Talking to people and telling stories on a regular basis always pushes me to evolve my understanding of how people see (or don't see) APIs to keep shifting the way I tell stories. I've always felt that that education about APIs should be relevant to the users, but usually this centers around making it familiar and speaking to whoever I am helping onboard. After talking to some folks recently at APIStrat, I'm adding to my thinking on this, and focusing on making my stories more precise for folks I talk with.
One of the reasons I really like APIs is that they are so versatile. You can take a piece of data or content or an algorithm (code), and wrap with an API, and provide read and write access via the Internet. However, I think the average person does not thrive in this environment and needs an explanation that is more precise. It doesn't help them to know that APIs can do anything; they need it to be relevant, but also to provide a single solution that they can wrap their heads around, and apply in their world.
I am just sharing this thinking as I'm working to add it to my storytelling toolbox. I'm really committed to helping people understand what APIs are, so they can help push back on platforms to have APIs, as well as be more open with existing APIs. It doesn't do any good to confuse people with an unlimited number of API scenarios. We should be dialing in our storytelling so that we can help onboard them with the concept and increase the number of folks who understand that they can take control over their own information on the platforms they depend on each day.