API Ecosystem: Quarrel, Kiss, then Makeup
Work 2.0 Hackday SF, a photo from 3/20/2011 by delynsimons
If your company launches an open API platform, developers are a smart, opinionated, entrepreneurial new set of customers. They can provide product agility, innovation, velocity, and device/channel distribution.
In exchange for this value from developers, API providers need to provide a generous Terms of Service, commercial opportunity, and services that are easy to get started with and a pleasure to use.
Too many API providers only think of the API ecosystem merely as a means to extract value for their business. But developers are quick to move to new opportunities for value. With more than 3000 APIs available on ProgrammableWeb, developers have lots of options. It may be “developer beware” today as Sam Ramji so beautifully states, but history is long. Lousy lovers of developers in 1994 learn from their mistakes and win developer hearts and minds today. As long as the business model and market opportunity are healthy enough to provide value for the entire ecosystem, then API consumers and API providers will continue partnering in order to create value. Just as lovers inevitably quarrel, the successful long-term partnerships always find a way to kiss and make up.