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American Freedom is a Free Internet for America

Today is a sort of grassroots Internet "Day of Action" related to Net Neutrality.

There has been lots of ink (including my own) spilled about the wonky details of the concept. There has also been a lot of fearmongering about what might happen if, despite massive public outcry, Ajit Pai at the FCC weakens Title II protections for the Internet.

Here's the thing: it's not fearmongering. It's all true.

In America, if you're part of the 83% of the population lucky enough to have decent internet, you likely have the choice of one or two carriers, each of them among the most reviled companies in the country. These companies provide terrible customer service, jack up prices, charge you exorbitant fees, sneak charges into your monthly bill, and even try to prevent cities from creating competition. They maintain their oligopoly power through coordinated lobbying efforts.

Now, the FCC wants to hand these companies more power, essentially saying that they should promise an open internet in their Terms of Service (the agreement you click through to sign up for internet service) rather than have their behavior monitored and regulated, as it currently is. The idea is, presumably, that "unshackling" these well-meaning companies will somehow result in lower prices to the consumer.

Regardless of party affiliation, there's something clearly wrong with that assumption, for these particular companies. This whole mess smacks of the same Things That Are Wrong With America, that I hear from people on both sides of the political spectrum complain about:

  • "Crony Capitalism"
  • Government in the pocket of Lobbyists
  • Some Executive Trampling on my Rights, and
  • "Comcast only lowered my price when I told them I would drop my service."

The open Internet conversation is a small version of the broader debate we're having as a nation, and that is important.

Now to go wait on my AT&T technician.

The Saga of VaR

One of Molecule’s most important product development milestones to date has been releasing our dead-simple, near-real-time Monte Carlo VaR. It’s taken us years to do, unlike literally every other feature we have built.

Why? Part of the reason is that it’s a complex calculation that’s difficult to present simply, consistently, and clearly. Also, it’s both important and difficult to get right -- and to prove that it’s right.

So we enlisted the help of a superstar: Dr. Ehud Ronn, a professor at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas. With his help, we built a validation framework and tested our goods.

On Thursday, July 27 at 1pm CT, we invite you to join Ehud and Sameer Soleja, Founder and CEO of Molecule Software to learn more about:

  • Why it was so difficult for us to build - and to get right
  • What a "right" VaR even means - that’s a head-scratcher, we know
  • How we validated our approach and how you can validate yours
  • When Ehud will be able to actually predict the future (Molecule Release #10,317)

Our new VaR is awesome. It’ll make you want to throw your spreadsheets out of the proverbial window. Imagine--you know that your VaR is right, and you don’t have to do anything to make it so! Join us to learn more about it.

There are limited places available for this webinar, so we encourage you to save your spot as soon as you can. Click here to register.

3 Things I Learned at ComRisk

I just got back from ComRisk 2017 in London. This is the first time we've taken out a sponsorship at a conference, and so I wasn't sure what to expect. At best, I thought I'd run into a vendor-driven, salesy conference where consultants spoke in generalities about risk.

Turns out, I was wrong. Almost everyone I talked to was genuinely interested in risk for commodities trading. Many attendees were risk managers. Most were pleasantly surprised that a conference existed just for them; the content was not as hand-wavey as they had feared. All seemed pretty stoked about the conference.

In short, I was a geek in a geeky paradise in the middle of London. Here are some things I learned:

  • SPAN is the bane of everyone's existence. There was a dude from the LME talking about how they calculate risk using SPAN (and how it differs from VaR calculations), and some very confused risk managers trying to figure out the particular way in which they hated it so much.

  • Nobody uses a single ETRM/CTRM for all their deals. I figured this would be the case by now, as you'd think most systems provide good functionality across asset classes. I guessed wrong.

  • The EEX is apparently where all the kids are trading these days. Why I didn't know this, I have no idea.

Also, I was particularly delighted by this:

ComRisk Smoothies

I had the OJ. That is all.