eHub Interviews Stocklamp
Thanks to Callum Rimmer of Stocklamp for taking time to do this interview.
eHub: What is your web application/service about?
Stocklamp: Stocklamp is an intelligent real-time search engine that helps anyone with shareholdings to quickly find relevant financial information and market sentiment about their holdings.
Essentially, it allows you to get a general idea of market news without having to read hundreds of articles. Stocklamp can also graphically analyses the data for you.
eHub: Why did you start this project?
Stocklamp: I had some money invested in stocks but didn’t have the time or know-how to micro manage the holdings. I wanted to create a simple tool that crawled articles, analysed them and then told me whether the article was likely to be positive or negative news. I created an app that analysed a few sites for a few stocks. It worked well and actually allowed me to make a bit of money by being able to react slightly quicker to news than other lay investors.
For example, a news article on the BBC website about a bank having profit warnings would a knock on effect for that bank’s stock price. I would be alerted about the negative news on the stock within a few moments of it hitting the BBC; I could then react to it. It was basically a sophisticated RSS feed, tailored to my needs.
Stocklamp is the extension of this idea, but scaled to include all stocks, commodities, markets and sectors (currently FTSE-orientated, but it will be extended to Dow Jones and NasDAQ shortly), in hundreds of media sources and more rigorous analysis. Stocklamp has around 50,000 articles indexed since October and updates every 15 minutes with newly analysed articles.
eHub: How much time do you devote to its growth? Do you have a day job?
Stocklamp: Stocklamp has been in development since September 2009, and I have been developing on a daily basis since.
I am a freelance developer and take short term contracts helping create web applications for differing companies. I am fortunate enough to be able to build Stocklamp in tandem with the short term contracts that I take on.
I shall be devoting 100% of my time to Stocklamp from the end of April.
eHub: How large is your team and what are your backgrounds?
Stocklamp: Callum Rimmer: Founder and Developer
I have helped develop numerous web applications like covestor.com, shipserv.com, traineo.com and vibeagent.com.
I was CTO for MyFootballClub.co.uk from 2007 to 2009. MyFC generated a £2 million turnover in 18 months. It was the world’s first internet owned sports team, and Ebbsfleet Utd Football Club played at Wembley in 2008 in the FA Trophy final.
I created my first start up in 2003 called iFrame. This was a web based HTML editor and education tool. The project got angel investment and sold over 3000 units to clients such as News International.
eHub: What is your design philosophy?
Stocklamp: I concentrate on simple UIs that look fun to use. I normally test all my UIs on non-tech friends and family to see if it is intuitive to them. Less is more.
eHub: What technologies are you currently using?
Stocklamp: Stocklamp is currently built on a Vanilla LAM(PHP) stack. The frontend is rendered mainly on the client side with JS using JSON data. I am currently moving the site to be hosted on Amazon Web Services and re-engineering the search to be powered by Solr.
eHub: If your project is live, what are the most requested features from your users/community?
Stocklamp: The site goes live for private beta on Monday 12th April. I have set up a getsatisfaction account to gather feedback for the users.
eHub: Does your user base reside in a primary geographic location or is it distributed?
Stocklamp: The site is currently FTSE specific as a test bed. This will probably make the initial user base UK centric. Traffic so far is mainly from the US followed by the UK, but there does seem quite a global audience with 71 different countries visiting the site in the last few days.
eHub: Where do you see the project heading in the next 6 months? The next 2 years?
Stocklamp: The biggest job in the next 6 months is to have US and European Indices being indexed and analysed. There is a very long list of road-mapped features that will be hopefully supplemented by user-generated features. There will be a lot of releases and iterations during the next 6 months.
In two years I see Stocklamp being a significant player in the real-time financial search market.
eHub: What is the greatest challenge to your success?
Stocklamp: The lack of a team. I am the bottleneck to Stocklamp’s development, as there is so much to do and so few man hours to do it in.
eHub: What is the one thing you need to get to the next phase of the project?
Stocklamp: Funding to grow a team of talented people to get Stocklamp to where I think it deserves to be.
eHub: Do you have a business model? If so, what is it?
Stocklamp: The business model will be based on a CPM and CPC advertising model; similar to Google.
I am engineering the code to also serve pay-for-content articles from partner sites. A commission will be made from each pay-for-content article served.
eHub: How much traffic or usage do you see on an average day?
Stocklamp: The site has been live since Thursday 8th April and has averaged about 400 visits per day.
eHub: What is the one thing you’re most proud of about the project?
Stocklamp: The clarity of the website; at first the site was crammed with figures, graphs and extrapolations. I have iterated back everything to the essentials and I think the UI and functionality provides the right balance of usability and information.
eHub: How would you describe the shift that’s occurring with the web right now to future generations?
Stocklamp: The vast amount of information and knowledge on the web is intimidating. The web is currently at a stage where you can access it anytime, from anywhere, through a number of differing devices. I think the web from this period will be remembered for real-time information access solving problems in real world situations. Thus far, most web solutions have been to virtual problems.
eHub: What site(s) do you visit or have in your RSS reader other than your own?
Stocklamp: Techcrunch, YCombinator News, BBC, Mashable, Guardian and xkcd.
eHub: How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
Stocklamp: Last night I didn’t get any whilst I was cramming in some development, but normally a standard 7 or 8 hours.
Once again, a big thanks to Callum Rimmer of Stocklamp.