The Average Person Will Never Care About Their Digital Stuff Enough For Personal APIs To Be A Thing
19 Apr 2016
I've heard the same thing for years--that the average person will never care about their digital stuff enough to ever want to learn about APIs, let alone for the concept of the personal API to ever be a thing. People love to comment, and tweet it at me anytime I talk about evangelizing APIs to normals, about reclaiming your domain, or the concept of the personal API.
First off, you aren't original. IT has been telling the normals to not worry their :pretty little head" about the technical details for many, many years. It is how those with the power stay in power. If people are technically literate, and we built simple technology solutions for people, they wouldn't need us, or buy our bullshit. It is a very scary notion for many of us very insecure technologists.
I've worked as a professional developer since 1987, IT lead since 1998, and been evangelizing the API opportunity since 2004. These arguments are nothing new for me, but it does fascinate me that people think they are original, with very little awareness of the larger machine they operate on behalf of when they wield these statements. Like I should stop doing what I do, and having the expectations that I have, because the entire world will not fall into line -- its all or nothing. ?? WTF
I do not think in scale like you do. You are the slave in believing that all your ideas should scale. Not me. I'm happy if I reach one person. People like Tom Woodward (@twoodwar), who understand that personal APIs are not about a single, perfect stack of APIs, living on a single beautiful server in your living room. Which is another rookie assault I get from fantasy believing developers looking to disarm my notion of the personal API, with their extremely simple view of what it is a "personal API".
Tom is well on his way, when it comes to the API journey. Tom understands that he doesn't have to be a rockstar ninja developer, or all mighty IT player to use APIs. Tom is just working to understand the footprint he leaves online each day, where all hist bits and bytes live, and how he can assert more control over this digital version of his existence. Tom will mostly likely never have a perfect stack of APIs (as technologists envision), but he is making some impressive inroads when it comes to identifying where he operates online, where he'd prefer to be operating, and how APIs can help him achieve the level of understanding and control he is seeking.
My mission as the API Evangelist is not about convincing everyone that APIs are a thing, and that everyone should care about APIs being available on all the platforms that we use as part of personal and professional lives. My mission is about convincing individuals, and individual business owners that they should always be asking the questions that Tom is asking, and working towards a better understanding of their digital self. Each person, business, organization, institution, or government agency I can influence to embark on their API journey, is a win for me.
So remember, when you tell me how nobody will every care about their digital stuff enough to want to learn about APIs, or embark on their own personal API journey, you just marked yourself as being a cog in a very old machine. You believe you are smarter than the average person, and that people are incapable of managing their own digital self, and should pay you, and the new class of technologists to do it for them. I probably shouldn't be educating y'all about this, and just let you keep self identifying for me where you stand on what role technology plays in our lives.