"What is API Evangelist?"

API Evangelist has grown beyond being just a research blog. It is time for me to update the about us page, and its time for me to tell the story of what is "API Evangelist", and how I view my role in the API industry.

API Evangelist started in July 2010. I was burning out in my job as VP of Technology for an events management company that managed events for SAP and Google. I was looking for a way to re-invent myself, doing something that I enjoyed, but also keep me employed for the next 5 years or more. I was looking for something that I was knowledeable about, would be around for a few years. I quickly identified web APIs as this focus.

Web APIs had been a big part of my career since the early 2000’s. I’ve designed and consumed a lot of APIs, and they were the glue in a platform I built for my web development company Original Web Solutions, which I ran from 2000 through 2008.  But I also saw web APIs as vital, but quiet player in the growth of the Internet:

  • Social - Web APIs grew up along with social platforms like Flickr, Delicous, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Cloud - Web APIs came of age, with proving they could deploy IT infrastructure via Amazon Web Services, and are the power driving Paas and Saas.
  • Mobile - Web APIs are becoming ubiquitous with the growth of iOS, Android, Blackbery and Windows mobile phone usage.

This locked it in for me. APIs were not only growing, they were going to be around for a while. So I started API Evangelist, and began researching the space, looking for a way that I could make not only a career, I could also make an impact.

I set out, researching the space. I evaluated over 200 of the top web APIs, and wanted to understand their approach, why they were successful (or not), and who were movers and shakers in the space. I quickly saw that there were plenty of technical pundits or RESTafarians, who had strong opinions on technically how to deploy your APIs, but there very few people addressing the business side of API deployment and management.

This was my angle. I would focus on the business of APIs, and study the approach, and building blocks that were used by successful API owners. By the end of 2010, I had my focus, and in 2011 I spent a lot of time getting to know the space, and the key players in the API industry. I met influencers such as John Musser(@johnmusser) of ProgrammableWeb, Daniel Jacobson(@daniel_jacobson) of Netflix, Steven Willmott(@njyx) of 3Scale and Sam Ramji(@sramji) of Apigee.

Throughout 2011 I developed my voice and approach to the space by blogging on ProgrammableWeb and API Evangelist and being the API Evangelist for Mimeo.com. In 2012 I feel this has moved beyond research and out of the PHD period, after 2 years exclusively focusing on the space, i feel like its a full-time career now. My role is not as "API Guru" as many people are quick to say, I see it as "API Luminary". All I do is shine light on what other really smart people are doing in the space, and thanks to my girlfriend Audrey Watters (@audreywatters), I’m learning to shine the light by telling stories. Stories about the power of web APIs, and how they are transforming businesses and entire industries.

This is my story of how I became the API Evangelist. Though I have worked to build a brand around the title, I’m not the only one out there. With the growth of APIs, there are many more API evangelist, developer evangelist and developer advocates popping up. I want to help give them a platform for telling their story of how they got where they are, and their vision of the API Industry.

Here are a few of those stories:

If you are an aPI evangelist, developer evangelist or developer advocate, and would like to share your story, email me at [email protected] and I’ll publish your story here.

This blog is no longer just about me, its grown larger than that. Its become about the power of change by using web APIs, the people who are implementing that change, and the businesses and industries that are being transformed.