The Four Categories Of Dwolla API Consumers

I just finished spending an hour talking with Brent Baker (@norcaljhawk), head of product for Dwolla, and Jordan Lampe (@JsLampe), about the vision behind the developer experience for their new developer portal. I will be able to craft many stories from the notes I generated during our conversation, but there was one aspect of how they view consumers of their ACH transfer API, I wanted to quickly share.

This portion part of our conversation came up when they mentioned how they broke up their API users, as they were rethinking the overall developer experience. They put API consumers into four distinct categories:

  • seeker - individual looking for a solution
  • implementer - individual implementing solution
  • maintainer - individual maintaining solution
  • hacker - individual playing with their solution

I think this is a great way to look at your API consumers. I've heard many different approaches to labeling your API consumer buckets, but I'd say this is the first time that I've heard it put so elegantly. A moment I couldn't help but ruin, by selfishly adding:

  • analyst - individual looking to understand role solution plays in big picture

You can't forget about us analyst types who will just talk about your APIs, and rarely actually do any "real work". ;-) Anyways, I just wanted to share this small part of our conversation. The Dwolla developer portal experience is rich with API management examples, that other API providers should be looking to emulate. I will keep processing the notes from our conversation, and share any other nuggets I collected during my walk through the API journey the Dwolla team has crafted within their new API portal.