Darwin's Finches, 20th Century Business, and APIs


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APIs are transforming the web economy and forcing changes in Web business models. Darwin's imperative - adapt or perish - has never been more apt. Much like the changes from direct to indirect channels in 20th century business, APIs represent an indirect channel to customers, led by developers and applications. Learn about successful adaptations to this environment and how to help others understand the API imperative.

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  • Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License
  • http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/DarwinSP2002Phil108.htmUse at beginning to set up story – 1,2,3 are the same genus – adaptation to a competitive environment (island)
  • http://newdesktopwallpapers.info/The%20best%20of%20summer%20-%20Islands%20and%20Tropical%20Paradise/Islands/slides/Coastal%20View,%20Galapagos%20Islands.html
  • http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=5517
  • http://maps.google.com/maps?ftr=earth.promo&hl=en&utm_campaign=en&utm_medium=mapshpp&utm_source=en-mapshpp-na-us-gns-erth&utm_term=evl
  • http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/DarwinSP2002Phil108.htm
  • http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/DarwinSP2002Phil108.htm
  • http://www.reproductive-revolution.com/charles-darwin.html
  • http://www.reproductive-revolution.com/charles-darwin.html
  • Avery, MacLeod, and McCarty
  • http://bbruner.org/bitn/bitn_fig/dna.gif - http://www.genome.gov/glossary/index.cfm?
  • Avery, MacLeod, and McCarty
  • Avery, MacLeod, and McCarty
  • http://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/tag/old-signs/
  • http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?p=299745
  • http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/images/PT-AK559_Suburb_G_20081224174421.jpg
  • http://www.laapush.org/environmentalspectrum_files/images/000001ad.jpg
  • http://media.photobucket.com/image/new%20york%201950/guaporense/midtown1955.jpg
  • http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/images/PT-AK559_Suburb_G_20081224174421.jpg
  • http://www.springfieldrewind.com/photos/sears70a.jpg
  • http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4072/4338895970_56d7989798_o.jpg
  • http://bbruner.org/bitn/bitn_fig/dna_repl.gif - http://www.genome.gov/glossary/index.cfm?
  • OpenTable, MovieTickets, TaxiMagic, Citysearch, Yelp, Yahoo Local, Gayot, Rotten Tomatoes, NYTimes.com, WeatherBug, AllMenus, StubHub, LiveKick, Maponics, Nuance and TrueKnowledge - http://blogs.zdnet.com/semantic-web/?p=333&tag=col1;post-333
  • NPR, New York Times, MTV Networks, Finance, Healthcare, Manufacturing; “Some of these businesses have been around for 5 years, others for 100”
  • http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic-art/197367/74641/Fourteen-species-of-Galapagos-finches-that-evolved-from-a-common
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuated_equilibriumWe are in an epoch of change – no longer copying Amazon’s 1-click model – rapid speciation
  • Cloud computing doesn’t have to mean moving your datacenter to AmazonIt can be about enabling cloud consumers to access your business via your API so that your business is everywhere – mobile and social, and underneath a thousand apps.
  • http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic-art/197367/74641/Fourteen-species-of-Galapagos-finches-that-evolved-from-a-common
  • http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic-art/197367/74641/Fourteen-species-of-Galapagos-finches-that-evolved-from-a-common
  • Respect the patterns – use REST, make it human-readable if possiblegraph.facebook.com is a great example of a clean REST API
  • http://www.insidefurniture.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/predictions_crystal_ball.jpg
  • http://www.mun.ca/biology/desmid/brian/BIOL2060/BIOL2060-20/2027.jpg
  • Don’t break the developer’s ability to do a “sign in with Twitter” or “Facebook Connect” authentication schemeClone similar APIs as appropriate (Tumblr)
  • GameSpy OpenOpen APIs for data and development services, making it easier for its partners on all platforms to add compelling online features to games, measure game performance and audience engagement, and collaborate with their communities.  1. one api for head and tail 2.  for the tail - different policies - :  give limited/metered access to long tail, self-service, provisioniong 3 using the tail to drive data! 
  • Helping your (finches) application ecosystem succeed
  • Helping your (finches) application ecosystem succeed
  • Don’t have a meltdown!
  • Get everyone on the same page – you need business metrics, a picture of what success looks like, and executive buy-in and report-outs
  • http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2009/10/business-model-jujutsu.html
  • “But it’s not enough to just have one. Everyone has or will have one, just like everyone had a website. So this is the new competitive landscape. And developers are your new indirect channel. You need to address, motivate, and sustain your indirect channel. The companies that thrive in THIS transition will write the rules for everyone else.”
