Sunday, November 16, 2008


For the past several months I've been giving my life to a cause that I now believe will fail miserably. I've decided to leave the NYSE. I wasn't being challenged technically, and management was simply not up to snuff. They actually asked me to, "just drink the kool-aid". I swear.

I haven't been writing, and I haven't even been coding much, all to work on this Death March project. Basically, its been terrible, and I feel like I went into a coma and I've just come out. I'm going to start writing again passionately.

I've accepted a new position where I'll be writing IPhone applications, Facebook apps with Rails, other web work with Rails, etc. I'm very excited about it. I get to learn two languages that I have little experience with (Ruby and Objective C). I get to work with a team that is much more in line with my way of thinking - adopting new technology, open-minded, agile, lots of tests, curious. It feels like a giant weight has been lifted off of my back. I'm very excited.

Additionally, I won't have to work in Java anymore. I'm convinced at this point that java is a dying language. I heard Neal Gafter left Google to work on languages at Microsoft.

I feel his situation parallels mine. He worked tirelessly on closures for Java 7, which he truly believed (as do many) were right for the language. But, the JCP is so damned conservative, that not only will his closures probably not make it into Java 7, but come on...will Java 7 ever actually come out?

I worked tirelessly for NYSE, trying to introduce new technology and exciting ideas. I tried to bring in Scala, and was shot down. I tried to bring in a test first attitude and stress that we really needed time to work on the testing framework there in general, only to be shot down at every suggestion. I felt the same as I imagine Neal felt, "This is impossible".

I believe NYSE ATS software projects will continue to fail until management is replaced.

This was a bit of a rant, but it was a long time coming.


  1. Hello Jack. I'm feeling exactly the same you wrote here. I work as an architect in huge Java projects, but my heart keeps saying to me: "Go ahead! Agile your life! Go work with Grails, Rails!" I'll continue to spend all my free time studying this and wait for the certain time. You wrote what my eyes wanted o read: " technology, open-minded, agile, lots of tests, curious..."

    We can talk more by e-mail! Good luck to you! Thanks for the post!

    Lucas Teixeira

  2. Jack,

    I had a similar experience at Bank of America. Management was uninterested in TDD, in using open source products to replace their aging app servers, to leverage linux, etc. And every decision they made, made things worse. On my team, much of the development staff ended up leaving the same year i did. And much of management was eventually moved to where they could do less damage. It is a pretty common pattern.

  3. Sorry for everyone elses bad experiences. Working in financial really sucks. Since I left NYSE all of management (at least the management what was around when I was there) has been canned. No surprise. Additionally, the new management sucked even worse (not sure how, but true), and nearly the entire team has quit. I likely won't work in financial again, though I do hear DRW is a cool place to be. Lot's of smart, nice guys there.

    I'm at a place now that doesn't only appreciate intelligence, hard work, and innovation, but by definition, it must innovate. It must be working on things no one has worked on before. I don't think I'll leave academia again. I've made that mistake twice already, and it won't happen again.