All - Please note I've made a correction to the first paragraph of this post after exchanging notes with Tim Bourquin, as he's indicated attendance at next week's NY expo is expected to increase. While my broker has kept me posted on the recent expo environment and attendance trend, I trust Tim's response as co-founder of the original Trader's Expo, and you can find his comment at the end of this post. As traders, we're to correct errors immediately, and so I apologize for the misstatement that was based on another source.
As many of you know, one of the annual trader expos will take place next weekend in New York. And while some expos have dropped in attendance reflecting the industry roadkill left from the hollow promises of the late 1990s and early 2000s -- not to mention the slaughter many experienced in 2008 -- Tim Bourquin has indicated that attendance at this year's NY event is expected to increase in part as the result of people deciding to take personal control of their portfolios.
By the way, I find it interesting in that Poker is now going through an evolution of its own, in that after the initial hype and tremendous exposure received in the early 2000s as the result of increased TV coverage, hole-cams, and of course the Internet, most people are discovering the reality that few will ever be able to master such a difficult skill on a sustainable level, despite the hollow promises of Internet sites and celebrity marketing.
Yet back to trading, I'd like to touch on a topic several have referenced since the blog began -- that of my own evolution from a former trader teaching life -- and explain why you won't find me in New York this weekend.
As many of you know, many years ago I was asked to help teach/coach/mentor (pick a word) traders as the result of my personal record. The requests came from chatrooms, publications, and a global trading site where I ultimately began doing a daily column, and later co-developed several trader training tools -- including simulations that I felt had been sorely lacking in the industry. At one point a while back, I was even named "Director of Trader Development" for a brokerage firm, and often spoke at the national expos.
And while I was very proud of the work that had been done in terms of breaking new industry ground related to trader education (which I insisted always include some component of live trading), it was becoming clear to me as time went on that I was bordering on crossing a line that I vowed I'd never cross in terms of morphing into one that was dedicating more time to selling picks and shovels than locating the gold. Frankly, I was risking becoming a pot to the black kettle, as well as converting my house walls into glass, while at the same time maintaining an arsenal of stones.
In addition, as I was inching toward that line, I was also becoming increasingly frustrated with the challenge of teaching traders, as I took it very personally whenever those under my tutelage struggled. Extremely personally, as I felt their pain. For it was becoming clear to me that despite best intentions and efforts, a tiny minority will ever make it in this business. Further, it also became apparent that many people simply shouldn't be pursuing a trading career, and that it takes far more than a book, CD, DVD, weekend seminar, or a year in a chatroom to fully understand what only experience can ultimately teach.
As a quick aside, many of you have heard me say that I pray my kids don't decide to become traders or marry traders -- for as a parent, it would be hard for me to see them go through the difficult times. Yet I've also said should they make their own independent decision to do so, that I'd support them 100% and arm them with the best knowledge base and seat belts possible, including making sure they watched the classic car crash videos from Driver's Ed. And such is how I approached my trader teaching years.
The best analogy I can make to where my career was heading is to that of Howard Lederer who was -- and still is -- an excellent poker player (he's three years younger than me), yet who became more of a businessman than a player as he co-founded Full Tilt and increased his television analyst work. Frankly, our stories and paths are incredibly similar, up to the point where I decided to stare that line in the face, do an about face, and instead rededicate myself to trading. And deep down, I believe last year's personal mission was in part to prove to myself that I indeed could not only walk the talk, but run it at full speed.
So you won't find me in New York selling shovels and maps next weekend.
I'm a trader, and I'll be at home quietly locating the gold and trying to further toughen the calloused hands.
Enjoy the rest of the long weekend.