Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Weekend Trader - I Dreamed a Dream

Some tidbits on a Saturday morning, and I'll save the best for last.

Trader Tax Legislation Feedback - Many thanks to one of our readers for forwarding me a response from Barney Frank to his letter opposing crazy-man Defazio's tax idea. Included in Mr. Frank's response was, "As Chairman of the Financial Services Committee and one who is aware of which banking-related bills have the likelihood of becoming law, I can tell you that I see no chance of this legislation passing the House."

I guess we can call that a "frank" response. Thanks Mark.

Newbie Primer - For new onlookers to this intensely personal journal, here are my recommendations for best approaching what is now a 337 electronic page diary.

1. Read the FAQ link, which will explain what this diary is and isn't about.

2. Read each of the key posts in the lower left hand margin. And while it's tough to distinguish which are my favorites, my top five - in no specific order - are:

- That "One Thing" From City Slickers (includes the famous movie clip with Curly)
- Perfecting Imperfection (a self-interview later syndicated)
- The Svithjod Rock (also syndicated and printed in the New York Trader Expo Catalog)
- The Jazz Trader (again later syndicated)
- The Chinese Bamboo Tree

3. Upon entering the blog each day, stare at the countdown clock for at least five seconds before reading the current post to put this brief moment on the planet in perspective. Unless you're really bored, then you can forget the five second cap. And yes, I do personally look at it each day.

4. Remind yourself daily that trading is a perpetual journey of self-expression and self-discovery. My good days may be other's bad days and vice versa. Essentially, each daily post reflects a single brick whose relevance by itself is meaningless except when combined with other to form the building. And remember all bricks have imperfections.

Transcript of presentation to Linda Raschke's Team - I've now posted a permanent link in the left margin linking to the transcript from my talk on April 8. Looking back at it, it's a decent summary of my perspective on this business and personal journey over the last decade, and I encourage those interested to check it out. There are also other good guest lectures there, and it's all free.

I Dreamed a Dream- And I would be remissed if I didn't link to the incredible inspirational video of Susan Boyle who shocked the world recently on Britain's Got Talent with her rendition of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables.

It needs no introduction, aside from saying how great a feeling it is to work your ass off for years in private, take a very public risk with all your imperfections that few would ever dare to, achieve your dream, and prove a world of naysayers wrong. Sound familiar?

If this doesn't give you chills, please have someone check your pulse.

Sort of makes you want to trade your heart out next week.

Oh, and she's 47.

Have a wonderful and inspiring weekend.


Nat said...

Paul Potts is a great one too:

James Edwards-Marche said...

It takes that extra something to be able to achieve the almost impossible with a bunch of cynics telling you "you can't do it".

Moving performance. Inspirational too.

Aequitas said...


Long-time follower, first-time "poster" :-)

Just wanted to let you know how much I've enjoyed your sharing on this journey.

I also wanted to thank you for posting about Napoleon Hill's book "Think and Grow Rich". I would recommend this book as mandatory for all new traders. For me it has helped tremendously with my current psychological hurdle ["phase"] of paralysis with pulling the trigger. The book [and your blog] have helped in the "faith" dept. The desire has always been there but after getting slammed the first time as a new trader, the psychological trauma I attached to that experience has taken some time to overcome. Your blog and the book have helped tremendously. Thank you.

I found it interesting that in Hill's book he tells of a story very similar to Susan's Boyle's..almost verbatim. Another example of how a "burning desire", "persistence" and not letting failure translate into quitting are the necessary qualities one must have to succeed in any endeavor. Certainly if there was a "Holy Grail" with trading these qualities would be very close.

Thanks again for taking the time to post. It is a tremendous effort.


Trader Kevin said...

Great win by the Bulls today, it's very challenging playing five on eight. Dang, that was some absolutely brutal officiating and home cooking for the Celtics.

Don Miller said...

Hey Chris/Aequitas -

What took you so long? :-).

Yes, that's a great book in my view, and was first brought to my attention about two decades ago.

Personally, I get inspired to ramp up performance any time I'm challenged, and all critics usually do is force me to focus all the harder.

As I said on 12/31/08, "... I owe all of them my deepest thanks. For they simply strengthened my resolve ..."

Those that ultimately persevere do so no matter what. Those that can't usually simply complain about those that do.

There's the stage and the audience ... choose one :-).


Don Miller said...

Kevin -

Yea ... the officiating was pretty bad both ways. The Cs were essentially cooked when KG went down for the year, and I just hope it's a relatively quick and painless death.

Thankfully, we're now officially back to a hockey town, and I'd love to see a Bruins/Blackhawks final.

B's/Habs tonight.


Bluebear said...

I just started viewing your blog after linking to it from LBR's website. You are a breath of fresh air...keep on keep'on!! Thanks for this link to Susan Boyle, I had not seen her and must say it brought me to tears...Here's to the year of the bamboo tree.

Trader Kevin said...

Thankfully, we're now officially back to a hockey town, and I'd love to see a Bruins/Blackhawks final.I've lived in Chicagoland since 1996 and this is the first year anyone is talking about hockey. I've seen more Hawks gear than I can ever remember. Amazing what a difference new (customer-focused) management can do. We can actually watch home games on TV!

Max Ghello said...

Hi Don,

... just to share this video that I find very interesting

as always... thanks!


Don Miller said...

Hi Bluebear -

I admit I've watched it now about ten times. You have to love the panel's expression of shock -- especially Simon's -- when she began to sing.


Don Miller said...

Kevin -

The best thing to happen for hockey recently in my view was High-Def and 50"+ Plasma screens.

I remember as a kid watching on UHF rabbit ears through snow on the screen.

A good team of course doesn't hurt either.


Don Miller said...

Max -

Interesting link on the paradox of choice, especially when one relates it to trading in terms of needing to choose:

In general ...

- a trading vehicle (market)
- a style
- a pattern or patterns
- screen size
- # of screens
- broker
- commission package
- leased CME vs. Retail commissions
- chart provider
- internet provider
- chart & internet backups
- business design

And then daily with hundreds of constant micro-decisions required on ...

- current pattern recognition
- pattern interpretation
- an entry point
- an entry size
- scale in or full in?
- an exit point
- an exit size
- scale out or full out?
- a time to be actively in the mkt
- a time to be on the sidelines

As was said in the video, more choice can be harmful, and such is certainly true in trading ... especially for the unfocused.



Jason S said...

I'm not into reality TV, or any other TV in fact, but I absolutely loved that clip!
I get that exact same roll of the eyes from anyone I tell that I want to be a professional trader. Boy are they in for a surprise.

Max Ghello said...

excellent check list Don. thanks!

yes! absolutely! k.i.s.s

top 4 in my mind:

-plan your work - work your plan
-keep it simple
-just do it
-keep walking


I think everything is included in these 4 points

Severino said...

That version of Susan Boyle had 31 million viewers. There are also a few that has had 8 million and so forth. Even minus Don’s 8, that is a lot of hits.

What is the message in that?

I guess this internet thing is for real, good or bad.


steve said...

Don, Boston is nice! I'm here for a very quick trip while wife runs marathon. Wanted to also test out trading on a 15" laptop; it works so far!

Trader Kevin said...

Don, you've repeatedly stressed looking at multiple time frames. It's interesting that we have very similar styles of speculation, but on different time frames. We're both looking to fade emotional extremes, you for a few minutes, me for a few days.

I got short Friday and covered on yesterday's close, so it was a dark green day for me. (Not bragging, as I take my hits too, just illustrating what you've talked about with everyone needing to find their own style.)

Glad you stayed out of trouble on a day that's not good for your style. Hopefully you're benefiting from today's "day-after-trend-day" action. I'll wait for a better entry that I can hold for 1-5 days.

You've also talked about bad beats in poker feeling worse than trading losses, despite the former being a much smaller dollar loss than the latter.

On Monday night I was playing a single-table no-limit online tournament. I worked my way to heads-up with about an even chip count. I got all the money on the table on the Turn with a straight against two pair, only to be whacked on the River by a 4-outer.

The difference between first place and second place was about 1% of the money I made yesterday, but dang, it sure did bother me. Weird.

I'm with you on poker being a great teacher for trading. In fact, that's why I started to play, after reading an excerpt of "Positively Fifth Street" and learning that Susquhanna Investment Group (a large options market-making firm) uses poker to train their traders.

One final note as long as I'm rambling. You've mentioned the importance of shopping for price and service. If anyone is paying more than $5 per round-turn, they need to find a new broker. I pay $4.80 for an emini round-turn from a firm that caters to professionals.