FastCompany says: The world is opening up to apps. We agree!

bigdog posted on 09/23/11 at 09:45 AM



You won't find a much more crystal-clear explanation of APIs and why they're so exciting to forward-thinking business nowadays than FastCompany's recent article, AT&T is Opening Its Doors to Any and All App Developers by E.B. Boyd. Boyd describes how and why AT&T made the bold decision to open their API wide open to developers from anywhere. That's right: the original Ma Bell has decided app-making holds sufficient potential to reverse the company's (literally) century-old policy to keep their systems and internal processes firmly closed. 

If you've heard all the buzz about APIs and apps, but don't quite understand the attraction, read this article. Here's the part that gets to the specific appeal the API model holds for app developers:

"This is the equivalent of a top restaurant like Chez Panisse deciding to allow chefs from any dining establishment in to use its world-class kitchen to prepare their own dishes. It’s obvious why other food service providers would want to use Chez Panisse’s kitchen: Why spend time (and money) designing your own kitchen, and assembling your own equipment when you can have access to the best almost instantly?

"For application developers, AT&T's toolkits appeal in the same way. The company has spent 85 years building powerful internal tools to run its communication network, and now developers have access to many of them. They’ll specifically be able to use assets that allow applications to: send and receive SMS and MMS messages; access a device's location information; run payment and billing systems, or run advertising." 

AT&T benefits from this openness, too. Not only do their customers benefit from an accelerated pace of product innovation - faster than AT&T employees alone could ever power - but an API-centric model keeps AT&T's systems central to the ever-expanding list of tasks people can accomplish using their smart phones. The race to build new and more amazing apps is happening out there right now - but not all phone companies are equipped to keep pace with it. AT&T, however, seems ready and willing to keep up. 

We're excited in the same way for TradeKing's API. We excel at a few core functions: getting our clients a fast, quality trade execution at a great price, with outstanding customer service and a fair, simple commission price for everyone. Our API strategy allows us to focus like a laser on what we do best, while harnessing the power of crowd-sourcing - for both active investors AND app developers - to drive our product innovation faster, better and further than any brokerage firm in the business. 

Join us - this should be a fantastic ride for everyone!
 
[image: Half-open door to Heaven by Klearchos Kapoutsis on Flickr]

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Don Montanaro does not hold any positions currently in AT&T (T). 

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Posted by bigdog on 09/23/11 at 09:45 AM

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