Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Software Pricing, Stock Optimizer & William Gibson

Software Pricing Joel on Software has an excellent article on bad pricing schemes, albeit anecdotal. Goes onto prove how companies can make some really really horrible mistakes, even if they have an excellent product and a great development team. Remember, MBAs are not always necessarily smart. Listening to your customers _always_ is. A very valuable lesson for the future, no doubt. (Thanks PD, for pointing out the article!) Stock Portfolio Optimizer Well, lots of updates on this. First of all, we're happy to announce that a preview release of the Portfolio Optimizer is on the way. We've also made a separate section that gives you more information on what P.O. actually does. You can find more information on the Highbrew website. For the moment, it would be entirely in C# and .NET and made to run only for Windows. The program will also generate a datafile, using which you can visualize current stock information online at Highbrew's website. We're using historical stock data to test and project the data. Right now, the accepted data only in a modified form of the Daily Update format. The primary parameters that we are considering for this are the factors affecting the market going into secure bear mode and those that lead to observable seasonality, both short-term and long-term. We're also examining how the dynamics of game-theory, from the works of such people as Prof. Narahari, may be applied to this area. My associate from Stanford, Senthil, is also working on the visualization tool to render all this heavy stock-analysis in a form that is quite easy and understandable. The renderer will initially be in Java, since we expect to offer an online service for people who would want to render their data online. However, we are not certain yet if this is a good decision, or not. And not the least, I'd like to welcome aboard Roman Khramets, a senior of mine from Georgia Tech. Roman's originally from Russia and Kazakhstan, and has interest in the application of various CS principles in economics, particularly stock-market analysis. Roman points out that Erlanger has a system quite similar to ours, while Prasenjeet Dutta points out that the only people who make more money than insider traders are senators -- Senate Stock Trading? William Gibson Well, what is William Gibson doing here? Not much, I'd just read an inspirational quote from his new book, Pattern Recognition. Gibson uses it to describe a character in his book, Cayce. "...as Cayce is not someone you hire to run an agency in London. Not someone you hire to run anything. She is hyper-specialized, a freelancer, someone contracted to do a very specific job. She has seldom had a salary. She is entirely a creature of fees, adamantly short-term, no managerial skills whatever." That paragraph basically sums up how I would like Highbrew to be - minus the lack of managerial skills and fear of long-term commitment, ofcourse. But -- I do not want Highbrew to grow into yet another monolithic bureacratic behemoth full of more marketing people than technology or finance folks. Highbrew will be a place where it's not the HR call the shots, but rather the technologists. Where management is done by finance folks and not marketing folks. A company where people come to because it's the best, and because there is nowhere else to go. Website Some of you have mailed me expressing your unhappiness with the website, while some of you have expressed it here online. The basic reason why I released it early was that Highbrew was beginning to get noticed by some big clients, and we needed a website that looked more professional than the previous one. This one is definitely not that great by any stretch of imagination, however it does score better than the previous one. But more importantly, I simply do not have the time or the energy to put in SO much of effort on the website -- I would much rather be working on getting some killer products out, and do the cooler stuff before getting down to this :-) I'm still ironing out the resize bug that seems to haunt some versions of Gecko (particualry Galeon) and IE. I did not want to do a full overhaul just for ONE bug, I'm sure a way around can be found. And those that asked me why I have a logo and a banner, I show you Wipro's website. The first blue thing is the logo, while the second one is just the company's name and motto. This is not all that uncommon a thing. I promise you all that I will work on the website, but temporarily until Portfolio Optimizer is released, my attention will be entirely on the development and release of that. And since I usually post pictures, here is a picture of Lana, Roman and Raffay.

And ofcourse, as always, inputs and comments are not only welcome, they are encouraged! More to come in just a while, stay tuned.