Fighting Crime & Protecting Vulnerable People Using Gherkin, Autism & a Half-Built Kit Car

Apr 17, 2018


This talk tells the story of how Mike and Jamie built ERMI, a tool for detecting financial crime. Mike is an expert in preventing financial crime and money laundering and Jamie is an autistic developer who normally focuses on digital accessibility. They have been friends for over a decade.

While working together building a kit car called “ERMY” they got talking about work and discussed the frustration with the tools for monitoring financial activity. Transaction monitoring rarely delivers value to the user while costing a fortune. Easily detectable crime goes undetected either because the tools are too rigid or unaffordable to those who need them.

This discussion slowly evolved (often while at least one of them was under a car holding a spanner) until they started to play. With Mikes knowledge of regulations and crime, and Jamie’s software skills could they build something? Would it be useful to other people? Could they use their experience of building cars together to build software?

ERMI was born. A lightweight transaction monitoring tool. Along the way they had to reconsider everything from the way data is stored to the way users get results.

This talk covers:

  • Effective collaboration between disciplines (managing information asymmetry and developing a shared understanding of the legal and the technical sides of the tool)
  • How Mike and Jamie harness the strengths of autistic thinking (and manage some of the difficulties)
  • Developer productivity, delivering value from tiny resources without external funding.
  • Scaling using docker / cloud
  • Automation, BDD process and planning.