Dustin Whipple

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.

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...

CTRM Radio Episode 2 - CTRM In The Cloud

Sameer, Founder and CEO of Molecule Software, recently joined Patrick Reames and the Commodity Technology Advisory team in their latest podcast to talk about the adoption of cloud technology in the energy trading and risk management industry. As co-host, Dr. Gary Vasey, points out at the beginning of the episode, there are differences in what some vendors mean when they use the term "cloud."

Check out the podcast here.

While the entire podcast is worth listening to, if you want to skip ahead to Sameer's section, start playing at about 7m25s.

Here is what was said in case you prefer to read:

To us, what cloud means is software that works like the other really great software you find on the internet, like Gmail. So, under the hood, that’s a multi-tenant delivery model, that is easy sign up and integration, and that is somebody else monitoring uptime and guaranteeing throughput and really reaping all the benefits of a multi-tenant solution.

Do you find that multi-tenancy capability or delivery model to be an advantage in a sales process?

It depends on the person. If the person is simply wanting to no longer pay for physical servers at their premises, well that’s a hard conversation. However, if the person gets the nuance of what other cloud solutions that are good software on the market do, it’s a much easier conversation. We’ll talk about things like the support that we can provide because we are a cloud solution that’s over-and-above what any single-tenant cloud vendor could do.

A great example is: our support team here in Houston has an automated report that runs every morning that shows them if something didn’t mark. That would be much harder to do with a single-tenant solution hosted on… hosted anywhere. For us, it’s as easy as whipping up a report. We can find out what didn’t mark and potentially fix the problem before our customer even sees it. Or, call them and say “hey, we noticed something weird about your portfolio. Think it might be because of this. Think you might want to fix that.

Many thanks to the ComTech Advisory folks for talking to us about cloud technology. We could talk for weeks on the subject, so look forward to joining you for another episode soon!

ComTech-Podcast-Cloud-CTRM

Two Extra Hours

We give back, starting with our team and our customers. It’s part of our core values. We build beautiful software that puts those hours back into your day that normally evaporate while you struggle to find data in spreadsheets and antiquated software.

One of the most satisfying things one of our customers has told us is that Molecule has given him back two working hours every day! TWO. HOURS. That’s a lot of time.

This got us to thinking: what would we do with 120 extra minutes in our day? So, we surveyed our team, and they had some good ideas. We would love to hear what you would do with Molecule at your disposal, adding two hours per day to spend, as Westley would say, “as you wish.”

Paul | SVP, Software Engineering

The house reno list grows bigger by the week. Tackling this would burn down some of the debt that has built up over the years and earn some points with the wife.

My family and I enjoy athletics, but I'm not always able to make all the different events spread across our three kids. Two extra hours a day would definitely allow me to catch up on some missed family time.

Finally, I would certainly catch up on reading and podcasts that I subscribe to so I can keep the mental muscles in shape.

Krzysztof | Software Engineer

One thing I’d like to do this year, although I don’t know if it’s possible because I don’t speak Japanese, is to try to find some way to teach kids how to write software.

Our society relies on software more and more, and sadly the education system hasn’t caught up with it. But it’s such a fun time to be young. Projects like Raspberry Pi, Arduino, etc. enable anyone to build some really interesting stuff, not just software but hardware. Sadly, the software leaves a lot of room for improvement. I don’t think these sort of things are taught properly. People focus too much on the skill (e.g. here’s how you write some JavaScript) and not enough on the principle and philosophy, which is more important in the long run.

I could probably easily pull this off if I was fluent in Japanese, but since I’m not, I’m going to start with making friends at various meetups here (Hacker News meetup, gaijins in startups, etc.) and take it from there.

In more general terms, just share knowledge.

Kyle B. | Sales

I would go to the gym and get the beach bod I always wanted. I'd go to the grocery store and cook more often. In the summer there would be more time for golf and basketball after work. I'd be able to commit more time to working on a side job, like real estate. Spending more time with family and friends would lead to a happier out of work lifestyle.

Kyle M. | Customer Success

I’d get a hell of a lot of work done building out and then enjoying my garage workshop. And, hopefully be in shape again like I was about 10 years ago.

Mary | Software Engineer

I’d split the time practicing on my piano and guitar. I've always wanted to play a live show, but you’ve gotta get practice in first.

Jeff | Software Engineer

By leaving early, I would be able to beat traffic. Thus, it would end up being more than just two extra non-work hours of my day.

With the extra time, I would have more time for entertainment purposes rather than spending the entire evening finishing up daily chores and maintenance around the house (all while feeling exhausted from the traffic).

Jay | UX Design

Dad of two in middle and high school, we leave the house before sunrise to beat the first bell. After a day of slaying pixels and stylesheets, it's after sunset! Gaining two hours a day just may allow for more time outside to bike, longboard, or skate at the skatepark.

Zeeshan | Customer Success

Two extra non-work hours is more time I have to spend with my loved ones, and to work on improving myself - whether it be physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally. Always strive to be a better individual than you were yesterday.

Dustin | VP, Sales

The dad in me wants to say spend every second with my two boys. But, I also would not mind finally building that brick oven in my backyard for baking sourdough bread. Maybe shake the dust off my drums and bring the skills back up to rock'n'roll days. Naps are amazing too.

Joe | VP, Product Implementation

As a new father, I would spend it with my son. Or sleep. I need so much sleep right now.

Melanie | Marketing

So. Many. Options. Write, read, spend more time learning Italian (DuoLingo is great, but I could do so much more!), see friends more often, learn to cook without starting a fire, and oh, and exercise. Ummmm, I might need five hours rather than two.