Sunday, August 24, 2014

Calling All Voters

Cast your vote for our CEO, Rick Lane, as Technologist of the Year.
Our CEO, Rick Lane, has been named a finalist in the Illinois Technology Association (ITA) CityLIGHTS Awards. He is up for Technologist of the Year, which recognizes the individual whose talent has championed true technology innovation.

Rick has been innovating with technology his whole career. He began at Booz Allen Hamilton, where he developed defense-analysis software for the U.S. Department of Defense and other government agencies. He went on to write trading algorithms at a proprietary trading firm before co-founding TickIt Trading Systems. At TickIt, he democratized automated trading when he architected the industry’s first visual programming platform, ADL® (Algo Design Lab).

Rick joined TT in 2010 when we acquired TickIt, and he led the integration of ADL into X_TRADER®. He took a brief hiatus from TT to work for Google in New York before returning to become TT’s CTO in 2012.

Rick was named CEO in February. Today, his vision and leadership are driving the development of a next-generation trading platform that will use the software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model to provide professional traders with secure, high-performance, go-anywhere market access and trade execution. Watch this space and follow @Trading_Tech on Twitter for more about that next month.

Judging criteria for Technologist of the Year is described as:

“Utilized technology to create a differentiated product or service; Transformed a company through innovative use of technology; and A true student and enthusiast of technology and its impact on industry.”

From our new trading platform, to our new logo and office space, to encouraging employees to apply trading applications to wearable technology, Rick has been at the heart of TT’s recent technology innovation. His enthusiasm for technology has not only impacted TT, but also the trading industry. In fact, we’ve highlighted innovation several times in this blog.

The Technologist of the Year will be chosen by a composite score (50% judges; 50% community voting) and announced at the CityLIGHTS awards gala in Chicago on September 18. TT colleagues across the globe will be voting for Rick. If you are so inclined, we would appreciate your support, too. Voting closes at 5pm CDT on September 8.

Click here to vote.


(Disclaimer: I am on the ITA Board of Directors and a CityLIGHTS judge, but I was not involved in judging any of the Technologist of the Year candidates, nor will I be able to influence the final decision.)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Internship

interns at lincoln park zoo
Our summer 2014 interns (L to R): Ian Torres, Purav Shah,
Stephen Herring, Everett Hu, John Lefkovitz, Joshua Alley.
We recently concluded our first official summer internship program. While we’ve had students interning with us in the past, we wanted to make this summer a more formal (and fun!) experience. 

Our internship program goals are similar to the TT University Program, which provides free access to our trading platforms, APIs and expertise to more than 50 universities around the world. The main goal of the University Program is to educate and mentor the next generation of financial leaders by donating our expertise and technology to universities worldwide. Whether the students are studying finance, computer science, engineering and/or economics, we want them to understand how to use trading technology in a safe, efficient way.

The goal of the paid internship program is to provide top students on summer break the opportunity to contribute enhancements that make our software even better, which in the process helps them become more advanced programmers and developers, and to enhance their understanding of the financial markets.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Excite, Empower, Educate

“I love it when a plan comes together.”
-Hannibal Smith

Colonel John "Hannibal"
Smith of The A-Team
a/k/a George Peppard 
Nice quote, but my experience is more like, “The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry,” or possibly Murphy’s Law, “Anything that can go wrong will, and at the worst possible moment.” In most cases, things do not go as planned. Every once in a while though, things fall into place and it’s great.

Take for instance some students in Tulane University’s Master of Management in Energy program. Bryce Robertson, Shanlong Zhou and Mingyu Liu were required to team up, analyze and research an energy industry issue for their Energy Projects class. This is when my phone rang. Bryce contacted me and said that they wanted to explore automated trading in the energy markets and that they want to use TT's ADL®, also known as Algo Design Lab, to do that.

To say the least, this was music to my ears. We partner with universities so that students can experience the markets in the same way our customers do, so I’m overjoyed to see them take advantage of everything we have to offer.

Their Strategy

The team wanted to trade December crude oil futures (CLZ3). They decided that instead of having a directional bias, they would watch the momentum of the market and trade based upon it. They chose the Relative Strength Index (RSI) to gauge momentum. The RSI is an oscillator that measures the strength of the market with readings between 0 and 100. Lower readings indicate that a down move is losing momentum (i.e., oversold), while higher readings indicate overbought conditions. They researched the crude oil futures market and determined that they would buy when the RSI dropped to 35 and sell when it hit 70. Since their strategy was short term, they wanted to keep it as simple as possible to avoid any latency issues.

They decided they would buy or sell 10 futures contracts at the market when conditions were met. An open position would be liquidated when a 10-tick profit was realized. The algorithm would monitor any positions and liquidate them when it realized a 10-tick profit. In the event this condition is never met, the position would be closed out at the end of the one-hour trading session.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Innovation Spurs More Innovation

Informatica recognized TT as an
Innovation Award Finalist in the
Embedded Applications category.
Last week Informatica hosted its annual customer conference, aptly named Informatica World 2014, where TT was recognized as an Innovation Award Finalist. I was lucky enough to attend the conference and accept the award on behalf of TT.

Although these types of vendor-sponsored awards are typically just marketing exercises for all involved, this was a different experience in my opinion. After speaking with various groups within Informatica, including their marketing team, as well as other conference attendees, it was obvious there was a genuine interest in and recognition of the innovation going into the development of TT’s recently unveiled next-generation trading platform.

I didn’t expect people to be very interested in us because we’re not a giant global enterprise like the typical Informatica customer. Informatica provides data integration software and services to a client roster that includes some of the most widely recognized companies in the world. Their products include the Ultra Messaging (UM) product suite, which we’re using in the new TT platform. In retrospect though, I guess the response shouldn’t have been so surprising since the conference was heavily focused on cloud and big data. In particular, many discussions focused on the challenges of getting real-time data into cloud-based data warehouses; we faced similar challenges when designing the new platform.

UM is an innovative product in its own right. Designed to address the requirements of messaging middleware for financial trading platforms, the UM product suite offers very low latency, support for multiple transport protocols including multicast, shared-memory inter-process communication, guaranteed message delivery and efficient routing. By leveraging UM, TT can focus on delivering critical trading platform innovations to its customers.