A Blueprint for Hands-On API Storytelling

I am spending a lot of time studying and profiling how my teams at Postman do what they do. Last week I wrote a piece on how AsyncAPI is moving forward their specification out in the open, and this week I wanted to showcase how Joyce Lin (@PetuniaGray) the Director of Developer Relations (Devrel) at Postman works her magic. Joyce is very prolific in her storytelling at Postman>a, and is well-known for her Better Practices pieces, live streams, videos that include her dog Lucy, and much more. However, one of her recent pieces of work I think is worth singling out and highlighting because it is cool, but also to help me flesh out a formal blueprint out of her approach, providing me with something I can share with the rest of the Postman community.

Joyce’s recent work, production, game, puzzle...I am not sure what to call it—is called Lost in Space. She calls it a puzzle hunt, but I am looking to generalize it beyond just a puzzle or game, and showcase it as a blueprint for an API-first storytelling production. Joyce provides the story behind Lost in Space, and gives it this description:

In this game, six members of the International Space Station (ISS) have been knocked out of orbit by a solar flare. Together, they must piece together the clues and figure out how to get back on course and return home.

The puzzle is super creative, complete with a video and compelling narrative that pulls you in, but it also makes it all very hands-on and interactive using a Postman public workspace, and of course it is powered by APIs. Joyce’s video introduction for Lost in Space is so over the top creative and just pulls you into the game, bringing the story of the puzzle to life.

Like Joyce, I am not a big puzzle player, but I fully get their attraction, and find the creativity that went into this very compelling. I can see making games and puzzles like this being very addictive. I don’t see myself playing them, but can very much get into building them. However, I also see the potential of Joyce’s overall model for her game, which I think can apply to almost any API storytelling production. Providing some key elements I think are compelling all by themselves, but when you bundle them together providing a pretty robust set of developer relations tooling.

  • Blog - The story of the Lost in Space puzzle, wrapping it in a compelling narrative.
  • Image - Created a unique image for the story and the puzzle.
  • Youtube - The very creative video call to action for the puzzle.
  • Workspace - The place where you play the game, and get lost in space.
  • Badge - A badge that you get to keep showing you completed the puzzle.

All of these elements have the potential for some pretty compelling API storytelling in my opinion. A blog, with custom images and a video isn’t anything unique, but bundled with a workspace to make whatever you are talking about has the makings for some pretty unique API storytelling. Then you add in the ability to get a badge to demonstrate that you completed the hands-on course, workshops, production, or whatever else you want to call it has the making for a measurable, certifiable, and “game changing” approach to API storytelling.

I am doing work to define a wide range of API lifecycle blueprints lately, and I think Joyce’s approach is worthy of being a developer relations blueprint that I can share with Postman partners and customers to use when creating their own developer relations productions, workshops, or whatever format they wish to apply this API blueprint. Not everyone will be interested in doing public productions like Joyce did, but the blueprint could apply to a private production as well. Providing a pretty reusable blueprint that can help deliver compelling API content, but more importantly the hands-on API-driven process for engaging with content, and the badge certifying that each person engaging with the content has completed the lesson, workshop, game, or other storytelling format. Once I get the blueprint finished I will write another blog posts to showcase, making sure it is available for wider use by the community.