“Big Data” and “AI” (artificial intelligence) are definitely the kind of buzzwords that have been woven into corporate and finance strategy session discussions around the globe for a number of years. They sound good. Yet unlike other buzzwords, these seem to have staying power especially when used in partnership with one another.
Fintech has been one of those industry buzzwords that has excited the financial industry for the last 6 or so years. If you are not sure what “fintech” means, I might assume you’ve gone off the grid a while because it has been pretty hard to avoid. Fundamentally, fintech stands for financial technology or any technology used to serve the emerging finance sector. That seems like a rather broad brush stroke though. More recently fintech has come to describe a segment of that industry that is using new technologies to drive innovation in traditional finance and those that serve financial services. Invigorating the old, established financial sector with a digital transformation is indeed exciting and a great opportunity for many.
Documentation. Even the word documentation makes me shudder. Images of stacks of paper with long, complicated descriptions and instructions float through my head and remind me of why I loathe documentation. However the often tedious and extremely boring documentation is a necessary evil. Whether you are putting together that “oh so simple” shelving unit from IKEA or developing a software application, we generally need to start with good documentation.
If you were reading the news to follow the US presidential elections and simply used “Clinton” or “Trump” in your search, chances are you received a lot more information than you ever could have possibly hoped to read. In the case of “Clinton”, were you referring to Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton or maybe the Clinton Foundation? In the case of Trump, you might get family members, business dealings or real estate announcements bearing his name in addition to election related stories. There were millions of stories available over the past few days alone. Even if you weren’t searching on either term you might not have escaped the flood of stories but getting back to the original intent, a single keyword search was not the best approach.
As we near the end of this U.S. presidential election cycle I, like many people I know, have had my fill of the election coverage. We knew it would be lengthy (it was), we knew it would get contentious (it did) and we knew that the facts, fabrications and exaggerations would be plenty (they were). However what struck me this time around was how social media as an instrument of information sharing felt very different from previous elections.
There I was using my favorite marketing tool to prepare a product announcement to our client base when the site shut down. Hmmm, that was strange. I relaunched the site but could no longer get in. Then I rebooted my computer, ran some long overdue updates, and when those didn’t work I finally called my ace in IT. Guess what? This wasn’t a problem on my machine. I was just one of countless other people trying to go about my business without getting anywhere. Finally, panic set in.
Yahoo surprised some by foregoing the usual conference call format when they announced their earnings results Tuesday. Perhaps this was a strategic decision on their part to avoid having to comment or answer questions on the ongoing negotiations with Verizon. The reality is that it might have been a moot point anyway since Yahoo likely can’t comment on the negotiations anyway. However this shift in their reporting practice highlights the changing dynamic in fair disclosure and how information is communicated.
Fast, real-time, low latency, ultra-low latency, sub second – I could go on. The point is that there is so much emphasis on the speed of information these days. Just last week we participated in The Trading Show NYC (@TheTradingShow), which is a one day event for those in the quant and automated trading space. We met a variety of people from different vantage points in the industry, but they all remarked that speed is a factor in how they conduct business. They concluded that the faster the data comes in, the faster they could make decisions.
Whether financial investments are part of your job or you are in it for personal gain, when you consider investing in a certain industry or with specific companies you perform your due diligence, right? You check company financials, consider the competitive landscape and look for the growth opportunities. Nowadays you probably follow their official social media accounts and rely on news alerts relevant to your industry or company. In other words you do your research. Then a natural disaster strikes.
Absolutely everything. You may not be familiar with the play on the song lyrics but the statement is true. If you are in computer science, you are likely familiar with APIs. If not, then you probably think APIs are something only computer science people use. In truth we all interact with APIs and probably use them every day.