The Reason Your API Sucks Is There Are No Women And People Of Color On Your Team
29 Aug 2017
I know that many of you are insecure about your APIs. You aren’t transparent with your numbers, and many aspects of your API operations. You are stressed out because you built it, and nobody came. You were able to artificially inflate your new user numbers, and API calls through paid campaigns, and bot activity, but nobody is using it, and you just can’t figure out why. You are asking yourself why don’t anyone see the value your API brings to the table? Why aren’t you getting the traction you thought you would get when you first came up with the idea?
You aren’t getting any traction with your API because it sucks. It was a bad idea. Nobody wants it. It sucks because it doesn’t provide any value in a highly competitive space, and you naively thought that if you built it everyone would come. You probably have a number of people around you telling you that your idea is great, and the API will be a hit. You’ve probably had this most of your life, and are used to people telling you that your ideas are great. It is why you feel so uncomfortable around anyone that is critical, because you just aren’t used to being told you that your ideas are dumb. It hurts your feelings.
This is why you surround yourself with people who look, act and think like you do. It is why you don’t think women and people of color have the skills needed to work on your dumb, useless ideas. You don’t have the balls to surround yourself with anyone who doesn’t think like you. If you did, you might have been told early on that your idea wasn’t worthwhile, or you might have gotten additional feedback or criticism that would have helped shape it into something useful. I know this is hard for you to hear, and you think you are really smart, and you probably read one of my cheerleader blog posts about how great APIs are, but in reality, if it doesn’t have any use in the real world nobody will care.
Don’t make this mistake with your API. Make sure your API team is as diverse as possible, and then work hard to make sure your community also becomes as inclusive you can. It is a lot more work to do thing this way, but it will pay off, and it will save you from potentially launching an API that completely sucks like this again, and doesn’t have any reach beyond just the echo chamber you exist in.
Note: If my writing is a little dark this week, here is a little explainer–don’t worry, things will back to normal at API Evangelist soon.