Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Notes - Another Journey Begins

6:30pm As I look ahead and transition this blog to appropriately fit the future, we first must look at where we've been to put where we're going into proper perspective.

For me, the last year has been a lot like The Truman Show, where the spotlight was unknowingly placed on one individual who never intended to once again be thrust into it. For this trader was simply going about his life documenting life's lessons and spewing silly movie, sports, and life parables to try to stay motivated and make sense of this crazy art called "trading". Yet a funny thing happened along the way after he opened his inner world to the viewing public ... it became a daily industry viewing spectacle to see "How Don did ... or didn't" or what stupid analogy he'd next come up with to try to maintain focus.

It's been well chronicled via this diary and a host of public interviews that I've been blessed with a multi-million trading bounty over the last few years, which I'll be the first to step forward and say was in part due to being in the right place at the right time. Yet before the uneducated jump on the "See, I told you it was luck!" bandwagon (umm ... as they say, you have to be present to win), what I mean is that a decade of personal trading skill refinement was peaking just as (1) I decided to "get serious" about trading and (2) the market chose to provide the landscape of all trading landscapes.

Or to use our common poker analogy, I had refined my game to a point where I bought into a "virtual" World Series of Poker, got dealt pocket Qs, Ks, and Aces that held up day after day, and even when dealt 7-8, managed to see cheap flops and then play the hell out of the table post-flop to take pot after pot. And yes, I had some bad beats, as well as rare, yet existent "Tilt" play. The only difference was that this "W.S.O.T." (yea, that's "T" for "Trading") went on for much longer than a couple of weeks ... as it lasted for more than a year and still continues to trickle in.

And since July 2008, it's all been chronicled here. Every pain, hurt, and success. Every zone (Did I really not have a losing day in January and go 58-3 in Q1 2009??) and every slump (yea, I've made money over the last few months that many would dream about, but it still smells of a completely uninspiring performance to me personally). The +$70K day. The -$90K once in a lifetime Monday hit ( ...and how the hell did I end that week positive by +40K?).

And if the personal documentation were continue, it would likely be more of the same in terms of what comprises every decent trader's career: a mix of successes and stumbles that ebb and flow in a way where the cumulative successes somehow outweigh the stumbles.

Yet now I'm on a new journey, after deciding to combine my continued passion for this business with my desire to give back to the industry by spending 376 hours over the next two months with 20 people -- who based on today's team sound check -- I feel I already know like family. Said another way, I'm jumping out of my private pool and into a shared tank.

Appropriately, this blog will take on a bit of a different twist for the foreseeable future. For just as my intent in sharing my personal journey over the year was to expose trading for all it is -- and yes, contrary to popular myths, does include losses & slumps for million dollar traders who choose to bare all -- it's now my intent to magnify the same concept further by living it moment by moment with others, and then sharing the experience via the blog and weekly webinars.

I've said many times in these pages that this diary was never about me, and it was certainly never intended as a prelude for a launch back into education. Rather it was about you. Or restating words from when I locked in the 2008 trailing stop ...

"It's said a picture says a thousand words. That's good, because I may be out of them, other than to say I hope this provides inspiration for all who may doubt themselves -- regardless of their pursuit -- and all who are weary. Many told me to write a book. I thought the blog would be better. But that will be true only if we someday see a forest of Bamboos." Don Miller 12-19-08

So for the moment, I'm out of words as the focus shifts from self to team. From teeing off alone at Augusta, to being part of the Ryder Cup. Or like Jim Carey at the end of The Truman Show, from his own private world, to a great exploration of the unknown where he's just one of many.

Look for the first Jellie blog edition on Monday ... as well as Dr. Brett's oh-so-timely post today. .

But in the meantime, as Truman would say ...

"In case I don't see ya: Good afternoon, good evening, and good night!"

It's time to finally get off the boat, quit wrestling with myself, and walk through that threshold to the great beyond:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday Notes - Say It Ain't So

4:00pm With today's unfortunate news of David Ortiz -- one of the the last perceived "clean" power hitters of recent years -- testing positive for Steroids in 2003, nothing seems sacred any more. Yankee fans will have a field day with this one ... and rightfully so.

I admit I'm bummed about this one, although it explains a lot about why his power numbers are down now, not to mention the often-debated pre- and post-Boston pics to the right. Manny was understandable ... he was always clueless. But Big Papi?

And now I think I finally know why my power numbers are down this year. It was those dang steroids I took in 2008.

Oh, and trading ... well, I had my C game on today ... sort of like Ortiz before 'roids. And tomorrow I'll protect every remaining penny of July profit before going underwater Sunday night.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday Notes - Bait Afternoon

5:00pm I recall Lou Borsellino mentioning that he had a rare losing month one summer years ago when there were "no extensions" in a relatively placid range-bound market. And while July will be profitable at this end, it will only be modestly so (although better than June!) as I fully admit I'm not the best summer or range trader, and instead take the opportunity to slow down and reduce trading sizes & number of sequences while casting an occasional line in the water and incurring the cost of bait if necessary.

And this afternoon resulted in a "bait" day as I positioned short on what appeared to be a bull trap shortly before 3pm on a fifth test of recent range lows -- which would have paid extremely handsomely if the bottom fell out in Wile E. Coyote fashion -- before the market held and turned north triggering my scratching the sequence.

Which may beg the question, "Why don't you simply trade the ranges Don?" Simply put, I'm very comfortable in my own skin ... but more on that in a bit.

