Little Stories

Fearless: Cheston Contaoi
Fearless: Cheston Contaoi

I had just accepted the job of technical evangelist at Intel Mashery. As a lifelong introvert, the idea of approaching MHacks, a developer event with 1,200 software developers, and pitching our network of 50 APIs on stage and (hopefully) convincing skeptical students to use these APIs in their projects was something directly out of a horror movie.

“What am I supposed to say when I get on stage?” I asked my event partner (and veteran API evangelist), Cheston Contaoi. “Come up with three little stories about what they can do with the APIs. “For example, you can use the Beats Music API to create a shared musical playlist to help match you with new friends who have a similar taste in music. Or maybe you can use the Weather Underground API to build a smart weather station to send a Twilio message to your phone to remind you to bring an umbrella. Tailor it for the audience based on the event.”

I took this technique to heart and soon found that having a list of potential use cases in my back pocket was pure gold. After some rehearsal, I could tell off half a dozen different ideas for projects upon meeting a team of students curious about the Mashery API network. It really worked.

I can’t understate the genius of this technique. If human beings are computers, stories are our programming language. By telling a little story about how your developer platform can be used, you fill the heads of your target audience with possibilities.

We spend so much time explaining the “What”  and “How” of our developer platforms, what really matters to developers (and drives action) is the “Why”