There’s something I’ve always loved about working with platforms; It’s a special thing being able to add value and unlock so much potential for a company and a possible infinite number of apps — at the same time. While I’ve had to explain ‘what I do’ dozens of times to so many people, family and friends who always wondered what makes their favorite website or app really work, it’s only gotten easier year after year to define it.
My first real taste unlocking the potential of an API was with Yahoo! Maps. There, I had the chance to not only code the API, but also add key functionality to it. I saw dozens of integrations come to life, both outside and within Yahoo!, using the very APIs my team delivered to add map features to their own sites and services. I wrote my first book, Yahoo! Maps Mashups in 2006 while my wife was pregnant with our first son and it appeared on shelves just weeks before our son was born. Just over 5 years old, it still stands as a primer for working with Maps and other APIs in the context of modern web app technologies. One of the APIs I featured in the book was an early version of Flickr’s REST API returning JSON. The Flickr integration of Yahoo! Maps, known as “Add this photo to your map!” is still a favorite today and I proudly introduced it at a photography society meeting not too long ago.
You create an API, and you’re indirectly offering the power of your content, service and device to everyone.
At Ribbit, it was a magical moment when our team invoked a dial tone within our own browser app through our API. It wasn’t long until I saw a developer, using our freshly launched SDK, add unthinkable features in their own app with just a few lines of code. More recently, working on my third platform in the early days with Litl, the promise of awakening features in an app based on device interaction was truly unique. Our talented and ambitious team created some amazing examples of advanced user interaction which paved a way for creative app development and premium content delivery.
Offering a platform becomes a core approach, not just as inherited by code, but as a strategy to build products, marketing and business development around.
For nearly 7 years, half of my technology career, my passion for working with platforms has guided me into to some amazing opportunities. Today I am proud to announce that I have joined Mashery as Director, Platform Strategy. Mashery is the leading provider of API management technology and services, including Platform Strategy. The founders and mind-blowingly talented team have been at it for years, building an impressive portfolio of customers including The New York Times, Comcast, Netflix, Lulu (who happens to be an online publisher of “Welcome to Plow Town“), Klout, Best Buy and many more. Even more impressive is the APIs Mashery manages for these companies have powered over tens of thousands of apps and partnerships, creating value for the customer and a limitless number of other businesses.
In future posts, I will be detailing more about the Platform Strategy services team and what we do within Mashery. I do want to mention two very key things that helped make my move to join Mashery more exciting: The first is that Devon Biondi, someone whose skills I’ve admired and who I’ve known for more than 5 years, will be heading up the team as VP. Devon’s been at Mashery for years, helping build up an incredible team and establishing strategy services as a differentiator for the company. I’m also excited that Mashery, who began expanding to the East Cost with a New York City office last year, is now growing into Boston. Those that know me well understand how important Mashery’s new presence, growth and investment in a Boston office are to me!
In this role, I will get to work with an amazing variety of platform companies. I get to build on an already rewarding journey having architected and evangelized several of my own platforms, APIs and SDKs. This role, like a well deployed platform, will unlock so much potential, for platforms, and a possible infinite number of apps. It’s going to be fun!