One of the reasons I chose the "Jellyfish" term to define the current team is that Jellies have to adapt the current in order to survive. Yet as I'll mention Sunday night, I've learned over the many years that adapting often means as much "not trading what isn't your strength" (sorry for the double negative) as is does "adjusting your trading style and trading". Sure, one could try to "master" all markets ... yet can or should a kickoff returner learn to kick? I mean kick well?? We should remind ourselves that sitting out or scaling back is a decision ... and often a correct one. For many, backing off last year's market was the right decision. For me, it would have been the worst as I was like a kicker with a gale force wind at my back ... day after day and month after month.

So we have two choices: Be Jacks of all trades but masters of none, or master the hell out of certain conditions. At this end, I choose the latter and am very comfortable in my skin knowing I'll typically do extremely well in momentum markets with strong pace, order flow, and intraday trends & emotion, as well as post-trend M.A.T.D. exhaustion days, and simply "OK" during other times. And despite the Jan '08 - June '09 "pedal to the floor" self-imposed race when conditions warranted, over the longer term I can more than live with monthly P&Ls that look like Good, Great, Great, OK, OK, Good, etc. etc.

Remember, it's always about the outliers! Or as the 2009 WSOP reminded me again, it's not how many hands you win ... it's how many chips you gain when you do win. If I were to have to sum up a decade worth of trading experience in ten words or less, it would be, "Know thy strengths, and press when you have the advantage."

And along those lines, I'm again seeing more "after the fact" analysis in some sites that seems to make it "so clear" at the end of the day what the market did ... when there's not a soul on this planet that can predict the future and everything remains probability. And while some of these sites mean well, they can actually do some harm by making the readers believe that "they should have known all along"!! I call it the "I Told You So" syndrome, and yes, I'd like to see their trading results ... yet once again, I digress.

Since this diary went public a little over a year ago -- I'm told still one of the few that discuss actual results including losses both small and large -- I've taken some occasional heat from a few uneducated for everything from my trading style to my faith to my current desire to try to improve the current trading education landscape via an unprecedented eight-week non-stop think tank (pun intended).

Yet simply put, one has to be comfortable in his/her own skin. And I'm both extremely comfortable and confident with every decision or "risk" that I take ... whether it be via a specific trade entry, exposing my daily results and deep-seated trading convictions to the public over the last few years, or launching an innovative educational journey.

And on the topic of trading, one of the reasons the Jellie effort will last eight weeks is that some will need that much time to "find" their skin. For while we'll be pounding in market bias and tape reading hour after hour & day after day to guide performance, every trader on this planet has to find his/her own rhythm -- or skin -- and be comfortable in it. The Jellie effort has never been about cloning Don Millers (yea, I know, can the world even stand one?) Rather it's been about providing an intensely focused environment -- shut off from the world -- where both team and individuals can be focused on a common market and a common goal.

My only question is do Jellies have skin??

btw, my many thanks for the tremendous outpouring of support from the industry -- from those at the Merc to Tim Bourquin -- as we get ready to swim in the tank on Sunday. The world is indeed watching. Again.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday Notes - Tale of Two Markets

7:00pm Short post tonight as I have a commitment this evening.

At this end, I had solid ES morning reads and sequences (early long bias on the gap into existing long supports) offset by sub-optimizing the afternoon NQ pullback which was a bit deeper than I was anticipating. First NQ trade for me in a while ... I took the sequence as I liked its relative strength, but the underlying summer order flows remain atrocious and liquidity was a bit tough once the bids dropped. The net result was keeping the streak in tact, albeit well off intraday equity highs.

And tonight, team "Jellie" is officially "meeting" one another via distribution of the team directory with bios, demographics, & photos. The final average age of the 20 traders? 45.5. Prior careers? Everything from Corporate Vice-President to a former NFL quarterback ... and everything in-between.

The tank is ready.

The swim begins Sunday evening.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday Notes - Summer Volumes

3:35pm Well, they're not home runs, but the daily win streak has reached 10 and 14/15 as -- like many of us -- I'm simply trying to keep my head in the game until the traditionally strong fall volume and pace return, and some of my favorite hands get dealt.

And yet again, I made much of my modest keep via the overnight Eurex trade and early U.S. Globex market as Europe's late morning (their time) climb coupled with Friday's late ES support provided decent range expansion opportunities. And while I dipped my toes in the afternoon ES climb, the early morning post-home sales data market lid provided a ceiling I didn't feel much like dealing with -- especially after scratching a post-data release pullback long when it became clear the market had no mojo.

At this end, both my personal volume and number of trade sequences remain incredibly low, and will likely remain that way until we pass earnings season and the current summer market doldrums. btw, there's an inaccurate myth still floating around the 'net that my style makes money only (1) during times of volatility or (2) because I trade "hundreds of contracts at a time". Damned if I know where those came from as I've long traded low volatile markets and can count on one hand the number of times in the last few months that I've had more than a pittance on. Don't misinterpret last year's volumes and risk management strategies!! And yes, I'm still making money, although certainly less than when pace and volumes are better. Yet as I've long said, the only opinion that will ever matter to me is that of my P&L. But I digress.

And so this first day of 100% market focus (OK, I snuck out to soak up some sun with my laptop around noon) ends like most recent summer days ... with both confidence and capital slightly higher than the day before.

Although for some reason, my legs are a little sore.

And yes, the comments remain off for now as my focus is 100% on my own trading for the moment. And right now, the focus is sharp and you don't mess with something that works.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

** VIDEO ** The Weekend Trader

Today, I discuss some key changes in my trading career and office (including why I'm standing in the pic below), as well as respond to a few questions about the upcoming Webinars.

Also, I encourage you to check out today's earlier post about a heart-wrenching local loss.

Enjoy the weekend.

Special Post - To All Who Have Served

There's trading ... and then there's life.

