How we brought APIdays to Australia

With only a week to go until APIdays Melbourne and a stellar line-up of speakers, I was reflecting over the weekend on how much has changed since we first brought APIdays to Australia, back in early 2015.

I joined Sixtree – a small startup specialising in systems integration – as CTO in late 2012, and we moved to a very agile integration delivery model in early 2013. APIs became an interest as a way of addressing many issues we saw with Service Oriented Architecture in enterprises:

  • Lack of developer engagement
  • Lack of visibility of service infrastructure
  • Complexity and cost in using services (SOAP protocols)

APIs addressed these by putting user engagement and developer experience as a top-priority. The adoption of cloud was also driving a lot of interest in APIs – and we could see cloud becoming mainstream.

So while APIs were ‘hot’ in 2013 no-one was really talking about them in Australia and there were no local conferences or meetups.

By 2014, we were aware of many Australian innovators adopting API-first business models and planning to deliver their services via APIs. We thought there was sufficient momentum locally that it warranted a local conference. Most of the conferences were vendor conferences, focussing on a specific product…we wanted something that would be vendor-neutral and would foster the growth of a community around APIs.

We looked around and found APIdays, which had started in Paris and propagated through Europe and the US. We reached out to Mehdi Medjaoui (the founder of APIdays) and he helped us plan and run APIdays at the Eveleigh Railway Workshops in Sydney in February 2015 – Mehdi took a very ‘open source’ approach to his conference, which meant we were able to craft our first conference with a local Australian flavour.

From the beginning, our philosophy has been about building the API community. The conference is not run for profit: we accept sponsors and sell tickets and hope to break even, but we do this for love, not money! Sponsorships help to keep ticket prices low so we can include a large number of attendees.

Since that first event, I’m proud that we have runs APIdays in:

  • Auckland 2015
  • Melbourne 2016
  • Auckland 2016
  • Sydney 2017
  • Melbourne 2018 – coming up next week!

As Sixtree we experienced a high degree of recognition around APIdays so it proved a highly effective marketing vehicle for us. Sixtree joined Deloitte in August 2016 and we continue to run APIdays as part of Deloitte. It’s good to remind our peers in the technical community that Deloitte has strong expertise in APIs, that we are tech do-ers, as well as able to advise on new and emerging technologies and new business models.

The APIdays conference has grown as APIs have become mainstream. APIdays is now Australia’s biggest conference dedicated to the business, technology and new vistas of APIs. It brings together industry experts, business leaders, entrepreneurs, engineers and developers to discuss, collaborate and learn about new and emerging API technologies, business models, strategies and concerns highlighting relevant best practice, standards and real-world examples.


At APIdays Melbourne 2018 next week, we have some fantastic speakers covering a wide range of topics, not just APIs but also new business models, open banking, security, new application architectures and platforms, emerging technologies such as AI/ML, IoT and blockchain.

We have come a long way since March 2015, but our philosophy remains the same: strengthen the API community and ensure APIdays is the place to be for those transforming Australia’s economy with the next wave of programmable innovation.

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