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#DRWat25: Seth

Seth Thomson, Chief Information Officer

I’ve been working in the financial sector since the late 90’s. I started as a consultant for an accounting software company before moving over to the trading industry. Immediately, I knew this was the right industry for me. I was surrounded by intelligent, driven people who were always pioneering to find novel solutions to technical problems.

When I came to DRW, I was challenged to establish the infrastructure and processes we need to truly compete in electronic trading. Fixing our day to day issues was my tactical responsibility, and building our infrastructure to support our growing company was my strategic objective. I started hiring and organizing my team, patching together office infrastructure and finding a new data center and office space. A decade into my time at DRW, we have doubled the number of offices and we’re colocated in data centers around the world.

The most monumental change I’ve seen during my time in the trading industry has been how closely interwoven the business and the technology have become. Colocation, devops – there are countless examples of things that started out as a crazy pipedream and became a standard for traders to succeed. The barriers to entry have dropped and continual innovation is more vital than ever.

At DRW, we constantly seek out these seemingly impossible new ways to do something and we make it work. As software and hardware continue to blend, our engineers become true full-stack developers. We make sure all of our engineers know how to code or learn how to work with others who are coding. This helps us all find the most innovative solutions.

I’ve seen this happen time and time again. Rather than purchasing an MIIS system, one of our core system engineers built a user provisioning program that has remained a staple of our infrastructure for a decade. An engineering manager built an application that integrates a data center management program with asset management, fully automates our data center allocations and allows anyone to see how our hardware is deployed.

We build new tools when they don’t exist, and integrate them into our homegrown and third party applications. The emergence of open APIs across platforms and applications has allowed us to expand our automation efforts, integrating our data across the firm. We continue to find new ways of using our internal data to make informed decisions.

We all seek these new ideas out by conducting research: small internal experiments, papers, books and articles, attending conferences and networking with others both within and outside our industry. This data integration strategy combined with microservice development approach continues to serve us well. But, that’s never going to last for long – so we need to keep building and stretching and growing. That’s why I’m still here at DRW a decade later.