At this end, yesterday was largely about life as my wife called me at about 10:30am and I could immediately sense she was holding back the tears. For news around our small community was spreading fast that Nicholas Xiarhos -- one of our town's most beloved and highly regarded youth, and close friend of my older daughter -- had unfortunately joined those who have sacrificed their lives in service of our country.

And at that point, everything related to trading and wrapping up my other business came to an immediate halt as I rushed to break the news to my daughter.

Yes, as I mentioned in Thursday's post, this is a trading diary. Yet as the top caption has always read, this diary is also a reflection of life's journey as they are so often intertwined. And yesterday reminded me of the gift we've all been given -- especially in this country where we're free to dream and then live out those dreams -- knowing we're protected by the safety net comprised of those who are willing to put their lives on the line.

Over the years, I've always tried to "put my money where my mouth is" and walk the talk. That will never compare to those who instead put their lives on the line, and who walk a far more dangerous and inspiring path.

May God bless Nicholas' family, and all those who are currently serving or who have served.

Look for a very unique "The Weekend Trader" video by noon E.T.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Notes - Will be Posted on Saturday

Busy day, but the streak remains in tact on the M.A.T.D.

More on Saturday.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday Notes - The Hallway of Life

7:15pm While I've referenced my other "non-market" endeavor from time to time, I've purposely kept notes in this trading diary specific to ... well, trading. Yet as my other effort (in the Finance field for those who have asked or are simply curious ... as I put that MBA and all those other initials to decent use over the years) finally winds down after a multi-year stint, it's appropriate to assess where I stand in my own personal journey, as well as where I'm going.

I've always preached that traders -- or prospective traders -- should find some way to have that steady income stream that "pays the bills". Spousal/significant other income, rental property, income on investments, part-time job ... something that allows one to trade with much less stress and to bank 100% of trading profits. And while that's probably the ideal situation, it's likely difficult at best for some to achieve, and has admittedly been a darn difficult balance at this end over recent years.

Many top or well-respected traders have supplemental income, and we can look no farther than those who have done so via the examples noted above. Some have pensions from their former careers. Others have second businesses related to the trading industry (e.g. Dr. Brett's consulting and book income). And still others have income streams completely unrelated to this biz (e.g. one of my students from years past who is a pilot and flies at night).

At this end, it's important to remember that this 18-month +$2.1M run that ended in June -- while featuring more self-imposed market focus, commitment, and tenacity during any point in my trading career -- was accomplished while balancing the responsibilities of another completely separate endeavor that often took my focus off the markets, not to mention family and other obligations ... not to mention this diary! Which begs the natural question, was I helped or hurt by it? Could I have done better with the added focus, or would I have done worse with the added "pressure"? Was the post-race "burn out" in May exacerbated by balancing the two efforts, or would it have happened anyway?

The questions are of course rhetorical and we'll never know the answers in hindsight. And using the future to answer the question will be equally difficult as I'll be generating a modest amount of income from my part-time return to the trader educational field ... although the primary income stream is intended to remain trading, as has been the case since I began pursuing this crazy business a decade ago.

Yet at the end of tomorrow, the door on a big part of my life in recent years will officially close, and I've been working feverishly this week to wrap things up ... including today which took my focus away from the market except for a few brief midday intervals where I didn't see much. Duh, of course the action was early and late! Frankly, I don't think I've ever worked harder than this week in terms of wrapping up that biz, prepping the Jellie effort, and trying to squeeze in some trading to keep my head in the game. Yes, I'm Type A all the way!

And so at the ripe "old" age of 48, I'm entering another phase in my life, one that I enter with extreme satisfaction of past efforts and acceptance of past lessons learned, as well as incredible hope for the next decade.

You see, I don't like to sit still, and like many, I need some sort of periodic personal renewal to keep the blood flowing to take full advantage of every moment we're blessed with on this planet.

Tomorrow I'll close one door and open another one.

This hallway called "Life" ... what a great concept (points upward).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday Notes - "S.O.O.T." Day

3:45pm Yup, I'll call today a S.O.O.T. day, which stands for "Stay Out of Trouble". For I had to miss the Europe session and U.S. general session open to help wrap up some of the final details of my non-market endeavor (only two days left!) ... which if this was May or June would have resulted in some newbie "That's no problem, I'll just make up for it in the later day summer slop" undisciplined trades.

Yet this is July, where I seemed to have at least partially removed my head from my lower half (I know, great visual), and so I was able to keep the feet moving forward with a baby step day largely by staying out of trouble and not forcing things while taking a couple of clips amidst the day's post-open tight range.

So I suppose to use yesterday's Pac Man analogy, today was a single dot day while keeping the ghosts at bay.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday Notes - Staying Ahead of the Ghosts

3:30pm Well, the personal rhythm as of late continued today as both Europe and the U.S. provided some decent intraday range, oscillations, and even ... gasp ... shall we say "pace" as Europe was winding down and the U.S. was starting up.

And the range expansion certainly opened up the intraday profit window a bit as both the DAX (3rd intraday push into 9am ET) and ES (gap and trap) provided some high-probability/low-risk fade entries, letting gravity do most of the work after the premature faders got stopped ... followed by a textbook VIX and three-line break long trigger on the afternoon mini-pop.

And so this recent Pac Man game of slowly chewing away at the daily meals presented to us continues, and I feel a continued sense of eerie calm as all is once again right in this little corner of the world as I get ready to lock myself in a room -- er, I mean tank -- with a family of traders for eight weeks (btw, average Jellie age? 46).

I'm on my game, the consistency is there, I'm not pressing, and I'm slowly but steadily building a modest wave of personal momentum as we continue to meander our way through this summer trade.

