An entrepreneur who left Goldman might now be risking getting sued by the company for disclosing proprietary information.
After working at the firm as a quant for a few years, he recently chose to reveal what Goldman’s inner trading system looks like on his new tech start-up’s website.
The Goldman Sachs risk system is called SecDB (securities database), and everything at Goldman that matters is run out of it.
The GUI itself looks like a settings screen from DOS 3.0, but no one cares about UI cosmetics on the Street. The language itself was called SLANG (securities language) and was a Python/Perl like thing, with OOP and the ORM layer baked in.
Database replication was near-instant, and pushing to production was two keystrokes. You pushed, and London and Tokyo saw the change as fast as your neighbour on the desk did (and yes, if you fucked things up, you got 4AM phone calls from some British dude telling you to fix it).
Regtests ran nightly, and no one could trade a model without thorough testing (that might sound like standard practice, but you have no idea how primitive the development culture is on the Street).
Unbeknownst to most of the non-strategists, you could see basically every position and holding across the company, whether you were supposed to or not.* The whole thing was so good, I didn’t even know what an ORM really was until I started using Rails and had to wrestle with ActiveRecord. The codebase was roughly 15MM lines when I left, and growing. I suspect my retinas are still scarred by the weird colour blue SecDB was by default.
For more on what happens inside Goldman, meet Goldman’s burger eating champion-for charity, Rich Rosenblum >>
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