyist game developer Sometimes I'll stop playing an intentional reason like testing a feature or looking for a bug and just goof off and play around in it and not think about what to fix or improve and just enjoy playing A fun game.

I built an app, that could download file's from websites (that were restricted by my college's proxy server), directly in my Dropbox. It served my own purpose, now it serves a lot more people also.


If you're looking for feedback, we offer a peer support group that is off-the-record and no-bullshit at http://tribes.techendo.co/ ping me on facebook/twitter to grab coffee and get an invite.

I use it everyday to assign task automate my processes and workflows. In fact I'm using my own product to build my product . Collaborate cloud helps u in automating your business processes and workflow and helps to increase your productivity by saving tons of time.

I build code sharing app called Climbi (http://climbi.com) for my side projects, and I almost use it every day for give someone help by providing code example on forum and social media sites. And I love it :)

Yep using http://www.yearloop.com/ every day. Each day it sends me an email with picture from 1 yr ago, 2 yrs ago, etc. It is powered by Dropbox. Beta testing now if you want to join in for free!

Sounds similar in concept to http://timehop.com/ ?

Yes, similar. My service works today on Android and doesn't crash every time I launch the app on iOS, but yes otherwise similar.

My product is a tool for conducting one on one customer interviews. I used it multiple per day to interview our customers after they use the product. Its dogfood eating dogfood.


I work at Microsoft on the IE F12 web dev tools and use IE and F12 both at work and at home.

Thanks. The IE dev tools have come a long way. (I still prefer the updated built in Firefox tools, but using the dev tools in previous versions of IE was painful.)

We made a Twilio app: http://callusbob.com - to make group calls with our off-shore teams. It calls everyone on their phones, so everyone doesn't need to be in front of a computer.

I don't use the product I'm working on as the product isn't geared towards me. It's geared towards businesses with part time workers - https://whatsmyhours.com

I work on a platform aimed at large non-profits that integrates online donations, advocacy, and various social features with Salesforce. I'm not running an enterprise level non-profit so not real sure what I'd use it for personally.

Any way to contact you? I work with clients in this space and I'm always looking for better software to help our NGO clients.

Email in profile.

Need and use are VERY different. I work for a major sports site. I certainly don't need it, and I really don't even care about sports, but I do use it every day because it's nice to kinda know what's going on sometimes.

i built a few jobs boards (http://djangojobbers.com, http://railsjobbers.com). If I see any interesting django job published I apply to it (usually pointing out you are the system developer grants you some extra points).

Also I built a password manager (https://identee.com). I am finishing a pro version of it (with a Command Line Interface client, instead of browser based), which is the one I am using. Indeed I am the only one using it since its not live yet ;-)

Continuously! We make men's clothing (jeans, shirts, etc.,) - the team always wears our own clothing to test and just do life in general. http://www.weargustin.com

We're building an email client called zinbox which I use everyday. First it was hard to use but after a few ui change it started to get comfortable. I think it's really hard to develop software if you're not using it.

Working on http://www.quantikid.com and use it daily as my daughter's preschool uses it to log drop off, snacks, naps, activities etc in their classrooms.

Unlike my previous side project attempts, I do use http://reminderhero.com a few times a week. It's handy for things or times I need to remember.

No, my SaaS business (sharpplm.com) is quoting and document control for small manufacturers. I like the dogwood idea in general, but when you're in a different industry vertical it doesn't make sense.

I built wearther - http://web.wearther.cc/ to help me determine my daily clothing combinations. Been using it daily ever since :)

I use Beatrix every day and it's a great feeling - really helps drive product development. I rely on it. I even pay for it! :)


At Peerby ( https://peerby.com/ ) we quite regularly use the website to find stuff we need occasionally for e.g. events we organise.

I've built Tracks (http://www.buildtracks.com) a sales tracking application. We use it to track our sales of Tracks.

Yes, I use BunkerApp [1] almost every day to track my time, to manage tasks and to invoice my clients.

[1]: https://www.bunkerapp.com/

I work at iRobot on Roomba, and I use our robots at home and at work.

I answered weekly for my not-actually-a-product http://sea-hag.net, although I absolutely do not NEED it. I just enjoy nhl94 ;)

The I-would-have-liked-that lack of features in pgAdmin3 was the main driver behind my product, PGXplorer. I use it everyday to pivot, window, group tables without touching any editor.