Maybe I had it wrong.

Perhaps 2008 was the year of staying ahead of the French guy in the pool, while 2009 is staying ahead of the Pac Man Ghosts.

High Score Anyone?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Notes - Still Smoldering

4:00pm Well, it seems I remain locked into what I'll call a "mini-zone" -- with strong emphasis on mini -- as I was again able to nibble away at the limited opportunities presented and stay out of trouble during the rest of the time to keep the recent performance momentum going. And once again, I felt the Europe session provided equal -- if not better -- rhythm and pace as I added more German chips than U.S. on the day.

I was certainly hoping for a bit better pace on the late-day break, as I was positioned long yet settled for a few crackers as I was protecting earlier gains and didn't care for the lack of rhythm and chop that late in the day. Such is of course often the case during the market's summer doldrums.

I've often said performance momentum means more to me than anything, and such is what carried me through much of late '08 and early '09. At this point in the year -- and given the pathetic summer pace -- all I want is a string of consistency so as to remain sharp for when fall arrives.

For so long as the fire remains smoldering as I referenced last week, it shouldn't take much for it to reignite into a full-fledged flame when the next batch of fuel arrives.

I just have to keep the fire warm until then.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

** VIDEO ** The Weekend Trader

Today, I touch on my recent "bizarro" world settling back to normal, and the concept of radical shifts as discussed in Dr. Brett's fine book "The Psychology of Trading" and related to my own trading. Plus an interesting twist on "the road less traveled".

And no "J" word today ... just straight trader talk as usual.

Enjoy the rest of your summer weekend!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Late Friday Update - Webinar Sign-Up

11:45pm Yea, I'm still working. OK, the Webinar sign-up process is now set on the educational site for those who would like to follow the Jellies and their initial preparation, formal studies, & weekly recaps from start to finish. (Please keep in mind the after-hours idea initially came about as the result of requests from traders who couldn't devote the time or resources to the intraday effort.)

I've also loaded a more detailed syllabus on the site -- subject to slight revisions as the Jellie effort evolves -- along with a revised summary calendar on both the blog and educational site. And for those who have asked, the sessions will be recorded and available for viewing for a short while after the events.

And after the final Webinar, I'll be presenting a check to the American Diabetes Association for 15% of the net proceeds, and will post a copy of the check (and hopefully a pic of the hand delivery) on the blog.

As many know by now, my daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes several years ago at age 11, which now strikes 1 of every 500 children (and is increasing at an alarming rate), and thus like many others will be insulin dependent and attached to a pump for the rest of her life.

As I said when I first floated the idea of the Jellie effort, I want to make sure this effort is a win-win all around.

I figure the more wins, the better.

It's late and I'm tired ... but I'll follow up with a video on Saturday.

Have a pleasant evening/morning.

Friday Notes - Taking Another Risk

4:00pm Call it a solid close to the week at this end to go out on the week's equity highs with some decent overnight and early U.S. trading where focus, execution, and discipline remained sharp. And has been the case lately again, the Europe & U.S. Globex sessions provided a better pace and range than the often pitiful U.S. intraday trade ... especially on this summer Friday.

And following up on recent themes, I continue to sense that my motivation is indeed returning, and perhaps starting to approach July/August 2008 levels. Motivation which has been boosted by a combination of (1) a heightened focus and improved health as of late, (2) one week remaining tending to my non-market business which has zapped some focus and market opportunity every day over the last few years, (3) completing the Jellie team that will go for its first swim in a little over two weeks, and (4) some bulletin board material prompted by a handful of naysayers that -- like 2008 -- are helping get me locked into a zone big time right now. Yes, some will never learn and never realize they just make me more motivated to prove them wrong. Again.

So it's in that spirit that I'll peek at my folder of bulletin board material from a few kiddies typing away or emailing in anonymity that has been passed to me over the years:

2007 & Prior: "If he's so good teaching, then why the hell doesn't he trade?? Because he can't! Ha!"
Late 2007: "Who's he kidding ... a Million $ Target?? and at the age of 47?? ... yea right, when the Cubs Sweep the Series"
July 2008: "A blog? He can't be serious ... who will read that? Yea, but he'll never share his mistakes!"
Early October 2008: "Nice to see he got blown away today ... let's see him come back from that!"
Mid-October 2008 to April 2009: Hmmm ... Pretty Much an Empty Folder
June 2009: "I told you he'd finally get tired!" (one of my favorites)
July 2009: "Jellies? What a rip-off. Who's he kidding?? He's lost his touch. He's cashing in. This blog was one giant setup. No one with half a brain would want to be a part of that."

Admittedly, I know it's been a tiny minority over the years, but I still love 'em and save 'em for the humor and motivation.

Yup, I could take the easy road and not expose myself to public risk and the occasional criticism once again. I could choose to waste away in anonymity and shy away from the public. I could choose to simply pack the last few years away and go cower in a cave. I could decide never to place another trade again. I could back off from trying to help unite a team because it's turned out to be a lot more work than I first anticipated. I could join the ranks of the bleacher bums and scream at the players and guzzle another beer vs. lacing them up on the field. I could spend time refereeing battling posters vs. trying to build something significant and lasting. I could, I could, I could ...

Yet simply put, it's time to take another risk.

And if Helen Keller's view on risk as stated in the top pic isn't enough (click on image to enlarge and read), I'll end the week with this one from Robert Collier:

"Playing it safe is probably the most unsafe thing in the world."

I hate playing it safe.

