Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Weekend Trader - Saturday Edition

Well, Grace is indeed having her checkup today and I'm sitting in the BMW dealer's waiting room with lots of time to kill. So let's start the old random thought generator.

Post Blog vs. Pre-Blog Performance - I continue to be curious about the impact the blog has had on my trading performance --which was one of the initial premises for starting this in the first place, and perhaps one area where this unique experiment could provide objective data and results helpful to all. Unfortunately, it still may be too early as 2008 results include about 6 months of pre-blog data and only slightly less than 3 months of post-blog data, so the sample size is pretty limited. Plus, I'm not sure how related September's strong equity spike is to the blog as much as it relates to the general market craziness.

Yet preliminary data shows that results during the first two months of blogging were about the same as the pre-blog results. Keep in mind I had my annual brain cramp right after starting this ... otherwise post-blog results would have been stronger. This third month (September's performance) then skews the results significantly to the blogging side, but again linking that solely to the blog is a pretty large and likely unrealistic leap.

I do feel, however, that the blog has contributed positively at least in some manner, due to (a) using this as a true diary and causing me to objectively think out loud (thanks Dr. Brett), and -- in my case -- (b) purposely feeling just a bit of public performance pressure which I really think has helped me stay focused and motivated.

It's interesting how different people are affected by pressure. Early in my trading teaching and writing career, there was clearly self-imposed pressure that affected my performance negatively. Yet at this point in my life, I find the exposure invigorating and helpful. I'm not sure why or when that switch flipped, but it clearly did.

Crazy? - I'm sure some following even just part of this blog & journey wonder if I've lost my marbles -- meaning all the talk about Olympics, races, laps, that French guy to my right, a silly countdown clock, etc. etc. And while I'm sure at the age of 47 that I don't have all of the marbles I had in my 20s, I think I've actually kept -- and even found -- a few pearly ones.

Stating the obvious, it's all about motivation. I remember when I was very young throwing a tennis ball against our garage, pretending I was pitching in the World Series. A strike was inside of the middle four garage door panels, and a ball was outside (the imaginary batter of course never swung or simply missed). And if I walked a batter, gave up a run, or lost the game, I'd simply clear the mind and start over. Who knew it was a future trader in training?

Or maybe I'm just crazy :-).

Aftermarket Trader Lounge - After checking the latest conferencing options, I've set up a PalTalk (which I've used in the past) video & text room for when we decide to go ahead with the idea. I'm still looking into options that allow for some security -- maybe via one-time email registration ... not sure yet -- without making it overly complex. Unfortunately there are some crazies in this business that I won't put up with for a second. I'll keep you posted on where the effort stands.

Consistent with your input, I'd keep it small and in a true "lounge" format to shoot the bull (meaning it's not a Don lecture on how to trade!) I'm thinking once a week on a Friday or Sunday night. If you're interested, you can sign up for a free PalTalk account and check out the software. You won't see the room appear until the designated time, but it will appear in the Business/Trading section at the scheduled time. If you have a preference in terms of day, that would be helpful as well.

Poll - I'm admittedly curious as to the general level of experience of folks "looking over my shoulder", and have added a poll in the left hand margin. There's no hidden agenda at all ... I'm just curious if you'd like to take a few seconds and let me know.

Rut Ro - Just got the news on Grace ... she needs new brakes, coil springs, and axle rods to the tune of $3K+. Getting old sucks ... but as I've said before, it beats the alternative.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.


r said...


This post about pre-blog and post-blog is interesting in regards to timing. I just noticed my own trading journal has gotten a little wordy lately, as if I'm trying to explain myself intra-day (to my future self I guess as my trading journal is private).

I went back to review periods of sustained success and noticed that I'm better at staying focused during the day if I leave the narrative for close of business. Granted, most of those end-of-day notes are from memory, but I find the simultaneous trading/narrating to be a big distraction for me.

Looking forward to the traders lounge.


Don Miller said...

Hi Jack -

I agree. If you notice the timestamps of most of the posts, you'll see I normally start them after the morning session, or sometimes after the DAX session but before the U.S. session ... in other words, during times when I typically wouldn't -- or shouldn't -- be trading.

And since I tend do most of my trading in the A.M., I'm not usually doing anything other than focusing on trading, and then the first post is often from memory here as well.

I do recall a couple of times since I started this where I lost focus because I was typing, but it's been rarer than I would have thought.