API Product Pitch for Everybody
Product vision is one thing, another thing is the execution of developing the API product. Specifically, the quality of the API product and the details that make the difference might rely mostly on engineers' decisions. Furthermore, inspiring your smart engineers with a product vision, a reason or rather a Why, motivates them to perform extraordinarily. Giving a reason might even transform engineers into customer ambassadors because engineers are not brainless code monkeys. People want (and like) to make an impact. Hence, it is paramount that everybody, especially engineers, understands the value proposition of a particular API product. And there is no better way to achieve that than with an API product pitch.
Daily API Product Pitch
We introduced in our team a daily exercise, which we call: **The Daily Pitch**. Thus, after each daily SCRUM meeting, engineers have to pitch an API product of their choice in front of the team. This is a tremendous and vital exercise because it helps engineers to make the right decisions when doing the API interface design, implementation, and testing. Afterward, the team provides valuable feedback for improvement.
The team of engineers and product manager soon builds a common understanding of the API product when pitching it. Actually, when the group shares their individual ideas and perspectives, it becomes clear what the customer segments or personas are, what the problems are, and what the value of a particular API product is. In our team, we even realized that one API product is, in fact, two products because we weren't able to pitch it as a whole.
As a result, after two weeks of practice, everybody was able to do a concise elevator pitch to explain what customer problems it solves and what value it provides. We used a camera to record the API product pitches because you cannot imagine how much more stress it generates. When I had to speak in front of the camera, I was paralyzed for two minutes, if not more. A mobile phone's camera is more than sufficient and fulfills the purpose greatly.
Check out this video, which shows the transformation of engineers into API product pitching beasts.
How to Pitch an API Product?
First, you don't pitch the API! Instead, you pitch the value proposition that your API brings. For that reason, it is crucial that you understand your API product as an interface to a value proposition. So, to prepare for your pitch, answer first the following three key questions:
Who is the customer?
What is the job that the customers have to get done?
What value do you propose to help the customer?
Please note that the API is the solution to how you deliver the value proposition. Most importantly, the solution, if at all, comes last. When you've answered these three questions, then you are ready for working on your API product pitch.
Effective Structures for an API Product Pitch
Pitching becomes easy when you understand your product and also can apply a simple structure to tell it. In the following, we present five basic structures for an API product pitch. You can use them for doing a quick daily pitch. Most noteworthy, this is an exercise to understand the value of the API product. Hence, you gain most out of it if you iterate through various pitch structure to tell the same things differently and gain different perspectives.
Firstly, present your claim. Secondly, provide the argumentation to support your claim. To this goal, present examples, tell a story or show pictures. Finally, explain what you offer or expect from your audience.
Firstly, show the gap between the as-is and the desired state. Then, present the strategy to get from the as-is state to the desired state.
Firstly, present both sides A and B. Then, show the gap between A and B. Subsequently, present your solution. Finally, explain the consequences of doing nothing about the gap and the effects of implementing your solution.
Gab between side A and side B
Firstly, show the symptom. Secondly, present your diagnosis. Afterward, project the situation into the future and how it developed. Then, present your medication and the therapy or rather the strategy to apply the medication.
Firstly, show the initial situation. Secondly, explain the problem. Thirdly, present your solution approach. Afterward, present the results and round them off with the consequences of applying your solution.