P.S. My thanks to all for the tremendous response to the Jellie experiment. I'll share the average demographics shortly -- average age definitely in the 40s -- as I continue to work on building the tank. Also, the Webinar sign-up should be functional by the end of the weekend, and I'll post the Weekend Trader as always.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday Notes - Seems Like Old Times

5:00pm It seems I've found my groove a bit after banking a solid chip gain with our old friend Mr. M.A.T.D. -- and in both the Europe and U.S. opens. Gotta love those post-trend mornings. The focus is sharp ... the execution is sharp ... and most importantly, the sense of purpose is clear which is apparently carrying over from the non-stop Jellie planning effort into my trading.

And on that note, I'm getting the strong sense that the "What Now?" emptiness that's been eating at me over the last few months of complacency is slowly but steadily being replaced with an invigorating sense of purpose and drive that's got me more committed and focused than I've felt in a while. For while the team hasn't yet gotten their feet wet -- or tentacles as the case may be for Jellies -- I'm already seeing a tangible benefit at this end ... similar to how I felt when I first started sharing the diary last year.

Said another way, I'm feeling like my old self a bit these days. The back is less of an issue, the staples are out, the energy level is good, the trading consistency has picked up, and I'm back to closing in on equity highs once again.

Seems Like Old Times.


Just one update on the Jellie front ... and then there was one.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday Notes - A Higher Standard

9:45pm Yes, another late note after another long day. First things first, as my trading and focus seems to be coming around again as I shorted the open expecting a gap and trap (I mean REALLY expecting it), yet was able to clearly recognize it wasn't in the cards, scratched the sequence, and adapted fairly well in terms of staying out of trouble and getting at least a ham sandwich on the trend day, as I look ahead to another possible M.A.T.D. on Thursday.

As for the latest on the Jellie effort, it's a good thing I'm typing tonight and not talking, as I've all but lost my voice going through dozens of phone interviews. And yes, I'm tired.

Some quick highlights:

- There are a lot of great people out there with the right attitude, motives and ... well, they're just good people. The kind you want to be around. The kind you'd trust with your kids. The kind you'd trust to help you through rough times. And yes, the kind you'd want to build a team around.

- While I don't have formal stats, my guess is the average age of those selected thus far is likely around 38 ... and perhaps even higher. So we're not talking Joe newbie trading in his Mom's basement ... we're talking successful business owners, athletes, and yes, even some career traders looking to further their education, with several looking for the team to help push them over the goal line.

- Like trading, the calls & interviews have been draining, yet exhilarating at the same time. And in the process, I've learned a great deal about the traders and their families ... including one heartfelt discussion this evening that I'll never forget and that quickly reminded me of the lower priority that trading has compared to life (Bob, you and your son will forever be in my prayers.)

And so as the selection phase winds down and we move toward implementation, I'm reminded of the higher standard anyone in a position of leadership is expected -- and rightfully so -- to maintain. Not simply a high standard. A higher one.

A year ago, one of the reasons I launched the blog was to hold myself accountable ... certainly to myself, yet equally to those who chose to look over my shoulder. For I felt it was my responsibility to describe and document all sides of trading ... or as I've often put it, the good, bad, and ugly. And believe me, it wasn't always easy talking about the ugly.

And now as I begin the serious effort of helping a team from across the globe gel as individuals and as a group, I'm again reminded of the importance of accountability, trust, and simply backing up the talk with the walk.

So for the next ten weeks -- including two to finish building the tank and eight to swim with the Jellies -- I'm going to indeed hold myself personally accountable to that higher standard. A standard that begins with completing the last three pieces of the puzzle with more quality players, and then setting the kind of example that mirrors that which each teammate has brought to the table.

The games are over.

It's time for the serious business to begin.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday Notes - Getting Centered

9:45pm Yes, this is one of my later weekday posts, so I'll go the quickie list route tonight:

1. Nice to see we got the M.A.T.D. oscillations (for newbies, that's Morning After Trend Day) where my trading was essentially wrapped up by 10:30am and we could get on with enjoying the weather and building the Jellie tank. But more on that later.

2. Yes, I've taken down the 18-month chip +$2M stack count to the left for both psychological reasons and to purge any perception of resting on laurels, hype, etc. So if you want to see past performance, you're going to have to hunt for it! In my mind, it's back to zero (or below) and a whole new ballgame.

3. After spending an hour or so with 30 needles sticking in me tonight (trying acupuncture for the back), I was reminded by the Doc that I need to to do a better job at managing precious energy and focusing on what's important and purging the rest (yes Kevin, I know you've been screaming at me to do just that!). So it's in that spirit that the comments remain off -- see yesterday's post -- as I devote my body, mind, and soul to three current critical efforts:

- My own trading. And yes, contrary to belief in some strange circles, I'm not stopping trading, and if anything will be ramping it up upon completion of ...

- Wrapping up my non-market endeavor. For in ten short days, I'll be able to devote 100% of my intraday focus to the market, vs. the 80% or so I've had over the last few years as the result of conflicting commitments.

- Complete drafting the Jellie team and constructing the tank. Team now 65% complete ... see top left of blog for a continuous update. Thus far, we've got a solid mix of former floor traders, experienced screen traders, less experienced traders who were successful elsewhere (i.e. CEOs), and even a former pro athlete who all share the common goal of working alongside each other to drive each other -- and the team -- to a higher level of performance.

The main qualities I'm looking for? Maturity, professionalism, tenacity, a team player, and a driven desire to succeed. So for those who have asked, experience is far less of an issue, and yes, even though there are few spots left and I'm still pouring over applications, I'll still consider late inquiries for the right person ... just email Don with a brief background and contact phone number.

Other than that, I'm working on getting centered ... including passing on a requested interview in New York this week.

Centered for the new journey ... spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally.

