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The Q-BA-MAZE Stock Exchange

18

May, 2012

When we first saw the new NYSE corporate logo, we couldn’t help but think that we had seen something very similar to it before.  Then it hit us, Joe’s son has a game called Q-BA-MAZE that bears a striking resemblance to the new NYSE logo.  And not only does it look like it, it works on the same concept that exchanges work.

The goal of Q-BA-MAZE is to build a tower of different shaped blocks and then drop a marble from the top and watch it bounce around and get redirected before it finally exits.  Depending on how you build your tower, the marble could take many different paths.

Winding through every Q-BA-MAZE creation is a pathway for marbles to bounce, drop and roll. With the single-exit and bottom-exit cubes you can direct the marbles to go just where you want them. When they reach a double-exit cube the suspense begins – which way will they go?”

How ironic is it that not only did NYSE choose a logo that looks like a children’s game but that it also has the same strategy.  Think about the marble from Q-BA-MAZE as an order in the equity market.  The order is sent through a fragmented maze of exchanges and dark pools.  The order often makes pit stops along the way at inverted exchanges and “free” dark pools.  It is often redirected before reaching its final destination.  Just like the marble that is bouncing along the Q-BA-MAZE and touched by many blocks, the equity order bounces around the fragmented market place and gets touched by many market centers.  It finally makes it to its destination but not before making a long journey.

There is however a big difference between Q-BA-MAZE and the equity market structure.  Q-BA-MAZE is transparent and you can watch the marble in real time as it travels down the maze.  Unfortunately, no such transparency exists in the equity market since you can’t watch your order as it travels through the fragmented maze of liquidity.

Every time we see the new NYSE logo, we’ll be thinking of Q-BA-MAZE.  Heck, maybe we should submit the name Q-BA-MAZE in the logo naming contest that NYSE is having for its new logo.

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