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The Pace of Innovation at TT

This post probably isn’t what you think it is. This is not a story about how innovative TT has been over recent years or a recollection of the countless examples of cutting-edge software we’ve been delivering. Yes, we’ve released some great apps over the last half decade, truly innovative ones at that. Since this past Spring alone, we’ve launched our low-latency TT API, staged order functionality, and ADL™, to name a few, and with products like MultiBroker ASP on the horizon, there’s more to come. And we shouldn’t underestimate the tremendous amount of effort and expertise that’s been put toward making our platform the industry’s most stable and reliable—work that is critical but not always obvious.

But when you take a broader look at the products we’ve been releasing over the last several years, it’s clear that the pace of innovation at TT has not been where it needs to be. There are many reasons for this: a legacy codebase that is aging and inflexible; changing regulatory demands that sap resources from new products; the ever-evolving landscape and demands of this industry; process inefficiencies that resulted from our rapid growth. These are just some of the reasons that have contributed to overly-long release cycles and, ultimately, the inability to deliver innovative products quickly enough—but these are all just excuses.

This needs to change. The good news is that this change is well underway.

Focus on the Next Generation

Over the years, the one constant at TT has been an incredible level of talent. We truly have world-class software and hardware engineers, network and systems architects, product managers, testing and performance engineers. I think we’re fortunate to have retained so many talented individuals through the years. Perhaps they see the potential to turn the ship around. Or maybe the lure of this industry—one that remains relentless in throwing incredibly interesting challenges our way—is simply too strong. Whatever the reason, I consider us very lucky.

This luck, however, won’t last forever, and without a significant change in how we approach software development, we will be left behind. At the end of the day, this change amounts to focus: focus around the products that we choose to build, and focus around the features and functionality we put into these products. Part of this focus includes accepting the fact that various components of our underlying architecture (on which we often spend the most resources developing) have become commoditized. Components such as messaging middleware, or market data feed handlers can be purchased off the shelf for far less than what it costs us to build and maintain them. And doing so would allow us to focus, instead, on building innovative trading products around these components. For a company that has historically suffered from a “not invented here” mentality, this is a huge departure from how we’ve approached building software in the past.

Therefore I’m excited to announce that we are well underway in pursuing an even bigger goal: a wholesale rebuild of our entire architecture. This new platform will be based on a purely TTNET™-hosted ASP model accessed via very lightweight client applications across many form-factors including the web, mobile devices, and of course your desktop. By leveraging industry-standard protocols, adopting cloud technologies where possible, and buying instead of building much of the underlying architecture, we will be able to realize significant performance gains and achieve a level of scale that until now has been unheard of in this industry. Most importantly, however, it will allow TT to focus on what we do best: building great trading applications for the demanding professional trading community.

The pace of innovation at TT has been too slow for far too long, and there isn’t a person here who’s happy about this fact. After setting the industry standard for electronic trading software in the mid-2000s, we’ve spent the following years stuck in a seemingly infinite loop of incremental iteration. But we have since realized what needs to happen to rekindle that innovative fire, and while it won’t be easy, it will certainly be an interesting ride. We invite you to join in the discussion as we go about redefining, once again, the industry standard.

Thanks for reading.

Posted by: Rick Lane, CEO

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