Abhinav Asthana, Co-founder, Postman in an interview with Techseen discusses how it helps in streamlining the API development process and what the company has in stock for the future.
Techseen: You have recently moved your corporate headquarters from Bangalore to San Francisco. However, the ‘2017 Global Startup Ecosystem Report’ published by Startup Genome noted that Bangalore provides cheaper human resources than many other geographies of the world. So why did you make the switch?
Asthana: We have our engineering team and two co-founders based in Bangalore, where we were founded. We recently started an office in the US where we have some engineers who were actually our customers and wanted to join us and our sales & marketing team as it will allow us to be more responsive to our customers, many of whom are based in Europe and the US.
Postman team has been steadily growing in India as well, and therefore we have moved to a new, larger office space in Bangalore last month. We believe the move to the US will best serve our customers and allow us to more quickly react to opportunities and trends.
Techseen: Last October, you had raised $7 million in funding from Nexus Venture Partners. How have you put this new investment to use?
Asthana: The investment is being used to expand the team to strengthen the product. Postman helps run, test, document and share APIs quickly, easily and accurately, providing users with a more effective toolchain for their API development. We are continuously working on adding more features to the product to provide an easy interface for our clients – individual developers as well as enterprise clients.
Techseen: Now that both Google and Apple have announced development centers in India, what doors do you think will they open for the development community in the country?
Asthana: This is indeed very exciting news. I hope more product development happens in India and teams are empowered with more decision making. The Indian development community is very strong technically but needs more design and product talent to strengthen the ecosystem.
Techseen: Not many companies aim for a global impression in the very initial phase of launch. But Postman started as a project in the US. How did you decide upon your target audience?
Asthana: From the very beginning, it was clear that the Postman community was global. Though the Postman app started in India, most of the user feedback came from outside India – particularly the US and Europe. It only made sense that the market for our future products will also be global. The Postman community is quite diverse geographically, and so we set up our US presence to better serve the needs of API developers.
Techseen: How is Postman better placed against other competitors like RESTClient, SmartBear, Paw, among other? What’s your USP?
Asthana: Postman was designed to support the entire development workflow – allowing the developer to stay within Postman for all their work. Most other tool providers focus on one aspect of API development, rather than the entire flow – for example, an emphasis on monitoring only, or just documentation.
But we support the entire API development cycle: designing, debugging, testing, documentation, and monitoring. We actively support the integration of other tools, to allow developers to customize their environment. We are totally focused on a great user experience and serving the developer.
Techseen: How can a company differentiate a good API from a “bad” API?
Asthana: There are different ways to measure that depending on whether it’s an internal API or a public API. Some characteristics of bad APIs are universal though:
1. Inconsistent and confusing terminology
2. Surprises in behavior
3. Lack of documentation
4. Slow performance
5. Leaky abstractions
Techseen: What frontend support do you provide to developers for customizing their apps and modifying the UI as per their requirements? Do you also assist them in creating the backend links by coding the middleware components?
Asthana: Postman is a general purpose tool that frontend developers can use too. We don’t code middleware components but frontend developers can generate code samples for their applications. Developers can also use Postman to inspect the request/response data that is being sent through their applications.
Techseen: According to a report by Google, India’s developer community is set to reach 4 million by 2018, making it the largest in the world. Given that consumers spend most of their time in just a select handful of favorites, how can one overcome the problem of engaging them?
Asthana: I think the key is to build a good product for your early adopters. This needs some upfront patience and iterating on the product. Developer products grow primarily through word-of- mouth adoption and it can only happen when there are strong initial impressions of the product.
Instead of focusing on the 4 million people upfront, I believe that one should take a more measured approach. Developers also use a ton of different products and are always willing to try new things.
Techseen: Do you plan to lead any expansion plans in the future? Any hiring plans coming up?
Asthana: We plan to grow our San Francisco and Bangalore offices as needed to support the growth of the company. This year, we plan to launch Postman Enterprise, which will extend Postman Pro with key features that Enterprise customers have requested.