This "Type A" has lot of work to do on that one.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Notes - A Cease Fire

Dear Friends -

As has become apparent over the last few weeks, I've felt a call to return at least in part to the formal education side of this business, and as such, feel that some changes may be needed to what has essentially been a personal journal over the last twelve months.

Yet before I discuss possible changes, I'd like to officially close the discussion on my return to education with the following:

As I've often stated, I've had several concerns with parts of the training and education side of this business ... concerns that have always focused on training that didn't promote self-sufficiency, didn't promote realism, was overly-marketed, was far too limited in time and scope, or wasn't backed by true experience surviving in the front lines of battle. For as a trader, those areas have always bothered me greatly, as is clearly evident in various rants over the years.

Some say I may have made a difference sharing this diary over the last year (that's of course not for me to determine), and if true, that my return in part to formal education means that I no longer want to make a difference.

Yet making a difference is precisely what I want to continue to do ... the kind of difference that one can't provide unless completely committed and devoted to it, and the kind of difference which is minimized when trading solely for oneself and ranting about it. Put another way, if I could become just half the teacher that my Dad was, or that Dr. Brett has been to this industry ... well, you can finish the rest.

Most know by now I gave up formal trader instruction a few years ago because I felt my trading journey -- which had been interrupted at the time -- was incomplete, and that I had to go back and "finish the job" and prove a few things to myself and walk the talk. Now, I feel that same drive to go back to education with additional insights based on the last year's journey to now "finish that job" by taking the experience and trying to raise industry education to an even higher level, starting with an extremely serious college-like full-immersion effort with a group of highly professional and committed individuals.

Which brings me back to the blog in terms of deciding whether to continue with it, and if so, in what format.

Here's what I don't want:

- I don't want it as a hype machine for the educational services. It's of course been a hot current topic as the concept has evolved & I've continued to "think out loud", and I've purposely had some fun with the Jellie and Field of Dreams concepts just to try to keep things fun and light -- hey it's who I am -- yet if it's coming across as hype, then I'll tone it down big-time.

I don't want it as a battleground for the pros and cons of Don's chosen career path, or the pros and cons of the 1,000 different ways one can structure education format and cost.

- And I certainly don't want it as a battleground between commenting posters. For right now, it seems a battle between (A) the "Don, you're on the right track so stop apologizing and just forge ahead" Hatfields and (B) the "Don, how dare you have the audacity to ask for $20 (as in twenty)/hour for your time" McCoys. Ummmm ... Is anyone out there actually trading??????? Now if that doesn't get both sides to laugh, please check your pulse.

Somehow, I'm sure this is all my fault somehow, for we so love in this country to 'build 'em up' and 'tear 'em down' ... and at one point I even felt like joining the McCoys just for the hell of it. Remember that scene in An American President where the prez (Michael Douglas) walks into the room where Sydney Ellen Wade (Annette Bening) is verbally crucifying him, before he sneaks up behind her and says "Well, let's take him out back and beat the s**t out of him!" Cue the lashing.

Soooooo, I'm declaring an onlooker cease-fire today (for both sides) and have turned off the comment functionality for the moment as I try to figure out where to take this blog.

As for me?

I'm hunkered down continuing to build a team (now 35% complete) that I believe can make a difference ... and now I'm more committed than ever ... so please stay tuned if you're on the list as I'll be working on the next batch of selections tonight.

Some are saying "it" can't be done. Again.

The industry spotlight is on and heating up. Again.

Hmmm ... reminds me of July 2008.

And do I love responding to a challenge :-)

And that scent you smell from afar? It's the smoldering fire returning.

P.S. Possible M.A.T.D. tomorrow. Maybe we'll need to start talking in code.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Weekend Trader - Jellie & Webinar Calendar

I'll be heading out for a family gathering for much of the day, yet wanted to post the attached sneak peek Jelly & Webinar calendar before I headed out. Click to enlarge and please note the comments at the bottom. It's also been posted on the educational site.

I've also added a "Jellie" selection update in the top left margin of the blog, and will update it over the course of the next week. Please be patient as I continue to work through the review & interview process, as I still have a long way to go and will be out most of today. So if you haven't been contacted yet, it doesn't mean much at this stage. I expect to complete the selections by the end of this week.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

** VIDEO ** The Weekend Trader

In addition to clarifying a few of my comments in yesterday's post, I wanted to respond to a few concerns that some have expressed with respect to the "Jellie" effort, including my transitioning at least in part back to the educational side and how we're going about doing it.

Enjoy a restful weekend.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Notes - One Shot

3:30pm One of the things I'll be focusing on during the Jellie effort is looking for that "one shot" that usually occurs over the course of the day that provides "that" trade. Especially in the current environment -- as opposed to 2008 -- where it's often "you snooze, you lose" and you have to search for it, spot it, and take it.

As one onlooker astutely pointed out a short while ago, markets with higher volatility provide opportunity to start a day poorly, yet finish strongly. Contrast that with the current market where you often simply get that "one shot", which was the case in my own trade today as it was a single sequence that provided the day's keep by shorting the 12:30pm climb toward 15-minute resistance and covering quickly on the first reaction down. There admittedly wasn't much room for error as the cover had to be quick, yet my execution once again seemed sharp as I squeezed just about all there was out of it, and I didn't take another trade after that.

Such is the case in what is often a "one shot" market.

And so the week ends with three tight performances in a row, providing at least some personal momentum to build on as summer trading hits full speed (or full idle as the case may be).


