2020 – COVID-19 may have rocked the world, but we still rocked on
Paul Watmough, CEO and founder of IOWArocks, looks back at the tumultuous events of the last 12 months.
This millennium’s version of the roaring 20s came in with a bang, as the whole world looked forward to rocking its way through the third decade of this new century. Very early in the new year, the reports of a new, insidious virus affecting parts of China were of interest, but not really of great concern to those of us in the West who were enjoying skiing, soaking up some winter sun in exotic places or just having fun socialising in cool hotspots crammed with people enjoying themselves. Then wham, everything changed.
Almost overnight, COVID-19 achieved near global domination in a way that was far beyond the wildest dreams of even the most power-hungry despots the world has ever seen. Commercial and personal activities came to a grinding halt and the almost worldwide lockdown effectively put everything on hold. Fear and uncertainty ruled the day. Even so, there were some awe-inspiring stories of how people faced down this faceless adversary with courage and creativity. Who can forget the achievements of the magnificent Captain, excuse me, Sir Tom, the selfless dedication of the NHS, the essential workers and the unsung heroes, who shopped and cared for the many elderly and housebound people who did not have access to a strong family support network?
When I reflect on the dark days of the first national lockdown in March 2020 and relive my fears for the business, the impact on the people I had worked with for many years and what this might mean to my family, I must admit I did have quite a few sleepless nights. After everything we had invested over the last ten years, together with our shared hopes for the future, things looked very bleak.
The best is yet to come
But it wasn’t. In reality, 2020 has turned out to be our best year yet. Not only have we very successfully pivoted from being a collect/store/distribute technology provider into a highly disruptive data, tech and full-service marketplace, we also grew the business by expanding our footprint within many of our existing clients as well as onboarding new ones across different geographies. We have also been joyfully overwhelmed by the influx of data owners who have eagerly joined our rapidly expanding IOWArocks marketplace community. These include; Alqami, BMLL, EDI, ICE Data Services, Marex and NewChangeFX to name just a few. Inbound enquiries from across the global financial services sector are on the rise as many major financial firms and niche players alike, seek innovation and cost-saving opportunities that will empower their businesses to flourish in the new world economy that we must embrace to survive. This is what IOWArocks is all about and I know the best is yet to come.
Beyond the field of dreams
When we embarked on this game-changing journey we drew our inspiration from the famous words, “Build it and they will come”, from the wonderful film, Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner and the incomparable James Earl Jones. Kevin Costner, aka Ray Kinsella, was a young farmer, struggling to make a living on a corn farm somewhere in the middle of the state of IOWA, hence the name IOWArocks. One night Ray had a dream which compelled him to change a situation that desperately needed changing. Through courage, tenacity and with the help of friends, family and some very cool ghosts, he made that dream a reality. Our IOWArocks story is that story, and we are looking forward to writing the next exciting chapter.
2020 wasn’t all about work though, and like many other people I also had the unique opportunity to enjoy some very happy times with my family. Apart from not being a slave to a long daily commute, a particular highlight was being able to home school my children and still successfully run the business whilst living in an area which, up until recently had pretty poor broadband coverage! And, despite both lockdowns, I also managed to continue playing (responsibly socially distanced) football at a reasonably competitive level, even though I had reached the big 50”. My very own field of dreams.
What more can I say? Other than on behalf of the entire IOWArocks team, I would like to take this opportunity to warmly thank our loyal customers and partners, together with our combined families for their unwavering support throughout the good and the bad times we have all shared. We wish you all a very happy Christmas and here’s to a healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.
As 2020 draws to a close, we are ready to rock and roll into 2021. Wanna join us? It’s going to be one hell of a ride. Thanks for listening.
A growing community
Full steam ahead on developing our IOWArocks catalogue
Our development team are flat out developing the IOWArocks data catalogues. A database led approach which will integrate seamlessly with our data providers community and enable users to quickly and seamlessly source and purchase the data sets we require. Our ambition is to emulate the likes of Amazon who have thrived as a result of their intuitive front end and faultless behind the scenes processes.
We continue to build out data integration capabilities with our data providers and the connection APIs to the consumers, for example: ConnectAPI C++, ConnectAPI .NET and Python.
The catalogue build requires a detailed approach to uploading all of the available data sets, tagging for easy search and administration protocols for the likes of enterprise licencing.
This direct WebSocket Data Feed provides easy access to data for consuming applications in most known development environments.
Available to both IOWArocks cloud-hosted and deployed Data Providers as a data distribution option for data consumers to access data.
- Access streaming data from any modern development environment or web browser
- Easy to use, with minimal development and no IOWArocks library dependencies
- Provides streaming data as JSON over WebSocket
- Works in broadcast or interactive mode as required
- Fast, easy, efficient access to market data
You may have seen our post about Nick Sims who celebrated (if that’s even possible) five years with MDXT & IOWArocks at the end of November. We are also excited to say that early January sees Grace (her name is Grace Sees) mark her one year anniversary with IOWArocks and then last but not least our newest Development Resource Alex Jeffrey. Here’s a few thoughts from them…
Nick Sims (left)
“What I’ve most enjoyed about working with MDX is the people. They are without exception the most enthusiastic, generous and supportive bunch I’ve ever worked alongside. My background is outside the world of financial market data, so I’ve relied heavily on others to clue me up, and no-one has ever not had the time to answer my questions. Everyday is a school day at MDX.”
“Having joined IOWArocks with a background in music, it definitely felt a little bit like a baptism of fire being dropped into the midst of everything. However the team have been nothing but patient, helping to get me up to speed and I have really enjoyed my first year and my role in business development.”
"I was looking for an opportunity to work with data. What excited me about IOWArocks is that I can really see the potential for having a marketplace which bridges the gap between data providers and consumers. I am really enjoying being part of the team and helping to lead the development of the marketplace."
We’ve had a great year and are looking forward to getting back in January. We wish everyone to have a happy and restful holiday and as always if you have questions then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Thank you for your continued support.