Bridging the Gap Between APIs and Customers

I recently gave a talk at the APIdays Mediterranea in Madrid where I started with a question: “Who are your customers?“.

The single, most important thing you want to understand about your API is how you can generate revenue from it. It all depends on who your customers are and how they can obtain value through your API.

What customers need is represented in one of the slides as the “API Hierarchy of Needs“, an adaptation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to the context of APIs from a customer point of view.

Still using HTTP Basic Auth?


Great article by Steve Graham about why you should stop using HTTP Basic Auth immediately!


As well as being tremendously simple, HTTP Basic by itself is also tremendously insecure, i.e. it is implemented by simply Base64 encoding the username and password concatenated with a colon “:” character. It then follows that HTTP Basic should only be used, if at all, over securely encrypted connections.




Who’s using your API?

“Who’s using your API” was the title of my presentation at the API Strategy & Practice Conference that happened on February 21 and 22, 2013 in New York City.

One of the conference takeaways was the concern that almost everybody had with their customers. Almost everyone I talked with was in one way or another worried about how the API distribution model is affecting the way their customers interact with their app.

Companies that survive are the ones that are obsessed with customer experience. — Jeff Lawson, CEO twilio

My talk was focused on the way customers interact with companies when using applications developed using APIs: who controls your customers’ experience when they’re using third-party applications?

I propose an alternative distribution model where companies can expose their APIs as integrations that can be used by the final customer. This will increase proximity with the end users without losing control of how they perceive the product.