200 = SUCCESS

We have rolled out our two-hundredth (200th!) software release to all Molecule customers. Huzzah!

You're probably familiar with the "500 error page" on webpages that aren't working. What you might not know is that there are many more http codes--and one that starts with a 2, means that all is right with the world.

Source

As we look back on where we came from – from, literally, a PowerPoint presentation in a conference room on Montrose in 2012, to what CTRMCenter calls "widely known" in the industry, we can be nothing but proud of what we've built. We are committed to building our customers the best ETRM/CTRM system on the planet, and doing so with amazing usability, the latest technology, and frequent, free updates.

I am so incredibly proud of the amazing team that has made this, and the past two hundred releases of our software. When we founded Molecule, it was an idea based on the premise that enterprise software should be just as awesome to use as the apps on our phones. We also believed that this market segment was long overdue for 21st century technology. We were right, in more ways than we knew.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us along this journey. We look forward to release 300 in a couple of years. Our software will be so different (and even better) then–and we intend to celebrate appropriately, with Spartan-themed evening wear. (kidding!)

Here's a little preview of what's new in Molecule v200.

User-Customizable Reporting

Think Positions screen on steroids. Our new beta Valuations screen gives non-technical users access to the power of Molecule's open APIs - enabling them to sort, filter, pivot, and create multiple custom views that can be saved and refreshed throughout the day. This new feature will be available to existing customers at no additional cost.

Actualizations, Part Deux

Our new Actualization screen will make actualizing multiple physical deliveries of products much easier than was previously possible. This new feature will also be available at no additional cost.

Even Better Login, powered by Auth0

Molecule now supports two-factor authentication for all customers, as well as SAML-based Single Sign-on for Enterprise customers, at no additional cost. In the background is a giant set of security upgrades powered by Auth0, which helps Molecule stay at the cutting edge of cloud software security.

SoftwareEventsFeatures

Make Them Hear You

I’ve been thinking about what to add to the flood of voices we’ve heard about racism and, more specifically, police brutality and the murder of George Floyd. I want to remind our employees, our customers, our partners, and our friends in the industry, that Molecule values justice, and that we stand with America (our country and its people).

There’s really nothing I can say that’s not brutally obvious:

  • America’s original sin was slavery.
  • Many of racism’s roots were there.
  • The Civil War largely killed slavery, but not racism.
  • The Civil Rights Act didn’t kill racism.
  • Pretending color didn’t matter, as my generation did (with the best of intentions), didn’t kill racism.
  • Electing a Black president didn’t kill racism.
  • We have to kill racism in our hearts, in our subconscious minds, in our living rooms, in our families, in private and in public.

We have, apparently, a fair number of ill-trained and/or racist people who hold the power of life and death in their hands, and who are charged with keeping us safe. But instead, they get away with murder — over, and over again. Something is badly broken in America's police forces. It has been 28 years since Rodney King’s beating, and the subsequent riots, opened my eyes to police brutality. From everything I read, we’ve shuffled the chairs around a bit — but in some places, we haven’t changed a whole lot.

There’s a lot — a lot we need to do as a society, to fix this. Justin Amash’s “Ending Qualified Immunity Act”, on its surface, seems to be a great start. Nobody should be above the law; especially laws related to murder. There’s also lots more we can do, from a policy perspective:

  • Making sure to train police and first responders better, so they're less likely to shoot to kill (helping avoid cases like Botham Shem Jean), and so they're better at de-escalation.
  • Paying police, teachers, and our other public servants generously (not minimally, or simply adequately) — so we can get the best, most qualified individuals to do these critical jobs.
  • Making sure we understand that slavery in America lasted 200 years, and was followed by another 100 years of written-into-law racism that ended only 56 years ago. It’s not even close to the time when we can stop paying attention via policies like affirmative action.

