Net API Notes for 2022/06/22 - ISSUE 200


As far as numbers marking arbitrary points in time, 200 seems like a relatively substantial one. When I pitched the idea of Net API Notes to a few folks in early 2015, then called REST API Notes, there was doubt as to whether there was enough "stuff" to sustain a regular schedule. I do take weeks off. Yet, after two-hundred editions, there's still something compelling about these funny intersections between business, architecture, and engineering that we call APIs.

The intention was always to serve me first; writing, is how I process the cacophony of data available into useful information. When I synthesize my gut reactions, half-baked ideas, and between-the-line assumptions into a coherent narrative, I'm forced to make it make sense.

And sometimes it doesn't. There has been more than once when things don't hang together, even after hours of wrestling with the topic. Sometimes I learn that I'm wrong. Other times, I realize that I need to take a wait-and-see approach. However, even though the net result doesn't result in an email, that is still time well spent because I've learned something.

This June, I've had the privilege of packaging much of my recent learning into a presentation: Seven Skills to Change Complex Software (And Save Your Software). I must thank The Deliberate Complexity Conference, The Minnesota Developers' Conference, and the CarMax DevOps Day (an internal developer conference) for the opportunities. Much like this newsletter, those events were a forcing function for me to condense and clarify much of the work I've completed for an upcoming book.


"Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents and everyone is writing a book." - Cicero, 106-43 BCE

Yes, I too, am working on a book.

In my previous roles kickstarting and growing software Center-of-Excellences at Fortune 500 companies, along with my current role consulting with corporate clients on how to grow their API maturity, I can say one thing with certainty: change is hard. The challenge is rarely the technology itself. Technology is practically trivial in the face of dynamic, complex, and human systems comprising our workplaces.

Just having the "correct" technical solution is not enough. To make positive change happen, I've had to learn, sometimes painfully, a different set of skills than I was taught in my computer engineering degree. There are helpful references here and there, but there was no single reference tailored to mid-to-enterprise IT shops I could find. When the opportunity presented itself in January, I started putting years of bookmarks, Twitter likes, highlighted pages, and saved YouTube presentations into the book I wish I had when I started.

That book is called Better Bits, and I'm targeting a Q4 release. If you'd like updates, sign up on the dedicated Substack mailing list.

Of course, me being me, the first book work I did was make an office (obviously - I think Amazon calls this "starting with the press release", or something). If you catch me on a video conference call or podcast recording, you can see it directly behind me. If you agree with the sentiment and would like to pick one up for your own home office or team space, you can get your copy from the fine folks at Society6.


As you might imagine, pulling a finished product from the chaos of a creative endeavor is a lot of work. I recently finished Peter Jackson's other 9-hour opus, The Beatles: Get Back (now streaming on Disney+). It documents the messy, sometimes even awkward, creation of the Beatles' 1970 album, Let It Be. It is all too easy to listen to those songs fifty years later and assume magic flowed. The documentary emphatically illustrates that wasn't the case at all. It was work.

So if I want to make Better Bits the best I can make it, I also need to put in the effort. In the best times, July and August are slow months for API news. And, considering everything going on, these aren't the best of times. I'm pressing pause on this newsletter for the next two months and reclaiming that time for the book.

During this Net API Notes hiatus, I'll be suspending Patreon payments. I say it in every newsletter, but I genuinely appreciate the Patrons. It is one thing for me to say I like something. It is another to say that I like something enough to pay for it, regardless of the amount. That feedback from the Patrons has meant more to me over the past several years than whatever the actual dollar total has ended up being. Come September, I'll see where we stand. But, I'm pausing the program for the next couple months without a newsletter.

I hope you have a safe, healthy, and rejuvenating summer. If you're in the US, please enjoy the July 4th holiday responsibly. Thank you for reading this far, not only today but for 200 issues. I wish you the best and barring something unforeseen, we'll meet up again in your inbox this September.

Till then,

Matthew @libel_vox and

While I work at Concentrix Catalyst, a duck dancing about the enterprise lake aerator, the opinions presented above are mine.

Subscribe to Net API Notes

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.