The Problem of Finance

Two weeks ago at JAX Finance and JAX DevOps I gave a talk titled, "The Problem of Finance". I'm sharing the slides here for those who were not able to make it, or those who wondered if I really did spell blockchain incorrectly! Spoiler alert - I really did...

Here are the slides:


Here is the talk abstract for those who prefer not to slide flick right now:

“We are in the middle of a fintech revolution right now with much interest in the finance domain and how we can use technology to disrupt both incumbents and business models. This is even a conference about developing software in the finance domain. The question begs then, what makes finance special, if anything? And if it is special why do we care and what can we do about it?

Finance isn’t just about developing technology with a few rules and regulations, it’s about the complex interactions between people and systems and the events that have helped shape the global economy over the past decade. It’s also a domain of contradictions. Corporations that drive the industry and help shape the technology are often hugely resilient to failure allowing bad practices to outlive their natural life. Similarly failure, when it does come, can be very costly, even catastrophic, with technology providers directly culpable.

Developing effectively in the domain of finance requires an appreciation of the wider context of the domain, where it is today and where it will lead in the future. Armed with that knowledge, and an understanding of why it’s hard to develop effectively in a domain with hard, ever changing constraints it becomes possible to explore approaches that can help make sense of it all. One of the biggest problems encountered in finance is the mapping from some regulatory obligation all the way through to lines of code that actually provide that.

This talk will look at the problem of finance, where we are today, how we got here and how we might make sense of it all. Along the way we’ll ask what things stand out and perhaps a pattern will emerge. Hopefully it will become clear that finance is challenging, but also rewarding. We get to solve real, hard problems with little room for compromise and get to push our tools and languages to their limits, in some cases driving their evolution.”