In 2008, a young hotshot futures trader had an idea… Lay a new fiber-optic cable from Chicago to New York. Nothing special about that right? But this one was a bit different. This cable ran in almost a straight line from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to the servers of Wall Street. Straight as the crow flies. Over fields, through mountains and under rivers. This path shaved more than 100 miles off the standard route in use.
Why? To save three milliseconds. Now, three milliseconds are imperceptible to a human, but three milliseconds are an eternity to a supercomputer and the high frequency, high volume traders who make vast fortunes buying or selling stocks a tiny of a fraction faster than the competition.
We all love grand slams, but so often it’s that slight shift, that small edge, those three milliseconds that win the game.