Strap-on algorithmics

Strap-on algorithmics

Not all blogs need to be serious. A few years ago, I took part in a phone conference with an American team, brainstorming about helping clients execute on the ECN I was working for at the time. We had already provided our customers with all sorts of orders, and we were looking to introduce some algo-tools to help them further improve their success ratio.

There are quite a few algorithms that would be helpful in that case, and the equity industry had produced a number of them well before FX markets learned how to spell algorithm without a y...

The idea surfaced to have our own execution tools, available to help customers, somewhat like a dealer helping a client out, albeit an automatic one. I was pushing hard for this, and had a few exotic names for several of them. To describe what I had in mind, I suggested describing these as strap-on algorithms, that would be selected at will by the customers. The first time I used this term, I must confess.

An uneasy silence followed, which I interpreted as tacit approval. I continued referring to strap-on algorithms for the whole phone conference, and enthusiastically described how and why they would perform better than traditional algorithms on the client side, detailing the various attributes the clients would be able to choose from... unfortunately not hearing the barely repressed giggles on the other side of the pond. Someone strongly encouraged me to describe all these in an email...

We did not go all the way, if I can say so, to making brochures with these, although this would have guaranteed instantaneous recognition - nothing better than a good laugh to market your products -.

A week later, a visitor from the US told me how famous strap-on algorithms had become in and around the company. Fortunately, the buzz stopped there, and I am not greeted with a knowing smile every time I speak about how to improve success ratios, and my level of English has improved since.

What linguistic mines are still lurking to explode under my words, I am sure we shall find out

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