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Kin Lane API Evangelist

Maintaining Awareness in a Real-Time World

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My name is Kin Lane, and I am the API Evangelist. Not the kind that evangelizes a single API, but the kind that evangelizes for all the APIs. In my everyday world I don’t just write stories about APIs, I monitor and track on the entire space, digesting a huge amount of information each week. Given the right APIs, you can easily keep on top of the information that’s being shared. Here’s how.

Welcome to the Real-Time World

In order for me to do my job every day, and understand what is going on in the world of APIs, I need stay as aware as I possibly can in this fast moving space. While email, blogs, tweets, commits and other forms of communication are the signals I’m looking for, the center of my awareness is derived from people and the relationships between people, as well as own my relationship and understanding of them.

I’m closely watching 2369 APIs, 1795 companies, 924 of which have blogs, and 1218 of them have a Twitter account and 755 with Github accounts. I’m personally monitoring blog posts, tweets, commits and numerous other activities across the API space, looking for interesting signals about where the space is headed.

Deciphering the Signals

When I open my Gmail and read emails, I depend on my Rapportive in the right hand column to immediately tell me who someone is, who they work for, and provide me with relevant links to their social world. This allows me to make decisions, trigger memories and help me respond intelligently in the moment.

I do this same thing on a commercial scale within my own personally-developed API monitoring system. I’m using FullContact APIs, which allow me to make intelligent decisions about the companies and individuals who are most impacting the API space. Anytime a twitter handle or email address shows up as a blip in my system, via a message from some, from something I curated, tweeted, bookmarked or otherwise tracked on as part of my monitoring, that twitter username or email goes into my “FullContact” queue.

Once a contact enters my FullContact queue, I use the FullContact Person API to expand the social profile in my contact system to include any additional accounts like Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Quora and Github. These are the networks that have the most significance to my world and provide the most meaningful relationships and signals–plus they are public views of these individuals.

Drawing Lines

From these expanded profiles I can start programmatically and manually connecting the dots, identifying the most interesting and impactful relationships. When I am tweeting with someone, I now can tell which API companies I monitor are followed by this person on Twitter, or know that they have forked the PHP or Node.js library for any APIs.

My API monitoring system profiling system has allowed me to develop a deeper awareness of which APIs people are using, talking to or about. I can build relationships with, and subscribe to what individual developers who work at top API companies are working on daily. I’m am immediately aware of how active a company or individual Github account is, and that’s right, I’m getting all judgmental based upon this data point these days. :-)

As the API Evangelist, my awareness centers around understanding people, the relationships they have with each other, the companies they work with and doing my best to stay in tune with the social and code signals these people generate daily. Without this awareness I couldn’t keep up in the massively expanding API economy.

Our thanks to Kin for his contribution and his work in the API ecosystem. What are you using to keep track of this fast-moving world? We’re definitely looking forward to your comments.

Image: Silicon Slopes

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