But the most important thing we can do, as private citizens, is to speak. Speak to our racist uncles at the Thanksgiving table. Speak to our friends who joke about racist things. Speak to our coworkers and employees about what racism means to you. Speak to the person who wonders if maybe George Floyd encouraged his own death in some way. Speak. Without violence, but loudly — like our common heroes: MLK, Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela. As E.L. Doctorow and Stephen Flaherty’s fictional character Coalhouse Walker sang in his dying minutes: “Make them hear you.”

Make them f@#%ing hear you, America. Make them hear you.

ValuesPeople

2019 In Review

Molecule is always evolving, and it’s really fun for us to look backwards every so often, just to see how far we’ve come. It’s easy for us to forget all the cool new features we’ve added over the course of 525,600 minutes. Hopefully, our work made your daily work just a little bit easier!

Here are some of the things we made this year:

New Trades Screen

After lots of customer feedback and tons of research & development, we launched a new Trades screen. On it, you can now pick the columns you want to see, sort and filter, create saved views for different types of trades, and much more.

It looks fantastic, too — and performs like crazy. Underlying it is a brand new front-end framework and an awesome grid that we plan to continue upgrading. If you don’t have access to it already, just ask your Admin.

New API

Our new v2 API began rolling out last year, and we completed the rollout late this year. Using it, users can do a million and one things, including:

  • Connect Molecule to Excel PowerQuery or Microsoft PowerBI for powerful, even mobile analytics.
  • Stitch another system to Molecule to send or retrieve trades, market data, valuations, or even VaR details.
  • Set up your master data in Molecule, and manage it.
  • Get pretty much any data out of Molecule you want.

Moreover, our new screens (like the Trades screen) use it, too — so we’ll be adding new features to it and improving it all the time. If you haven’t used it yet, documentation for our new API is at https://developer.molecule.io. (The documentation password can be obtained from our CS team.)

VaR out of Beta/Backtest

Our long-maturing VaR finally came out of Beta this year. It’s stable, it’s been running on multiple different portfolios for months, and it’s FAST. We also rolled out a visual backtest — to prove that it’s generally right.

Much Better Hourly (and sub-hourly) Power Model

Molecule began with a focus on power and then expanded to other commodities. This year, we upgraded our power capabilities to better model hourly (and even 15-minute) power — without shoving hours into product names, but by attaching intervals to contract dates system-wide and across all major integrations.

We rolled out the first of the power upgrades at the end of December, and plan to have all accounts migrated to our new model by the end of Q1 2020.

Self-Administration

A common customer request is to bypass our Customer Success team and allow users to self-manage things like master data and user access. We rolled out the first of the screens to manage this — our new Counterparties screen — this year. We plan to add much more in terms of self-administration capability in 2020.

Consumable & Inventory Trades, Logistics Preview

Early in 2019, we began sharing our physical logistics preview. We’ve been taking on board lots of great feedback—to iterate on it so that we get it right. New enhancements now include “consumable” trades, for things like transportation, RECs, RINs, and “inventory” assets, which allow for multiple buckets of inventory valued in a custom way.

Wrap Up

We made a whole lot more — over 550 improvements, big and small, to Molecule this year. All while improving reliability to 99.98% (less than 1 hour of unscheduled downtime), and improving general performance as well.

We’re equally excited about the things we have planned for next year: from single sign-on, to user-feedback-driven upgrades for many of our screens, and even more features related to self-administration and quality assurance.

Thank you for using Molecule (or just following our progress). We hope we’ll blow your socks off next year.

Love,
The Molecule Team

Features

What We Value

Today, we're launching a campaign that's been in the works for some time. I'm super proud of it because it speaks precisely to what we, at Molecule, do. We're calling it "What we Value Runs the World."

