Why a Hackathon can be revealing for your API?

Hackathons and APIs

About 4 weeks ago, I had the opportunity to take part in a FinTech hackathon in Tel Aviv. Bank Leumi, one of the largest banks in Israel, was organizing the event and Salesforce was sponsoring it. The event was awesome and vibrant. You had plenty of opportunities to meet some clever and creative people and learn about the latest trends in FinTech.
Salesforce was not the only sponsor. There were plenty more, with interesting products to use as part of your hacks. Some companies that were offering their products to use during the event were: Yodlee, import.io, TheThings.io, Built.io, Mashery, OpenBankProject and many more.

There is a clear trend for FinTech startups. Anyone who deals with a bank and some more advanced operations, may understand why this space is ideal for disruption. Although I wouldn’t call myself an expert into FinTech, I enjoyed what I learned during the event, which was a lot. I am even happier as I had the opportunity to get some useful insights about another technology topic that I love, APIs. FinTech is about data, as such, the majority of the products you could work with during the event, were exposing an API.

This is what this post is all about, “APIs and Hackathons”. I want to discuss about things that I saw worked or not and share some personal thoughts about APIs in general. Especially for public APIs exposed to developers and external services.

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The Hard Truth About MVP and Agile Plans

A startup is an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.
— Steve Blank

A ‘startup’ is a company that is confused about:

  1. What its product is.
  2. Who its customers are.
  3. How to make money.

As soon as it figures out all 3 things, it ceases being a startup and becomes a real business.
— Dave McClure

Regardless of the definition of a Startup that you may choose or you adhere to, one thing is common… Speed.
A startup (among others) runs a race with time to reach growth before the cash runs dry. Software development in a startup is equally influenced as a result. Speed to finish the current software development cycle. Focus on specific features and tasks. Fix what needs to be fixed.
Us, as a startup, have to work in such an environment. Some time ago I made a post with the “8 reasons that made us change from Trello to Targetprocess 3“. Today we will discuss how we actually work and a Hard Truth in the end…

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4 Reasons Why we Love BizSpark

Building a startup is never easy! One of the key factors of success is cost reduction – run the business with minimal or even no budget at all, at least in the beginning. How? By taking advantage of opportunities wherever you find them.
Apirise begun just like any other startup business – an idea.

This particular idea came to us as we were trying to solve problems with integrating different systems to each other. We are software engineers and as such we started thinking about a product aiming to change the way we (the developers) interact with APIs: Stop being mere passive consumers and affect the way that an API operates based on our needs, with minimal impact on our code base.

A lot of work and several iterations later, we managed to get a working prototype, gave it live for the world to try and waited for feedback.

Are we building the right thing? Will anybody use it? These are the things we want to find out. What would you do with no budget?


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