Frank gets his news exactly the way he wants it.
"I was frequently frustrated by an inability to get all the news I needed, from only the best sources and all in one place."
An API “simplifies programming by abstracting the underlying implementation and only exposing objects or actions the developer needs."
I admit it – I’m a lifelong news junkie.
I started as a college radio newscaster, was a part-time AP radio reporter, and wrote and produced television newscasts in New York and San Francisco. I then transitioned to media relations where every day I researched, assessed and contacted news sources, finding those valuable or useful to my clients. Throughout it all, I was frequently frustrated by an inability to get all the news I needed, from only the best sources and all in one place. RSS readers or Google News didn’t come close.
Purely as a weekend project to scratch my own itch, I decided to build an advanced news aggregator for Apple enthusiasts and (AAPL) investors like me. With the help of developer-coder-mystical technician Thomas Beutel, we debuted the Apple Investor News (AIN) website in 2007. It’s an always-updating curation of web headlines relevant to AAPL investors, parsed into eight sub-categories.
We expanded the concept to Tech Investor News (TIN) in 2011, covering multiple tech companies and topics. I selected web-based news sources, categorized by personally crafted semantic filters. Investors and techies seemed to like it, and TechCrunch, Barron’s, Mashable and others gave it high marks.
Expanding the Concept
Tech Investor News drew the attention of some news sites and bloggers interested in headline columns (widgets) for financial news in all sectors. At the time, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) were growing in popularity because, as Wikipedia explains, an API “simplifies programming by abstracting the underlying implementation and only exposing objects or actions the developer needs.” This was clearly the most elegant way to deliver our curated content.
So my TIN team built the first API to power news delivery beyond our own sites. For several years this service sent headlines to Marketwatch.com as well as financial advisor and Bloomberg columnist Barry Ritholtz’s well-read blog.
Then came our first major partner, Xignite, Inc., under the leadership of founder Stephane Dubois. Xignite is a pioneer of API delivery for financial market data. At the time, Stephane was seeking a third-party replacement for its financial news headline product. That service had to be a cloud-delivered API.
Battle-tested & Enterprise-ready
Working closely with Xignite, we rebuilt our platform into an enterprise-grade system. Eventually our API became the white label replacement for Xignite’s GlobalNews headline service. We had a few growing pains, but kept listening to customers, adjusted accordingly and did it all with 99.999% uptime. Our API is currently delivering to multiple Fintech and financial services customers via Xignite GlobalNews.
Now with the introduction of the Alpha News Stream portal, we’re opening up our API to all customers directly. We’re battle tested, easily scalable and ready to serve any organization that needs a financial news headline service.
There are several people I’d like to thank for their help on this ongoing journey. Doug Taylor provided much needed guidance in our pre-launch phase. Kin Lane, the API Evangelist, guided us toward a frictionless, developer-friendly portal. Chris Lamb helped me get familiar with the broader market data landscape. And many thanks to Stephane Dubois of Xignite for trusting our platform.
On our immediate build team: Thanks to Bruce Barton for his impeccable quality assurance efforts, as well as many helpful suggestions along the way. Bryn Howlett designed the Alpha News Stream website and developer portal and graciously kept pace with my many tiny changes and preferences.
Finally there’s the amazing Thomas Beutel. Thomas got me started with the Apple Investor News site and its various incarnations. He almost singlehandedly built the ANS platform – the newsreader-categorizer, our six-stage tagging features, the API servers and multiple features he invented. If it were not for his ingenuity, creativity, patience and engineer’s curiosity, I could not have fulfilled my vision.