In yesterday’s post on saying ‘no’ to most opportunities, I mentioned that API integrations, assuming no custom work, are fine. An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a way for two software programs to communicate with each other in an automated manner. The challenge with most startups is that they don’t have a robust API. Yes, they often have a primitive API, so as to check off a box in a features comparison matrix, but the reality is that early on most APIs aren’t very good.
Of course, it is hard to know in advance how mature an API is as the documentation is usually also lacking. Here are some questions to ask when considering using a startup’s API:
- What features in the product are NOT available via the API?
- What are some limitations we should know about?
- What percent of customers use the API?
- Will you share the API documentation with us?
What else? What other questions should you ask when evaluating a startup’s API?