When API Success Signals Begin Working Against You

Curently I'm immersed in discovering, vetting and tracking on signals that show me which companies are trending in the API space. I'm looking for signals that will tell me which companies are making movements on a week to week basis, and when the blogosphere and developer communities are buzzing about these companies and technologies.

Three very important signals I use are blogs, twitter and Github. These tools provide me with great signals I can use to tune into what a company is doing, when they push code, write a story or tweet about it. They also provide me with signals of when developers are engaging with API owners, because they follow on Twitter and download, fork, favorite and follow Github repositories.

However, in some scenarios a companies blogs, twitter and Github accounts can also tell me when a company has given up and has run out of money or just stopped putting energy and resources into a project. An example of this is with a company I came across during my monitoring last week, called RESTful Labs. RESTful Labs has all the eye candy to draw me in. I mean they have REST in their name, and they build tools for developers!

RESTful Labs provides API analytics tools for developers. I'm pretty stoked anytime I find something like this, then I immediately look at the common signals:

  • Blog - Check! - Last blog posted 11 months ago
  • Twitter - Check! - Last Tweet 8 months ago
  • Github - Check! - Last commit was 8 months ago

On the surface, RESTful Labs has all the right signal generators in having a blog, Twitter and Github accounts. But immediately these signals start working against them, rather than the positive signals I would normally gather from someone having a blog, Twitter and Github accounts.

It is clear that RESTful Labs WAS something last year, but now it is all but a ghost town. It is not a tool I will recommend anyone use because there is nobody home to support. Since they have a Github account, there might be resources that can be picked from the bones of the startup, but not much else beyond that.

I keep companies like this in my database, as I want live examples like this to show people, and help them understand how to send the right signals that they are doing good things in the space.