  • NPR, New York Times, MTV Networks, Finance, Healthcare, Manufacturing; “Some of these businesses have been around for 5 years, others for 100”
  • http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic-art/197367/74641/Fourteen-species-of-Galapagos-finches-that-evolved-from-a-common
  • Darwin's Finches, 20th Century Business, and APIs

    1. Darwin’s Finches,20th Century Business,and APIs<br />Evolve Your Business Model<br />Sam Ramji @sramji<br />VP Strategy, Apigee<br />
    2. DARWIN’S FINCHES<br />
    3. These birds<br />
    4. live in this paradise right here<br />
    5. so what’s the problem?<br />
    6. The problem is<br />
    7. they’re on a small island chain<br />
    8. a long way from anywhere else<br />
    9. that’s a lot of environmental pressure<br />
    10. so these finches<br />
    11. are actually terrific competitors<br />
    12. and their differences<br />
    13. were defined by this man<br />
    14. as successful adaptations.<br />
    15. The ones you don’t see today<br />
    16. had unsuccessful adaptations<br />
    17. and died out.<br />
    18. A century after<br />
    19. a team of scientists identified the mechanism of adaptation and evolution<br />
    20. Twenty years later<br />
    21. called out the gene<br />as the atomic unit of competition.<br />
    22. From the perspective of the gene<br />
    23. the gene is successful <br />if the organism that carries it is successful.<br />
    24. Switching gears<br />
    25. 20th CENTURY <br />BUSINESS<br />
    26. In 1910 business was mostly direct<br />
    27. By the 1930s there was a lot of competition<br />
    28. But after World War II, there were new environmental pressures<br />
    29. Many businesses died out.<br />
    30. Business went from direct to indirect.<br />
    31. Those businesses who thrived in this transition<br />
    32. Shared a set of successful adaptations<br />
    33. Broad consumer marketing and branding<br />Distribution exclusives in territory and product allocation<br />Special makes for select retailers<br />Retailer incentives – slotting fees, joint marketing, tiered volume discounts<br />Consumer incentives – coupons, in-store events, limited time discounts<br />
    34. Unified by one idea<br />
    35. It was not just about selling in<br />
    36. It was not just about selling in<br />It was about selling through.<br />
    37. From the perspective of the business<br />
    38. The business is successful<br />If the retailer that it sells through is successful.<br />
    39. The real world went from direct to indirect<br />
    40. It went beyond the corner store.<br />
    41. The web world is going from direct to indirect.<br />
    42. It is going beyond the browser.<br />
    43. That takes us to<br />
    44. APIs<br />
    45. “<br />Robert Scoble<br />Author of tech blog Scobleizer<br />
    46. Why?<br />
    47. Because in a web beyond the browser <br />
    48. APIs are how people get to your business.<br />
    49. You need to see things <br />from the perspective of the gene.<br />
    50. The gene is successful <br />if the organism that carries it is successful.<br />
    51. You need to see your business <br />from the perspective of the API.<br />
    52. The API is successful if <br />the application that carries it is successful.<br />
    53. Successful applications will use many different APIs.<br />
    54. and they will carry those APIs everywhere<br />
    55. z<br />
    56. taking your business with them.<br />
    57. For the successful companies, 80% of traffic will be coming from beyond the browser. <br />
    58. Everyone else will have to play in the world that the winners make.<br />
    59. One last thought on evolution<br />
    60. Adaptive Radiation in Twitter Applications<br />Visualization by Sonoa<br />Classifications by Oneforty.com<br />
    62. Mobile<br />Social<br />Cloud<br />
    63. They can be independent or they can support each other.<br />It is up to you to decide if there’s harmony.<br />
    64. Your company may be very well adapted to the web, but is it adapted to mobile?<br />Mobile devices have limited storage and processing and need to be tied in to real-world and social dimensions.<br />They use APIs to get at location, maps, social graphs, and events.<br />
    65. Social sites are data services with a critical mass of users, where each new user makes the service better.<br />You can’t build a new Facebook or Twitter.<br />But you need to access them, so you use their APIs.<br />
    66. Cloud computing is not about Amazon.<br />
    67. Cloud computing is not about Rackspace.<br />
    68. Cloud computing is not about Microsoft.<br />
    69. Cloud computing is not about Google.<br />
    70. Cloud computing is about<br />how you reach your customers<br />
    71. We’ve gone from libraries to APIs.<br />In a cloud computing world people access library-like functionality via an API.<br />These services are the unit of programming.<br />Make your API useful and it will be carried to customers you’ve never met.<br />
    72. CHANGE AGENCY<br />
    73. I know you get all this already<br />But how do you get your colleagues to join you in the journey to APIs?<br />
    74. What’s so damn wrong with the current model?<br />I like it and it’s working for me.<br />Plus, I understand it.<br />
    75. Actually, it’s not working.<br />
    76. Populations, societies, and markets are becoming more specialized and differentiated. <br />
    77. Consumer interest groups are fragmented.<br />
    78. Consumer interest groups are increasingly fragmented.<br />
    79. Markets are changing so fast that you can’t spend the time to “market size, <br /> focus group, <br /> plan, <br /> develop, <br /> launch, <br /> measure and <br /> sustain” <br />because the market niche may be gone or fundamentally changed<br />
    80. A rapidly expanding range of computing platforms are needed to reach consumers.<br />
    81. Mary Meeker, Morgan Stanley<br />
