You Can't Spell Capitalism Without API!


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This article appears in the November 2012 issue of Transaction World Magazine - It highlights my recent trip to New York to attend e-Commerce Hack Day with Dwolla, Etsy and many more.

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You Can't Spell Capitalism Without API!

  1. 1. REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION OF TRANSACTION WORLD MAGAZINE SOCIAL MEDIA YOU CAN’T SPELL CAPITALISM WITHOUT API by Bruce Burke Recently I was fortunate to attend otherwise known as APIs. Developers in e-Commerce Hack Day in New York attendance were charged with creating City. Hack Day, you say? It sounds the most innovative new concept ominous, but this group was far from overnight, using only their imagination, threatening. According to a t-shirt worn coding skills and leading APIs available by one of the participants—Hack is in the e-Commerce marketplace. not a four letter word. e-Commerce Hack For the uninitiated, an API is a specifi- Day was organized by Dwolla, a financial cation intended to be used as an interface service start-up from Iowa, and landslide by software components to communi- winner of this year’s Finovate event. cate with each other. An API may Their co-organizer was the e-Commerce include specifications for routines, A pioneer in electronic point-of-sale systems, company, Etsy. Shortly after the event data structures, object classes and vari- Bruce Burke has extensive experience in was scheduled, nearly every leading ables. Basically it’s how software electronic transactions, point-of-sale, company in the e-Commerce market- programs communicate so applications eCommerce and mCommerce. He can be place threw their hat into the ring, can utilize the services of the platform. contacted at or by phone at 727-612-5775. sponsoring or participating in a variety In relation to this challenge most of the of different ways. API calls were made to process an Basically the premise of the electronic financial transaction. e-Commerce Hack Day was to provide Developing a new product to sell, a software developers access to a litany of unique way to sell it, or a network to sell Application Programming Interfaces, it through does not always necessitate the
  2. 2. REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION OF TRANSACTION WORLD MAGAZINE | NOVEMBER 2012need to build a new way to process pay- You’re looking for a game that’s fun ideas. Some demos were silly and wonky,ments for the goods or services being and simple to play on your smartphone others difficult to grasp, but some weresold. There are already a plethora of during your next business trip. You find absolutely brilliant in their originalitycompanies that will provide complete the latest iteration of Angry Birds and and simplicity. The first place winner,financial transaction services for a front- download the free version to test drive it Miss Nev, allowed goods ordered fromend vehicle that meets these services. before you buy it. After completing the e-Commerce merchants to be deliveredBuilding a financial transaction service first three levels you’re hopelessly addict- to a local 3rd-party retailer so a con-platform is not for the weak or timid, ed and want more. You click the BUY sumer could pick up the package him-there are a lot of rules to follow. It costs a button and Angry Bird’s developer Rovio self—no more failed delivery notices onLOT of money, and the level of service it calls on Braintree’s suite of services to the front door.must provide is difficult to maintain. complete the transaction, store the In the past two weeks Ive probablySecurity is a huge factor; one software details, and deal with all the compliance said it a half dozen times, “I dont thinkflaw can equal huge amounts of compro- regulations. This leaves Rovio to do what innovation is going to come from themised data and millions of dollars in it does best; making addictive games that incumbent financial service providers.”fraudulent transactions. people love. I believe it will come from those working So leaving those services up to those From the viewpoint of a transaction outside of the corporate culture who arewho do it best is the key to success. platform you can see why theyre both challenged and empowered toHowever developing a new widget, constantly searching for the next Uber create limitless possibilities utilizingmethod, or network that wraps around or Angry Birds to utilize their services - these API services - readily availablethese financial transaction engines is for you cant spell CAPITALISM without to everyone wanting to sell goods andwhat these platforms are looking for. Let’s API! services in Generation-M! nuse the payment gateway provider e-Commerce Hack Day yielded a cor-Braintree as an example. nucopia of new concepts and unique