One of the questions I am asked most often is who makes up our open source community?
The question comes frequently from venture capitalists interested in an investment, sometimes from trade analysts or members of the tech media, but most often it comes from within the 25,000-member Marketecetra community itself.
Usually the person asking the question is a new member of the community that has set out to build a new trading platform for their firm. They have selected Marketcetera as the core of this new platform in an effort to accelerate their time to market and are often looking to collaborate with other community members and take advantage of existing best practices.
As part of this effort to better connect community members, we have surveyed new registrants to understand their composition and priorities. If you contact me directly I’d be pleased to share the complete results, but there are a few points that I would like to highlight.
First of all, 63% of our community members work for early stage firms looking to establish a new trading platform. This is consistent with our ad hoc conversations with community members, who we have found are often veteran traders and developers working for an early stage firm, often while simultaneously raising money and juggling a host of other responsibilities.
These firms are universally uncomfortable with the closed source, proprietary model that requires them to trust their business to a trading platform without the ability to review the quality of the underlying source code. This is especially true of high frequency traders leery of poorly written, patchwork code or business practices that require them to expose their strategies to proprietary vendors for coding into their platforms. The open source model, alternatively, provides tremendous flexibility and control. Clients have the ability to download and test our source code before committing their strategies (and business) to the Marketcetera platform, they decide which components of the platform they want to use and they have the ability to do their own customization or integration work, involve a third party development company or use the Marketcetera consulting team.
Second, budgets are tight and community members are looking to leverage open source (both the expertise of the community and the source code) to increase the efficiency of their operations. As early stage firms they are focused on keeping operating costs in check while they establish a track record of trading success for their investors and they are not willing to pay expensive license fees to proprietary vendors.
Fully 82% of our community members are deciding between developing a platform based on Marketcetera or building everything from scratch. Although they have extensive technical skills, they are skeptical of building an entire trading platform from scratch and even more concerned about supporting and maintaining a homegrown effort over time. The real issue is core competency and they would prefer to invest their development skills (and time) into revenue generating activities like coding new trading strategies instead of building and maintaining “plumbing” like market data adapters and FIX connectors.
Finally, 50% of the members we surveyed indicated they are willing to contribute back to the Marketcetera community. Historically the nature of community contributions vary, sometimes actual code snippets or features, often q/a work or answering forum questions, ALWAYS they are willing to share thoughts and opinions on what we should tackle next. The point is that the community represents a resource that developers and traders can leverage as they decide on a new trading platform or to accelerate their efforts once they decide to build on the Marketcetera open source project.
I hope this context on our community is useful. If you find yourself grappling with similar issues or you would like to become a community member, please check us out at www.marketcetera.org.
Download. Run. Trade.