Tuesday, January 3, 2012

API strategy is a must

While researching the social networking API, I stumbled upon these slides by Sam Ramji at Apigee.  They are worth flipping through especially the first 70 slides or so.  Sam draws an interesting parallel of today's API-based application trend with Amundsen's South Pole expedition.

Amundsen's Dogs, Information Halos, and APIs

Sam makes several good observations about how to successfully harness open API trend.  One point especially resonated with me, that is, API is not the strategy to attract user base and build core value.  Instead API should be used to extend your values and make it more accessible by allowing others to their creativity in offering interesting applications around your core values.  These third party developers should be classified as different group of individuals and incentivized differently to attract right developers.

It could be an obvious point, but putting them all together in an easy-to-digest slides with interesting presentation style makes it enjoyable.  It's also good to hear from someone who validates your thought.

Now the question for everyone who's thinking about providing API is a familiar one: What is the core value that we are offering?  Come up with a simple answer, and it should better be something that no one else can do as good of a job as you can.

If you have that figured out, you are more than halfway there.

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