In this article I want to share my thoughts and vision on how and why people should share their code creations with the world and how to monetize these awesome scripts/algorithms/functions.
If you develop, while being minded to value, everyone wins!
let me tell you how.
“Code is a means to an end, it’s important to keep that in mind. That realization is hard to maintain because direct employment blurs the connection between your work and the value of your work.”
I remember when I first started programming, in high-school (Pascal! damn I’m old) and how excited was I when I realized I can CREATE things. Making things is a big passion of mine, While I’m not particularly educated or talented as a musician, sculptor or painter I did find satisfaction in building things using code. the more you do it the better you get it and you’re able to do more and more impactful things, things that generate value.
While the rush you get from creating something complex\elegant\efficient\innovative is great, it’s only part of the equation so when choosing on what should I work on next, value is a big consideration for me!
For me, the first condition is that someone is actually using what I’ve made!! even if you devise the smartest and most revolutionary algorithm, if no one uses it, you’ve done nothing.
Code is a means to an end, it’s important to keep that in mind. That realization is hard to maintain because direct employment blurs the connection between your work and the value of your work.
As an economics major. I was taught that an employee is supposed to be compensated by the value they create. That connection is pretty clear when working physically (30 construction workers build a house in X amount of time which is then sold for Y amount of money).
When you create Intellectual Property in the form of code, the product isn’t immediately bought and used and most of the time for your created code to create value to end users you need a lot of help (infra, sales, marketing, monetization).
All of these barriers create a disconnect between your code and it’s value, especially in a big company where your code contribution is aggregated together with hundreds of other developers.
I felt that my compensation (monthly salary) had nothing to do with the value (monetary, moral, functional) I’ve created with my code. Some weeks I felt it was way to high, and some weeks it felt like I was wildly underpaid depending on my delivery and my company’s ability to sell/service my work.
I know people are saying time is money (and get paid for their time instead of their work) but I need to disagree- VALUE is money! you should be able to get compensated for the value you create and not for the time it took to code the solution.
developers build for other developers. As more and more people take on programming either as an occupation or as a hobby it becomes easier to create value and impact by sharing your code.
Open source is a great example. Developers create base libraries and functionalities to solve problems. Other developers use it to solve problems quicker than before and also contribute back to the project so others can enjoy even better performance/solve more problems.
Not working directly for a company means you can work by passion! solve problems you care about! code in languages you like! do these things, and you’ll feel it! coding is fun when done on your own terms!
But open source isn’t perfect for all purposes, there’s a barrier for some to use it, you need intermediate knowledge to take pieces of code and integrate them into your project. Also, the creator can’t keep track of usage since no licensing is required.
Taking things one step further.
now what? how do you serve your code to other developers so they won’t have to work hard to solve the exact problem you just did?
API is a simple way to share your code functionality, upon being called (via an API call) your code runs with the parameters sent in the call itself and returns a response.
The average person (note, not average developer, average person!) triggers 14 API calls on average in their day to day activities (by using apps, websites, games, IOT products and computer programs).
So if you have the know how needed to create an API you can cut the middleman and have a more direct link with your end users. Any code project can call your code and get a response! there are many online tutorials on how to create an API and cloud computing services like AWS, GCP and Azure make it increasingly easier and cheaper to make!
Yeah yeah, we have to make a living somehow. how can one earn from code but still enjoy from the above-mentioned benefits of working on what you are passionate about while being able to reach end users and make an impact?
The idea is, that as professional programmers we’ve all created super useful algorithms and since code is mostly siloed at the code repository of the company you work for (and you are legally obligated to keep it that way) many developers write code to solve the same problems all over the world in their own companies.
API is a great solution for that. Once a solution is created, it should be accessible to all. and if we want bigger and bigger problems to be solved we need to compensate the creators of such solutions to incentivize them to tackle more complex problems and invest greater resources into solving them as they know it could pay off big time.
A lot of companies offer APIs as their product, which is a great approach. they mainly do so by offering a monthly subscription to get an ALL MIGHTY, DO-IT-ALL API key, when sent in the API request it identifies you as a paying user and grants you access to call the API and get your response, while this is awesome and is definitely a step forward, the all-inclusive pricing sets a barrier to small companies, startups and mostly talented individuals.
while a company has no problem paying hundreds of dollars to get an API key for using Google APIs (maps, translate and much more), small companies can’t do that. if you don’t have a running business but still need the functionality your in a pickle! you either need to develop it yourself or find someone to develop it for you.
API marketplaces give a stage to all developers, and shines a bright spotlight on the code itself and it’s functionality. API marketplaces allow developers to flexibly price their work and offer an alternative to bigger players that force the all-inclusive pricing system so you pay for what you use. it’s easy to see how compensation would be more directly tied to your code’s performance and quality when posting a service in an API marketplace as opposed to performing a pull request to merge your latest code changes in your company’s code repository. being able to earn strictly by the quality of your code eliminate a lot of biases that cause discrimination in direct employment models
there are only a handful of players in the API marketplace space and choosing which one is best for you really depends on who you are and what is your focus.
I’ll be talking about our platform, but I fully encourage you to do your research and compare, as long as you generate value to both yourself and your users, we’re happy! here are some honorable mentions:
in late 2019, Yogev and I finally decided to do something about the way we feel about writing and sharing code and the dissonance between work and value. So we co-founded Byvalue
our vision is
“change who people work by creating a global community of experts set to solve pressing issues and challenges”
and in order to progress towards that vision we defined our mission as
“Make code a commodity , accessible anywhere by anyone”
currently our value proposition is similar to other competitors, we’ve built a platform where you can easily monetize and service your API.
why should anyone choose byvalue over other alternatives?
My goal is to motivate you to turn your knowledge into value, for you and for your audience, so I’ll end with this:
“if you KNOW you can solve a problem with your programming skills, we’re here to make it easy for you to do so!”
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll find a way to make your knowledge into a business 🙂
Offer Gombo- Co-Foudner, Byvalue