I Realize That This Is A Hit On Your API Budget, But It Is My Rent For This
I am the first to admit that I suck at the money game. I just don’t care. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made a significant amount of money in my career, and command a phat six figure salary when I’ve done the job thingy, and I don’t have a problem asking for a decent rate when I’m consulting. It is just that I don’t care about climbing the money ladder, because I realized in my early 20s that it was never enough. I’ve had business partners run off with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, screw me out of the equity in multiple companies, and I’ve experienced what people will do to get at that next rung of the ladder. I quickly saw that you are never happier with each rung you climb, and often times you end up much unhappier the higher up you go–which is why I stay where I am at.
If you have been one of my partners you know I suck at invoicing regularly. Honestly, I don’t think about it until I have to. Which regularly I forget an entire month. Unless I’m looking looking at eviction, or have something I need to purchase, I’m more obsessed with working. I love what I do (mostly), and if someone would just drop money in my account each month, I just keep beating the API Evangelist drum, and never look to make beyond what it takes to keep me going each month. Being independent is a hustle, and it takes the support of my partners (thanks 3Scale, Runscope, Restlet, and Tyk) to make this work, along with some side consulting hustle to fill in the gaps. I mostly prefer the low monthly sponsorship money because the consulting hustle is a chore, and chasing down the money can be a full time job. I’d say 1/3 of the time its about getting plugged into corporate system(s), 1/3 of the time smooth sailing, and 1/3 of the time I’m getting screwed.
Honestly, the companies who want an NDA, contract, and all the trimmings are the ones I’ll usually walk away from. When I have a contract, I almost always get screwed over. I have more unpaid contracts from more well known corporations and startups than I can shake a stick at. I’m amazed at the folks who talk me up, tell me how much they love what I do, and want my services…then get what they need, don’t pay their invoice, and go radio silent. I also get many folks who tell me how their API budget wasn’t as big as they had hoped this quarter, and my fees would be such a big hit. Another I hear regularly is startups waiting for their investment, and at some point they’ll kick me down when they get theirs. The space is full of excuses regarding how hard-done-by everyone is with their operating budgets, runway, and what not. Yeah, I know what you mean–your hard times means I won’t make rent this month. I get it. I do.
This is all a game. The only difference is I’m admitting it, and you aren’t. I feel like we are all in this together, trying to build community, and you are secretively in it for yourself, and working it from every angle. Don’t worry, I know not all of you are like this, and when I’m done with API rant week, I’ll showcase some of the heroes in my world (you know who you are). I just wanted to take the time to shame some of you for the greedy, inconsiderate individuals you are, playing a nice game on the front, but making sure you always get yours. The differences is that you’ll have a rough time in the next meeting, and I’ll be out of my apartment, unable to make it to my next consulting gig, or just unable to meet my wider personal and professional obligations. But it’s cool, I’m sure you got this all figured out, and you will sleep well at night. It’s just business.
Note: If my writing is a little dark this week, here is a little explainer–don’t worry, things will back to normal at API Evangelist soon.