Reminding Myself Of Why I Do API Evangelist
21 Mar 2017
This is my regular public service reminder of why I do API Evangelist. I do not evangelize APIs because I think everybody should be doing them, that they are the solution to all of our problems, or because I have an API I want you to buy (I have other things for you to buy). I do API Evangelist because I want to better understand how platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Uber, and others are operating and impacting our personal and professional lives.
I do believe in APIs as an important tool in our professional toolboxes, but Silicon Valley, our government(s), and many other bad actors have shown me that APIs will more often be used for shady things, rather than the positive API vision I have in my head. I still encourage companies, organizations, institutions, and agencies to do APIs, but I spend equal amount of time ensuring people are doing APIs in a more open and equitable way while still encouraging folks to also embark on their API journeys--taking more control over how we store, share, and put our bits and bytes to work each day.
APIs are playing a role in almost every news story we read today, from fake news and elections to cyber security, healthcare with the FHIR API standard, or banking with PSDS, to automobiles and transportation with Tesla and Uber. I can keep going all day long, talking about the ways APIs are influencing and delivering vital aspects of our personal and professional lives. In ALL of these situation's it's not the API that is important, it is the access, availability, and observability of the technology that is impacting the lives of humans--APIs are just the digital connector where our mobile phones and other devices are being connected to the Internet.
I like to regularly remind myself why the fuck I'm doing API Evangelist, so I don't burn out like I have before and end up roaming the streets foaming at the mouth again. I also do it to remind people of why I do API Evangelist, so they don't just think I'm a cheerleader for technology (rah rah rah, gooo APIs). My mission isn't just about APIs, it's ensuring APIs are in place and allow us to better understand the inputs and outputs of the technology invading all aspects of our lives. Without the observability into the backend systems and algorithms that are driving out personal and professional lives, we are screwed--which is why I do API Evangelist, to help ensure there is observability into how technology is impacting our world.