What Star Wars Can Teach Us About APIs - Part 3

We’re diving into the business lessons of the Star Wars Universe. What lessons can be learned and used for your API development.

15 days ago   •   4 min read

By Leigh Wallett

We’ve made it to the end of our Star Wars API Lessons trilogy.

Part 1 focused on the culture of your organisation and the impact on APIs. It did this by relating your developer and customers' experience to Star Wars quotes and characters.

In Part 2 the focus was on your API customers. We took lessons from how Star Wars created legions of loyal fans through the secret art of storytelling. If you're in Developer Relations this blog is for you.

Now in Part 3, we’re diving into the business lessons of the Star Wars Universe. How did Disney expand the original trilogy of trilogies into the 2nd biggest cinematic universe in the world?

In this blog, our perspective transcends the stories and looks at the Star Wars franchise. In other words, how can you take a single product and turn it into a multi-faceted global phenomenon?

Lessons from the Star Wars Universe for Your API

Disney bought Lucas Films in 2012 which gave it the rights to the Star Wars franchise. Since then it has followed an approach used in the  Marvel Cinematic Universe. Disney extended the timeline of the Star Wars original series. New shows have introduced us to additional characters, locations, and storylines completely separate from the Skywalker saga.

Customer joy comes from both the modernisation of the storyline and the interconnection with the original storyline.

Let’s apply these lessons from Disney's success with expanding Star Wars to your APIs.

API Strategy for Scale

An API that performs a business process must be one of the smallest possible products. Its micro composeable scale is what gives it so much power. So what does scale look like for an API?

Scale could be increasing the usage, adding new customers, changing a business model, or creating a portfolio of API products.

The lesson from Star Wars is, when you have a strong brand and compelling story, there is no shortage of new opportunities you can create.

While you can create variety to expand your API business, keep in mind what should remain stable.

Stay true to what makes your API valuable. If you started with an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) approach, consider what the long-term plan might look like. You may not have a portfolio or platform to start, but keep the foundations for these in mind at the start.

Integrate any catalog you have with the development lifecycle so that they are regularly maintained. Decide on a tipping point for investment in an API platform early. This way you can scale consciously and not get caught out by growth.

Disney has a long-term release plan for new series in their Star Wars universe. They have pre-mapped the relationships between locations, characters, and the timeline of their storylines.

While you don’t want a rigid plan, it's helpful to have a strong narrative for the direction of your API strategy.

Find API Creators to Help Overcome Setbacks

Even with one of the best brands and most loyal fans, not all the Star Wars releases have been successful. 2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker had average reviews. However, this didn’t stop Disney from releasing new material.

One bad movie or tv show does not set them back. The most recent TV series Andor is being reviewed as their best of all time.

How do they manage to overcome average products and continue to create mega successes? The key is to stay relevant. To do this you need a combination of technical talent and customer feedback.

It can be hard to find the right talent to build your API empire. Learn from Disney and think of broader expertise.

The creator of Andor, Tony Gilroy,  is not a hardcore Star Wars fan. He claimed to have had a steep learning curve in creating the show. However, his skills are to build a deep connection with the characters. He doesn’t rely on nostalgia or sentiment. He goes back to the essence of the original movies when the characters were unknown before they became a global phenomenon.

There are 2 lessons here for your APIs. First, setbacks can happen. Not every addition or change may bring outright success.

Secondly, bring in fresh perspectives. Hire people who may not know your industry inside out but know about APIs. Or conversely, someone who deeply understands your customers and industry but needs to upskill their technical knowledge.

Expanding Your API Universe

Success is inspiring. Disney purchased Lucas films for 4 billion dollars. Star Wars is the 2nd biggest cinematic universe of all time. 12 films have been released with 3 more currently in the works. There are 7 animated series, 7 animated micro-series, 4 live-action series, and 1 game show. Not to mention the theme park, books, and merchandise. With their latest series being considered one of their best, the success isn't slowing down.

Let the success of your APIs inspire you to grow to new heights. How can you measure the success of your API? At Treblle we keep a close eye on the success of APIs through our SDK. Within minutes you can add the Treblle SDK to your API.

Treblle will provide instant oversight on how your API is performing. Our top indicators are speed, security, and quality. It doesn’t stop there. You can see a detailed breakdown of who is consuming your API and how it’s being used.

Bring together people with technical and industry expertise. With API observability you can improve communication and get on the same page. From here it’s easy to spot opportunities to improve and new opportunities to grow your API universe.

Find out more about how to get started with Treblle here.

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