About the Author

StockWizard.com, and StockWiz.com, were established in 1995 and, by definition, are some of the earliest websites on the web.

But the "StockWiz story" starts two years before that. At the time, I was living in New York City and had an IBM AT in my apartment.

That "IBM AT" was state of the art, with a 20 MB disk! It was the next generation PC (after the IBM PC) and it felt like a crime to have such a computer being idle most of the time.

I was looking for ideas on how to use that computer around the clock performing something useful and, hopefully, profitable.

The idea of mining stock market data came naturally (since I was working at a major Wall Street firm as a computer programmer after my studies at Columbia University).

I can even argue, that (perhaps) I am the first person to use the term "data mining".

But I needed data. I found an online community in New York City called FFN (the Free Financial Network), which simply was one PC with 100 phone lines (and 100 modems).

In other words, people can use their analog telephone line, call in using their modem to one of the modems of the FFN, (pay per-minute-fees to the phone company, like a regular phone call), and chat via text with anybody that was connected on that network at that time.

Also, someone was posting stock market price data on that system, which I was able to download for free.

The year was 1993 and this is important. Because the data on that "electronic bulletin board" did not include Open prices.

I started collecting both the historical data and the daily updates. In 1995 I moved to Seattle and I started StockWiz.com as a business.

It was only in 1996 that I started including Open prices as well (besides High, Low, Close, and Volume).

And here I claim this is the reason many online vendors of historical data now on the web, only sell history that goes back to 1996!

Now, on that bulletin board, I mentioned that I was writing a program to analyze the data. StockWiz was then an MS-DOS application.

Soon, other users started asking me for copies of the software and they were suggesting additions. This is the first time I came across the term "technical analysis".

For better or for worse, this diverted me from my original goal to develop software for my personal use, to writing software for others.

And so, in 1995, I made the trip west to Seattle. As a funny comparison, Jeff Bezos made the same trip a year before me! (and no, I never made millions or billions).

For the record, I had an interview with Amazon when they had 22 employees, somewhere in a small building in the south part of Seattle.

They did not hire me. They were looking for someone excellent with SQL, and I never liked databases. For me, and many others back then, databases were something banks used. I did not want to work for a bank. I wanted to manipulate those C (and C++) pointers and get incredible things out of a smart program.

Indeed, I managed to compress 10 years of daily prices for almost 10,000 US publicly traded companies into 10 MBs of data. Please note that we are talking about megabytes and not gigabytes, etc.

Also, for the record, when I applied to the USBank in 1995 to accept credit cards over the web, the whole Board of Directors of the bank had to meet and decide. (They gave me a positive reply!)

The business did well until 2007, or so, when online brokers became a new trend. Those brokers were paying as much as a dollar a click for terms (on Google Search) of "stocks", "stock market software", etc.

So, this made it impossible for me to continue advertising on Google, etc.

Also, those brokers started giving away for free similar software to mine.

The final straw was when lawyers representing exchanges started asking questions about the source of the data I was reselling. By then, those exchanges figured out that they could also make a lot of money from selling their data, and they squeezed the market hard.

Because I was not ready to essentially work for free, I simply terminated the business.

It was also a very esoteric business. I was selling software to people with a Windows machine, who were actively managing their investments, knew enough about programming and the stock market to write their trading formulas, had to maintain their database every day, and run their formulas on the copy of the software I provided on their machine.

Now, that I am closer to retirement age and have some free time, I am revisiting the issue, but instead of making software and data available for a monthly subscription, I make reports available online for free.

Funny enough, what took me years to write back in 1993, now takes me days. My database is a few gigabytes but I do not care to optimize it, because my disk is huge. I even keep all prices in memory when I do the calculations, because, again, I have a lot of available memory.

Anyway, this is my story, and I am sticking to it!

Savas Savvides CEO Webium LLC Seattle, WA