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Carlo Longino 
VP Developer Program Services 
carlo@wip.org 
APIs FOR… YOUR MOM 
November 11, 2014 
London Tech Evangelist...
About WIP Factory 
• The first B2D marketing 
agency 
• Strategic consulting and 
outreach services 
• API providers, plat...
Intro 
• How do we talk about APIs to non-technical 
people? 
• How do we begin to build a case for an API 
program? 
• Wh...
A Framework 
What is an 
API? 
What do 
APIs do? 
Why do I 
want one? 
© Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
Defining APIs 
• Expressing the idea behind APIs in relatively simple, 
straightforward terms 
• Technology is less import...
Defining APIs 
• “Application progamming interface.” 
• “A set of routines, protocols, and tools for building 
software ap...
Defining APIs 
• “With APIs, applications talk to each other without any 
user knowledge or intervention.” (HowStuffWorks)...
Defining APIs 
• An API allows different computer systems or services to 
talk, share data and content, and interact. 
• A...
What APIs Do 
• Share data 
© Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
What APIs Do 
• Share content 
© Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
What APIs Do 
• Share resources, like authentication 
© Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
What APIs Do 
• Embed content from one app/service in another 
© Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
What APIs Do 
• Make mobile apps work 
© Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
What APIs Do 
• Power internal projects and services 
© Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
Choosing Examples 
• Keep them relevant 
– i.e. avoid ridiculous mashups when there are better ones 
• Keep them context-r...
Live Examples 
• IFTTT or Zapier 
• Be sure to test them first 
– Put on your non-technical person hat 
• Be mindful of wh...
Why Do I Want an API? 
• The “What’s in it for me?” part 
• Remember: what excites you as a 
technologist/developer may no...
Why Do I Want an API? 
© Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc. 
Increased 
revenue 
Lower 
costs 
New 
users 
Faste...
A Few Notes 
• Things not to talk about 
– Roy Fielding, REST vs SOAP vs …, Hypermedia 
• Security/control/limitations 
– ...
INNOVATION 
Starts with Developers 
Let us Build your Developer Ecosystem 
Strategy, Onboarding, Outreach, Events 
Carlo L...
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APIs for... Your Mom

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How to talk about APIs to your mom, your boss, or other non-technical people. Delivered at the London Tech Evangelist Meetup in November 2014.

Published in: Technology
  • Very useful framework. A way to explain APIs in 'English' is definitely needed. Often I find it very helpful to flip this framework on its head and start with 'Why do I want one?' i.e. what's the benefit for the person I talk to in that moment. Also the fact that 'API' is (1.) an acronym and (2.) a tech term does not help much for explaining it to a broader audience. I guess we (people from the API community) need to come up with more general terms or examples understood by our Moms.
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APIs for... Your Mom

  1. 1. Carlo Longino VP Developer Program Services carlo@wip.org APIs FOR… YOUR MOM November 11, 2014 London Tech Evangelists Meetup
  2. 2. About WIP Factory • The first B2D marketing agency • Strategic consulting and outreach services • API providers, platform vendors, device makers, developer programs of all stripes © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
  3. 3. Intro • How do we talk about APIs to non-technical people? • How do we begin to build a case for an API program? • What do non-technical people need to understand about APIs? © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
  4. 4. A Framework What is an API? What do APIs do? Why do I want one? © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
  5. 5. Defining APIs • Expressing the idea behind APIs in relatively simple, straightforward terms • Technology is less important than understanding • Nobody likes a pedant © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
  6. 6. Defining APIs • “Application progamming interface.” • “A set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. An API expresses a software component in terms of its operations, inputs, outputs, and underlying types.” (Wikipedia) • “Sets of requirements that govern how one application can talk to another.” (ReadWriteWeb) © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
  7. 7. Defining APIs • “With APIs, applications talk to each other without any user knowledge or intervention.” (HowStuffWorks) • “An API is code that allows two software programs to communicate with each other.” (TechTarget) • “Just think of APIs as shipping containers transporting content between ports of call.” (APIs for Dummies) © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
  8. 8. Defining APIs • An API allows different computer systems or services to talk, share data and content, and interact. • An API is a way for a developer, company or service to say, “Here’s what you can access, and how.” • What’s your definition? © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
  9. 9. What APIs Do • Share data © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
  10. 10. What APIs Do • Share content © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
  11. 11. What APIs Do • Share resources, like authentication © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
  12. 12. What APIs Do • Embed content from one app/service in another © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
  13. 13. What APIs Do • Make mobile apps work © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
  14. 14. What APIs Do • Power internal projects and services © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
  15. 15. Choosing Examples • Keep them relevant – i.e. avoid ridiculous mashups when there are better ones • Keep them context-relevant – Location – Application – Familiarity • Showcases from APIs you like • API vendors (sometimes) • Competitors © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
  16. 16. Live Examples • IFTTT or Zapier • Be sure to test them first – Put on your non-technical person hat • Be mindful of what was said earlier about ridiculous mashups • Is there a personally relevant example you can use? © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
  17. 17. Why Do I Want an API? • The “What’s in it for me?” part • Remember: what excites you as a technologist/developer may not be what excites your audience • Consider biz models/benefits © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
  18. 18. Why Do I Want an API? © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc. Increased revenue Lower costs New users Faster time to market Stickiness /lock-in Wider content spread Lead generation Increased traffic INNOVATION
  19. 19. A Few Notes • Things not to talk about – Roy Fielding, REST vs SOAP vs …, Hypermedia • Security/control/limitations – Partner programs, internal APIs • Manage expectations – Toe a fine line between building enthusiasm/support and impossibly inflating expectations © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc.
  20. 20. INNOVATION Starts with Developers Let us Build your Developer Ecosystem Strategy, Onboarding, Outreach, Events Carlo Longino, VP of Developer Program Services carlo@wip.org Community: www.wip.org Agency: www.wipfactory.com © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc. Vancouver, Canada – Austin, USA – Barcelona, Spain

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