Goodbye Netflix API (And HowToWat.ch Too)


largelogoToday is the day that Netflix has decided to shut down their public API. They stopped giving out API keys a long time ago, but except for a select few apps, all others are dead…including mine.

As I shut it down today I have no regrets. I actually am surprised by how long it has lasted because the road was rocky and I learned a lot.

When I built the app, I was trying to build a service that I wanted. Unfortunately without Netflix, I don’t think the service is worth keeping alive. The reality is that I really believe that every success is built up other perceived failures. The net result of HowToWat.ch is a lot of learning that has served me well and I am sure will serve me well in my next idea (whatever it is).

I thought it would be an interesting list to see what I actually learned by building HowToWat.ch:

  • I learned that a one person startup is a lot of work. That finding co-founders is a great idea.
  • I learned that validating your business idea is crucial to success even though as a dev all I want to do is start building something.
  • I learned that most business have a lot of partnerships, even when they are not remotely equal partnerships including content providers, app stores, and other stake holders.
  • I learned that you have very little power when dealing with the app stores (ahem….Apple’s mostly)
  • I learned that you can build a viable app using Cordova (e.g. PhoneGap)
  • I learned that trying to build a single codebase for your website and your app isn’t a terribly good idea.
  • I learned that code sharing is JavaScript isn’t trivial but it’s not too complex either.
  • I learned that mobile first responsive web takes more than *just* a bootstrap template.
  • I learned that touch on the web is harder than it should be.
  • I learned that tracking your user engagement is key to improving your product.
  • And lastly, I learned that there is a time to let go and move on.

    • If you’ve been a user of the app or the website, I want to thank for all the support. This isn’t a sad day, just a day to move on to another idea…




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