ETRM in the time of Cholera

In January 2020, being able to to implement an ETRM system remotely was a neat trick. If we had been implementing Molecule for you before March of 2020, we would have had zero qualms about getting on an airplane and flying out to scope a project at your office, which would probably have led to steak dinners with plenty of laughs.

Then came March 2020 and remote ETRM implementations became mandatory. We loved working with you and your team in person - and the steak dinners. But for now, that is all on hold. Needs for modern deal capture are not.  

Modern design, automation, and an app that just works – our team built Molecule on those three principles and strives for them daily. It sounds simple, but it's quite the opposite. To achieve it, we built a true multi-tenant, cloud-based ETRM application. Building in the cloud allowed us to price more transparently and roll out software upgrades much more frequently than our competitors, which is part of how we deliver on our commitment to always provide the best approach that meets customer needs.

But, we're finding additional benefits of our approach. One of the most important that we have uncovered in the past six months is that we can (and almost always do) implement remotely, even for the most complex of customers.

We never saw this as a feature. This was always our preferred approach, but we didn't talk about it in sales meetings because, frankly, customers didn't much care; so neither did we.

So, maybe we should call these Molecule's benefits:

  • $0 implementations
  • $0 software updates
  • Support included in your fixed fee
  • Remote implementation in ~90 days

We started working from home quite early compared to some, and we're going to continue to work from home for the rest of the year. We have a goal. We want to live; the idea is that we can continue building an application that replaces and outshines our legacy competitors. No matter what year it is, you should NEVER be headed to a budget meeting with a $35 million plan to upgrade an on-prem ETRM. Ever.

We can get you up and running even while you're remote, and in as little as 90 days.

Modern design, automation, reliability, pricing transparency, and fast, remote implementation.

The Sky is Falling. Get Skinny

As oil prices approach 18-year lows, companies around the globe are already beginning to feel the squeeze. Everyone we talk to points to corporate spending freezes and cost-cutting.

Bob Ronin, previously SVP at Fidelity Investments, writes on CIO.com that one of his top tips for reducing IT cost is to move to the cloud. "Storage and hardware no longer need to be on-site and the cost of renting can be much lower than the cost of owning as resources are only used when needed."

If history is a predictor of what to expect during the current dip in the economy, we'll see an immediate spending freeze followed by drastic moves to cut costs. The difference during this COVID crisis is that many of us are working from home and scrambling to make sense of what's to come.

So, what can you do now?

  1. Challenge the way you have been doing business and identify opportunities to update your processes and technology so that they better match today’s business environment.
  2. If any of your large expenses are IT platforms, determine whether you can replace them with cloud-based software. Working from home provides a great opportunity to do high-concentration tasks, like evaluating tools.
  3. Gather pricing, deal length, and contract terms for the products you currently use.
  4. Regroup internally for feedback and round-table idea sharing.
  5. Be ready to move swiftly when asked to make a change.

If you believe your department will be asked to cut costs in the coming months, now is the best time to prepare. Evaluate your options while you have an extra hour or two (since we temporarily do not have a commute).

If your company trades commodities and uses an expensive on-premise legacy system for deal-capture and risk management, we're ready to help. As ETRMs go, we deliver value by providing fairly-priced, modern software that automates your life, without the implementation & transition costs you usually see in our industry. Further, in these unpredictable times, a system backed by a team that's always remote, can provide support and reliability that nobody else can.

The sky may be falling, but Molecule is still working, as are many other companies across various industries that can help you get lean before it’s even time to migrate back to the office.

Stay healthy and safe. We're here if we can ever be of help.

Getting StartedCost Savings

Celebrating National Read A Book Day

We love tech at Molecule. We love to create it, show it, and read about it. But, because we are actual human beings, we read about lots of other stuff, too. One of the most recommended podcasts around our office is LeVar Burton Reads, in which LeVar reads you a short story – just like he used to do on Reading Rainbow.

Along those lines, September 6th is National Read A Book Day. Sometimes finding a good book to read can take quite a bit of searching, so we surveyed our team and came up with some suggestions in case you want to celebrate.

Here are our top picks:

Megan Farley

I feel like I should recommend something of substance, but I'm going with Caverns & Creatures because it made me cry from laughing so hard. Or Off To Be The Wizard....again, because it made me cry from laughing so hard — or Will Save The Galaxy For Food.

