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API Strategy & Practice Conference Summary
Several lucky Masherites, including me, got to spend last Thursday and Friday at the API Strategy & Practice Conference in New York City. Overall, the event was a great testament to how important APIs have become to businesses that span the spectrum of industries. APIs are skyrocketing in importance, and more and more executives are taking notice. However, one thing this conference made clear to me is that there is still a lot of room to go grow. Business/product strategy (as opposed to technical strategy) for an API program is still not well defined or discussed often enough.
But, we’ll leave that discussion for another post, and instead focus on a brief Q&A about the conference with my teammates Chuck Freedman, Director of Platform Strategy, and Colin McCabe, API Platform Strategist, who were able to attend many of the sessions and meet many of the attendees.
Sasha: What were your thoughts about who was in attendance at the conference?
Chuck: I was very impressed with the total audience and the diversity of industries represented. Seeing hundreds of folks involved in the space really confirms the incredible growth of API use for business. It was a great opportunity to meet with people during and after the event, looking for specific solutions and industry-specific knowledge.
Sasha: Was there a good mix between thought-leaders in the space and those there to learn about APIs?
Chuck: Everyone I chatted with seemed to be at different stages of the API lifecycle. Some were well established, looking for insight to getting more success with their platform. Others were just getting started, inquiring about best practices and their overall strategic approach.
Sasha: What stood out the most for you about the conference?
Chuck: Having been involved with conferences for a while, getting 75+ thought leaders collected to speak in the Northeast region is incredible.
Colin: It’s amazing to witness the onset of new interest in API strategy from such disparate industries. The question: 'What do we do with our APIs' is now a CEO level agenda item across many markets. The sessions covered a wide variety subjects: product demos, financial systems APIs, and approaches to governance.
Sasha: Speaking of the sessions, did you feel there was an overall focus of the conference?
Colin: While some individuals I spoke to expected more code-biased subjects to be covered, it was a well attended event and was eye-opening for the amount of interest. I would compare it to a conference in 1992 called "The Internet," in that it’s so vast, it’s hard to tackle everything. But it’s a start, and we will continue to watch it evolve.
Chuck: The majority of topics focused on positioning and managing data through APIs, which seemed to match the expertise of several sponsors of the event. There were few sessions on the actual business strategy of APIs — something our team has been ahead of the curve with for a while.
There was an excellent attempt grouping like presentations within industries. We continue to see the need for complex strategies in some industries, especially healthcare. I also think this tier of API strategy can and should be custom, and is best addressed in a more direct manner.
Congrats to all the organizers and speakers of the successful event. All in all, it was a tremendous gathering focused on APIs in NYC.