beyond the bull puppet
Normally I spend my design-oriented thoughts on object models – when I’m working on StratBox – or about volatility, latency, executions, &tc – when I’m working on a trading strategy. But a recent trip abroad has inspired me to consider more fanciful design horizons.
After more than a year of blogging I’ve finally decided to refresh the look of the site and you’re looking at the first iteration of this effort. Blogging software is pretty remarkable as it allowed me to essentially change the “skin” of the blog without affecting its content. This is like Kirill Grouchnikov‘s lovely open source “Substance” Look&Feel for Java which does the same trick for swing-based applications: just include his magic code and your system automagically looks a lot better!
More substantively, my recent trip to Israel and the subsequent agreement to open a Tel Aviv office to take advantage of a felicitous new partnership and Israeli algorithmic talent, has led to a broadening of our mission. This in turn led to the foray into graphic design I describe below.
While we still haven’t gotten around to updating our main site, I have had the opportunity to work again with Erica Green, the talented designer who brought the Puppetmaster Trading bull puppet into existence…
Origins of the bull puppet
The name “Puppetmaster Trading” came about following a discussion I’d had with a friend in spring 2005 shortly before I’d left my job to try my luck with this startup. After stating that I wanted to become an algorithmic trader and receiving the now familiar blank stare in response, I had explained to him that I explicitly didn’t want to trade myself, but instead wanted to write little autonomous software agents which would themselves trade on my behalf. He immediately got it and said, “Oh! So you’d be like a puppetmaster managing your cast of trading marionettes…” and I knew the startup had found its name.
Erica had developed the original logo based on my wife’s loose vision of a trading puppetmaster, but this was long before I knew we’d have to write the algorithmic trading platform itself. I had hoped to use an off-the-shelf product so I could focus on the algorithms themselves. That didn’t turn out to be feasible…
Between developing the platform, devising algorithms, overseeing the trading “marionettes” that implemented those algorithms and making most of the many mistakes startups make (and possibly a few of our own invention), I never got a chance to go beyond the bull puppet… until now.
Now that StratBox is a reality, and with a new vision for an exchange-colocated, cloud-computing version of the platform, it seemed a good opportunity to renew the collaboration with Erica. I like her design for StratBox so much that I’ve lassooed it into service on this blog.
At the head of this post, you’ll see my favorite design for our nascent StratCloud offering, though the one below remains in contention. (I’d love to hear your opinion!)
As it was three years ago, the experience has been very positive. If you have some challenging graphic design opportunity I encourage you to see if Erica can’t help you realize your vision.