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Stamplay Leader Helps Deconstruct the API Landscape

By Paula Bernier
July 14, 2016

Stamplay is a company whose technology enables users to chain together APIs as if they are Lego blocks, arranging them into service-based applications. We recently interviewed Giuliano Iacobelli, CEO and co-founder of Stamplay, which will be involved in next week’s All About the API event in Las Vegas. Iacobelli will be presenting during Tuesday’s What's Driving the Chatbot Craze? session.

Here’s an excerpt of that conversation.

What opportunities are being driven by to the growth of the API economy?

The first and most obvious is being able to go to market quicker. Developers can incorporate these APIs into their software projects and get to market much more quickly than going it alone.

While getting to market more quickly at a lower cost is a huge advantage, there is an even more important advantage: Companies that focus on their core capabilities develop differentiated functionality, their secret sauce, at higher velocity.

This new way of building software is also enabling more established companies to extend their lines of business. Some outstanding companies have built API businesses that match or exceed their original focus: Salesforce reportedly generates 50 percent of its revenues through APIs, eBay nearly 60 percent and Expedia a whopping 90 percent.

What major challenges do API developers face?

At first, quality and performance; when you create an API for other developers it has to work seamlessly. Quality also means that the API has been developed following the pragmatic REST design principles.

It would be a huge mistake to publish an API and then decide it needs changes – changes that might impact customers. You want to be sure that your API follows all the best practices, even though an API is based just on an architectural style rather than a standard.

To whom should APIs be marketed?
It depends on the type of API. If you’re solving a very specific technical problem (let’s say realtime or AI), then developers are your target. If your API is more focused on delivering business value (e.g., a business intelligence API or fraud prevention), then business leaders or C-Suite people are the best target.

What about security? Are there special API security challenges?

Public open APIs are surely more challenging to keep secure compared to hardware or anything else that might sit behind an organization’s firewall. I think it’s definitely the responsibility of the API owner to take care of security. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to build your API security layer from the ground up. API management tools are out there for this reason, and it’s good to have a valuable partner so you can focus on the core business behind your APIs rather than solving technical problems.

What standards are needed to help spur mass development and adoption of APIs across verticals?

Authentication and Webhooks are still super fragmented; every API provider implements them the way they like. When you hear about OAuth 2 you would think about a specific auth process (which fundamentally is) but at the end of the day we’ve found more than 50 slightly different implementations.

Is an ecosystem a requirement to create a successful API?

I believe an API can still be successful without an ecosystem, if it’s very vertical and addresses specific use cases. I don’t see why it can’t take off without an ecosystem. That said, an ecosystem around your API can supercharge your API adoption, but building and maintaining it is extremely challenging.

What differentiates one ecosystem from another?

The reason why the ecosystem has been built. Amazon’s APIs ecosystem directly drives sales and earns partners affiliate revenue. Salesforce’s APIs ecosystem allowed that company to expand to feature sets it would not have been able to cover itself and create a high degree of stickiness for the service – for Salesforce users it provides unprecedented flexibility and a wide range of choices for extensions.

Why should attendees at All About the API make sure to attend your session?

Because we’re going to have a lot of fun!

Edited by Alicia Young

Executive Editor, TMC

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