Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Weekend Trader - Slightly Off Target

Some thoughts before I head back home late Saturday.

Slightly Off Target - Yes I've judged my at-times lackluster performance harshly thus far this year -- again bottom line wise, not the stupid % daily gains which remains off the charts yet won't continue that way throughout the year -- and I'm starting to confirm one of the key differences I see vs. 2008.

First, last year I often committed every moment of every day to that ultimate test of seeing what I could do with 100%+ dedication that intentionally put me in "fully immersed" mode throughout the year. If you recall, I traded every market day last year, including Europe if it was open when the U.S. had a holiday. This year, I've obviously chosen to increase focus on a few efforts other than trading -- including this trip -- that is allowing me to have a bit more of a life in 2009. In fact if I were to use the current 2009 scorecard to score 2008, you'd likely see only a handful of days where the top line "Ability to Monitor the Market" score would be shaded anything less than medium green. This week's scores on the other hand, show a sharp contrast ... which I plan on improving.

Second, I've decided to avoid trading Europe and the overnight U.S. market much, instead choosing to wake naturally and get more sleep this year. And in doing so, my 2008 hunch that despite my likely net negative results trading that period last year, that overall it aided my later day U.S. performance by helping me get into the flow and get my blood pumping, is turning out to a pretty accurate assessment.

I say that in part because I'm seeing far too many times where I'm coming back from a poor start this year later in the day, which is leaving me less time to find the day's (including overnight) rhythm -- both the market's, and more importantly mine. So as opposed to 2008 when I'd often begin to find my stride say from 5-6am ET after having traded Europe prior to that, now I'm often finding it 10:30am and beyond, which is not normal for a trader who has spent years performing best at the U.S. market open.

So it would seem I have a decision to make in terms of whether I begin waking earlier (not necessarily at 3am, but say 5am every day) or continue as is and accept the lesser outcome.

And while this theory is debatable -- recall we had great back and forth discussion on this last year -- all I can say is I know my inner clock and it's clearly taking me until later in the day to get "warmed up". And this was reinforced yesterday when I watched Europe's open and traded it rather poorly despite some strong setups, which served as additional motivation -- in addition to Wednesday's omission of course -- for making sure I didn't repeat it when the U.S. doors opened.

We all of course have different approaches to trade within the context of standard market biases. And just as there are an infinite number of batting stances one can assume in the batter's box, there's no single right trading "stance", and those that sell such dreams are doing prospective traders a huge disservice. Don't get me wrong, there are important fundamental market tendencies that won't change as long as the sun comes up every day, and some trading "batting stances" will simply never work ... sort of like standing backwards facing the pitcher I suppose. Yet the rest has to fit our personal internal rhythm.

I saw a great Poker interview the other day where J.C. Tran was asked to critique Tuan Le's play (or it may have been vice versa), and J.C. said that Tuan was a great player, but his style would never work for J.C. just like J.C.'s wouldn't work for Tuan.

And such is the balance in sharing this personal diary which reflects strong convictions of what makes me tick and what works for me. A good example is I recall reading some material on another site not too long ago that referenced my fictitious drawdown concept, and the trader indicated that such a mental image would make that person a nervous wreck.

Perhaps revisiting the "Jazz Trader" post -- which btw has now been syndicated twice on commercial trading sites -- would be a good reinforcement for all of us.

Blog Community - Peeking at site stats last night, while the number of onlookers continues to grow, it seems we've leveled off in the 500-600 range of consistent unique weekday visitors to this journey (slightly less on the weekends), who collectively visit the site 600-900 times during the day. As I've said from day one, I really don't care if I'm the only one who reads this, as its primary purpose remains as stated in the first line of the FAQ: "first and foremost a personal historical journal (diary) and motivational tool".

I admittedly remain surprised at the large continuing interest in my babbling -- here's the Google traffic log over the last month and public Alexa traffic link if you're a stats geek. Yet like the market, I suppose trying to understand the "why" behind the reality is merely a waste of time and counterproductive, as it is what it is.

I do get a kick out of occasional spammers who question what I say or why I say it for the sole purpose of trying to get under my skin. And while such comments are extremely rare and I know some of the sources, they provide great comic relief and I laugh every time I see them (before committing them to the spam filter forever, and once they're there I never see them again as future comments are automatically deleted before reaching me), because this remains simply one person scribbling in his diary ... with one notable exception: there's no lock on it and it's not secretly hidden under the bed.

And I suppose it's worth restating that I am not accepting advertising solicitations, which also go immediately into the spam wastebasket, including those stupid Google ads which are making the Internet -- and every trading site I've seen -- look more and more like the National Enquirer every day. For this diary will remain 100% commercial-free and without hidden revenue-producing agenda, aside from the obvious goal of trying to continually improve my own trading and life, while sharing my journey with interested onlookers and providing a platform for professional discussion.

Yes, I've always loved going against "popular" convention ... whatever that means.

Have a great and relaxing weekend.

Monday will be here soon enough.


Steve0617 said...


If you decide to return to a 5am ET wake up, and it's difficult for you (as it is for me), an excellent resource on another terrific blog is this post:

Be sure to read his follow up articles. Smart guy - good stuff and it's all free.

James Stollenwerck said...

I read somewhere people slept ten hours a night until the invention of the electric light bulb when standard sleep per night became eight hours.

Severino said...

I would like to think of myself as a seeker of truth. In my search I have come across one thing that I have carried throughout my life. (I am in Don's age group).

If there was one word that would describe the path to happiness it would be balance.

Balance of:

1. Family

2. Religion

3. Education

4. Career

5. Recreation.

If one of these was in excess, another would surly suffer.

This is just a general post and not meant to be directed at anyone. It is just one man sharing of things learned.

E-Mini Player said...

Thanks for the link SHW! I'm definitely not a morning person but will try this out next week :)

Max Ghello said...

Hi Don,

This is an excellent trade journal for me.

I read it every night. you have no idea how useful it is.

Thanks & greetings from Buenos Aires!


Don Miller said...

Hi Max -

Would love to visit some day ... on my list of things to do before I die :-).


Don Miller said...

Thanks SHW -

I may begin making 5am a ritual at this end.


Charles said...

RE: visiting Argentina...i actually want to "retire" there eventually... it's that good.

And if you want to experience the "Napa valley of S. America", look into the city of Mendoza(on the foothills of the Andes), which is also close to worldclass ski slopes...Argentina is friggin' unbelievable.


E said...


I am up on the next rung of the ladder from you and Don (ok, maybe 1 and 1/2 rungs).

I agree with you and would add #6 as "contributions to others".

That's what Don has done here for all of us :)

"God has a sense of humor; he gives us a comb after we have lost all our hair."

Make it a great week all.