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Things Are Looking A Little Different Around Here

If you’ve been watching us, you’ll notice a few things have changed around our website. Specifically, we overhauled the information architecture to help users answers their questions about Molecule more quickly. Now, you’ll find specific use cases informed by how our customers use Molecule today, directly on the home page.

More work, however, was our long-developed update to our logo and branding! When we launched Molecule in 2012, we had literally no code and no customers, but a strong vision of where we wanted to go. Since then, the many users of our platform have expressed clear preferences of where Molecule should go next: physical logistics/scheduling, and easy connectivity with upstream and downstream systems.

Our new branding reflects this while keeping to our core mission of easily, reliably managing risk for commodities portfolios. To talk more about the concept, here’s our designer, Jay Jimenea:

Exchange, transfer, flow, connectedness. Those are some of the concepts we wanted to reflect in our new logo. Those concepts represent motion, and there’s a ton of motion in Molecule. So many trades flow through Molecule on a daily basis, and with physical logistics and scheduling on the horizon, even more data will flow through the application. In addition, Molecule is becoming increasingly interconnected with upstream and downstream enterprise systems via our APIs. We thought we should capture this in the logo. While the methane logo provided a nice chemical icon to represent commodities, it did not visually capture the activity that transpires within Molecule. At quick glance, that logo could represent a chemical engineering firm if not for the word “software.” So, how could we visually capture motion and other desired concepts while maintaining the characteristics we liked from the previous design?

We achieved motion by using a pair of red tracks to form the letter “M” in the negative space between them. The nodes on the tracks are intended to represent points similar to what you might see on routes in map applications, train routes, or circuits on a circuit board. Each node is either a start or an end point. This creates a bidirectional movement between the nodes, guiding the eye back and forth between them. There’s movement created when just looking at the “M.” The nodes are also not far in appearance from the atoms in the methane icon.

Molecule is a software company that prides itself on simplicity for our users. Molecule’s UI removes the extraneous so users can focus on what they care about without distraction. Just like our application, we felt that we could remove from the logo as well. The word “software” was something we could remove if tech was represented elsewhere. The absence of “software” streamlines the design by removing clutter, and the circuit-like appearance of the “M” icon is undeniably a technology statement. That attribute is more than sufficient in reflecting the tech space and, in turn, software.

Molecule is bold in its messaging and aspirations, yet sensitive to human factors in its usability. The acute angles and sharp points of the new icon reflect the bold and aggressive attitude of the company, while the rounded nodes reflect Molecule’s sensible side. The connected “M” and “O” in the typeface was something we did like about the prior logo. It was the one quality that reflected motion, so we wanted to keep that posture intact. Plus, this strengthens the connectedness concept. The same bold lines and sharp angles from the new icon are mirrored in the “M” to extend the attitude into the Gotham typeface. (Sameer likes to call this the Vampire M.) The stylized “O” looks like an eye with its hawkish brow, further complementing the bold stance.

Gotham has been Molecule’s selected typeface from the beginning, and it continues to be. The font will not change in the Molecule application, marketing materials, or website. Gotham Black’s thick lines and wide curves continue to accompany our bold messaging and sensible style all at the same time. We love it.

We also still love our methane icon. We love it so much that it has also been updated for continued use. The new icon takes on a more simplified look, with removed outlines and updated shaping. The outlines were often lost when seen at smaller dimensions, so in the spirit of simplifying, they were removed. The icon will not take center stage as it used to, but it will continue to be seen throughout Molecule’s visual marketing.

Every angle and edge in the new logo is intentional and sculpted to convey exactly what Molecule is. We hope you like it!"

We’re proud of where we’ve come as a company, and we’re proud of our new design. We would love to hear your feedback and thoughts about the new look and feel, so please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@molecule.io.

Molecule's Software Release Process

One of the (many) reasons why true cloud technology is currently the best software platform for enterprises is that providers can regularly push updates and improvements to the software without the customer having to do anything on their end.

One of the (many) reasons why Molecule stands out for energy traders is that we release new versions of our software roughly every two weeks. Our customers don’t have to take any action to get the latest version nor do they pay any extra fees to get new software that frequently.

I recently sat down with our VP of Software Engineering, Paul Kasharis, who we hired in part to ensure that we lead the industry in testing rigor. Here are the highlights of our testing process.

Our testing process is comprehensive, intensive, and automated.

About 90% of our code is tested automatically, every time a change is made (at both the method-level and whole-application-level). Static analysis tests (for security) are run at the same time. Our developers also peer-review every change for approach, performance, and security. Then the team who requested the change, acceptance-tests it. After that, our CS team sanity-checks the whole of Molecule, for security and functionality.

Finally, we back-test a year’s worth of data to make sure that positions and P&Ls don’t change — to make sure we didn’t change something that can affect users’ numbers. We test use cases and business scenarios to make this as robust a process as possible.

We do this, over and over again. Every. Two. Weeks.

Development might be faster in the short term, if we didn’t take this heavy of an approach. But, we value quality extremely highly. We want to release software that delivers the right numbers, right out of the box, every time. Our goal is Zero Customer-Discovered Surprises.

