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Merge + Speakeasy API and AI event
Insights from the founders
Merge and Speakeasy hosted an intimate event tonight at Merge HQ for founders and leaders in the API and AI spaces. Merge provides a unified API for B2B companies to write integrations. The founder, Gil, provided some interesting perspectives on the future of APIs. Nevertheless, my primary motivation for attending the event was to hear from the founder of Speakeasy, who shared his viewpoints on SDKs, making it even more insightful given their competitive footing with Sideko.
The two founders participated in an hour long panel. The most compelling theme I extracted from the conversations centered around the amount of code and maintenance that will be required as tech continues to fragment. Gil described it as the “great fragmentation”. The idea is that behemoths are losing to startups that do bits and pieces better for less. An audience member works at BambooHR, so Bamboo extracting revenue from Workday was frequently cited to reference this phenomenon. I do hope this trend continues, not only for Sideko’s sake, but also because I hate bundled software. It’s a business model that hurts consumers, and if governments won’t step in to stop it, maybe the great fragmentation can.
Regarding customer conversations, I learned that dev product companies like these often struggle with inter-department disagreements about product strategy. Committing to a managed service vs. doing something in-house is a big decision, according to the founders. The best selling point for managed services is showing the long-term cost of maintaining something in-house.
Second to maintenance cost, is illustrating how important robust API client code is to a business. The junior engineer will say, “I built this Slack integration in a day, why would we need you to generate this?” Okay, your Slack API alert for a new customer sign up works well, and it handles 10 calls a day. But what about your payroll integration that handles 300k calls a day, and if one doesn’t succeed, someone doesn’t get paid?