I Judge API Providers On How Much Value They Give Back vs. What They Extract

There are a number of data points I evaluate people and companies on while monitoring the API space, but if I had to distill my evaluation of companies down to one things, it would be based upon how much value they give back to the community vs. how much they extract.

You see some companies are really good about providing value to the community beyond just their products and services. This is done in many ways, including the open sourcing of tools, creation of valuable resources like white papers and videos, or just being active in sharing the story behind what they do.

Then there are companies who seem to be masters at extracting value from developers, and the wider API community, without ever really giving back. These companies tend to focus specifically on their products and services, and rarely share they code, knowledge, or other resources with the wider API space.

I’m not going to name specific examples of this in action, but after four years of operating in the space it is becoming easier to spot which camp a company exists in--you know who you are. I understand companies have to make money, but I’m totally judging companies across the API space based upon how much value they give the community vs how much they extract during their course of operation.