Many competing software companies don’t use such a rigorous process. They rely on people to spot errors. To make development faster (and cheaper), they don’t use unit- or feature tests. Nobody, but nobody we know backtests old data for quality purposes.

Why is this important to us?

Not only are we offended by the ridiculous implementation and upgrade fees that some legacy providers charge, but we also believe that enterprise software should be just as beautiful and fun to use as the apps on our phones. We also believe that software hosted in the cloud is the best technical solution for enterprise customers — from enhanced security to not having to live with bugs that can be easily fixed.

We truly believe that beautiful cloud software is the right thing to provide to our customers. You can read more about our core values here.

The Amicus Brief

This is a sad week for America.

Last year, Molecule proudly joined over 150 tech companies in filing an amicus brief against the executive order that essentially restricts immigration and travel along religious and ethnic lines. This issue hits at the heart of what Molecule, as a company, stands for and against. Protesting the Order demonstrates our commitment to doing right by our employees and our customers.

When we established our core values, we committed to embodying them and using them to guide our actions and decisions. The executive order flies in the face of several of our values. We don’t want to be one of those organizations that says they have values, but then does nothing with them except putting them on a website and handing out a poster to new employees (please note: our values are on our website, and you can read them here). Our core values mandate that we take action against the executive order.

Our team embraces diversity. This isn’t just a motherhood-and-apple-pie value for us. Diversity strengthens our product and our productivity -- thus strengthening the company’s bottom line. Through diverse experiences and points of view, we improve our UI/UX to make beautiful (and the best) software. It helps us spot creative solutions to difficult challenges.

We hire the best Molecules and strive to be world-class. We want to employ the absolute best, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, nation of origin, and several other factors. The executive order will restrict our ability to create the best software and deliver the best solutions to our customers.

Amazingly talented individuals make up the Molecule team, and our customers are incredibly smart. Our team is composed of people born in the US and in other countries. Some of us are immigrants, children of immigrants, and grandchildren of immigrants. Some of us are married to immigrants. The same is true for our customers. We defend their freedom to work to create the life they want.

Our employees, customers, and community should know that we will stand up for them. We remain committed to defending everyone’s right to “sit at the table” -- except those who flout the law and those who promote hate and fear.

Fighting immigration policy that discriminates along religious, ethnic, and other arbitrary lines is the f-ing right thing to do. Molecule is committed to doing the right thing, regardless of politics or popularity. We will continue to stand up for what’s right, for decency, and for tolerance.

Counting Down to ComRisk 2018

London’s calling. Again. Sameer and I are heading over to England for ComRisk 2018 at the end of the month. This is Molecule’s second year to attend and sponsor, and we’re excited to be back!

Commodities People organizes a series of events that are fantastic, educational, and networking opportunities for people working in commodities trading and risk.

You’ll have two opportunities to hear from Sameer at the event:

A panel discussion on the first day: CTRM technology – Adapting to a changing trading environment
Synopsis:

  • System implementation project management: Who is involved
  • Establishing clear objectives: What do you expect from the system? What sort of timelines are you looking at?
  • Critical steps of development, whether in-house or off-shelf products
  • Integration with the existing systems: Challenges
  • Examples of successful implementations: What were the key success factors?

A workshop on the third day: Market risk: Best practices

  • Evaluating Market Risk
    • What ingredients do you need?
    • What does it take to assemble those ingredients?
    • What does your company look like, when those ingredients are assembled?
  • Risk Metrics
    • What do people ask for?
    • What's trendy?
    • What are people actually using, and how?
  • How do people use a VaR?

We’re also always up for grabbing a bite and/or a pint, so let us know if you want to catch up. Email me at sales@molecule.io to set up a time to meet. Look forward to seeing you there!

Welcome, Paul Kaisharis

Paul-Kaisharis Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks because 2018 continues to be a whirlwind year for the Molecule team. One of the coolest additions to our disruptive talent line-up is our new SVP Software Engineering, Paul Kaisharis.

Earlier this year, Molecule welcomed Paul, and we are delighted that he hopped on board to run our development team.

Remember when the Astros brought on Justin Verlander? Okay… we’re not approaching the end of a sports season and there was no impending trade deadline, but we’re still pretty pumped about Paul joining our team.

Both Molecule’s CEO and VP of Design worked with Paul in previous positions. Jay, VP of Design, was quick to endorse Paul as a candidate by simply stating, “he’s good people.” Sameer, our CEO, added, “Paul has an uncanny ability to spot hot companies in our industry and join them just as they are about to blow up.”

That’s right. Molecule is about to dominate in all divisions. In the most awesome ways imaginable. Paul’s addition to our line-up brings more home run hitting power to a team that is consistently beating its nearest competitors in every inning.

Plus, the guy has one heck of a batting average. In 2006 Paul joined SolArc and helped shape the software that was eventually sold to OpenLink. Paul’s next stop was SunGard where he managed massive product development teams. Most recently, he was the Global Head, Product Development for Energy with Fidelity Information Services.

Pedigree aside, Paul brings a disciplined development process to complement our bleeding edge tech. He has a tech-agnostic view that fits our open source core values. And for those keeping score, we are dead serious about our VALUES.

We see good things on the horizon with Paul on the team. 2018 is the year Molecule swings for the fences and takes the pennant. Now, about Kate Upton...