APIs Provide Unbelievable Power

Application Programming Interface (API) is the term to describe a way for computers to talk to other computers in an automated fashion. Imagine your accounting software talking to your payroll software to cut checks, pay taxes, and facilitate 401k matching — that would be done via an API. APIs open up a world of unbelievable power due to the ability to control other systems as well as consume data, and vice versa.

The famous Paul Graham of Y Combinator sent a tweet recently saying an API is self-serve business development:


Business development is traditionally slow, labor intensive, and often ineffective. With APIs acting as self-serve business development, companies can start integrating services or data from other providers and mashing it up with their own functionality. This way, they can build real enterprise value and let the market decide faster than humans trying to work out deals with other humans. APIs provide unbelievable power.

The next time someone talks about building a new feature or developing their own data source, do some Google searching and see if an API is already out there — you might be surprised.

What else? What are your thoughts on APIs?

3 thoughts on “APIs Provide Unbelievable Power

  1. Dear David,

    Thank you for this helpful insights into the API’s accounting software. I’m not a accounting or software buff but I understand the basics.

    What I’d like to see is if it can be tailor made or adjusted to serve geographically remote organisations or governments that are served from a regional hubs using this technology.

    Just reading API’s potential shows that you can install this systems with multiple organisations or governments that do business together and really streamline the processes.

    The result of this API technology if I view its potential is that for remote regions of the world, it will save weeks of paper work and its subsequent turnaround time for checks and balances. Perhaps I’d like some assurances that it won’t break down and cause havoc for accounting systems that totally rely on it once it becomes a common accounting tool.

    Currently I’m working with an accounting software called ATLAS. Its latest application is IPSAS a globally acredited accounting system that is supposed to make things better. However, I’m hoping that this API can do the job and if you can let me know whether trial runs have been done for this software on large accounting systems.

    Please advise or direct me to the right people. Thanks again.

  2. I agree the API technology will/does allow faster decision making. Is this always a good idea?, is my question. Shouldn’t we be promoting job growth and enhancement instead of giveing the jobs to the computers. Yes, I love technology; is it really the best way to go?
    Just food for thought.

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