Forum AMA with Tim Drew, Freetrade Director of Engineering, Thu 11th Nov at 9.30 PM

Following our recent AMAs with Nick Fell and Duncan Leslie, it’s time to travel further afield for this week’s session.

Freetrade Director of Engineering, @timdrew, is up on Thursday taking your questions live from our new Brisbane office.

Tim is a long-serving Freetrader having joined over three years ago. He’s delivered huge projects like our very own brokerage platform, Invest by Freetrade, as well as countless others over the years to lay the foundation for the Freetrade app.

Now based in his native Australia, Tim is growing a team in a new engineering base in Brisbane with some exciting initiatives well underway.

Team Australia celebrating one million users last month with Tim spotted centre, above

Drop your questions here for Tim and he’ll jump on at 9:30 PM on Thursday 11th November to answer them (while he’s having his morning coffee at 7:30 AM on Friday in Queensland) :point_down:


Hi Tim,

Thanks for doing this session. As a big advocate of FreeTrade and our vision for the future I wonder if more portfolio analytics might be on the cards? Eg sector / country / industry split or other things like portfolio ESG score and technical indicators?

Another question. Are there plans for API’s so I could link free trade with other FS / Fintech providers.

Thanks for all that you and the team do :star_struck:


What does your tech stack look like? On what cloud host?

What’s your monitoring like? Do you use ELK stack? Datadog?

How do you build infrastructure that is easily scalable to other countries? Is it as easy as terraform apply to your cloud providers in that country? :eyes:

in 2018 it was reported your entire cloud stack is just serverless functions, is this still true? How does this scale in terms of price? Even more technical question – if your entire tech stack is just serverless functions, how do you battle the cold start problem? Would you consider hosting an EC2-like instance at that point to never battle coldstart, or is the hidden costs of running EC2 too much?


I noticed you use Cloudflare too (I saw your HTTP headers), have you considered Cloudflare workers before?


Are Freetrade jobs remote? I couldn’t see this on any of the job descriptions :pray: (last question, I swear!)


Hi Tim,

The CTO position has been vacant for almost a year now, what impact has that had on the engineering team(s) in Freetrade?

Thanks :+1:


Hi Tim,

A couple of questions on the FT engineering team

  1. What is the current size, breakdown, and locations of the FT engineering team, - any plans for additional engineering team locations in the future.
  2. How do you see the engineering team evolving over the next 1-2 years.
  3. Previously it has been stated that recruiting and retaining engineering staff has been an issue for FT, how are you finding this now.
  4. How do you find managing the remote engineering teams

A couple of questions on the FT engineering development

  1. What development methodology does the team follow
  2. How do you plan to ramp up the rate of new feature development/release whilst retaining stability
  3. Is the intention to continue with in-house development of the stack or utilise 3rd party software where necessary for speed/security.
  4. Given the outages that occurred with the Gamestop saga, what risk mitigation solutions have the team put in place to protect future outages.

I could have thought of a load more but thought I better stop.



Now you are back in Oz their really is 1 question, Marmite or Vegemite? :stuck_out_tongue:


Finally someone asking the big questions! Don’t let him off the hook without a proper answer @Big-g

1 Like

Aren’t they the same? :grinning:


Oh dear, you shouldn’t go there :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


Thanks for the questions so far.

We’ll make sure @timdrew has a strong coffee when he answers these on Friday morning Australia time (and maybe some toast with Marmite on :wink: )

Keep the questions coming!


What’s it like working with Coinbase?

1 Like

Tim, do you manage teams outside of Austrailia? If so, how do you create remote socials for everyone and coordinate it all (same time that works for everyone).

Also, any suggestions for a fun remote social?

Is it challenging reviewing code while upside down?


What is your process to test and find bugs in an application? And how do you rectify this?

1 Like

How much do you rely on feedback from beta testers and how much can you monitor for their activities, to find a big they might not have noticed?

Hi @timdrew

Do you know why the app seems to take up different amounts of space. Same version and on iOS?

Thanks :ok_hand:t2:

Hi @timdrew as an investor and longtime user I am rooting for you and the team.

Have you considered multi-cloud from a High Availability and security standpoint? It seems you are pretty much standardized on GCP.

A few people have mentioned the outages and vacant CTO position and I wonder if the two of these are linked from a lack exec level decision making re cloud and performance.


Hey @seanfee great first post! Hope you find this a useful place and stick around :ok_hand:t2: