Bezos Most Brilliant Move

It is not what you may guess and it’s not sexy, its API’s! Someone recently asked me what I thought was one of the most important factors to their success and I believe a lot gets tracked back to an internal memo back that read something like this:

 All teams will henceforth expose their data and functionality through service interfaces.
Teams must communicate with each other through these interfaces.
There will be no other form of inter-process communication allowed: no direct linking, no direct reads of another team’s data store, no shared-memory model, no back-doors whatsoever. The only communication allowed is via service interface calls over the network.
It doesn’t matter what technology they use.
All service interfaces, without exception, must be designed from the ground up to be externalizable. That is to say, the team must plan and design to be able to expose the interface to developers in the outside world. No exceptions.
The mandate closed with:
Anyone who doesn’t do this will be fired.  Thank you; have a nice day!
Everyone got to work and over the next couple of years, Amazon transformed itself, internally into a service-oriented architecture (SOA), learning a tremendous amount along the way.

– API Evangelist

This type of thinking is what allowed for the birth of AWS, Mechanical Turks, Amazon Payments, Amazons ad tech business /  CPC + keyword marketplace and more. All of this possible because Amazon is set up as a set of API’s that can service any party (internal or external). Most early-stage companies are thinking about using API’s internally, but as we rely more and more on API’s to allow companies to just focus on what is core, this becomes more important over time. If you are in an enterprise space, this allows you to work with legacy technologies, adding that layer on top of the existing system which helps to bridge them into the future (and is precisely what we are doing w/ legacy Building Management Systems at Entic).

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