Well it was an interesting night in terms of responses to yesterday's announcement, and I'd first like to thank "mostly" everyone for not entering into an anticipated debate over the Jellie rate structure. And while I don't normally filter comments (aside from the existing spam filter for posters who crossed the professional line at one time or another ... as I never see them after the first time), I chose not to post a couple of comments -- both supportive and not -- specifically relating to pricing for reasons I mentioned yesterday.

For the record, 25 people chose to comment (most via email) anyway, with 21 for and 4 against ... with one of the four challenging my record, and one comically accusing me of a Sarah Palin sellout and a general loss of spirituality for charging a fee.

It's funny folks. A few years ago when I stopped my trader development efforts to focus on my own trading and "walk the talk", a small minority said I was a selfish SOB for just thinking about myself. Now that I'm choosing to once again step up similar efforts -- while continuing to trade -- there are a few boos reigning down from the same bleachers.

As a public figure in this industry, I fully recognize and accept both the support and criticism. For I believe if you want to speak up and try to make a difference in this world, you'll have to take some risks and accept the occasional barbs, while realizing you can't please everyone. At this end, I've been floored by the overwhelming positive response, which has cemented my belief that we're on the right track. And if we get derailed a bit during the initial beta launch? We'll assess and adapt to the feedback and conditions. Hey, that's what Jellies do!!

Now a couple of administrative things. First, every one of the 20 Jellies will have complete access to all of the trading statements supporting performance referenced throughout this diary after signing a confidentiality agreement.

Second, for those considering the evening Webinars, they will be recorded and available for viewing by participants if you're unable to attend the live sessions, and I've created a new page on the education site for just that.

Lastly, I'll be spending parts of this weekend considering the selections. Please understand the response has been overwhelming, and that I realize more people will be on the waiting list vs. in the initial "tank". My intention was never to hurt feelings via initial exclusion ... it's simply that I feel a larger group would detract from what we're trying to accomplish. Hopefully, the idea to open the evening Webinar "feeding sessions" to allow all to benefit will help. Keep in mind all "formal" classroom lecture for the Jellies will be done via the Webinars, and that I'm donating a portion of the proceeds to the American Diabetes Association.

I do have some commitments over the weekend, including attending my sister's delayed wedding reception on Sunday, but I'll be pouring over the notes and expect to work through the selection process by the end of next week. Keep in mind per my earlier notes, that per CFTC regulation, it will be best to select a cross-section of participants, so I'll be looking for diverse experience levels and complimentary skill sets.

And please, if you're not selected, keep in mind assuming the beta effort goes well (and the participants will be the ones to decide that, not me), that we'll consider doing this for other teams in the future ... which may even be better as we'll have a chance to assess what worked well and what didn't during this initial beta "swim".

Oh, and I still have to build the tank.

Enjoy the weekend and stay tuned ...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thursday Notes - Let's Rock

4:00pm Most of you who have followed this trek for at least a few months have heard a lot about my being bored, complacent, underperforming, not as sharp as normal, etc. One commenter also asked me recently what the Jellyfish effort would do for my own trading, and I responded along the lines of "ever put a fresh coat of paint in your living room walls to spruce things up a bit?"

Well, for the first time in a long time, I'm feeling sharper and more focused than I've felt in a long time. Too Long. And such was evident twice today when I positioned for breakouts -- including the 2pm attempted break north from a 5-minute coil with about as low a ADX as you'll ever see at 7.22 -- taking the trades, scaling out to bank the immediate partial profit, and then realizing there wasn't going to be any mojo (as much feel as technicals) and taking the rest off before the market had a chance to turn.

Why did I feel that way? Well suffice to say that if the market couldn't break hard off that tight of a coil, then it wasn't going to happen. (Click to enlarge chart, and please ignore the dotted line and red triangles as we're still working out the kinks ... all the trades were longs, with the dashes reflecting scales in and out.)

The result was a third consecutive tightly played day and modest gain, but more importantly, a heightened sharpness and presence of mind that's been missing for too long. And this despite a 90-minute tooth crown prep this morning, where they had to take the darn impression twice ... which I hate as I have a huge gag reflex when they slam the mold onto your teeth. A trader with a gag reflex ... too funny.

And while I won't go so far as to say "he's baaaaaack" (loooong way to go before I can even think about that), it's crystal clear to me that all of the Jellyfish planning -- which while laborious and is keeping me up late at night -- is helping me get my trading head back into the game. In fact, I even imagined trading today alongside a "phantom" group of 20, just for mental kicks.

We all know I needed something to make trading feel real again, especially after the last 18-month run and sleeping pill market pace. I think I now have something.

And looking back at the last month or so, I feel I've been tested from Above. The back, the bang on the head, the WEATHER, the dental work (btw, I hate dental work more than listening to Jim Cramer), the lame performance, the incredibly poor convergence of personal appointments and missed market opportunity, and on and on.

Well wouldn't you know it that everything seems to be turning. I have one more dental appointment in three weeks to finish the bridge work. I fully transition from my other non-market obligation in two weeks. The staples in my head come out on Saturday. The sun is out today, and my back seems to be coming along for the ride in terms of some improvement.


Now for the daily Jellyfish update. More solid progress today as the LLC paperwork was filed with the state ($500 filing and annual fee in Taxachusetts ... joy), and in a matter of about four hours early this morning while I was watching the DAX paint dry, I purchased a web hosting plan, and whipped up an educational website, thus formally relaunching the teaching part of my trading life after a multi-year hiatus to focus 100% on my own trading to put aside any doubts in my mind that I could walk the talk.

Yet I know there are two burning questions in your mind: (1) Will I be chosen as a Jellie, and (2) Have you finally got around to putting a darn price tag on it?

Well, #1 is next on my list, but I can finally answer #2. Yet before I do, I need to set the stage a bit.

