Apigee 'I Love APIs' Conference Report

"I love it when a plan comes together." Colonel Hannibal Smith, 'The A-Team'

If you've been in the tech industry a long time you know that some industry conferences have that special 'vibe' and some don't. Netscape's early developer conferences had that vibe and helped drive the emergence of the web. I felt that same vibe at work yesterday at Apigee's I (heart) APIs conference at San Francisco's Fort Mason Center. For those folks not able to attend this Sold Out event, here are 4 take-aways.

1. "Every enterprise HAS a Chief Digital Officer."

That was the opening message communicated by Chet Kapoor, Apigee CEO. Simply put, it's about THE ROLE, not the title. The CDO role is about leading the 'enterprise inside-out' innovation 'A-Team' and augmenting (and/or transforming) physical value networks with digital value networks. The experienced 'CDOs' that Kapoor brought to the stage in the conference keynote carried a range of corporate titles---but from AT&T to OuterWall to the government the job was the same----Capitalize on API-powered innovation to introduce new products and services by exposing unique enterprise assets.....All while attracting new partners and serving new and existing customers.

2. Pragmatic, Actionable Content Dominated the Conference Tracks

For a 'first conference' the Apigee event was remarkably well-executed. The conference tracks were segmented cleanly into Business, Technology, Product and Coders Workshops. And the content in the 6 or more that I personally attended was succinctly presented and actionable. From API productization best practices to driving API adoption beyond the hackathon to the evolution of physical value networks into digital networks....the content was pragmatic and accessible to both developer and business audiences.

3. The 'Internet of Things' Opportunity Was on the Agenda

While many still think of the Chief Digital Officer role in a 'CMO' context---i.e. consumer apps---the Apigee event also showcased the convergence of the 'API economy' and the  'internet of things'. From connected cars to connected coin kiosks and beyond, there was a consistent effort to point out the various ways in which physical networks benefit from digital DNA.

4. Apigee's Partnership with Accenture Was High Profile

Last but not least, both in the conference presentations and on the conference floor Apigee's partnership with systems integration superpower Accenture was on display. As someone who religiously believes that tech startups and growth-stage players need to focus their marketing efforts upstream via actionable 'distribution @ the core' relationships with alpha tech leaders it was great to see Apigee's best practices in this area.

Final Thoughts

While this conference is about as good as it gets, in future Apigee events I'd hope to see 2 things I didn't see.

The first would be more information and best practices on API monetization. To put it in my own nomenclature, I'd like to see the focus shift from 'platform' to platformula---i.e. the creative fusion of product innovation and partner/customer success models.

The second would be more focus on the Apigee Institute. In the tech industry, true research-driven thought leadership is hard to come by. I see the Apigee Institute as the kernel of something big in this area............ a best practices thinktank for the CDOs of the future.

Gotta run now. I'm late for Day 2.

To contact the author, email him at joe@platformulagroup.com