Scrubbing Individuals And Company Names From Stories I Tell

I find it more valuable to scrub the names of the APIs from about 75% of my stories, which I feel helps them be received by a widest possible audience as possible. If I say “API Provider X”, other providers just think I’m talking about that company, but when I make it generic, I find API providers think I’m talking about them.

There are many reasons I would scrub individual or company names from a story, most often this is because they’ve asked me not to reference them public, but are fine with me telling the story in an anonymous fashion. However, it occurred to me over time that there are other more powerful storytelling influences potentially behind leaving out specific characters.

Early on I identified that there are a lot of API lessons to be learned across business sectors, but if you reference the specific company, or business sector, many business leaders or developers will put there blinders on, feeling this doesn’t apply to them. Ideally companies would identify the potential of hearing stories from other ways of doing business, but unfortunately many lack the imagination to make the transition—lucky I have enough imagination to go around! ;-)

I thoroughly enjoy storytelling in the API space. Over the last four years I’ve developed a voice I enjoy speaking in, and have slowly built an entire toolbox of approaches like scrubbing people or company names, to make my storytelling more impactful, and potentially reach a wider audience. I feel strongly that I would never have been able to do this if API Evangelist was purely a marketing blog for a company, but because I’m lucky enough to be able to focus exclusively on entire API space, spanning multiple business sectors, and left to my own devices when it comes to the editorial choices--I’ve been able to grow my storytelling in ways I never imagined in 2010 when I first started.