You Think You Are So Smart You Did Not Conduct Any Due Diligence Before Launching
You know your API stuff. You know it so well, you don’t even need to look at other APIs. There is no reason to Google and look for other APIs because your stuff is that good. Your idea came to you in a flash, and you worked for an entire weekend to bring to life. Your a genius. Everyone has told you so. This stuff just comes to you, and as long as you are left alone, the magic just happens. If people just stay out of your way, do not burden you with outside influences, and unnecessary concerns, you will keep rolling out amazing APIs that everyone will love and need.
You consume books, and digest endless blog posts and white papers recommended by your trusted network of friends. You don’t ever notice authorship. They don’t matter. It is all about feeding your mind, and you will decide whether it is worthy or not. You don’t save bookmarks for citations or attributions, once inside your brain ALL ideas becomes yours. If someone’s idea is dumb, you make sure an let them know, making sure they are aware of how they are substandard and beneath you. If your friends let you know your ideas are amazing, you let them know they are great too, and will be rewarded by being in your presence, and part of your team.
That one chick that was hired last year made the mistake of blurting out in a meeting, “isn’t that the same thing as that startup that launched last month?”. She isn’t on the core team anymore. You did look at what she was talking about, and their API design is inferior, and the look of their site just turned you off–no need to continue. This is why you don’t conduct due diligence for your API projects. Why spend time looking at so many bad ideas? It takes away from your time to make the magic happen. Why do people keep wasting your time with this stuff? It is clear your ideas are superior, just look at your numbers. Clearly your APIs are well received, and all the feedback from partners have been great. I mean 60% of top startups in the sector are using your service, who cares what else is out there.
All of this is true in your bubble, but it won’t always pencil out outside. What you do not know or see will always eventually begin to diminish your work. The aspects of the markets you don’t see will never see the value of your work. You will never truly grow and evolve if you do not acknowledge the ideas that have influenced you. You weren’t born with all this knowledge, you are learning, borrowing, stealing, and building on the ideas of others. You should always learn from what is already out there, even if it is the worst of the worst. Through studying your competition your ideas will become hardened and truly competitive, and they will have strength when operating outside your bubble, beyond your control. You never know, you might actually come across a gem in the pile of bad ideas, something or someone you never imagined. Something that might shift the paradigm for you.
In your youth, this type of isolation, and bubble creation might work, but eventually you will miss certain signals and trends. There will be market forces that you and your network will miss, and once you begin to fall behind, it will be difficult to catch up. You will be building genius APIs that nobody wants or understands because your work as lost its relevance and context. You may have your finger on the pulse now, but you are not being honest with yourself about how you found that pulse, and are too confident that you will always have it. A significant part of your success has been your privilege, and that you are playing in this game while things are still new. With each wave of growth, and entry of new players, you will become irrelevant, and eventually old and in the way. The new geniuses will make the same mistakes you did, and shut you out, just like you have done to so many. It is how all of this works as time moves on.
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.