Meet Matt McLarty, who recently joined us as Global Leader for API Strategy. In this role, Matt helps MuleSoft’s customers take maximum advantage of their API opportunities through strategic guidance, sharing organizational practices, and the development of API ecosystems. He’s based in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
What is the most interesting problem you’re working on solving right now?
It’s a pretty big one: how can large, established, successful organizations stay relevant and competitive in our current Digital Age? Specifically, how can they adopt the right practices from pioneering, API-led companies like Salesforce and Amazon to improve agility and resiliency without compromising the ingredients that made them successful in the first place? There are so many factors that contribute to an organization’s success, and APIs are so broad that it means I have a lot of ground to cover. Still, the more complex the problem, the more interesting I find it.
How did you get into API strategy?
It’s not exactly something you study in school! I started my career at a large bank in Canada, and I was increasingly drawn to enterprise architecture and especially enterprise transformation. Much of the yeoman’s work in changing the technology landscape of an organization comes through application integration, so that’s been my primary focus for the last 15 years. I think what makes web APIs special is they are the place where business and technology meet, and they also constitute a point of understanding for complex, distributed software systems. So I think it makes sense to try and attack the strategic concerns of digital business through the lens of APIs.
Why did you choose to come work for MuleSoft?
Having worked in the industry for some time, I’ve had my eye on MuleSoft for a while, even from the early MuleSource days. I’ve been impressed by MuleSoft’s track record of product innovation, as well as the increasing list of customers. I think the acquisition by Salesforce – a company I have always admired – is a bonus too. Since joining, I have been thoroughly impressed by all the people I am working with, and I’ve been able to observe that many of our customers view MuleSoft as a strategic partner, not just a software supplier.
What 3 things are always on your desk and why?
Given I have a remote role that includes a fair amount of travel, my desk is essentially my backpack. In there, I’ve got my laptop, some good headphones, extra phone chargers, and whatever book I’m reading. At the moment, that’s the “Continuous API Management” book from O’Reilly, co-authored by four of my former colleagues from the API Academy. It’s an excellent reference on all the techniques and practices a large organization needs to implement when managing a landscape of APIs.
What teams do you work with most, and how do you collaborate?
I am part of the Solution Engineering organization, and I work most closely with Client Architects in the field. They are the global group that will be delivering the API Program workshops I am developing. I also work closely with many groups in Marketing as well as the CTO’s office. Lastly, I’ve interacted a fair amount with the Product team, and will be giving feedback from our API Strategy engagements on what new features may be in the highest demand. I’ll generally connect with these groups via Google Hangout. Being on video chat is a lot more productive than a plain old phone call, although I have to spend more time on grooming and lighting than I used to 🙂
What is your favorite activity outside of the office?
As a Canadian, I just went through six months of playing men’s recreational hockey, coaching my older son’s minor hockey team, and bringing my younger son to skating lessons, so I guess I love the ice rink. However, if I could, I would spend a lot more time writing, playing, and recording music. That’s my passion, and I have a number of albums on iTunes and Spotify.
What is the latest technology you’ve learned to use?
In this role, it doesn’t make sense for me to dive deep on specific new technologies. But I have been getting deep into various disciplines in order to crack the enterprise transformation nut. I am doing a lot of research these days on systems thinking, especially following the incredible work of the late Donella Meadows. I will be doing a talk on applying systems thinking to software at the upcoming O’Reilly Software Architecture Conference in San Jose, June 10-13.
What is your favorite thing about working on the Solutions Engineering team at MuleSoft?
In my time working as a customer and on the vendor side, I’ve always had a tremendous respect for Solutions Engineers. They have an unmatched combination of business acumen, technical proficiency, product loyalty, and dedication to the customer. The SE team here at MuleSoft is exceptional, and I appreciate the constructive and candid input they are providing to shape the API Program workshops and API Strategy work in general.