Sameer Soleja

Haroun and the Sea of Stories, by Salman Rushdie — it’s a magical book (imagine Alice in Wonderland, but with flying carpets). It’s a quick and inspirational read, and Rushdie’s language — English, but with a little Bombay lilt — reminds me of my mom.

Richard Reedstrom

The Outsider by Stephen King is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read recently. It embodies everything I love about Stephen King, and the book gives a fulfilling end to the Mercedes Killer trilogy. I also just started 1984 by George Orwell. It's been years since I read it, and it's interesting to re-read from a different perspective.

Bala Raghavan

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It is a funny, geeky guide that answers the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.

Syed Sohaib

Confessions of an Economic Hitman is not my favorite book, but I definitely recommend it. It's a very interesting take on global historical events and corruption.

Luke Kramer

Rhinoceros Success: the Secret to Charging Full Speed toward Every Opportunity. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “we become the product of three things: the people we associate with, the books we read, and the media we listen to.”

Personally, my go-to is anything from The Dark Tower series. However, the latest book I read was The Nix by Nathan Hill. It kept my attention much like Freedom (Jonathan Franzen) did and with a similar tone. When I finished The Nix, I wished there was more to read.

We hope you find a book you like on National Read A Book Day - from this list, or anywhere you like to find a good read. I like several books from this list, "but you don't have to take my word for it."

Holidays

Welcome, Richard, Luke, & Syed

Molecule is growing! So far this year, we have added to our dev, customer success, and sales teams. We've done a quick Q&A with our additions to the sales team so you can get to know Richard Reedstrom, Luke 'Hawaiian-shirt' Kremer, and Syed Sohaib better. Stay tuned to meet the other new faces that have joined Molecule.

Richard Reedstrom

1.  Let’s start at the beginning. Where did you grow up? What led you to a career in sales?

I grew up here in Houston. I'm passionate about improving people's lives, and I've found that this bonds incredibly well with sales. Every day I help people end frustrating battles with old systems and methods by providing real solutions. I get to give people back hours of their lives. For me, it comes down to figuring out how we can make our customers' lives better.

2.  Why did you decide to join Molecule?

When I first heard about Molecule, it looked like an interesting company with a ton of potential. I had always wanted to work with a genuinely innovative/disruptive technology, and the more I found out about Molecule, the more I fell in love. The underlying technology, the company values, and the team culture resonated with me one hundred percent. I'm thrilled to be a part of such an awesome group of people doing incredible things.

3.  What is something that you’ve already learned about the industry or company that has surprised you?

Not every solution that claims to be cloud-based actually is a true cloud-based (multi-tenant) solution.

4.  For fun, what are your top three favorite apps?

1 Second Everyday, Tidal, and Audible.

5.  Since you’re in a sales position, let’s ask the obvious: what’s the most compelling reason why someone should want to buy Molecule?

Everything just works. We believe you shouldn’t have to fight with your software. Instead, Molecule works in harmony with you and your process.

Luke Kremer

1. Let’s start at the beginning. Where did you grow up? What led you to a career in sales?

I grew up in Papillion, a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska. I enjoy the relationship building and challenges that a sales person faces.

2. What is something that you’ve already learned about the industry or company that has surprised you?

I've been fascinated by renewable energy credit trading.

3. One of the things Molecule prides itself on is the time savings our software gives customers. More than one person has said that we’ve saved them two hours each day. If you were given two extra hours each day, how would you choose to spend them?

I’d have a tee time set two hours earlier each day; I could probably get a full 18 in before 7 pm.

4. For fun, what are your top three favorite apps?

Snapchat, Yelp, and Instagram.

5. Since you’re in a sales position, let’s ask the obvious: what’s the most compelling reason why someone should want to buy Molecule?

Molecule is future-proof software that looks and performs like it was made in 2019. We provide world-class service, free upgrades, and no extra implementation fees.

