There's an upcoming growth of API opportunities.
Today, software exists in pretty much every industry and for every (information-related) problem. There are apps to manage trucking logistics. Apps for managing healthcare backends. Apps to help optimize your website for people with disabilities. There’s software for everything.
This is great. It means that we can automate our lives a bit more, hopefully de-stressing our days, and allowing us to get more done. At least in theory.
But it’s also a problem.
What happens if you need to build a complicated workflow across 5 different tools that you use and you can’t use Zapier to do it?
Well, you better hope that all 5 tools have an API.
APIs allow developers to move data, take actions, and programmatically get things done across multiple different tools in a way that no other interface allows for.
Even if you’re not a developer or you’ve never worked with an API, you can probably appreciate how they can simplify complicated tasks or actions.
The world would be a better place if every software company offered an API.
While many companies do provide an API, I’ve noticed that there aren’t many good companies that consolidate multiple APIs from a single industry into a single, clean, and easy-to-use interface.
Plaid might be the gold standard here, making it easy for developers to gain access to lots of different financial datasets with a single, clean interface. They’ve made it easy to get access to important data, for a single user, with a single interface.
I believe that with the growth of so many new software industries and applications, we’re going to need to see a lot more “Plaid for X” in the future, and I think that’s where a big opportunity lies for companies that can provide that service.
An example from ecommerce
After having worked with ecommerce data and APIs for a couple of years now, there hasn’t been a great way to consolidate multiple data points for a particular brand with a single API.
Instead, I’ve needed to create new code to plug into a brand’s email API, do the same thing for their SMS system, and their Google Analytics account, and their reviews system, and so on and so forth.
The more systems that I need to integrate with, the more code that I need to write, and the more I need to create data processing and ETL (or ELT for all you new age data folks out there) jobs that can manage, join, and transform data from multiple sources.
I’d love a world where I could simply query a single system to see information about what emails someone has received, whether they clicked on an SMS message, when their last purchase was, and how often they’ve been on a website, all in one go. As a developer, my life would be a lot easier.
This is just a single use case from a single person, but having been in the software industry for a while now, I am getting the feeling that there’s going to be a lot of opportunities in the next few years to consolidate and integrate data from multiple different systems in a given industry.
Enterprising founders that have extensive knowledge of a particular industry might find themselves with a big business by providing a single API to consolidate data from all of those businesses in the near future.