Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks 2009

I wrote this on a plane over the Atlantic heading to Chicago to visit my family for Thanksgiving, followed by a trip to San Francisco (my spiritual, if not familial, home). Maybe it's the maudlin sentiments from watching Julie and Julia, but I realized that I've got a lot to be thankful for this year.

The last time I was coming into Chicago was on a flight from San Francisco, all of 6 hours after I had found out I didn't have a job to come home to. It wasn't a particularly easy trip for me, and it was a pretty bittersweet trip to see my family not really knowing what I was going to do when I returned back to the UK (other than show up to be formally made redundant). Really, I didn't feel like I had a whole heck of a lot to be thankful for this time last year.

This year, I feel like things are completely different.

When I got back to London I immediately set about taking the idea which was OpenGamma and converting it to a Real Company. I pulled in two amazing cofounders, we started doing formal market research, refined the business model and strategy, and started working with potential funding sources. As I've mentioned, we closed a Series A round of investment, have started building the system that was little more than an idea and prototypes, and are pushing as hard as we can to make this a successful company.

It wasn't clear this time last year that it would happen, and a lot could have gone wrong along the way (more than actually did). I'm in a particularly rant-free mood, so let me give some thanks here.

First of all, I want to thank Jim and Elaine for joining me on the OpenGamma journey. Startups really are about founders, and I want to thank Jim and Elaine for trusting me when OpenGamma was nothing but my late-night emails and wildly-gesticulating concepts outside The Audley. You guys took a leap of faith and there's no way that we'd be where we are without all three of us working well together.

Second, I want to thank everybody who helped us pre-incorporation. We talked to a lot of people, and bounced a lot of different ideas off a lot of different people. Without people spending the time to talk to a bunch of crazy guys looking to disrupt financial technology, we never would have come down with a vision capable of being executed into a company. You guys spent time with us when you didn't need to, and when there wasn't any clear payoff to you. Thank you for spending the time and helping us refine our ideas.

I want to thank my family for standing by me and having faith in me and what we were doing. It hasn't been an easy year for all of you guys, but you've been rocks when I've been wavering and had doubts and went through difficult times. It's tough for me to keep in touch from 5,000 miles and 6 time zones, and I don't see my nieces and nephews anywhere near as much as I should do, but thanks for being there for me.

For the people at Big Bank B who took yet another leap of faith, thanks for not only giving me the opportunity to work for you while I was cementing OpenGamma, but for supporting me while I was doing it. I know I wasn't the typical candidate you were looking for, and I only hope that despite my abrasive nature and mercurial temperament I managed to perform at the level you were hoping. Your trust in bringing me in for a contract that gave me the freedom to actually launch OpenGamma hasn't been forgotten.

For my investors and board members, thanks for committing your time, energy, intellect, and capital in OpenGamma. Together, I think we'll create a fantastic business, and I thank you for joining Jim, Elaine and I on the journey.

Finally, I want to thank my husband. I know I've been all over the place over the past 12 months; I know at times I've been completely impossible to be around. I also know the sacrifices you're making giving up your partner to that harshest of mistresses, the early stage startup. But at the most critical time, when OpenGamma was one phone call from not happening, you were there for me. Sometimes I might seem like I don't appreciate you as much as I do, but trust me, I do. Thank you most of all for just being there. Without you, I doubt I would have had anything to be thankful for over the last year.

So yeah, I guess I do have a lot to be thankful for this year.

For all my USAmerican readers, eat some extra Thanksgiving dinner for me. For all my non-USAmerican readers, get yourself some turkey.

And don't worry, I'll be back to my usual abrasive, obnoxious, sarcastic, snarky, angry, ranty self soon enough.

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