UPDATED 15:46 EDT / APRIL 08 2020

dustin-kirkland-cc-2020 EMERGING TECH

Apex Clearing takes new approach to remote collaboration as it reshapes fintech world

Before most of the world was forced to move online and work from home, there were glimpses into what doing business remotely could look like.

An example can be found in the experience of a university professor who was conducting an interview with the BBC from his South Korea home in 2017. When his two young children suddenly burst in during the live broadcast, the entire event went viral.

Fast forward to 2020, and the professor’s experience has taken on much greater meaning. So, one tech company has sought to head off potential embarrassment by bringing the children of staff members into the mix.

“We start out our weekly staff meeting now and bring the kids in because they’re curious, they want to know what’s going on,” said Dustin Kirkland (pictured), chief product officer at Apex Clearing Corp., a PEAK6 portfolio fintech company. “The first five or 10 minutes of our meeting is to meet the family. It’s really humanized an aspect of work from home that’s always been a bit taboo.”

Kirkland spoke with John Furrier, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. They discussed ways that organizations can adopt new practices for the remote work environment, potential entrepreneurial opportunities in online communication and Apex’s fintech approach.

Fostering virtual teamwork

Kirkland’s career in the tech industry has given him an appreciation for remote work, and he published a list of tips on his Apex blog. His team implemented other virtual forms of sharing that included posting pictures of activities on much-needed breaks during the day, such as walking the dog or going for a run, and making sure to end the week with a team social event that marks the start of a weekend.

“It puts a punctuation mark on the end of the week,” Kirkland said. “If you don’t have some boundaries, it’s easy to go from an eight- or nine-hour normal day to 10- to 12- to 16-hour days. Saturday bleeds into Sunday bleeds into Monday, and the rat race takes over.”

The work-from-home dynamic has not merely reshaped how business is getting done. People are realizing that there are applications for virtual communication that, while helpful, could also see significant transformation over the coming year.

“The biggest opportunities are really around our education system,” Kirkland noted. “I’ve got a kindergartner and a second grader, and there’s limits to what they can do with technology. I think you’re going to see a lot of entrepreneurial solutions that develop in this space, and that’s going from K-12 and into college.”

SaaS model for clearing trades

Meanwhile, Apex is in the business of transforming the financial world. The company provides a custody and clearing engine designed to power digital wealth management.

“We’re software-as-a-service for fintech and brokerage,” Kirkland explained. “We’re well respected for how quickly and seamlessly our APIs can be used by our correspondents in building really modern e-banking and e-brokerage experiences.”

Late last month, Apex announced that it would move to newly developed product development launch cycles in concert with the release schedules of open-source tools such as Ubuntu and Kubernetes, which it uses heavily.

“The key principle is that we’ve taken this and made it predictable and transparent,” Kirkland said. “This is a whole new world.”

Here’s the complete video interview, one of many CUBE Conversations from SiliconANGLE and theCUBE:

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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