Donna: IFTTT is a fairly young company. In the tech scene, people might know that you are a start-up that connects apps and devices, but many marketing people might not know you, yet. How would you explain IFTTT to a newbie? Why do we need IFTTT?
Linden: In a nutshell, IFTTT is a trusted, neutral platform that allows digital services of all kinds to work together on your behalf. It allows different services to access each other in ways that improve the individual end-user experience.
Donna: Which type of services are we talking about? Just digital to digital or digital to physical or all of it?
Linden: We have realized that in the future, everything in the world is going to be a digital service. Every brand, every organization, every noun. You literally couldn’t name anything that isn’t going to be either directly connected to the internet or closely tracked by it in the future. You have things like Domino’s Pizza, a Toyota Prius, Gmail and a connected Ring doorbell and each of these services has data about you and knows who you are and what you want, but each is its own isolated island. Domino’s can deliver pizza, Gmail can send an email to anybody in your address book. But as we increasingly surround ourselves with such services, the value of each is closely linked to how well it can work together with other services.
Donna: Is IFTTT a service or a platform?
Linden: Both! We are a platform for services. We look at ourselves as a place in which everything you might adopt in the future, your cellphone, your cable TV, Netflix, Internet, Domino’s Pizza, your Ring doorbell, your car, Honeywell, your health insurance, credit card or just anything is going to be a service. Over time, the real value of each service will be delivered through its interaction with other services, and we are a platform for these interactions and connections to happen. We bring end users and services to the same table, and they both have a say.
Donna: So, for consumers, linking different services creates additional value? What’s the benefit of IFTTT for those providing the individual services?
Linden: For businesses, the value proposition is slightly different. Even for the biggest players in the world – Amazon, Apple, Google – it’s increasingly difficult to build a robust developer ecosystem around their own API platforms. Doing those types of integrations takes so much developer time and IFTTT provides a standard and a neutral platform to make connections between different services. When businesses work with us, they can quickly go from owning an API to turning that API into a robust and active integration and developer ecosystem that drives engagement and creates opportunities for their users to use that service in new and exciting ways. Over time, we will drive revenue for a business either directly from its users or because they can connect their APIs with other businesses that are willing to pay for some of these connections.
Donna: That sounds incredibly ambitious. Are you the only company doing that?
Linden: Funny enough, I believe that we are one of the only businesses in the world that truly sees these opportunities. Integration as a whole is a massive problem, and the sheer volume of specialized services that need to be adopted justifies a lot of business. In the past, services have not been architected to work with others and as everything is becoming a service online we have a massive problem. Even within a large enterprise, there is a microcosm of hundreds or thousands of discrete services that need to work together for the company to function. So, there are other start-ups who are tackling adjacent opportunities, especially within the enterprise space, in marketing automation and in enabling non-technical persons to make these connections.