I spent the last couple of days at the I Love APIs 2013 conference. There were fantastic presentations, great and insightful conversations, and hacker-esque food (although no fried chicken and waffles). Listening to and being among those that are as passionate about APIs as me, is very inspirational – and it gave me pause to consider what drives me to do what I love to do.
My passion really compromises of two halves. First of all, after spending a decade cutting my teeth on healthcare information technology has really changed and shaped my perspective. Knowing the state of healthcare – how it is now, and where is it going – is really quite fascinating. For a vertical that truly means the difference between life or death, it boggles my mind that it has been so far behind other industries. It reminds me of a Jerry Seinfeld parable, where he talks about science and seedless watermelons. We have so many different areas that need attention – AIDS, cancer, heart disease, and we have scientists using their time developing a better seedless watermelon. It is staggering. Technologically speaking, while I imagine that there is a time and place for flatulence sound applications, there shouldn’t be much more paramount than healthcare. Health will eventually fail for us all. Healthcare needs the attention, the brunt and the force, of the developer. And the best way to mobilize this force, is with the API.
The API (application programming interface), my other passion, changes and transforms everything it touches. In the last few years, APIs have become more and more intertwined in our daily lives – it has become ubiquitous, and don’t even know it is happening. APIs provide the gateway to information. It is amazing, for me, to watch the bits align, like stars, as information is unlocked to create knowledge. It truly is a beautiful thing.
These two circles, healthcare IT and the API, where they intersect, is incredibly exciting. I think that we are on the cusp for things that have never been seen before.
Bonus: If I were to equate my love with the API with another brief TV vignette, it would be an episode of episode of Futurama in which space pilots Fry and Leela attempt a rescue of their colleague Bender by disguising themselves as robots, only to be faced with robot guards meant to prevent humans from entering. To safeguard this, they had a skill testing question. “Which would you rather have – a) a puppy, b) a flower from your sweetie, or c) a large, properly formatted data file?”. Indeed, a large, properly formatted data file is something magical.