Signals I Use To Monitor Companies In The API Space

Over the last year I've worked hard to standardize and automate as much of my monitoring of the API space as I can. The amount of information I was monitoring daily was getting overwhelming--I needed to scale what I do, so I created what I call my API Stack Ranking.

The API Stack Ranking is not meant to be a top 25 list, it is meant to be a ranking that I can sort companies by each week, giving me a meaningful stack of companies, who are doing interesting things in the API space.

Each week I publish my API Stack, but you can also see this influence on any of my research areas.  If you go to API management or the Backend as a Service (BaaS) research projects, the providers are sorted by their ranking for the week.

In addition to sharing my stack each week, I'd like to also share the criteria I use to determine my stack.  Currently I bundle my signals into three areas:

  • Internal - Signals within control of the companies I'm monitoring
    • Has a Blog
    • Number of Blog Posts
    • Has a Twitter Account
    • Number of Tweets
    • Has Github Account
    • Number of Github Repositories
    • Number of Commits Across Repositories
  • External - Signals from the public, outside of the companies control that I'm monitoring
    • Number of Twitter Followers
    • Number of @Mentions for Twitter
    • Blogsphere (Techcrunch, GigaOm, ReadWrite, etc) Posts
    • Social Bookmark (Hacker News, Reddit, StumbleUpon) Links
    • Stack Exchange Reference
    • Number of Github Followers
    • Number of Github Stars
    • Number of Github Forks
  • Analyst - Signals that are dependent on what I personally see and feel is important
    • Curated News
    • Curated News I Write Notes About
    • Syndicate to Twitter
    • Syndicate to LinkedIn
    • Syndicate to G+
    • Publish story on API Evangelist
    • Vote Up 
    • Vote Down

My API Stack Ranking is always in flux. I'm considering other signals like job postings, events as well as sentiment analysist, but this listing represents what I'm currently evaluating to generate my stack each week.

While internal signals give me a good idea of what a company is up to, and the external signals give me some idea regarding what the open developer community is saying, it all really comes down to the analyst part of the algorithm.  A company may tweet a lot, but its up to me to decide if those tweets are valuable.

The API Stack Ranking isn't perfect.  But it has allowed me to quadruple the amount of information I take in, and surface what I feel are the real stories and reflect the companies that are truly impacting the API space each week.

I have also been able to expand the API Stack Ranking to any business or topical sector I wish now, much like I applied to BaaS I'm now evaluating federal government, healthcare and other sectors in the same way.

Feel free to contact me directly about the API Stack, and the data and content I produce each week.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.