Here's what we mean by that:

  • Molecule (our software) values, like, everything. It's handles commodities you've never even heard of, like terephthalic acid – and instruments that are hard to grok, like an option on a cal strip of off-peak power monthlies. We've valued power plants and wind farms, and we are evaluating NGL and battery storage models.
  • What our customers trade represents (and sometimes literally is) the infrastructure of the world. It's how we get electricity to our homes. It's how our automobiles run. It's the least-understood, most important set of assets in our civilization.
  • Our customers mean a lot to us – obviously, we use their input to shape our product. But we also value them and their opinions and needs. They, in turn, run the infrastructure that runs the world. More importantly, we value our customers' time. We want them to go home early, so they don't always have to run the world. (I know this sounds trite, but it's what we believe – and from my perspective, not every company in our industry feels the same way.)
  • We're really proud of our employees, contractors, and the values we share. Our people and our software embody those values – and they help the people, who run the infrastructure, that...you get the idea.

So WWVRTW, as we've taken to calling it, is a quadruple entendre! Our new campaign features real people we know – and highlights all the weird and wonderful things Molecule (our software, our team, and our company) values. We hope you love it as much as we do.

Values

What will I Save by using Molecule?

We frequently get questions asking how our pricing model works, especially as compared to other vendors in the ETRM/CTRM industry. In answering the question "What will I Save?", we first need to understand the pricing model for legacy (or on-premise) software.

Legacy Systems

Typically, with on-premise (or even single-tenant cloud) software like an ETRM, pricing has three components:

  • Perpetual License Fee
  • Annual Maintenance
  • Services (i.e., installation)

For a mid-size ETRM/CTRM customer, let's say the license fee is $1m on a 4-year contract. This is the most negotiable part of the contract because 1) it's not where the real money is paid and 2) the underlying variable cost (what it costs to send you the software) is essentially $0.

The annual maintenance fee, however, is where the margin gets real. Annual maintenance is often 20% of the standard pre-negotiation license fee. So, $200k/year in this example. This is less negotiable because this money pays for the development team. We've also heard of this as "the money that pays for new features and bug fixes," which makes our sales team go crazy.

Services – now here's where the major cost lies. On a greenfield ETRM/CTRM implementation, services can start at several hundred thousand dollars. However, implementations typically go into the millions, or even tens of millions (not because they're budgeted that way, but because they quietly end up ballooning in scope and time). The cost is unbounded – and from what we've seen, services is typically 75% of the total cost to the customer of an ETRM/CTRM installation. (CTRMCenter has an article on this, here). This is the case for numerous good and bad reasons. But, from our perspective, the most important reason is that because of a time-and-expense billing schedule, vendors are not incentivized to keep billing for services low.

Molecule

Molecule is different. In general, users pay a single package price, plus applicable sales tax. That's it. The price includes implementation, "paying for new features," the license fee, etc.

We have a minor fee schedule for a handful of things like new users, custom reports, and re-configuration of the application – but most of our customers never pay any additional fees.

Package prices are calculated, on purpose, to be roughly equivalent to the 4-year amortized license fee + maintenance fees of another ETRM/CTRM. This takes into account that license fees are often heavily discounted for smaller customers – but the point is, we're not aiming for the lowest license fees in the industry.

What users just don't pay for with Molecule is implementation. We take on the risk of new implementations knowing that the payoff for our customers (and for us) is enormous. We are aggressive about bounding the total cost and time of the implementation – because we are incentivized to do so. We do things like:

  • Assigning an expert project manager on Day 1
  • Avoiding implementation-related travel, if at all possible
  • Figuring out what "success" means for the customer, and keeping laser-focused on that goal
  • Building tooling for our Customer Success (support & implementation) team, so that they can get their job done more quickly

This is how we create the most value. We believe that implementation costs, in Six Sigma terms, are waste (muda, mura, and/or muri). Our customers don't benefit from paying tons of money for implementation, and neither does our enterprise value.

Summary

Basically, our customers pay industry-standard software fees – but end up saving 75% of the total cost of an ETRM/CTRM because we don't charge for implementation.

SalesFeatures