As with most things in life, it’s safe to assume that each person will see what she/he wants to out of The Hummingbird Project.
There are no shortage of people in the world who will look for every opportunity to assert the evils of Wall Street. The excesses, culture, and irresponsibility portrayed in Liar’s Poker, Wall Street, Flashboys, Wolf of Wall Street, etc. will no doubt conjure images of heartless, unmitigated greed.
As a result, a healthy dose of curiosity accompanied the audience at our private screening of this movie, where the focus was building a faster network to deliver a business advantage. As luck would have it, the mix of Hollywood plot devices and seemingly familiar anecdotes and stereotypes for anyone who has been involved in FinTech, made for an enjoyable event.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
For me, some of the things that rang true were:
Some of the plot devices that were a bit off, however, served to drive some of the post-movie conversations. In terms of where the filmmaker took some interesting liberties...
Some additional movie trivia and fun facts:
A Working Optical Network was Built
Wanting to create a realistic datacenter space, the movie directors tapped Belden a leading manufacturer of Cabling & Fiber Optics as a consultant to train the cast on how to properly run and setup their network.1
Fiber vs Microwave did Happen
Few outside of the trading universe probably will recognize the source material as being the story of using technology to shrink latency between Chicago and New York. Spread Networks straighter fiber network completed in 2010 took round trips times to ~13 milliseconds. McKay Brothers – minus Selma Hayek’s spying and bullying tactics – completed their microwave network in 2012 at ~9 milliseconds.2
Anton’s fascination was probably inspired by a 2012 Wired article on high frequency trading that in the concluding paragraphs included this quote:
“It is only a matter of time, perhaps a few decades, says Alexander Wissner-Gross, a Harvard physicist, before some hedge fund decides it needs a particle accelerator to generate neutrinos, and then everyone will want one. Yes, they travel slower than light, but they indisputably can tunnel through the earth, cutting thousands of miles off an intercontinental message.”3