Andreas Krohn, who in the recent year has gone from just working with, and blogging about, APIs to organizing conferences about them, has just announced the next big Nordic API event. He has during the last year established himself as a leading API person in the Nordics, and the conferences have reflected that – having been held in both Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
With Andreas being from this region, we had an session of questions and answers with him to get to know him some more and his thought of the future for APIs. Even if not strictly a Startup, the API business is extremly interesting for tech startups and the movement of open data is one that a lot of tech entrepreneurs hold dear.
Conferences – how many and which conferences have you organized the last year?
“In total 7 – two Nordic APIs in Stockholm and one Nordic APIs each in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Trondheim and Sundsvall. I have also organised a mini conference where we were 8 people talking tech on an island in the Stockholm archipelago.”
Tell us shortly of your past – what did you do before becoming the “API guru” of the nordics?
“The ‘API guru’ part is your language, I humbly call myself ‘API Specialist'”, he said, smiling.
“I worked at the danish company Kapow Technologies (now Kapow Software), first as a technical presages and in the end as the product manager. Kapow does enterprise level web scaling, basically treating the internet as one big database. It got me thinking about APIs, since what we did was in a way building APIs from non-traditional data sources (i.e. HTML pages).”
“After I quit Kapow to start my own company I concentrated on APIs, starting blogging about it at mashup.se and talk about it as much and often as I could. Eventually I realised that I know this stuff and, more importantly, that I can explain it to other people. So to make a long story short I just kept going even if nobody were interested in the begining.”
What has made you so interested and committed to API’s?
“At heart I am a programmer, and APIs opens up many doors for programmers. It is now possible for one person to produce something at a very low cost that would require a major effort from a big company 10-20 years ago. How can that not be interesting?”
You have gone from being a “nerd” to organizing conferences – how has that transition been?
“I am and always will be a nerd (or geek if you prefer), even when it goes out of style. Organising conference was the natural next step for us (Dopter, my company, is organising Nordic APIs together with Twobo Technologies) since no such conference existed in the Nordic region. The great amount of interest from participants and sponsors show that we made the right bet.”
“The transition has not been that big actually. More phone calls, more mails, more coordinating things than before – but my job has for a long time been more Keynotes and PDFs than compilers and SQL. That said I have learned a lot of what is important and not when getting an event together, some things just work by themselves and there are minor details that you really have to get right to keep people happy.”
What do you see as the future of API – how will this area have evolved in 3 years?
“More more more of everything. All government organisations will have some kind of API, or have released open data somehow. Any company that is not doing anything with APIs/open data will start to feel the pressure from competitors. At the same time I see a big risk of a backlash against APIs, right now there is a bit of a hype and that always results in some kind of anti-movement. In the long run though, the backlash does not matter, this way of integrating systems and creating eco-systems are here to stay.”
The Nordic API conference – what can we expect from the conference?
“Expect a couple of very intense days full of great content. We have booked some fantastic speakers (like the founder of ProgrammableWeb.com for example) to warm us up, there will be two parallel tracks of presentations covering everything from tools of the trade and business practices to case studies and technology choices.”
“Since we realise that we can not fit everything into our schedule we also have an unconference the second day. That will allow any attendee to discuss any subject with whoever is interested. If you want to talk about how to build an Öresund Startup API for example you just tell people that and the ones that are interested will show up and you can discuss the issue.”
“More important than the content however is the community. You get to meet great people from all over the Nordics that are or will be working with APIs and that have the same interest as you.”
Andreas also announced that, because it is Midsommar, Swedens biggest holiday, there is and 50% discount on the early bird tickets these days. So if you have an interest in API’s, don’t miss the chance and book to the event in september in Stockholm!