Monday, December 29, 2008

Special Post - 2008 Year-End Grades

Time to hand out year-end self-grades for this trader.

2008 Report Card
Student: D. Miller
Grade: 10th Year
Age: 47
Major: Short-Term Market Trading

Patience: C
Student occasionally enters too soon and doesn't hold strong entries long enough. He also seems a bit over-eager at times to get started in the Europe and Globex sessions when his success clearly has historically been accomplished in the U.S. day session.

Focus: B
Student is sometimes distracted by non-market obligations, which while they can't be eliminated, can be managed better at times. Also, twice during 2008 he should have cancelled non-market activities for markets that were primed to move strongly, and as a result he incurred significant market opportunity cost. At other times, his focus was intense as was the case during much of Sep-Nov, especially after initially getting knocked around. His focus certainly did drop after the first week in December, yet I can't fault him too much and he did well to avoid major damage by scaling back.

Dedication & Commitment: A
Student showed strong dedication throughout the year, intensifying efforts even further in July with the launch of his blog which helped him keep his mind focused on the 2008 task at hand. He ate, drank, and slept with the market in 2008. This is the highest grade I've given him in this category since I've known him.

Adaptability: B
For the most part, student adapted well to changing markets and his own rhythms, although sometimes at some high initial cost which prevented me from grading him higher.

Tenacity: A
Student never gives up. Ever. When he finally goes, he'll definitely go kicking and screaming. This was probably the greatest reason for his 2008 results.

Plays Well With Others: B
Student did well to openly share his ongoing struggles and successes throughout the year with the public. And while I would have graded him higher if he didn't babble so much about the dark side of the industry, I have a strong feeling he'd rather accept the B.

Overall Potential - Incomplete
Tough to say. Student seems to have some potential, but he has to learn to stay out of his own way at times. He definitely still needs some work.

Suggestions for 2009:
Have some fun in 2009 and don't take life so seriously at times. The market will still be here in 2010 if you want to run another race. Also, don't take yourself so seriously all the time ... no one else does.

5 comments:

Chuck said...

Don,
Congratulations for pushing the envelope in 2008. You do us older traders proud (I outrank you agewise). My guess is you will abandon that $1 goal for next year as it won't be the same without the challenge. And you love a good challenge or else you wouldn't be at the poker table so much. The brain gets rusty when we take it too easy. That doesn't sound like you. PS: My computer isn't going to blow up when your countdown clock hits zero, is it?

Brock Eide said...

Hey Don,

I've been following along since September and have benefited hugely from your blog. You've been a tremendous inspiration to me on many levels, not just for your skill as a trader, but for the way you've handled your success (though I have to admit, though, that as an MD I've been a bit worried at times by how hard you drive yourself!). In thinking about what you might want to do with this blog for next year to sort of rekindle your trading passion, I wonder if you've considered trading an account for a favorite charity or charities? I'm not nearly at your level as a trader--yet!--but I've found that the simple act of giving more away the more I make keeps the flame alive while actually diminishing the pressure. Maybe if you traded, say, January for the Boys Clubs of Boston, February for an orphanage in Rwanda, March for Traders Anonymous, April for the Society for the Prevention of Market Gurus, etc., it might give you a new sense of mission for keeping your nose glued to the screen everyday. You've already proved with this blog that you're an incredibly generous guy who enjoys helping other people. This might be a way of expanding your joy.

Thanks again, and I hope your New Year is as incredible as this one has been.

BLE

Don Miller said...

Hi Chuck -

No idea on what will happen to the countdown clock ... I was wondering the same thing myself.

I also have no idea on how long the $1 goal will last. My main initial thought is to not try and kill myself by repeating 2008.

But we'll see how it evolves.

Don

Don Miller said...

Hi Brock -

Thanks for the comments.

Your idea of trading for charity is intriguing. As I think about what road(s) to take in 2008, I'll give it some serious thought.

I'll keep you posted.

Don

Benjamin said...

Hi Don,
couldnt help but weigh in on the discussion of your plans for next year. I wondered if you would reconsider your idea of trying to trade a smaller account up to something proportionately larger. ie, 20k to 100k or 50k to 200k. the triple digit returns required would provide plenty of challenge while not risking this years hard won prize. the new and struggling traders are invariably trading small lots (if not they should be) and im sure would get great benefit watching you do it. Whatever you do, congratulations on your results for the year, have a great new year and thanks again for taking us on the ride.