Robust Public Storytelling Around Your API Process Is Sign Of Maturity

Sharing stories around your API is something you hear me talk about a lot. Many of my readers like to let me know how they are serious API people, and my storytelling emphasis is silly. Just do APIs. Storytelling is unnecessary fluff. When in reality, storytelling has real, direct benefits on your business bottom line, but also have many other indirect aspects, and its presence is a sign of the overall health of an organization from my vantage point. When you are actively telling stories about your operations, in my experience, it is a sign of the overall maturity of your API process.

I’m working through my storytelling around what Capital One is up to with their DevExchange, studying their approach to API governance, as well as the wider role they are playing in the banking, and even API regulation game here in the United States. I can find stories about each of the topics I’m looking for on their public blog(s), and out in the open. This type of storytelling isn’t accidental, it is an intentional part of a maturing internal and external API strategy. Sure, they have a lot of work ahead of them, but based upon my internal conversations with them, and their external storytelling, I’m aware of how far along they are in their API journey–compared to other banks I’m talking to.

Take a look at Capital One’s storytelling on Medium. Tune into the storytelling within the DevExchange community. This isn’t Capital One just being confident in what they do, and are able to tell their story publicly. This is part of what you do to work through your API processes and break down the monolith. Check out the Breaking Down the Monolith guide from my friend Irakli Nadareishvili over at DZone. When you know your stuff, you are able tell the story of how you are unwinding the enterprise mess publicly like this. You aren’t embarrassed to tell these stories publicly. You are able to get it pass legal. Everyone involved benefits from your storytelling. This is how you do APIs. This is how you begin to shift behavior internally, and set your organization up as a leader in the public sphere. Through storytelling. Sharing your API journey in real time, in a very public way.

The reason you are unable to tell stories at your organization in this way is the reason your API efforts aren’t seeing the success you envisioned. Sure you can blame this on legal, but that is just a symptom of the greater illness. Sure, you can say that you don’t have the skills to write these types of stories, but that is also a symptom of the greater illness. Many folks just don’t see the benefits or value of storytelling, which also means you will never see the benefits or value in doing APIs properly. All of this goes hand in hand, and enables your organization to play nicely with other organizations, and able to share data without friction, and rapidly develop new products and applications. Robust storytelling around your API processes is a sign of the overall maturity of your efforts, something I see play out over and over across the API space.