Picatic’s Jayesh Parmar explains why startups need to eat their own dog food

jayesh parmar

While Picatic, at one point, struggled with a pay-what-you-want model before moving on to a freemium model, the hard work that the company put in to their business model clearly worked; speaking at TechVancouver, Picatic’s CEO Jayesh Parmar said they hit $10 million in sales.

Parmar said this wouldn’t be possible without “dog fooding”: eating your own dog food means using your own product, and convincing the community to do the same.

Between building in Saskatoon, San Francisco, the HIGHLINE accelerator in Toronto, and finally settling in Vancouver, Parmar learned a lot about how these tech communities go out of their way to help customers and each other.

“Early adopters and users started using us — we went to the BC Tech Summit, and early adopters went there and decided they wanted to use BC tech. They used our product and two weeks later they came and had lunch with us and said this part is good, but this part is shit,” Parmar said. Though Picatic also has offices throughout Europe, he said that this is the kind of valuable community feedback they wouldn’t get from these global markets.

Parmar said that this process is about more than helping startups — dogfooding supports the entire ecosystem. “You get support — we want funding to come to the Vancouver ecosystem. When there’s startups that go out there and know how to do it, that brings in capital. That helps bring in new jobs,” said Parmar. “You might not be interested in startups. But maybe you want to work for Unbounce, because they have a good space and they give free beer. The only way these companies can pay a high wage is getting past the the shitty [dogfooding] process we talked about.”

He implored founders to think beyond just growing their own startups. “When you’re going out there and you’re dogfooding, not only are you helping startups like ourselves, you’re helping yourself and our whole ecosystem. Because it’s going to take at least twenty years to build an ecosystem that kicks ass.”

Watch the whole talk below: