My latest project: Freerisk
For the past few months, between writing books and my day job, I’ve been working on a project with my friend Jesper called Freerisk.
A few months ago after we first heard Tim O’Reilly’s “Work on stuff that matters” speech, we started talking about what issues, besides the environmental concerns mentioned in his speech, were import to us that we actually had the skills to work on. We came to the idea of how hackers could help the financial system, particularly when it came to evaluating default-risk of companies or looking for fraudulent behavior.
The financial system itself has always been very closed. The government republishes filings by the SEC in a variety of messy formats, but those who want clean data need to pay subscription fees and have very limited republication rights. So our plan is to make Freerisk a huge open data store of financial data taken primarily from company filings. It’s all going to be available to download or query using standards like SPARQL.
On top of that, there will be APIs for building risk models and submitting your results. We hope to show that “financial hackers” can come up with more interesting and accurate calculators that can model a wider variety of risk scenarios.
If you’re interested in this, several people have written about the project:
- Harvard Business Review
- Fast Company Interview
- O’Reilly Radar on Freerisk
- Innovation Lab Write up (Danish)
- Next 6 Presentation Followup
We’ve also given several presentations. The O’Reilly emerging technologies conference was kind enough to make and post a video of our talk there (this was our first one, so it’s a little rough, but it should give you a good idea!)
We are looking for people who are interested in getting involved in this project. We have started a discussion group called Open Finance Hackers (just started, nothing there yet). If you’re interested in this at all, please email me and join the group.