Here comes everybody

March 19, 2008

Just finished reading Clay Shirky‘s Here Comes Everybody, which was recommended by Alea. Reading it took me back to the Cluetrain Manifesto, and the late 90s. Here comes is about the irreversible effect of social software on human organisation. Shirky points out the web 2.0 social tools enable the formation of communities that couldn’t exist before the rise of blogs, Facebook and ubiquitous mobile comms. Organisation costs money. Social software on the internet has dramatically lowered those costs for all sorts of possible groups, including single mums, Howard Dean supporters, and friends of owners of stolen PDAs.

Those groups can share (Flickr), collaborate (Open Source developers) and act in concert (flash mobs). To bring groups together, there must be a plausible promise, a comms tool, and a bargain. The book is highly readable, and illustrated with lots of anecdotage. I suspect some of the ideas might be applicable to electronic trading…

Please leave a comment if you’re a New York based C++ developer who wants to work on a brand new fixed income electronic trading system. No banking or front office experience is required – I’m just looking for flat out coding ability and raw talent…

MapReduce

March 12, 2008

Thanks to Phil Windley for pointing to Joel‘s great explanation of MapReduce. Needless to say Python can do MapReduce…

Mostly reports that MarketAxess has bought a FIX tools vendor: Greenline.  Greenline’s entire product line seems to consist of FIX debugging tools. I’m sure they’re very helpful if you’re executing a FIX integration. But what does it say about FIX as protocol or standard if an ISV can build an entire business around debugging and diagnostic tools ?

More importantly, I think it teaches us an important lesson qua Ferguson on platform strategy.  For a platform to gain adoption in a multisided market, it has to give one group of constituents a free ride to get the others on board. For instance, Microsoft gives developers a free ride with excellent dev tools and resources either free or at cost. The developers generate apps that bring fee paying users on board. FIX is just a standard, and not a platform, and doesn’t give a free ride to buy or sell side. Hence the patchy adoption in fixed income, and the market opportunity for the likes of Greenline.