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The Cyber Home of Jeffrey Donovan

[1986 - 1993] - Slatkin & Associates, SSI, RAD Software

In 1986 at the age of 25 I was approached by the investment group Slatkin & Assoc. (referred by a mutual friend), to develop technical analysis software for the equities markets, based on their own proprietary fomulas. Several people had told them that at the time, because of the scope of data they required and the functioanlity desired, such a prioject would simply not be feasable. I told them it was and one week later started to plan the first code draft. Once actual coding began, 1/2 through the first revision I realized I made a crucial design flaw and that I would have to redesign and start from the beginning. I immediately informed the company of this and proceeded to work 16 hrs a day at no charge until I was once again 1/2 through the second revision. Upon successfull completion of the project I was hired on a full time salaried basis and thus began my career designing software for the equities markets.

During my stay at Slatkin & Associates my duties included:

  • Maintenence of all systems and networks.
  • Design and implementation of all analysis software, charting software, quote feed software, database software and maintenence software.
  • Research, development, coding and testing (both presnt and historical) of all proprietary techincal indicators and filters.
  • Research, coding and testing (both presnt and historical) of all known public domain techincal indicators and filters.

It is at Slatkin & Associates that I truly honed my GUI and user-interaction skills as a programmer. While I intend no offense towards my employers, I quickly learned that market traders and technicians were not eager to actually learn or be instructed on a new peice of software, but simply wanted it to "work" as they expected from the get-go. What you have to remember also is that in the late 80's and early 90's, Windows and similar operating systems did not exist. GUI's were built by the application programmer, and every GUI could be (and generally was) different. I was fairly quick to standardize a GUI library that was very clean and robust. This GUI was consistently used throughout the course of my employment there, with minor improvements coded as they came to me.

During my employment at Slatkin & Associates, the entire company was hired to act as concultants for Statistical Sciences Inc., a Beverly Hills investment firm. This inlcuded training the firm on our systems and technology as well as daily interactions as the market provided.

Additionally I formed a small business in 1991, RAD Software, to resell a product I had developed called "Hammer Head", a sophisticated options strategy and pricing tool, and to promote one of the very first online Stock Market sites (then known as "BBS's") to provide news, insights, charts and data to subscribed users. This was of course all approved by Slatkin & Associates and did not hinder my duties there in any regard.

In 1992 business was winding down to a relaxed pace at Slatkin & Associates. Their systems had been developed and were very stable, additional system maintenence personel had been trained, and I was continuing to research new ideas. While researching a possible new representation for market volume, I decided to view this model in 3D. This led to a 6 month excursion into the complexities of 3D rendering and 3D user interaction, a subject I quickly became consumed with. At the time, the virtual reality explosion was just starting in the San Francisco Bay area, and with the blessings and a small initial investment from Slatkin & Associates and others, InWorld VR was born and in March 1993 was moved to the bay area.