Don’t reinvent the wheel. It’s a phrase that’s been used since, well…probably when the wheel was first invented. It’s the notion that when a good, working idea exists, we shouldn’t waste our time trying to alter it or duplicate it. Instead, we should embrace it, use it and build upon it. Yet I still see examples of people trying to do the opposite. One of the biggest advantages of the technology we have now is the ability to collaborate with each other. I like to refer to this as living in the Age of Open API.
Open API (which stands for application programming interface) refers to different technologies that enable websites to interact with each other. The concept behind this is that businesses with different specialties should be enabled and encouraged to collaborate. The Age of Open API is the concept that we should stop trying to reinvent the wheel. We should instead focus our time and energy where we’re most talented and becoming the absolute best we can be in this field. In doing so, we create a network of experts rather than a world full of Jacks of all trades.
The Age of Open API is already among us, but not everyone has opened their minds to the power of applying this idea on a more personal level. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, freelancer, business owner or employee, we can all benefit from having Open API and the following three concepts should give you the framework to start to do so immediately.
While we all have many talents, we’re exceptionally good at only one or two. These talents are the ones we should place most of our focus on and try to monetize. Because we have likely developed a level of expertise within our top few talents, we can complete this work more quickly and efficiently than the average person. For all other work outside our small area of expertise, we should try and outsource. Open API promotes work sharing. Do what you’re capable of doing best and offer this as a service to others as well. In exchange, others can provide you with their talents to compliment your own.
Using each others’ work
Just as we continue to use the concept of the wheel, we should also feel free to utilize other existing ideas. So long as it’s not breaking any copyright laws, reusing and duplicating ideas is a great tool for efficiency. You can learn from past mistakes and eliminate the time it would take you to develop the exact same idea on your own.
The final concept of Open API is collaboration. This is different from outsourcing or using existing ideas in that it requires us working together throughout the process and not just combining work at the very end. Two (or more) heads are better than one, right? If you share a similar talent with another person or business, team up! You will instantly and exponentially increase your network – as well as potential work. You will also challenge each other to rise to a higher level of innovation.
To close, the Age of Open API has provided us with an environment that nurtures information sharing and collaboration. We’re able to maximize our efficiency and focus our time on doing what we do best. If everyone were to embrace their own Open API and join in the sharing of information, together we would build stronger, more innovative businesses than we could ever dream to do alone.
Have you personally embraced your Open API yet? Share your ideas for outsourcing and collaboration by commenting below.