Everything is a public API – Build every internal tool as an external product

And so, circa 2002, we start to see the emergence of a pattern:

  1. Amazon had encountered a bottleneck to growth,
  2. it had determined that some internal process or resource was the bottleneck,
  3. it had realized that it could not possibly develop and deploy enough resources internally to remove that bottleneck, so
  4. it instead removed the bottleneck by building an interface to allow the broader market to solve it en masse.

This exact pattern was repeated with vendor selection (Amazon Marketplace), technology infrastructure (Amazon Web Services, or AWS), and merchandising (Amazon’s Catalog API).

The Bezos edict:

  1. All teams will henceforth expose their data and functionality through interfaces,
  2. teams must communicate with each other through these interfaces,
  3. all interfaces, without exception, must be designed from the ground up to be exposed to developers in the outside world, and
  4. anyone who doesn’t do this will be fired.

From Zack Kanter

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