Syed Sohaib

1.  Let’s start at the beginning. Where did you grow up? What led you to a career in sales?

I grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. We moved to Stamford, Connecticut when I was in the middle of high school, which kickstarted my American dream. I graduated from the University of Connecticut (UConn) with an International Business Management degree and a focus in Finance. I took a marketing course titled ‘Professional Selling,’ and the final was to pitch a mock product and replace the incumbent provider. After the presentation my professor asked why I was not a marketing/sales major. According to him, I had a natural ability to be successful in a professional sales role. Long story short, I had an opportunity to join the sales team at ThomsonReuters, selling data solutions. I truly enjoyed the experience and challenge of bringing the right solutions to our clients/prospects. Ever since then I have been in sales and business development, and I enjoy every bit of it. Well, perhaps not CRMs!

2.  Why did you decide to join Molecule?

After trying my luck in different industries after ThomsonReuters, I wanted to get back into the financial services technology space. Molecule's solution "wow-ed" and made me excited about bringing it to market. For companies that have a need and utilize old technology for calculating P&L, position, and risk, Molecule is a game changer both from the ease of use and time-saving perspective.

3.  What is something that you’ve already learned about the industry or company that has surprised you?

The deep dive into the power market made me realize how challenging it is to learn, trade, and deal in this space.

4.  One of the things Molecule prides itself on is the time savings our software gives customers. More than one person has said that we’ve saved them two hours each day. If you were given two extra hours each day, how would you choose to spend them?

Spend more time with my family, learn a new language, restore and upgrade a Range Rover Defender 110, and go off the grid for a bit.

5.  For fun, what are your top three favorite apps?

I like puzzles, so Progress & Super Sharp. Proshot for some light photography and Flipboard to stay updated on tech, sports, travel, and autos, etc.

We are not finished either. Personally, I'm always recruiting for the sales team. Word on the wire is that we just hired a new developer in Spain! If you like what you have seen of Molecule so far, hit us up. We are always in the market for the best talent.

PeopleSales

Tackling ISOs and FTRs

From a development roadmap point of view, Molecule's decision to connect with ISOs and value FTRs was a bit of an outlier. We tend to have a solid understanding of what our customers want, and we use this insight to build features with wild-eyed speed and focused precision. ISO connectivity and valuing FTRs came about in a different fashion, however.

As Sameer, our CEO, and I sat in a room (OR at the table with eight execs representing one of the largest European utilities), the conversation unfolded in an unpredictable way. Deal capture and risk is our bread and butter, so we demonstrated how Molecule automates as much as possible. We believed we had nailed everything around what they could possibly need from a risk management platform, and we felt we had won the room. Our free implementation and implementation time frame (typically 90 days or less) was the icing on the cake. It was a great meeting.

Then someone asked about ISOs and FTRs. At the time, we did not have this feature. The challenge was laid out. Could we add that in the 90 day implementation for a deal to happen? As Sameer considered the industry's need for features around congestion, I held my breath. As you can surely guess, the answer came swiftly: yes.

Our in-house Development Team started banging out code before the ink could dry on the deal. Starting with SPP and PJM, we dived deep into valuing FTRs.

During the implementation process, Molecule aimed to provide support for FTRs, Virtuals, & day ahead power. The challenge landed on the lap of our SVP of Engineering, Paul Kaisharis. Speaking with Paul, he was quick to discuss the challenges around delivering our new solution: "understanding the domain terms and normalizing those terms as well as the implementation across the various ISOs." He was equally quick to discuss what he was most proud of: "creating a standard implementation that allows us to add support for a new ISO in just a few days."

Kyle McRoberts, a key member of our Customer Success team, chimed in as well, "I’d say the most challenging and rewarding part of the FTR implementation was simply the volume. Right now we have close to 7,000 paths available in Molecule, each with a peak and off peak product. The other challenge is that we simply don’t know when new paths are needed until the auction results are posted. We’ve got a process in place now to create new paths when needed (for example, over 500 today) mostly without the customer knowing they needed to be created."

Joe, our VP of Customer Success, was another integral piece in the FTR puzzle. He said, "the challenge: the large number of moving parts involved in this implementation and putting them all together working with multiple vendors as well as divisions within the client organization. What we are most proud of: implementing FTRs with a large number of paths with multiple ISOs for a big multinational company in a short period of time."

We are by no means a custom shop. Molecule builds modern deal capture and risk for everyone. Every customer benefits from our two-week release cycle with free updates and support. Paying for 'future code' is absurd to us. We love our customers. And we listen to them. We take their suggestions and look at the industry with the future of commodity trading in mind. Then we build kickass tech.

What's next? Physical scheduling. Stay tuned.

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