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APIS for Startups - Running your Business Inside Out


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Talk on APIs for Startups and how to think about engineering your business to reach your maximal market.

Published in: Internet, Technology, Business
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APIS for Startups - Running your Business Inside Out

  1. 1. APIS: Running your Business Inside out Steven Willmott 3scale Inc. @njyx, @3scale
  2. 2. Thank you for the Invitation!
  3. 3. or…: “APIs for Startups:
  4. 4. 3scale is… API Management Provider ! Power 400+ APIs ! 120,000 Developers writing Apps ! API Tech Operations API Business Operations Developer Support (Selection)
  5. 5. + Apitools Also have a new service for Developers ! Track Transform Analyze API Traffic !
  6. 6. Onward …
  7. 7. Agenda Inside Out Business & APIs API Models Execution Not so obvious Gotchas
  8. 8. Who has APIs? (and why?)
  9. 9. Technical Reasons… ! Business Reasons…
  10. 10. Common API Debates Which framework to use? REST/SOAP - What is Rest anyway? Streaming API? Internal / External? Versioning? Make it public? Should we charge? By API Call? Should we put rate limits on? Won’t it kill our Ad- Revenue?
  11. 11. Inside Out Business
  12. 12. Rethinking what you do
  13. 13. Truism #5471: Business is Changing Fast..
  14. 14. One of the ways is in how we build stuff.. Build Everything! Build Nothing! 2000 2014
  15. 15. Meaning Core Value Reuse as Much as Possible Wrap and Ship
  16. 16. But what is Core Value?
  17. 17. Engineering Answer Our Beautiful Unique Code! Made by Rockstars over Many Months! (even) our awesome UI!X X XWrong Answer
  18. 18. Your Value is one or more of: 1.Your Data 2.Key Functionality 3.Your Audience/Reach That’s all people care about
  19. 19. The Following Help but are secondary 1. Being Cool 2. Having a Nice UI 3. Having a Nice API None is a reason for people use you per se Lipstick / Pig
  20. 20. I.e. Make sure your Bacon is Good Otherwise Packaging isn’t going to help
  21. 21. So.. Core Value Stuff you really don’t want to build!! Open as many channels as you can
  22. 22. So.. Core Value Stuff you really don’t want to build!! Web Mobile Customers Distributors Resellers New apps
  23. 23. Different Access for Different Targets. E.g. An app for Seniors, who are Piano Teachers and need a very advanced UI -> API? A new humorous content for an 18-25 Audience Demographic -> API? A new advanced algorithm for predictive price plan optimization for retailers ->API?
  24. 24. Inside Out Means… Providing potentially deep access to your core functionality to others at whatever level they can handle Reusing the core functionality of others where you possibly can Don’t write code you don’t have to!
  25. 25. API Models
  26. 26. “A ‘startup’ is a company that is confused about – 1. What its product is. 2. Who its customers are. 3. How to make money.” Dave McClure, 500Startups “A ‘startup’ is a company that is confused about – 1. What its product is. 2. Who its customers are. 3. How to make money.”
  27. 27. Here are some options…
  28. 28. Mobile Enablement Backend for your own Mobile Apps Multi-platform and/ or supporting HTML5 / SPA Focus: stable backend • Often combined with others • Assume it is not private • Apps drive business
  29. 29. Customer Ecosystem Data Integration for reporting (in / out) Increases comfort level v’s lock in Allows self customization • Normally free or bundled • Useful for driving up-sell • Big driver for stickiness
  30. 30. Partner Ecosystem 3rd Parties can add value that you can’t Can be smaller or larger Alternative to manual software integration • Increase functionality • Add data • Increase reach
  31. 31. Content/eCommerce Distribution Special case of partners Partners resell & amplify Focus: gaining audience / transactions • Partners may pay • Or be paid • Drive transactions to core
  32. 32. API As A Business What everyone thinks APIs are about… Access / per transaction fee Instant gratification • Often data on demand • Or functionality on demand • API is the Business
  33. 33. Internal Innovation Sorting out internal legacy Cross-department teams made more agile Focus: refactoring • Increase agility • Reduce cost • Up developer happiness e.g.
  34. 34. Other Models Many companies use multiple models Models often change over time Some apply more / less to startups Feel free to invent new ones Whatever happens: be clear which your model is !
  35. 35. Execution
  36. 36. “I find your lack of faith disturbing”
  37. 37. Skipping the Captain Obvious Errors… (e.g. poor docs, crappy design, …)
  38. 38. 1. Make it valuable
  39. 39. 2. Have a plan and a business model 
  40. 40. 3. Make it simple, flexible and easy to adopt
  41. 41. 4. Make it managed and measured
  42. 42. 5. Provide great support
  43. 43. 6. Make sure it scales
  44. 44. 7. (Meta) ! Create more value than you capture
  45. 45. Providing Value
  46. 46. Gotchas
  47. 47. A Surprise in Every Egg..
  48. 48. 1. An incomplete API
  49. 49. 2. API code bifurcation
  50. 50. 3. The “Developer Middleman”
  51. 51. 4. Not choosing your poison
  52. 52. 5. API launch coolaid
  53. 53. 6. Premature future-proofing
  54. 54. 7. Not caring about performance
  55. 55. Expected Use of Your API Expected Unexpected DesiredUndesired Yay! Innovation Not so Good Oh-Oh.. Concept: Thor Mitchel / Google
  56. 56. As a Startup, Primary problem Expected Unexpected DesiredUndesired Making this Happen
  57. 57. Conclusions
  58. 58. Covered Inside Out Business & APIs API (Business) Models Execution Not so obvious Gotchas
  59. 59. Conclusions Don’t get religious Make sure you are delivering genuine value Treat the API as your product Focus on the early key passionate users Decide if you are a platform or an application/service Always enhance your core company value - do make it a separate business
  60. 60. 3scale: APItools: APICodex:
  61. 61. Questions Please! Contact: @njyx -
  62. 62. References more-value-than-you-capture/ the-api-gold-standard-part-i/ economic-impact-of-the-sharing-economy amazons-success-internal-apis/
  63. 63. Image Credits 7233340968/ photolist-26mCQg-5n43FU 616921109