March 23, 2011

Thomas Secunda, Founding Partner and Global Head of Financial Products & Services at Bloomberg LP, has been with the financial markets data and information giant since it started back in 1981. Thirty years later, Secunda is still working to help Bloomberg develop new features and tools for Bloomberg Professional service (aka The Bloomberg Terminal), the company's primary product that drives 85 percent of its estimated $7 billion in revenue. Secunda sat down with Wall Street & Technology for a nearly two-hour interview that touched on a variety of topics, including Bloomberg's rapid technology development methodology, the state of higher education, Bloomberg LP's legacy and its impact on transparency in financial services, and more. Here are some of the highlights of the interview:

Rapid Technology Development

Editor's Note: Bloomberg's clients noted in many separate interviews that they were impressed by Bloomberg LP's ability to prototype and roll out new features for Bloomberg Professional, often surprisingly fast.

Greg MacSweeney, Wall Street & Technology:Rapid development is something that a lot of firms strive for, often with limited success. How does Bloomberg continually roll out new features to clients?

Thomas Secunda, Bloomberg LP: There are a couple of things. First we're extremely customer-centric. We're big believers in prototyping. We prototype the product and then we put it out in front of our sales force and in front of our customers as an alpha version. We then take what we've learned and build a beta version and we go back out again and test it. Sometimes those testing periods are measured in months, sometimes in weeks. Sometimes in days if it's a specific, small function coming out. Some of our competitors out there are embracing the idea of a browser as new technology. Remember Explorer came out in the mid-'90s. In our world, that's 15 years old. That's not new technology. That's old technology. We've always been more server-based. It used to be called client server, but now it's called the cloud. We have a cloud model, but we've had that model for a very long time. That's what Launchpad is sort of our full Windows 7/Apple OS X version of Bloomberg. We spoke with 220,000 of our customers and showed them the new Launchpad features. We believe that speed is crucial in our business so we've engineered for that speed.