Do you have code completion or plans for code completion. Because we moved our business over from MS SQL Server to Postgres and the business guys that writes queries is not impressed with PGAdmin, they especially miss code completion.

By code completion if you mean that the editor auto completes keywords and table (view, function) names, it does.

Please do write to me if you are interested. Email in profile.

I created http://www.searchpocket.info for myself. It provides a full-text search for all my pages saved in pocket.

I built ViEmu and I use it very often, not every day right now, but I come back to using it every day when I'm working on something using VS/Xcode/SQLServer/Word.

Built http://sideprojectors.com - a market place for buying and selling side projects - I use it whenever I need to!

Yes: https://www.zerotier.com/

As I've been developing it I started using it to sync stuff, access machines remotely, etc.

Getting an ssl error for your site.

Can you let me know what browser you're using? I've tried it on Windows IE, Chrome on Windows and Mac, Safari, Chrome on Linux, and even old iOS browsers and it works fine.

I use WebScrapeMaster API each time whenever I need to fetch data from webpages.

clickable link http://webscrapemaster.com/

The product I am working on is a commercial product (Legal Compliance Management) - not a side project. The product "could" be used by my company - but we don't.

Absolutely, every day. I can't imagine great products being built that aren't used by at least the core/founding team on a very regular basis, if not every day.

I use my side project at least once a week to schedule and send multiple tweets. https://tweetrup.apphb.com

I use the crap out of apps I'm working on, you know, to debug them. However, I've worked on at least one that I had no interest in using myself. -_- Not my fault!

I use my project http://www.followletter.com to read my favorite newsletters every day before bed.

firstcutpro.com - video annotation and project management for video teams

we aren't in the industry so don't use it ourselves at all but we think this is better as we can actually try to move the industry forward with best practices from other industries versus sticking to old ways and status quos that might not be the best way, it was just the way people have always done it.

of course we make quite a bit of features/functionality directly from user feedback.

Just a pet project, but i use playlisteverything.com every day to listen to music from soundcloud/youtube (and hopefully soon spotify) in the same queue.

Yes. I develop software for jailbroken devices and the products I've made have been things I personally needed/wanted the phone to do.

It's not really a product but I'm working on a username generator that I use occasionally when I need a new user name for an account.

Our product is an IDE, so we use it every day to develop the next version of http://c9.io.

I'd consider myself lucky if I never need to use the project I'm working on - the product is used in residential care facilities

Sort of related:

I've heard some googlers use ad block on their work machines. And the irony isn't lost on them when you ask them about it.

Use it every day. Habit tracking app. https://m.routinetap.com

Hard for me to get project to the usable state before I'd change to another so shamefully this poll didn't apply.

I do. every single day. http://www.attendmind.com

Yes I scratched my own itch and apparently the Fortune 500 has the same itch.

Unfortunately tech types like here on HN… not so much

SaaS platform the renewable industry.

As I'm not an installer not much need for it (life would be a lot easier if I was :) ).

I work on a self-hosted compiler, so ...

You bet! We've got a whole duplicate NodePing monitoring stack watching our NodePing monitoring stack.

I don't need it directly, but the people who use it, use it to do things that I need/want.

I use my own tennis ladder management system for a league in which I'm playing: laddero.com

Yup, buying 3D printers and other niche products for less than MSRP is always a good thing.


Worked for an online store, then some SaaS companies - not in the target market in any of them.

I first made a camera game and then a stopwatch. The stopwatch I do use everyday.

Work with it 3 days a week, work on it 4 days a week. I have no life

use it every day: For games and screen savers.

I don't need/use:For business software

But for a lot of small business software, my first guess is often wrong and I need a feedback loop.

I really try not to, and this makes me a sad panda.

I used to use it before working on it was my job.

It is a dev tool which is used to build itself.

Aerospace software, so no, not personally.

PTVS; use it to write itself, in fact.

I made a free version of 750words in french and I'm using it everyday, the press has already talked about the app ( www.3pages.fr )


Nopes, I really hate it.

PSA: online polls are meaningless. pg, please disable polls.

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