Bloomberg for the Web? We Need Real-Time News, Data, and Analytics.
The NYT had an article today about the battle for efficient financial services information delivery currently heating up between Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters. A few weeks ago, there were articles about the NASDAQ and NYSE making their stock quotes available in real time to multiple information outlets. And just last week, Tibco, once a wholly owned subsidiary of Reuters, purchased Insightful. Insightful makes the S-Plus statistical analysis software on which the R project is based. Tibco already owns Spotfire, a firm that makes excellent software for data exploration.
These developments made me think back to my time in financial services. Trading floors have the highest concentration of numerate people I’ve ever been around. They also have ready access to superb information manipulation software.
Now consider the current state of analytics software for the web. I won’t bother to list the major competitors, as they are all pretty mediocre. As the online advertising space grows in sophistication and mechanisms to promote a more efficient market are introduced (see, for example, Right Media and ContextWeb’s ADSDAQ), a workbench for the real-time exploration of news and data related to the web will be a necessary tool for many quantitative marketers.
As Hal Varian points out, marketing is the next field to be overrun with quants, and I expect that the tools most useful in finance will be brought along for the invasion.