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Associate Spotlight: Meet the Fix-It Man

January 1, 2014
David Kier on thinkScript for TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim
Joe Morse

Before his girlfriend put the kabosh on the dare-devil thing, David Kier—better known within TD Ameritrade's Trader Group as “Mr. Script”—used to speed through Chicago’s morning traffic dodging cars and buses and people on an old Italian road bike he rebuilt himself.

Still a man on a mission, David devotes his professional focus to fixing things—having trained his mind on Nebraska farms in his youth where challenges rose daily. David likes solving puzzles and finding answers. And every day he helps clients get the most out of the thinkorswim® platform.

David joined TD Ameritrade in 2007, working in client-tech support and with the trade-desk team. On the trade desk, he earned a reputation as the go-to fix-it guy. Today, he spearheads charting development for thinkorswim, and also hosts a weekly chat in the thinkScript® Lounge. How did this boy from a low-key farm community become a savvy computer programmer and part-time options trader? We sat down with David to find out.

So, how did you become Mr. Script?

In 2009, I came up to Chicago and met with Guido Espinosa—a very passionate individual who developed thinkScript—the scriptwriting tool that turned thinkorswim into a totally customizable trading platform. I started playing with it. I was a math major in college, so I gravitated toward thinkScript. And I like to problem solve, which is what writing code is all about. I was working on the tech-support team with clients who wanted to use the feature to write their own scripts. There wasn't a big knowledge base for it. So I became the expert. Clients liked it and I started supporting it—hence my nickname.

Why are scripts so popular?

For one, they allow you to manipulate traditional technical analysis. thinkScript allows you to develop something in thinkorswim that’s not preconceived or predefined. You can expand into any direction.

What happens in the thinkScript chat room?

We have a dedicated group of users who know the software inside out. Because thinkScript is so customizable you see unique personalities who really want to do their own thing. We do some pretty intense research that can be enhanced through thinkScript. I show clients unique aspects of the thinkorswim platform that can be enhanced through thinkScript or only accessed by thinkScript. Clients have questions and we can build the answers in the thinkScript Lounge. It's essentially on-demand development.

What's the coolest script you've ever seen?

Oh, wow. I have thousands of scripts on my computer. My buddy in Omaha wrote a script that would draw a snowman on a chart for the holidays.

Got it. So what about a script that relates to the markets?

One client requested something called Angle Swing Count. It defines angles of moving averages and then puts in logic-counting conditions, above and below price.

What's the bigger goal ahead for TD Ameritrade scripts?

To make sure everyone can take full advantage of thinkorswim’s true power. thinkScript helps unlock that potential.

Do you miss biking to work in the snow?

Of course. But, I do help my neighbors fix their bikes through the winter. My house is now a bike shop. And my girlfriend’s happy I’m not at the center of my own video game!

Meet Mr. Script, for Real

Chat with David "Mr. Script" Kier in the thinkScript
lounge Tuesdays, after the market close. Click the Chat icon at the top of thinkorswim (2nd from right), then click the Chat tab, and select 'thinkScript Lounge.'

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