Saturday, June 30, 2007

Alternative Energy Stocks...

...gave CI a mention in their "The Week in Cleantech" roundup and I'd like to return the Hat Tip because of an insightful point they made:

"The interesting thing with alternative energy is that it is emerging at a time of tremendous innovation in financial markets. This confluence creates a lot of opportunities for people passionate about both."

One of the key facts to know about finance and markets at the end of the first half of 2007 is how much money is chasing returns right now. You get things like this:

Today, Reuters begins selling two trading services that allow subscribers to set up automatic trading orders based on the news. They will give subscribers the ability to mine past and present Reuters news articles in real time and automatically buy, sell or hold a stock based on market-moving events. From the NYT

Or Waters Financial Technology Intelligence. A great source.

One reason the big nodes (London, New York City, Hong Kong) are still the big nodes is that the speed of light is 11.8 inches per nanosecond. The greater the distance between nodes the slower your execution. Time is indeed money and it can be measured by the cesium-133 standard: 9,192,631,770 cycles (Hz), or turned around, every foot away from the node costs you 9.192 ticks on the atomic clock (and that's photons in a vacuum, in real life you're using fiber-optics or, worse, electrons in copper).

Personally, I think that basing your competitive advantage on execution speed is a mug's game. As IBM said in their Feb. 27 Financial Services newsletter:

"But what happens when every competing firm plugs into algorithmic trading and speed and execution become commodities? Are there other advantages algorithmic transactions can offer?"

Going forward, ideas matter more than money. The kind of intelligence that will be the in highest demand will be the ability to make, as James Burke put it, "Connections".
And that's where AltEnergyStocks nailed it.