The Digital Accelerator Interview: Allen Rodgers, Pearson
Allen Rodgers, product director of Pearson’s higher education API program, spoke with us at I ♥ APIs 2014 after his company was recognized by our Digital Accelerator Award program as a top digital visionary and for providing the best developer experience.
U.K.-based Pearson, the world’s largest education and book publishing company, is a strong example of how a company unlocked its wide range of assets in a way that unleashed a transformation of its business model, and helped it move toward a platform model.
A big part of this success has stemmed from creating a great experience for third-party developers, Rodgers said. The top metric Pearson uses to measure this success is “time to first ‘Hello, world’,” he said.
But API evangelism should also be directed toward an organization’s business leaders, Rodgers added. At Pearson, this kind of communication requires a different language.
“We never speak about APIs; we speak about capabilities: what could you do if you had this capability or this capability today? That’s a very, very different conversation,” he said
The conversation with Pearson's business side has moved beyond APIs and now centers on the company's evolution toward a platform approach, through which Pearson and its partners can mashup services with those from multiple other companies and resources.
“I don’t believe we’ll ever get to the point of educating the company,” he said. “We will get to the point at which there’s a certain amount of trust that we develop, because they can do things quicker, they can create new channels, and they are seeing all kinds of innovative ideas that come out of these weird marketplaces.”