Kin Lane

Finding Storytelling Inspiration On The Factory Floor

I’m heading to Las Vegas for a week of AWS re:Invent. I’m trying to get fired up for a week of API blah blah blah, and to help me survive the week I am looking for ways to make it all interesting, otherwise it is something that just becomes a drag on me. Like the persona known as the API Evangelist, I have to make up ways to keep all of this interesting, otherwise I just can’t find my words when talking to people in the hallways, and the well will be dry when I’m writing stories her on my blogs. I’m flying to Vegas with an open mind about what will happen, and who I will engage with, trusting that the inspiration will find me, but making sure I am also going into it all with some questions that I can ask folks, and some angles that will help keep it all interesting to me, helping me keep from falling into an API blah blah blah rut.

So, how do I make all of this more interesting? I have to find interesting people. Interesting ideas. I have to find ways new ways to learn about how the technology factory works. Not to always shine a light on what is being built, but more importantly just to learn. I like to shine a light on the good and bad going on behind the digital curtain, but mostly I just like to understand how the gears work so I can confidently navigate the factory floor. My goal is to make sure that I do not fall under the spell of the noise that the gears emit, and eventually tuning them out all together, I also do not want to allow myself to be driven nuts by all the noise, forcing me to run screaming from the factory, needing to get as far away from all of this as I possibly can. I want to always find and maintain a balance of knowing how the machine works, what each of the different types of noises that the gears make, but make sure I am never fully captivated by the songs that come out of the technology factory.

The technology factory floor can be very difficult to see. It is something that is very abstract–I mean c’mon, it is all operating in the clouds. While you can’t ever entirely see this factory floor in person, AWS re:Invent provides a pretty comprehensive way to see much of it in action, and learn more about how it all works. While listening in on the talks and learning from the experts will be full of learning experiences, I find that the richest opportunities for understanding what is happening occurs in the hallways, bars, and exhibit floor, and understanding how people on the floors of factories around the world actually make things happen in their operations. Learning more about the individual virtual gears that are still used daily to make the digital sausage we all consume daily, and what actually happens on the ground across many different business sectors. Moving beyond the experts who sell the next generation of sausage making equipment, and talking to the workers who exist on the factory floor.

At the suggestion of my wife and partner in crime I am developing a list of new and exciting words I want to use in conversations at re:Invent, while also possessing a list of words I do not want to use at all. I’m looking to use these lists of words, which I will be adding to and adjusting throughout the week, as a way to test out some new concepts and plant seeds in people’s minds when it comes to what is possible with APIs. I am looking to shift the behavior of people I’m talking with at the event, but also I am looking to shift my own behavior, and prevent me from ending up in another storytelling rut. I have a list of API life cycle keywords I have used across my storytelling as the API Evangelist, which overlaps with the words I use as part of my Postman Chief Evangelist storytelling. I also have words I want to use to push back on some of the more vendor-led storytelling that are occurring across the API space, while also some words that will help solicit the type of responses I’m looking to get from the average attendee at re:Invent.

Ultimately, I am looking for some stories to tell. I’m fortunate that my role at Postman and API Evangelist is all about putting my finger on the pulse of what is happening across the API sector, and then telling stories from what I hear. Thankfully I do not have to focus on just Postman storytelling this week, or specifically AWS, I just have to learn more about the API realities that exist on the ground at companies in any business sector. Postman is such a Swiss Army Knife when it comes to APIs it has a natural place in almost every API conversation I’m having. Postman is the most tangible way we can quantify any API, doing it in a way that allows us to share, collaborate, and communicate with other API providers as well as consumers. I’m just looking to tune into the chatter on the floor of AWS re:Invent, and translate that into some storytelling inspiration, bringing more attention to what is happening behind those cloudy curtains that obfuscates much of what we do in the API economy (< one word I’m NOT allowed to say this week).