The Future of the Web: SendGrid’s Parse API & OneADayForCharity.com


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one-a-day-for-charity-logoWe’re always thrilled to learn about products that are built from our APIs. OneADayForCharity is a particularly inspiring one that we’re happy to share with you courtesy of a guest post from Matt Wallaert. Learn more about Matt at the bottom of this post.

Recently, I was out with some NYC tech friends and ended up talking to one of the SendGrid crew, which led to the inevitable “oh yeah, I use your service, it’s great!” It is one of those moments when you know just how geeky you are: realizing that you’re a fan of your email infrastructure provider.

About six months ago, I got lucky. I was doing my office hours at WeWorkLabs and one of the people who signed up for a slot was Corey Maass, founder of TheBirdy (which also uses SendGrid heavily). He was telling me about the mechanics of TheBirdy and its use of the Parse API from SendGrid. Which led to another typical geeky moment: finding out about a new tool and dreaming about products you can build with it. Within a week, Corey and I had built OneADayForCharity.com, a simple product that would never have existed if it weren’t for SendGrid’s Parse.

The concept really is dead easy: people sign up with their email address, we ask them a single, simple question daily, then we scrape out the answer. For every question they answer, we donate a penny to charity and because people can decide when to answer and when not to, we can offer researchers, businesses, and others the ability to ask questions of large groups of people for dramatically less than existing services. Not bad for a product that was built over just a few days!

It is capabilities like these that make this a great time to be a geek on the web. With APIs like SendGrid’s, we are able to do much more for much less. And when we are able to apply low resources to business models that have socially beneficial outcomes, it means that we can create a variety of ways to solve most problems. OneADay isn’t Corey or my main gig—it is a side project that we can build and maintain off a low-cost SendGrid plan and a simple server, with minimal maintenance. Part of the reason that hackathons and other quick-build events have been able to rise to prominence is precisely because of services like these.

Which brings us back to being geeky again and loving your email infrastructure provider. It is easy to point to hot startups like Pinterest or Tumblr and talk about them as the future of the internet, but the real core of the web is, and will remain, service-oriented companies that allow others to build on top of them. SendGrid, and companies like them, power many of the basic services that make the web possible. And that, for me and for Corey and for sites like OneADayForCharity, is the real future of the web.

About the author: Matt Wallaert is a behavioral psychologist and entrepreneur focused on building products and programs that create behavior change to help people lead better, happier lives. He is currently at Bing, where he works to broaden how search removes obstacles and enables people to take action on their ideas, questions, and desires. Read more from Matt on his website and on Twitter

For more information about SendGrid’s APIs, download our free API Guide.


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