    82. This is not a solvable problem nor a winnable game.<br />
    83. The only way to win is to change the game.<br />
    84. Thousands of people, <br />who are not on your payroll, <br />who are intimately part of each of these changing interest groups and niches, <br />must be convinced to carry <br />your product there for you <br />in a way that adapts to the dynamic environment<br />
    85. Thousands of people, <br />who are not on your payroll, <br />who are intimately part of each of these changing interest groups and niches, <br />must be convinced to carry <br />your brand there for you <br />in a way that adapts to the dynamic environment<br />
    86. Thousands of people, <br />who are not on your payroll, <br />who are intimately part of each of these changing interest groups and niches, <br />must be convinced to carry <br />your experience there for you <br />in a way that adapts to the dynamic environment<br />
    87. It’s a competition for ideas<br />
    88. Enable your business to adapt into niches<br />
    89. Only 1 of 100 will be successful – not a failure rate that you can withstand and remain in business. <br />You need to encourage that to happen “out there” where the cost structures and speed of business are synchronized. <br />Be ready to reward or acquire the winners.<br />
    91. Realizing that developers are your channel<br />Being recombinant and easily mixed<br />Unlocking your legacy data into open APIs<br />Driving new data into your system via open APIs<br />Supporting your application ecosystem<br />
    92. developers<br />Why do you need to attract developers?<br />
    93. developers<br />Because applications are the fastest growing and fastest changing organisms in this environment<br />and they’re built by developers<br />
    94. developers<br />Unsuccessful adaptations to this world are based on the following conventional wisdom<br />
    95. developers<br />Companies providing APIs to access their business are the supply<br />Developers who build against those APIs are the demand<br />
    96. developers<br />This is exactly wrong.<br />
    97. developers<br />Companies providing APIs are the demand<br />
    98. developers<br />Companies providing APIs are the demand<br />They demand developers’ attention and adoption<br />
    99. developers<br />Developers building with APIs are the supply<br />
    100. developers<br />Developers building with APIs are the supply<br />They supply innovation and adaptation<br />
    101. developers<br />Developers now sit between you and your customers<br />They are like the retail store in the value chain<br />
    102. Packaged Goods<br />Consumer<br />Retail Store<br />Producer<br />Internet Services<br />App<br />Developer<br />Consumer<br />Provider<br />
    104. recombinant<br />Two rules for marketing your API to developers<br />1. Don’t assume that developers are clamoring for your API.<br />2. Don’t assume that developers will want to use your API alone.<br />
    105. recombinant<br />Be robust so that your API is recombinant<br />
    106. “<br />This is all about the customers.<br />We allow developers to integrate the Netflix service into apps with full control over the user experience.<br />So we are able to outsource innovation … and that’s a great thing.<br />Michael Hart<br />Director of Engineering, Netflix<br />
    107. Visualization by Apigee<br />
    108. recombinant<br />Rules for robustness<br />
    109. recombinant<br />REST first, everything else second<br />Nothing weird: straight XML, straight JSON<br />Keep responses small<br />Keep calls granular<br />No custom security schemes: use OAuth<br />Don’t make the developer deal with PCI-compliance<br />Sample code wins every time<br />You’ll get it wrong the first time – so listen well<br />
    110. recombinant<br />Be remixable so that your API is recombinant<br />
    111. recombinant<br />Rules for miscibility<br />
    112. recombinant<br />Observe your adjacencies<br />Don’t break social sign-on<br />Don’t require session management<br />Provide sample code for expected remixes<br />Reward creativity through promotion<br />
    114. legacy data<br />Unlocking your legacy data into open APIs<br />
    115. legacy data<br />Open APIs for your legacy data means innovation can happen out there<br />
    116. legacy data<br />Product Catalogs that integrate with your backend<br />Customer Preferences based on your interactions<br />Historical Purchases through your existing sites<br />Logistics Information about your supply chain<br />Seasonality on purchases of goods and services<br />Location of historical purchases<br />User Recommendations of good and services<br />Service Providers that you have transacted with<br />
    117. “<br />
    119. new data<br />Driving new data into your system via open APIs<br />
    120. new data<br />Data is the new business model<br />Each new user makes the service better<br />Use the tail to feed the head<br />
    121. new data<br />GameSpy Open<br />One single API for the head and the tail<br />Tail policy:  limited access for free<br />Head policy: unlimited access for fee<br />
    122. Data from Programmable Web<br />
    123. Data from Wikipedia<br />
    125. Helping your finches succeed<br />
    126. Help your application ecosystem succeed<br />
    127. application ecosystem <br />An app is only as strongas its weakest API call<br />Your API is a product like any other product<br />Design for scale of business processes<br />There is a huge gap between a feature and a business<br />
    128. “<br />John Musser<br />Founder, Programmable Web<br />
    129. Programmable Web<br />
    130. application ecosystem <br />It is not just about selling in<br />It is about selling through.<br />
    131. “<br />Fred Wilson<br />Union Square Ventures<br />
    132. InCLOSING<br />
    133. John Musser<br />Founder, Programmable Web<br />
    134. Dion Hinchcliffe<br />Dachis Group<br />
    135. THANK YOU<br />Questions and ideas to:<br />@sramji<br />sramji@apigee.com<br />