When my job executing orders for a discount broker moved to Atlanta, I decided to move toward the IT side of the financial services industry.

I worked for over 20 years at Bloomberg L.P. in various capacities.  All of them were somewhat sales oriented.  Even as a business manager I realized that in order to get salespeople to sell my product I had to sell them first.  Also, in order to build a decent product I had to learn – in depth where potential clients’ pain points were.  Gaining that insight seems to be a trait of most successful salespeople.

Managing a product or a business in an IT related field means relying on technologists to actually build it.  In the highly matrixed environment of companies like Bloomberg that meant I had to sell the R&D department on why they should give their best efforts to build the products I was responsible for.

I’ll never be as skilled a programmer as the professionals but to sell them I tried to learn their pain points by teaching myself some programming.  Not heavy-duty compiled languages but the lightweight web server variety.
I have always worked for companies with matrixed structures.  It promotes communication and empathy between different skill-sets while ensuring that each team member is in a reporting line that appreciates their value and understands the challenges they face.

Market data is a thin description of what companies like Factset, Capital IQ, Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters provide.  Being involved in analytics requires that one has to understand the data behind them.  Since most data is reported as news before being formatted for use in analytics the three elements (news, data and analytics) are closely connected.

Steve Jobs made a great commencement address back at Stanford in 2005.  He talked about looking back on what you’ve done so far and being able to connect the dots.  I like to think of my professional self as a curious person and when I look back I’ve done a bunch of different things but the dots have connected pretty nicely.