Augmenting Popular Platforms With New Features Using APIs

There is an interesting post on the Parse blog about instaDM, which is a service built using Parse, the BaaS platform, that provides private messaging in the Instagram ecosystem.

This is a very interesting approach to externally developing features for another platform or service. I think Parse says it well:

Even the hottest new apps, however, aren’t perfect and that’s where clever innovators can fill in the gaps with a great idea. Parse-powered instaDM is one such innovation.

On one hand, this approach is a gamble. All Instagram has to do is copy what you've done, put it in the roadmap, and your done.  Finished.

On the other hand, I think this is a very realistic way of pushing a platform forward, by external developers, using APIs. If an API provider is smart, when you have someone in your ecosystem roll out a valuable feature like this, you invest in their success.

Building features that augment web or mobile apps like this demonstrate that API ecosystems offer a lot potential for innovation, and I have to say it is even more interesting that this is being built on Parse--probably a whole other story in itself.

I don’t think every idea that comes out of Silicon Valley should be VC size. APIs allow more lots of smaller, more sustainable features to emerge, that don't need large scale investment. instaDM is an example of this potential.