Interview with Hamid Palo, Trello's Head of Platform

“The benefit of an open API far outweighs the cost to build it”

Gabriela Motroc
open APIs
Hamid Palo

Trello’s new Power-Ups directory has an abundance of cool features such as editorial content, featured Power-Ups, and more. We talked with Hamid Palo, Trello’s Head of Platform about how the new directory benefits developers, the growth opportunities for developers in Trello’s ecosystem and the benefits of open APIs.

JAXenter: Why did Trello decide to revamp its Power-Up Directory? What new elements are being rolled out?

Hamid Palo: We launched the Power-Ups platform in 2016 with 10 Power-Ups. Over the past year, we have scaled the platform to over 80 apps and counting, and need a more robust directory to match the maturity of our platform.

The Power-Up Platform has been completely redesigned, with a slick new in-app directory that’s fully searchable and categorized for easy discoverability of all the apps – a benefit to both users and developers. The new directory will also include featured Power-Ups and content to help people get the most out of Trello.

JAXenter: How does this new directory benefit developers?

Hamid Palo: Power-ups will be more easily discoverable from within the product, meaning greater adoption and exposure for those developers building within the Trello ecosystem. When our customers adopt partner integrations, everyone wins: the customer gets a solution that is custom-fit to their needs, in turn making them stickier Trello users.

In addition to the potential for higher install rates for their Power-Ups, developers will now be able to create richer and more detailed content within their Power-Up directory listings, helping them better appeal to Trello’s 25 million+ registered users.

JAXenter: How did last year’s acquisition by Atlassian change or shape the plans for Trello’s developer ecosystem?

Hamid Palo: On the Platform side, we were particularly excited about the acquisition. Atlassian has a thriving developer ecosystem and has built out one of the largest B2B marketplaces, which has paid out over $250 million to its developer community. While Trello’s Power-up Directory is still separate from the Atlassian Marketplace, the acquisition has been invaluable to our growth and given us access to partners we did not previously have relationships with. Atlassian’s ecosystem team has built great relationships with partners that we wanted to join the Trello platform, and Atlassian’s support helped us build those bridges.

In addition, the Atlassian ecosystem team runs many events throughout the year to engage and work with their developer community, which we joined and offered our own perspective on as well. My team began attending Atlassian’s App Week developer incubation programs, where a small group of Atlassians and partners come together for a week to build integrations and share suggestions and insight for using Atlassian APIs. We made a lot of inroads with new partners at these events. In addition, Trello had a strong presence this year at Atlassian’s AtlasCamp developer conference and Summit user conference. These opportunities paved the way for Trello’s work with key partners like Invision, Figma, Smartdraw, and Spartez.

Building and running an app ecosystem is incredibly difficult, and it’s been great to work closely with the team behind one of the most successful B2B app marketplaces to bounce ideas off, share failures and opportunities, and brainstorm what’s next so we can mutually serve our developer communities and customers.

JAXenter: What growth opportunities are there for developers in Trello’s ecosystem?

Hamid Palo: This year, we more than doubled the number of Power-Ups on the Trello platform. In addition to existing integrations with Google, Dropbox, Github and others, we added Power-Ups from key players like InVisionZeplinFigmaJotformGitLabFreshdeskZapierEgnyteDroplr and TeamGantt. All this to say: we’re just getting started, and there’s greenfield opportunity for developers to join Trello’s ecosystem and build Power-Ups that help tailor Trello to our customers’ specific needs.

SEE ALSO: Trello Power-Ups give Atlassian a boost

JAXenter: Are open APIs a trend that will gain momentum this year? 

Hamid Palo: Open APIs are already a trend, as companies have realized the value of an ecosystem. With an open API, developers and customers can customize tools to support entirely new categories of use cases, creating significant value. We have seen this at Trello since the early days, and I would say that the openness and richness of our APIs has been one of the key factors of our success. An open API is becoming a must-have for most SaaS products.

JAXenter: What is the biggest advantage of open APIs?

Hamid Palo: Open APIs let customers and developers specialize products to their needs. This means that products gain capabilities they didn’t previously have, making them more valuable to the end user. We build Trello using the same exact APIs that we make available to the developers, giving developers the ability to build the most powerful integration possible for Trello. The benefit of an open API far outweighs the cost to build it in that way and will continue to pay off as more developers and customers build specialized, customized tools for the platform.

Thank you!

Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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