You have 3 minutes to cross the chasm and get paying customers to your API

Most of the savvy readers are familiar with Moore’s Crossing the Chasm. I applied it to API economy. API is a product and crossing the chasm can be applied to it as well. Now I give you the length of the Chasm, it’s 3 minutes.

From where did the number 3 minutes come? I took the 3–30–3 rule known in website world. Your product is competing with other products about the attention of customers. Again, the same applies to APIs.

3–30–3 rule applied to APIs

  • Great! Your potential customer has found (discovery) your API. If they stay for 3 seconds, you have gained developer’s attention. Keep in mid that we live in attention economy. In other words your API’s title is descriptive enough. You have crossed the first barrier sub-chasm.
  • If they access your API endpoint and are able to test run API in 30 seconds, they are getting hooked, and are interested in your product or service. Even better.
  • If they are able to find copy-paste code examples and use those in own code in 3 minutes, you have prospect paying customer and you have engaged them and are likely to convert them to a paying customer.

Note that developer has not accessed your sexy and up-to-date API documentation at this point. And that is how it should be. Documentation becomes handy at heavy use, it should not be starting point.

Your aim is to get developer hooked, not to read documentation! Your API is there to solve developer’s problem (he already knows the problem when looking at your API)

In the process developer also looks for examples what has been accomplished with your API by other developers, 3rd party opinions and what kind of plans you offer. But the main aim is to offer low barrier start and best possible Developer eXperience.

If you want to know more or continue discussion about API developer journeys, you can find me in Twitter You can also contact me directly via email:

Like what you read? Give Jarkko Moilanen a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.