This is a talk I did at Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco on May 4th, 2010. I'm working on a proper slidecast with a voiceover - until then here are the slides.
There is a perspective some people apply to evolution, social theory, and language change called punctuated equilibrium (credit goes to Jess Ruefli for pointing this out). It suggests that change is not gradual, but that change comes in sudden punctuated bursts between stretches of relative stasis or equilibrium.
The Web from 1995-2000 was certainly a surge like this as every business "went online" in order to continue to function in a newly competitive economy. I believe that we're going through such a surge right now as the early versions of the web - designed for people using browsers - gives way to the next version: using APIs to design the web for people using applications that communicate on their behalf in complex ways to the services that make up the world's businesses.
If we look to evolution and to the last similar shift - the move from direct to indirect channels for business in the 20th century, we can apply old lessons to this new world in order to succeed. Towards the end of the talk there are 5 key "successful adaptations" that we've observed that are common to those who are winning in the world of APIs.As you should expect, the slide deck is freely downloadable and licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 United States.