Slope of Hope Blog Posts

Slope initially began as a blog, so this is where most of the website’s content resides. Here we have tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. Click on any category icon below to see posts tagged with that particular subject, or click on a word in the category cloud on the right side of the screen for more specific choices.

My Marketmax Tale

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I worked at Apple Computer from April 1987 until February 1990 (a story unto itself), and I left Apple after having a falling-out with a boss over some, shall we say, ethical lapses on his part (yet another story unto itself). Happily, I had a job offer waiting for me which had three big things going for it: (a) it was a startup; (b) it was financial technology; (c) I would have a cool title – Vice President of Technology. All at the age of 24!

Cooler still, it was located in San Francisco’s financial district in the city’s most iconic building, the Transamerica Pyramid. Since my working life has been spent in jeans, khakis, and polo shirts, I was excited at the prospect of being a honest-to-God grown-up, putting on a suit, getting on a train, and heading to the big city each morning.

And that, my friends, was the high point of my entire stint with this new company, TriStar Market Data. The prospects were exciting, the (inflated) title was impressive, the pay was (at the time) excellent, and I had finally left the big corporation of Apple for a startup. This was no garage, however. TriStar was a seven-person outfit that had been put together by Montgomery Securities, a regional investment bank, based on technology it had bought from a firm in Chicago. (For those deeply in-the-know, Avram Grey was the original creator of this aforementioned system).

The product that TriStar owned was a Macintosh-based trader’s platform called MarketMax. Take note of that critical phrase: Macintosh-based. In 1990, approximately nobody on Wall Street used the Macintosh. That computer was the domain of desktop publishers, graphic artists, and other weirdos. It isn’t something you had on your desk at JP Morgan. Anyone who traded used Sun. Period. (more…)