Mark Loewenstein | Sr. Product Marketing Manager
December 04, 2013

BAPI Insights: API Pioneer John Musser on the Importance of a Well-designed Platform Strategy


John Musser, CEO of API Science and founder of ProgrammableWeb, delivered a presentation at the Business of APIs conference (BAPI) in San Francisco on the progression of API business models and the importance of a well-designed platform strategy. Musser discussed a number of key considerations for companies when deploying an API, chief among which is determining who will consume the data. He stresses that companies must answer the philosophical questions (who, what and why) of their platform before deciding how to expose and offer the data. This approach will help companies avoid the common trap of confusing their API strategy with a business model.

Musser identifies four primary business models (free, developer pays, developer gets paid and indirect), from which 18 other permutations have been successfully utilized to monetize API programs. Mussser demonstrated how all business models fall on a spectrum between direct (such as Amazon) and indirect (such as Netflix). Furthermore, he explained how many companies employ multiples business models and that there is no fundamentally right place to be on the spectrum.

Additionally, Musser challenges companies to offer a rich API that provides consumers with truly valuable data. His examples include platforms that offer developers services, data, audiences, functions, markets and access that can be leveraged to build useful applications. This is a requirement for successful APIs regardless of the intended consumer. For many companies, internal use is paramount for the advancement of their web and mobile strategies. Musser has seen a growing number of cases in which companies are responsible for generating the vast majority of their overall API traffic through the successful development and deployment of mobile apps.

Check out Musser's presentation below and let us know if we can help you support your successful API.