What does it mean to be API-first?

The new Tyk podcast, All About APIs, has delved into hot topics such as how to monetise your APIs and how to supercharge API-led growth by prioritising the developer experience. 

Now, in episode three, we’re answering some fundamental questions about being API-first. What does it mean to be an API-first business? What are the benefits? If APIs are your thing, join co-host Budha for the latest insights. 

Being API-first 

API industry stalwart, James Higginbotham, explores the meaning of being API-first in this far-reaching discussion with Tyk’s Product Evangelist, Budha Bhattacharya. James’ boutique consulting company, LaunchAny, focuses on helping businesses establish, grow and mature their API strategies. 

The starting point for such a strategy will vary depending on the nature and size of the business in question, according to James:

“There are two major paths, depending on who you are and what you’re trying to do. Are you a large enterprise? If so, then start with the strategy. What are the desired goals, outcomes and purpose of your API strategy? What are you trying to get out of it, and how are you supporting the marketplace through that strategy? 


“If you’re a startup or a Software as a Service provider and you’re looking at trying to establish a better foothold in the API space with your product by building the API around it, then I would start to look at the marketplace. Try to understand what people are trying to do, identify those personas and start from that perspective. It really depends on who you are.”


Creating an API-first strategy

When it comes to devising your API-first strategy, James’ advice is simple: 

“Your API strategy needs to consider: what’s the goal, what are the outcomes and who are you serving? Understanding that is absolutely essential.”


Having that focus in place will frame what you do and ensure you don’t waste a heap of time building unnecessary APIs. It will also ensure that the APIs you build are the ones that are really going to deliver value. 

Take a deep dive into API-first 

Outcomes, personas, self-managed systems, microservices, business logic, stitching it all together… nothing is left off the table during this in-depth podcast episode. The discussion concludes with thoughts around the growing shift in mindset towards treating APIs as first-class citizens and the exciting opportunities presented by event-driven and asynchronous APIs. James sums it up: 

“There’s a lot of value in async APIs to allow people to extend things… There’s a huge amount of value and a lot of opportunity that’s untapped right now, so I’m really excited to see where this goes.”


Keen to hear more? Then tune in to All About APIs every other Wednesday when new episodes are released. Better still, subscribe on your favourite platform, so you never miss an episode!