3 month check-in

A snap I took whilst running through Yarra Park yesterday morning.

It’s been 3 months since Leah and I boarded a plan at Heathrow to try our hand at living abroad.

We had about 15kg of luggage between us, Australian work holiday visas and not much else.

Since then we’ve passed through Thailand, visited Malaysia and Indonesia and made our way to Melbourne. I’ve even managed to spend 2.5 weeks in San Francisco!

Whilst travelling through Malaysia and Indonesia I applied for a few jobs. After a couple of Skype interviews from Bali, a plane ride, an interview and a bit more Skype action, I was offered a product role at Zendesk which I accepted. There’s a lot of scope and more than a few things to work out but I’m excited and am really enjoying it.

Leah and I are really enjoying Melbourne too – so many parks and a laid back vibe (it also helps when you turn up in the middle of summer).

So far no looking back, roll on the next 3 months!

See some photos of the journey so far on my travel tumblr

Product lessons: Building APIs for developers


“…the data returned doesn’t match the documentation…”
“When it’s complicated to get started…”

It seemed a logical stating point to ask (software) engineers what makes a good API experience in order to build one. The responses (some above) were mostly about letdowns & shortcomings.

Below is a list of product lessons I’ve come to learn during the development & iteration of the latest release of the PeerIndex API:

  • Start with empathy for the end user and take the time to understand their needs and what works for them, in this case, usually an overworked web developer
  • There’s lots of talented developers out there that could do mashups/cool things with your data, make it easy for them to create and play – quick to get an API key and start making calls – Sounds easy but you’d be amazed at how hard this is with some APIs
  • Write down and share the principles, strategy and roadmap for your API product – they act as a beacon of guidance when decisions need to be made¬†(something I got from Marty Cagan)
  • Get someone to help who does this day-in-day-out. At PeerIndex we work with¬†Mashery
  • If you do provide a good developer experience you will be recognised and thanked for it – it feels good
  • When you have a paid offering as part of your API, make sure you give people enough data for free to work out if they want to pay – we had signup buttons for our paid plans – how many people signed up by clicking those buttons? No-one. Let your end users/customers win first and win convincingly.
  • If your pricing structure isn’t working, change it – we initially had fixed price tiers until we found that the developers using the API were in two categories, those playing around/using data at low volume (not ready/wanting to pay) and high volume API partners.
  • If you’re lucky enough that someone takes the time to ask you a question about your API – take notice, something isn’t clear enough

This is not to say that the PeerIndex API is ‘done’.

It’s a product that needs to grow and evolve: more use cases (examples), more data exposed (more things for developers to play with) etc.

Useful resources:

Image credit: redpoint.com