An Unlikely Expert

Rohanna Wise

I used to be a trader in energy commodities. This was in the mid-1990s – I was in my twenties and had taken a temp job in the HR department of an energy trading and marketing company. After a short time, I was offered a position on the trading floor, which was very exciting for me at that time. Despite my gross lack of any real job experience – I had enjoyed a short stint as a waitress after graduating – I remember navigating the trading environment and having ideas about better ways to execute some of the specific tasks that formed part of my job: thoughts such as “wouldn’t a computer do this better?”

It was a nagging notion, even back then, that technology should be playing a greater role in what we were doing. We were using large cumbersome spreadsheets and highlighters on printouts, and making phone calls to complete trades, all things that now seem archaic. Of course, now it is clear that a computer can do most of these things faster and with greater accuracy than the sharpest trader. Automation allows talented, well-paid people to add more value to their organisation. Back then, I used to feel frustrated by the choppy and inefficient software solutions available. I could

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