An Example of BizDev 2.5
03 May 2011In 2006, Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake coined the phrase Biz Dev 2.0 in a blog post explaining how several small companies had approached Flickr wanting to provide services that the photo-sharing site didn't feature. She noted that Flickr executives had little time in their schedules to arrange meetings to hash out these partnerships, and instead encouraged companies to feel free to apply for a Commercial API key and build something off the API. Biz Dev 2.0, she called it. Fast forward to 2011, APIs are a common part of the technology and business landscape. Some API providers have evolved their API offerings into platforms, and introduced self-service application development environments. From the pubic side, these are seen as service or application marketplaces where users can find add-ons they can use as part of the core web application. Think Google Marketplace, Facebook App Directory, and Box.net OpenBox. From the developers point of view these offer environments where they can easily build applications that integrate with an existing platform and user base. From the business perspective this is Biz Dev 2.5. Let me give you an example. When I started as API Evangelist for Mimeo.com a project that was already in the works was commercial print integration with Scribd.com. After serveral months of negotiations Mimeo was able to get a button within Scribd, Print to Mimeo. This happened before I was around, but right before I was hired Scribd updated their application to HTML5 and the Print to Mimeo disappeared. To get back on Scribd's development radar would take another round of outreach, discussion and integration into their development schedule. Next on my list of cloud storage provider integration after Scribd, was Box.net. Box.net has an API and a self-service application development environment called OpenBox. I can add my application and integrate it into Box.net without coordinating with Box.net staff. Once ready I can submit for approval in the OpenBox directory, or keep private and just send invites out to users with a link directly to my OpenBox application. I have someone I can email at Box.net and discuss business development opportunities, but I don't have to. I can do all the work myself. I'm able to build an application that uses the APIs of a leading web application provider, launch that application integrated into the platform, and access the existing user-base. When users choose to use my application it adds actions or navigation options for them that are linked to my service. APIs + self-service application development environments allow for entirely new business opportunities without the overhead of traditional business development, and with deeper integration into partner platforms.