eBook Release: The API Economy – Disruption and the Business of APIs

We are very excited to announce that we have released a new eBook! Download The API Economy for Free HERE, or name your price on LeanPub.


APIs are all around us, driving the digital world and largely responsible for some pretty astounding industry disruption. Just as important is the interlaced economy supporting these services. Read The API Economy to learn how to navigate through this ever evolving, now diversified industry.


In 2006, the most predominant form of digital social communication was still email, and AOL instant messenger. A decade later, things have obviously changed quite rapidly in the face of higher bandwidth, greater capabilities, and the explosion of social media. Software-as-a-Service is an area that is growing exponentially. The digital platformification of older industries, paired with new advances in the Internet of Things (IoT) makes the API space — the powerhouse driving Internet connectivity — ripe for investment.

APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, are an important cog in this process, and the market surrounding them is thriving. APIs encourage standardization — have you ever used Twitter to log in to a third party application? They extend functionality so that more potential is at our fingertips — how often do you query a map embedded into a web application? By exposing assets to developers to create new apps with, APIs also inspire innovation, promote data matter experts, lead to creative projects, and subtly increase the end user’s experience.

APIs, in the family of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) products, are part of an agile business methodology, which for the provider, can create entirely new revenue streams. Also an accelerator for corporate communication — the industry routinely uses Amazon Web Services as a the hallmark of internal API adoption and the efficiency benefits therein.

APIs can be used to open new monetization streams, but API-first companies have emerged that are entirely built on treating their API as a product. Twillio, Algolia, Contentful.com, and others are examples of companies that are exposing an API as their main product. But as John Donne says “No man is an island.” Every product we purchase is the culmination of a lot of group effort. Even something as simple as an apple is full of dependencies. A grower must rely on the seeds to sprout, purchase fertilizer, buy from land owners, hire pickers and distributors, work with retailers, and pay utility providers — all to produce a single fruit that the end consumer haphazardly throws into a shopping cart.

The API space has produced an economy in it’s own right. There is obviously the monetary exchange from developer user to API provider. But looking deeper, partners to API programs have emerged that offer key components to support an API throughout it’s lifecycle, streamlining operations for the API provider and improving their overall developer program. Whether it be marketing, development, documentation, metric analysis, security, and more, new microservices and platforms are available to smooth an API’s creation and maintenance. This additional layer is strong evidence of an industry maturing.

If you are a programmer looking for some code samples, this eBook may not be for you. This is the API Economy, the business of APIs. We’ll forecast into the future growth of the API industry, analyze the impact APIs have historically had on specific industries, and see where existing APIs as well as partners to API providers fit into the overall spectrum. Something really cool that this volume explores are specific sectors that have not yet been API-fied (entrepreneurs — hint hint).

If you are an economist, industry expert, entrepreneur looking for a new project, or simply intrigued by the concept of disruptive APIs, read on…



The book is FREE to download straight from the Nordic APIs eBook page. However, if you would rather pay, you can purchase the eBook through Leanpub and name your price. It’s also available for Kindle on the Amazon store. All proceeds from the sale of this volume (as well as all other Nordic APIs eBooks) go straight to supporting the Red Cross in Sweden.

Table of Contents

  • Preface: Introducing the API Economy and the Business of APIs
  • Tracking the Growth of the API Economy
    • Growth by the Numbers
    • The Birth of B2D
    • Growth by Sectors
    • Analysis: Evidence of Market Maturity
  • 11 New Breeds of Businesses That Have Emerged out of the API Economy
    • 1: Company that Provides API to Developer Consumers as Top Priority
    • 2: Company Whose Infrastructure Depends Heavily on Third Party APIs for Survival
    • 3: Company that Supports APIs with Management Solutions
    • 4: Companies that Specialize in API Testing and Monitoring
    • 5: API Documentation-as-a-Service
    • 6: Tools for API Development and Continuous Delivery
    • 7: Cloud Hosting
    • 8: Companies that Specialize in API Discovery and Marketing
    • 9: API Brokers – Independent API Strategy Consultants
    • 10: Companies that Bring APIs to the Laymen
    • 11: Organizations that Disseminate API Knowledge
    • Analysis: More Innovative Business Types
  • Sectors for Exploitation with APIs
    • Cost Cutting
    • Food Data and Analytics
    • Freight Trucking
    • Green Building
    • Home Health Care
    • Analysis: Final Thoughts
  • The Role of APIs in Growing Financial Technology
    • FinTech and APIs: Making the Bank Programmable
    • The State of FinTech
    • Advantages of Exposing a Bank with an API
    • In-Account App Marketplaces, other Proof of Concepts
    • With PSD2, EU Banks Will be Open by Law
    • Regulatory Impact on Personal Data Rights
    • The Open Banking (and Data) Landscape
    • Analysis: Implications of Open Banking
  • How APIs are Streamlining Healthcare
    • Why Healthcare Needs APIs
    • Using APIs for Diagnosis
    • Improving Clarity for Patients
    • Making Operations Easier for Health Professionals
    • The Trouble with Using APIs in a Healthcare Setting
    • Making Things Easier for Researchers
    • The Future of Healthcare and APIs
  • APIs Are Evolving The B2B Landscape
    • In With The New, Out With (Some) Old
    • The Clothing Chain Example
    • B2B 15 Years Ago: The Progression
    • Why B2B Strategy Really Needs An API Strategy
    • Getting The Conversation Rolling
    • API Advocacy
    • Convincing An Architect
    • Analysis: B2B World is Slowly Changing with APIs
  • The Core Principles of API Management
    • A Definition of API Management
    • Components
    • API Registry
    • API Gateway
    • Developer Portal
    • Analysis: An Attempt at an Objective, General Definition
  • How APIs Are Disrupting The Way We Think
    • Disruption or Destruction?
    • The Biggest Disruption of All: APIs Change Our Expectations
    • APIs Are the Digital Glue Holding Our World Together
    • How Can Today’s Developers Take Advantage of API Disruption?
    • Analysis: Drive API Disruption
  • Should Every Company Consider Providing an API?
    • Common Myths Surrounding APIs
    • Myth #1: All APIs Are Public
    • Myth #2: Providing APIs Is an IT-Only Matter
    • Myth #3: Providing APIs Is Only For Internet Startups And Giants
    • Developing an Internal API: A First Crucial Step With Many Benefits
    • From The IT Department Perspective
    • From the Company Perspective
    • Providing APIs to Others: The Next Step
    • Analysis: APIs Must Be a Concern For Every Company
  • The Future of the API Space
    • API Indicator #1: API Becomes an Accepted Tool to Grow Your Business
    • API Indicator #2: Microservices Architecture Allows All Departments to Scale
    • API Indicator #3: Are Public APIs Losing Their Luster?
    • Analysis: Are You Getting All You Can out of the API Economy?
  • Endnotes

Upcoming eBook Release: API-Driven DevOps

title_pageThank you to our writers and readers for making this release possible! If you want more, head over to our eBooks page to check out The API Lifecycle, Securing the API Stronghold, and other titles.

We will continue to update the API Economy as the tides of the digital wave ebb and flow. In the near future, however, we turn our focus to DevOps for our next release API-Driven DevOps. The eBook will analyze tech trends in that sphere and offer advice for fine-tuning development-to-operations synchronicity. So, stick around. Track our progress on Leanpub, and join our newsletter to be notified of future eBook releases.

As always, thanks for reading!