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Last But at Full Blast

During my army service, I saw slogans all over my army unit walls and written on memorials for brave soldiers: "Glory will be awarded to the daring," "Shock and Awe," "Use the element of surprise.” These slogans encouraged initiative and the need to be first in order to achieve success. These might be true statements, but they are not absolute statements. Sometimes, being last isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Peter Thiel posits the idea that often it is the last mover who wins the market. A good example of this would be the end results of Apple's iPod vs the Palm Pilot. So, what would be the implication as it relates to market infrastructure?

 

Over the past two decades, utilities have ruled the landscape. Specific utilities in the market infrastructure space have been created to solve for problems for particular asset classes and processes. A margin optimization utility, a trade confirmation utility, and a reference data utility are just some examples. Utilities by definition are inflexible and all tend to leave the same thing at the bottom of their priority list - the user.

 

Hindsight is a powerful view but not if the focus isn’t on the right lesson. Many improvements to today's market infrastructure utilities are easy to achieve and it is possible to build a better mousetrap. However, is building a better mouse trap what we want? No! We want to fundamentally change the infrastructure and that is only possible with one focus; the USER.  UX is the driving force behind truePTS, but if we just look at the last mistake one vendor has made and try to improve on it, we are ignoring the ability to fundamentally change the space.

 

The problem of course becomes the market's inflexibility and resistance to change. However, when the user determines that their life has become fundamentally more efficient, the last mover will blast through the line of defense. 

 

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