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The following conversation with
my 4-year-old daughter happened just a few days ago:
I really like China, it sounds like a great place.
They have the best toys in the world there.
How do you know?
All my favorite toys are "Made in China."
I stopped asking her
questions. But my mind quickly went from wondering about the origins of
toys to wondering about the origins of the capital
markets business applications I encounter these days. These applications rely heavily on functions
like alpha-seeking and execution algorithms, and foreign exchange aggregation,
to name a few. I’ll elaborate on others in future posts, but the point is
that this is a high risk environment, not child’s play. So where do the ideas for those functions come
A few Apama customers I have met
lately note that the markets seem to be acting like a bunch of 4-year-olds
having temper tantrums. They noted wild
swings in the FX marketplace, for instance, since the credit crunch became a crisis
a few months ago. FX trading will continue to be frantic this year. But
necessity is indeed the mother of invention, which is a good thing with the
markets the way they are.
This week, we announced that Standard Chartered Bank has gone live with the Progress Apama FX Market
Aggregation Accelerator. We’ve talked about FX aggregation before, and have done a number of similar
Tier 1 deployments. As you would expect, some great ideas in these
projects have been customer-driven. And when I look behind the scenes at
Apama, I see how these projects provide a springboard for people to think of
new things and try them out.
On my very first day at Apama, a new colleague walked
up to me and said, “I solved a problem that was bugging me. Do you think
customers might like this too?” These ideas tend to grow into a demo, which
may become the basis for a collaborative deployment, and eventually a customer has built
on the idea and taken it in a new direction – a similar Apama story can be
Yesterday someone asked me if I think that Capital Markets firms are using
technology to save cost or to grow. Cost savings? Yes, at least,
and for some that may be the end of the story and the mind is closed.
But a former manager of mine, now a colleague and adviser, taught me to listen
to the markets by telling me, “You have 2 ears and 1 mouth, use them in that
proportion.” A similar philosophy serves software firms, as well.
Funny that this week, one of
my Wall St. friends at a very alive firm wrote to tell me his opinions about
the state of software evolution, and the importance of innovation. I
think the crisis will force patches of growth and innovation. Do
you? Comments welcome.
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