We Love What You Do In The API Space But Could You Do It Our Way

I hear it daily in my inbox, on Twitter, and via LinkedIn. We love what you do! We’ve followed your work for a while, and love your unique voice, and the way you tell stories on your blog. I’m not very good at accepting praise on my work, especially when I know that much of it isn’t sincere and genuine. Saying it casually to me is weird, and I am not sure why people feel like they should be saying it, but it is the folk who go the distance to say it, but then also try to change the way I am, after acknowledging over and over, that they like what I do.

From running a major conference, to my everyday storytelling, I get waves of people who like what I’ve done historically, want to support and be part of it, but once engaged actively try to change the conversation, and change the tone of what I do. The community has really seemed to rally around your conference, and clearly you’ve built a loyal group by making your event about ideas–we’d like to sponsor, but we really need a main stage talk where we can talk about our products. We love the tone of your storytelling on the blog and how you educated people people about the real world aspects of doing APIs–we’d love to sponsor, but we need you to talk about our products, and shift the focus to what we are doing. There are so many ways people acknowledge the value of what I do, but then want me to do the same old tired thing they’ve been doing.

I get why you do it. It is easy. It is going from zero to what you want in as little time as possible. However, you seem to be all too willing to completely ignore why my thing is working and why your old tired thing isn’t, and why you are even attracted to my thing in the first place. It is because your approach isn’t creative. It is’t genuine. Nobody cares. It takes work to actually care about something, and find the way to share it in a way that folks will actually care about it. You can’t just do this with any technology, product, or service. If I just do your thing, then I’d be just like you, and people like you wouldn’t even notice me. I wouldn’t have any audience, or people who trust me. Maybe that is just want you want though? Maybe I make you look bad, and it would be easier if I just went away.

Honestly, I just can’t get into the heads of why folks are attracted to what I do, approach me, then want to change what I do. Why 1000 lb gorillas are so used to getting their way sponsoring conferences, and getting the tech blogosphere to be their mouthpiece? I guess the ROI on it is still greater than the work of having to do anything meaningful. They can use up small bloggers like me, and move along without any meaningful consequences. I guess many haven’t really stopped to evaluate why I’ve managed to build and maintain an audience of 7 years of doing this, they just hear people talking about what I do, and think “I need some of that!”. Well, I guess you’ll keep doing your version, and I’ll keep doing mine, and we’ll keep meeting like oil and water until one of us gets our way. I’m guessing your type of approach will ultimately win out, but as long as I’m alive I’m going to keep doing my way, just so I can be a monkey wrench in your way of doing things.