You Can Make Money While Also Doing Important Work For The API Space
24 Aug 2016
I see a lot of companies doing things with APIs, and I often find myself struggling to find companies who are doing important things that benefit the community, have a coherent business model, and providing clear value via their services. In the drive to obtain VC funding, or after several rounds of funding, many companies seem to forget who they are, slowly stop doing anything important (ie. research, open source, etc.) with their platform, and seem to just focus on just making money.
One phrase I hear a lot from folks in the space is, "it's just business", and that I should stop expecting altruistic behavior around APIs, and within the business sectors which they are impacting--APIs are about making money, and building businesses hippie! Often times I begin to fall for the gaslighting I experience from some in the API space, then I engage with services like CloudFlare.
I use CloudFlare for all my DNS, but I also stay in tune with their operations because of what they do to lead the DNS space, and because of their DNS API. I was going to craft this post after reading their blog post on the Cuban CDN, then I read their post on an evenly distributed future, and I'm renewed with hope that the web just might be ok--things might not be as dark as they feel sometimes.
I follow what CloudFlare is doing because their work represents the frontline of the API sector--DNS. This makes it not just about DNS, it also becomes about security, and potentially one of the most frightening layers of security--the distributed denial of service attack (DDoS). CloudFlare clearly get DNS, and care so much that they have become super passionate about understanding the web as it exists (as messy as it is), and pushing the conversation forward when it comes to DNS, performance, and security.
CloudFlare makes DNS accessible for me, and for other less-technical professionals like my partner in crime Audrey Watters (@audreywatters), who also uses CloudFlare to manage her DNS, with no assistance from me. I operated my own DNS servers from 1998 until 2013, and it is something that I will never do again, as long as CloudFlare exists. CloudFlare knows their stuff and they help me keep the frontline of my domains healthy and secure.
There are a number of companies I look up to in the space, and CloudFlare is one of them. For me, they prove that you can build a real business, do important work that moves the web forward, be passionate about what you do, while also being transparent along the way. Knowing this is possible keeps me going forward with my own research, and optimistic that this experiment we call the web might actually survive.