AWS Startups Blog

Friction Burns: Three Steps Takes to Reduce Friction

Guest post by James Hirst, Co-Founder & COO, offices Tyk is an independent API Gateway & Management platform, made up of an open source API gateway and a proprietary management dashboard. In the 24 months since we’ve launched, we’ve opened offices in London and Singapore, built a dedicated team of 28 employees, on-boarded over 10,000 open source users and multiple enterprise clients, and been recognized by Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for Full Lifecycle API Management. And now, in addition to being available on-premise or from the cloud, we’re delighted to announce that Tyk API Gateway is also available on AWS Marketplace.

It’s only the beginning of our journey, but so far, it’s been an exciting and fast-paced one. I’ve often been asked how we’ve managed to take-off with such speed. The answer? Tyk thrives because we make a conscious choice and effort to reduce friction within everything we do.

We apply the same techniques applied by successful brands to bring ease of use to our customers and strive to make Tyk simple, which in return benefits both our users and our bottom line. And we achieve that frictionless state by applying three critical principles:

1. Reduce pricing friction by being transparent
Rather than running the risk that comes with guesstimation, we’ve taken the approach of publishing our prices for everyone to see. This way, our users immediately know what it will cost them to use the Tyk API Gateway, and are left confident they’re paying exactly the same as everyone else.

Traditional advice has always been to keep prices secret, adjust for every customer, maximize margins, and so on. But that ‘advice’ presupposes a traditional buyer/sales relationship, where a man in a big gold watch sits in the buyer’s boardroom, throws out a range of price-points and lands on the highest number that doesn’t cause the buyer to flinch. While this might make sense in some situations, the impact on most potential customers is friction, and at the very least, unease and uncertainty.

This uncertainty can last the entire sales process, from initial concern as to whether they can afford your product, a frustration with the time and process required to actually get a price in black-and-white, all the way through to “buyer’s remorse,” when they believe they probably could have achieved a lower price.

By applying pricing transparency right from the beginning, not only does the business relationship start from a position of trust, the deal can be done and dusted within the time it takes for the competition to provide a bespoke quotation.

2. Reduce buyer friction by putting the software into users’ hands
Our users can sign-up to our platform and try the full API Gateway and enterprise API Management platform instantly, and without a credit card. They can access support via our engineering team, community and documentation to help them with any stumbling blocks.

Our recent launch of Tyk API Management on the AWS Marketplace, as well as making Tyk available on other platforms like Heroku, is designed to further simplify access for all our users. It’s a dream scenario for the innovators, tinkerers and dreamers who want to get their hands on the tools and start playing, but also for those busy DevOps teams who have deadlines to hit and limited time to be sitting through sales pitches.

3. Reduce user friction by focusing on the user experience
User experience isn’t just about smooth interface transitions, simple-to-use login screens, and smart GUIs. While these should be hygiene factors, we focus our efforts on ensuring our product is user-friendly and follows service design principles with the user at its core.

We look at every aspect of a Tyk user’s engagement—both before and after product adoption, to continuously improve service delivery for the needs of the user. We prioritize refining the sign-up and installation processes, alongside how we document integrating the Tyk API Gateway with existing enterprise processes and stacks. One to one interviews, surveys, analyst feedback and even a beta edition (where a subset of our users trial and comment on our latest innovations), have all helped us continuously improve product adoption, as well as user satisfaction.

B2B software buyers have expectations too
None of these approaches would surprise product and commercial teams responsible for delivering a B2C product. But in the B2B world, there’s still a lot to be said about the existence of slick salesmen with shady pricing, death by demos and user experiences from hell.

Legacy vendors may be tied to legacy sales approaches, trying to fit a new product into an outmoded sales paradigm, but for Start-ups, the opportunity to go to market with transparent pricing, self-service access and a focus on up-to-date user experience, represents a powerful competitive advantage. I believe this change in how B2B software buyers can be addressed is natural, positive and inexorable, and by exploiting this advantage, we can quickly carve out market share and start generating cash-flow.