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5 Star Trek Quotes to Inspire a Better API Ecosystem

Here at the rivalry between Star Trek and Star Wars fans is pretty epic. We take our fanhood seriously, so much so that our annual employee awards are even named after Star Trek characters. In this blog, we are going to look at our CEO’s favorite quotes from those who inspire us daily, Kirk, Spock, Data, Troy, and Dax, and how they relate to creating a better API ecosystem.

“Our species can only survive if we have obstacles to overcome. You take away all obstacles. Without them to strengthen us, we will weaken and die.” -Kirk

We run into many organizations that fear the obstacles that they meet. However, the ones that we have seen have the greatest success are those that embrace the challenges and allow them to strengthen and mold the organization.

For example, when Avaya first hired, their developer program, DevConnect, was labor intensive, manual, and unpolished. Instead of facing these areas that fell short with fear, the Avaya team decided to scrap the do-it-yourself approach and adopt a more robust technology platform to deliver a modern and improved user experience. Because of the vast improvement that came from this change, the DevConnect team now faces obstacles with excitement, allowing anything and everything to better the program and ultimately the organization.

Resolution: Develop a plan to face the obstacles that you have been putting off.

“Change is the essential process of all existence.” -Spock

What I like most about this quote is that Spock describes change as essential, as if there really is no option to including it. I couldn’t agree more with this statement, and our team at is constantly recognizing change as critical to the success of any component in an API ecosystem.

In fact, often times we will start with a new client by assessing the changes that need to be made in the form of a gap analysis. Getting the client to agree that change is necessary is half the battle, with the other half being actually executing on best practice recommendations. If every prospect and client we encountered took Spock’s words to heart, we would see organizations building successful ecosystems around their existing and future API(s).

Resolution: Evaluate these top 9 developer portal mistakes and make any changes to issues with your current setup.

“Apologies, Captain. I seem to have reached an odd functional impasse. I am, uh … stuck.” -Data

Admitting that you don’t know what you don’t know is critical to achievement. We see this to be especially true as organizations try to build new developer programs, partner programs, or marketplaces. Given that this is a niche space, it can be difficult to achieve best practice without the domain expertise.

We saw this to be the case with Cisco when they first brought us on to do a gap analysis of their existing programs. They realized that they did not have the domain expertise to ensure that the partner and developer communities had access to the business and technical requirements required to successful integrate with Cisco technology. Consequently, Cisco selected to determine the requirements and to build and support the portals.

Resolution: Lay down your pride and allow the experts in any field to do their jobs.

“To admit that you’re afraid gives you strength.” -Troi

Troi, like Data, was on to something when she talked about the importance of admitting fear. We often encounter organizations that have a fear of failing when launching a new component of an API ecosystem. It could be a small fear like a single developer poor user registration experience to a large fear like losing an entire database. Irregardless, admitting these fears allows you to put in place a strategy to ensure they don’t happen; as a result, you will have a stronger plan and stronger result than when you first started. Another way to think about this is identify any pitfalls during the planning stage to ensure that during execution, everyone and everything is safely protected against them.

Resolution: Identify three areas that are of concern to you with your existing developer or partner program and create a plan to avoid these pitfalls moving forward.

“If you want to know who you are, it’s important to know who you’ve been.” -Dax

One of the critical components to measuring success is having data points on which you can report. We strongly value reporting here at and for that reason have made it an integral part of our business ecosystem management software, dpEngine. Reporting allows you to know where you have been to determine where you are currently and where you should be going.

This has been especially important for our customer Conviva. Conviva purchased dpEngine to relaunch an existing developer program. Due to the advanced reporting and tracking capabilities, Conviva has been able to measure the growth of the community and is pleased to announce that it has skyrocketed since implementing dpEngine. In the past 24 months, Conviva has been able to track the education of more than 2,000 active developer members who use 5 SDKs and 43 libraries.

Resolution: Setup reporting capabilities and benchmark where you are at today so in a few months you can see quantitative progress.

I hope these quotes and these snippets from case studies will help your API ecosystem “Live Long and Prosper”. If you are interested in learning more about some of the examples mentioned above, feel free to check out the full case studies that detail the partnerships: