Awards special report


June 2014

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Winning Is Never a Slam Dunk

The path to success often involves a heady mix of inspiration, perspiration and sheer luck. For Walt "Clyde" Frazier, who presented this year's Inside Market Data and Inside Reference Data Awards, the path was far from apparent early on.

A gifted sportsman, he was offered scholarships to play other sports in college, but chose basketball. Having grown up in the racially segregated south, he entered the sport at a professional level just after racial divides had begun breaking down. That was the aspect of luck. But from then on, it was all hard work, becoming recognized as one of the best defensive players in the NBA. It was inspiration that led to the snappy-dressing persona he created, adopting the name "Clyde," and into a career in commentating, but sheer hard work that made him a success: self-conscious of his abilities as a public speaker, Frazier carried a dictionary in his pocket between games to memorize new words and phrases that would make his commentary stand out.

Winning an Inside Market Data and Inside Reference Data Award involves all of these: the inspiration to create new data products and services, the perspiration to make them a reality, and a little luck to give them the boost they need. For example, Markit's Collaboration Services toolkit won Best New Data Product, recognizing its efforts to create a vendor-neutral communication platform. But it was by luck that the vendor launched it just as the industry's de facto IM network came under fire.

Other notable mentions include SuperDerivatives─which in its 14-year existence has won Best Derivatives Provider five times (including four years in a row)─for winning Contract Win of the Year; first-time winner MDX Technology, whose data connectivity and contributions platform has gained an enthusiastic following among commodities brokers since the company's founding by former Gissing Software execs in 2010; and FactSet Research Systems for its acquisition of Revere Data, demonstrating that even with the best-laid plans, success requires a little luck (such as a company being available and willing to deal) and a lot of hard work to negotiate and integrate.
And with best-laid plans in mind, Frazier had some words of wisdom for would-be future awards winners: Nobody ever plans to fail, he said, but many fail to plan. So if you aim to be among the winners next year, start planning your nominations now.

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