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Strange but True
Counterintuitive Paths to Building a Business on APIs
Thomas Bouldin
Software Engineer
Parse+Facebook
@in...
TL;DR:
Building a business on
APIs requires as much
psychology as
technology
PHYSICAL SERVERS
LOAD BALANCING
DATABASE BINDINGS
RESTful API
ROUTING
MIDDLEWARE
APP SECURITY
APP BUSINESS LOGIC
NETWORKIN...
PHYSICAL SERVERS
LOAD BALANCING
DATABASE BINDINGS
RESTful API
ROUTING
MIDDLEWARE
APP SECURITY
APP BUSINESS LOGIC
NETWORKIN...
PARSE
YOUR APP
Parse+Facebook
Parse+Facebook
What did we learn?
(A Cynic’s Guide to building a business on APIs)
How to build a business on APIs:
1. Don’t build a business on APIs
2. Don’t be Creative
3. Treat Customers like (Your) Chi...
1. Don’t Build a Business on APIs
1. Don’t Build a Business on APIs
controller.parseClassName =
PFUser.parseClassName;
controller.textKey = @“username”;
con...
2. Don’t be Creative
“You’re so vain
You probably think this
song is about you”
—Carly Simon
2. Don’t be Creative
str_repeat
strcmp
str_split
strlen
str_word_count
strrev
2. Don’t be Creative
void object.save()
Task<Void> object.saveInBackground()
void object.saveInBackground(SaveCallback)
vo...
3. Treat Customers like (Your) Children
3. Treat Customers like (Your) Children
4. Do Fewer Things
“Deciding what not
to do is just as
important as
deciding what to
do.”
—Steve Jobs
4. Do Fewer Things
4. Do Fewer Things
4. Do Fewer Things
4. Do Fewer Things
5. Focus on the docs that nobody reads
“If you don’t know
where you’re going,
any road will get you
there”
—Lewis Carroll
6. Sweat the Small Stuff
“A stitch in time
saves nine”
—Unknown
How to build a business on APIs:
1. Don’t build a business on APIs
2. Don’t be Creative
3. Treat Customers like (Your) Chi...
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Strange but True: Counterintiutive Paths to Building a Business on APIs

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After 6 years working on developer experiences, these are my rules of thumb for building a business on APIs:
1. Don't build a business on APIs
2. Don't be Creative
3. Treat Customers like (Your) Children
4. Do Fewer Things
5. Focus on the Docs Nobody Reads
6. Sweat the Small Stuff

Published in: Technology
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Strange but True: Counterintiutive Paths to Building a Business on APIs

  1. 1. Strange but True Counterintuitive Paths to Building a Business on APIs Thomas Bouldin Software Engineer Parse+Facebook @inlined
  2. 2. TL;DR: Building a business on APIs requires as much psychology as technology
  3. 3. PHYSICAL SERVERS LOAD BALANCING DATABASE BINDINGS RESTful API ROUTING MIDDLEWARE APP SECURITY APP BUSINESS LOGIC NETWORKING CACHING DATA MODELS USER SESSIONS SOCIAL PUSH NOTIFICATIONS FILES UI BINDINGS Parse+Facebook
  4. 4. PHYSICAL SERVERS LOAD BALANCING DATABASE BINDINGS RESTful API ROUTING MIDDLEWARE APP SECURITY APP BUSINESS LOGIC NETWORKING CACHING DATA MODELS USER SESSIONS SOCIAL PUSH NOTIFICATIONS FILES UI BINDINGS YOUR APP Parse+Facebook
  5. 5. PARSE YOUR APP Parse+Facebook
  6. 6. Parse+Facebook
  7. 7. What did we learn? (A Cynic’s Guide to building a business on APIs)
  8. 8. How to build a business on APIs: 1. Don’t build a business on APIs 2. Don’t be Creative 3. Treat Customers like (Your) Children 4. Do Fewer Things 5. Focus on the Docs that Nobody Reads 6. Sweat the Small Stuff
  9. 9. 1. Don’t Build a Business on APIs
  10. 10. 1. Don’t Build a Business on APIs controller.parseClassName = PFUser.parseClassName; controller.textKey = @“username”; controller.imageKey = @“avatar”;
  11. 11. 2. Don’t be Creative “You’re so vain You probably think this song is about you” —Carly Simon
  12. 12. 2. Don’t be Creative str_repeat strcmp str_split strlen str_word_count strrev
  13. 13. 2. Don’t be Creative void object.save() Task<Void> object.saveInBackground() void object.saveInBackground(SaveCallback) void object.fetch() Task<T> object.fetchInBackground() void object.fetchInBackground(GetCallback<T>)
  14. 14. 3. Treat Customers like (Your) Children
  15. 15. 3. Treat Customers like (Your) Children
  16. 16. 4. Do Fewer Things “Deciding what not to do is just as important as deciding what to do.” —Steve Jobs
  17. 17. 4. Do Fewer Things
  18. 18. 4. Do Fewer Things
  19. 19. 4. Do Fewer Things
  20. 20. 4. Do Fewer Things
  21. 21. 5. Focus on the docs that nobody reads “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there” —Lewis Carroll
  22. 22. 6. Sweat the Small Stuff “A stitch in time saves nine” —Unknown
  23. 23. How to build a business on APIs: 1. Don’t build a business on APIs 2. Don’t be Creative 3. Treat Customers like (Your) Children 4. Do Fewer Things 5. Focus on the Docs that Nobody Reads 6. Sweat the Small Stuff

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