It is easy to see the output of work we do each day as the value. Capitalism has taught us to value the tangible results of capitalism, not the incremental inputs from human beings along the way. I get caught up in this really quite often and think that the resulting blog post from some research is what matters, or the talk I give using a presentation. I am regularly reminded, and humbled when the real value reveals itself to me in the research, process, and hard work that goes into the regular churn of output across my world. The value of API Evangelist does not lie in the 4000 blog posts on the blog, it lies in me, and the skills and awareness I have developed while producing those 4000 blog posts.
I guess this is how it is all designed right? Value is transferable. It is something that can be sold. Right? It feels like this lack of respect for the value we possess is why we embrace AI so willingly. It just makes sense with this obfuscation of value, purpose, and reducing everything to a transactional output. AI is a convenient vehicle for us to give away our value without recognition, compensation, or purpose. We are only the sum of our output, and the process that went into reality doesn’t matter. The experience behind the output doesn’t matter. The authorship behind an output doesn’t matter. Only the output matters. The more you obfuscate the process, the more you transfer value to the output.
I find that many people in technology under value the human interaction portion of work. You code alone. You wrench on infrastructure in isolation. There isn’t any value in us working together on something. Let alone working together to plan before or tell the story afterwards. I fall for this belief quite often, but then I always come back around to remembering that 99.999% of my ideas aren’t mine, they were accumulated along the way by working with others. I don’t think this tendency for technologists to forget the human side of things is by accident. I think it is purposefully orchestrated to keep us from talking too much and sharing knowledge around processes. If we don’t see the value of working together, we will gleefully work ourselves into a state where we are specialized in technology and unaware of how the business of it all works.
My API Evangelist blog is really the strongest evidence of this for me. Sure, there is value in the 4000 blog posts published to apievangelist.com, but honestly it doesn’t possess much SEO juice anymore, as I don’t regularly publish anymore. The real value of it all lies with me. The accumulation of value from the reading, researching, writing, publishing, and socializing of my work as part of API Evangelist is and was the value generated. The site could be shut off today and I still retain much of the value generated from 2010 through 2024. It remains to be seen if there is still value in me publishing there. I believe there is, so I still incrementally publish my thoughts, but I fully grasp that the end result of this isn’t where the value lies in all of this.