Over the last few days, I've made a lot of calls to trusted friends in this industry, have had a great deal of input from blog onlookers, and have poured over every trading seminar and coaching session offered on what seems like the planet to try to make this a win-win all around.

And then I spoke at length with Pat Lafferty at MF Global this morning, where we got into a bit of a professional argument with respect to the value the team of participants would receive (my being on the low side). He shared with me other far-less consuming efforts hosted by "traders" for high price tags, one of which hasn't even had a winning month!!

We looked at weekend seminars, evening seminars, mentorships ... you name it, and he told me that we're about to do something extremely rare in the industry, and that's to not only provide what could arguably be one of the most intensive training environments ever offered in terms of sheer time and immersion, but to back it by actual, real, touch-it, feel-it past performance that's been fully chronicled and that can be backed 100% by auditable records. So he put it out there: At least $10K for the Jellies and $2.5K for the collection of night session. Cue the sound of newbies falling off their chairs, but hell, I've probably spent at least twice that learning the ropes those many years ago.

Now I trust Pat ... he's seen the gamut of trading and education, and I'd trust him with my life. And as a trader and past educator, I agree that based on value, he's probably right, and I have no doubt that those serious about the quality of education received wouldn't blink an eye.

Yet I've decided that it wasn't "win-win" enough for the first time out of the gates, and have for this initial pass, settled on $7.5K for the Jellies and $1.5K for the evening feeding sessions (50% of which can be applied should they choose to become a Jellie in the future). For the record, future post-beta efforts may very well be priced at the suggested higher amounts.

In doing so, I've also scaled the ten weeks back to eight, partly for participant scheduling and affordability, and partly feeling that eight weeks (320 hours) of market monitoring should be more than enough to capture varied market rhythms, openings, solid play, brain cramps, etc. I've also worked out a deal with MF Global for reduced commissions for the twenty Jellies, which would essentially reduce the net cost if their current prices are higher.

Now I know we could debate for days on end that it's "too high", "too low", "Don's out to make a quick buck", "Don underestimates his value", "I'm a new trader and don't have that kind of capital", etc. etc. Yet I respectfully ask that we pass on such debate in our daily comments ritual, and simply move on to the more important task at hand of building up each other as traders. I do ask for those expressing interest in the Jellie portion to email me if the price affects their decision, which will help me sift through what are now 120+ requests to participate.

My only comment on price and value -- which I'll say only once -- is please rest assured that over the years, I've been 100% committed to the quality of my educational projects, with the goal of ensuring participants leave not only fully satisfied, but feeling they got far more out of it than they expected. As a result, I can count on two hands the DVD and simulations that were returned among thousands of sales, and I've never once had a mentored student ask for his/her money back after we began working together. On some occasions, I've even extended their time because I felt a student was "almost" there, and I wanted to see the light bulb come on.

And should a Jellie feel the tank isn't to his/her liking at the end of the first week, I'll provide a pro-rated refund right then and there, and quickly open the tank spot for someone else.

And so it's in that spirit that I'm formally launching a trader educational service at, which includes the following full description of the Jellyfish endeavor:

- Eight weeks of live team intraday market observance with audio
- Ten evening two-hour webinars for lectures & study
- 340 Combined Hours of educational immersion
- Special commission rates offered by MF Global
- 16x7 access to Don over the course of the program
- Six months of phone & email access to Don after the program
- Reduced rates for any subsequent educational offerings

There may be a few typos on the site and it's a bit sparse (needs some curtains I think) ... so consider it a sneak peek! What you won't ever see on it is marketing hype.

As noted on the site, the tentative Jellie start date is August 3rd ... assuming I can get all of the infrastrucutre in place by then (still lots to do). The evening feeding session webinars would likely be held on Wednesday nights from 7pm -9pm ET ... again subject to change.

OK, let the rocks begin to fly (kidding!!!!!!).

Seriously, I'm jacked about this.

Let's continue to keep building each other up as traders and instead "rock" the market.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday Notes - Groundbreaking Day

5:00pm What's that ... some market pace and intraday range?? A midday 5-minute ADX over 40?? And the VIX trying oh so hard to break into a daily uptrend?? Hand me a Kleenex as I'm getting all misty eyed.

While for a moment it seemed that I almost forgot how to pedal the bike on a downslope ... the key word is almost as after pinching myself that the market was indeed showing some E-M-O-T-I-O-N, I managed to get my game face on long enough in the late morning and early afternoon session to take a couple of chunks out of the 5 & 15 minute downtrends (wholesale shorts on trend pullbacks, wholesale longs on unsustainable extensions) to more than offset some morning probe losses incurred while I was trying to position short.

And while it wasn't a home run, I did manage to close the session on my intraday equity high and didn't trade after 2pm, opting to pass on the late-day whipsaw as I didn't care for the pace and I chose to instead keep my extremely modest 2-day personal momentum in tact. Yet the pace associated with the late morning push was about as good as I've seen (and felt) in a while, and even the late day wholesale overshoots would have been prime for the taking at this end if we had just a bit more time in the day.

My only complaint ... and it's really not a complaint per se, was that I was extremely quick on covers given the market's tendency lately to tease us with trends much like Lucy pulling the football from Charlie Brown.


Which brings us to today's edition of the daily Project Jellyfish Update. btw, it seems we've again inadvertently stirred industry interest beyond our core collection of blog onlookers. It's a small ocean indeed.

Call today groundbreaking day (btw, note the hardhats ... lesson learned) as we're quickly moving from conceptual to reality. I obtained the IRS EIN number for the new entity today, and by tomorrow evening will have filed the necessary paperwork with the state to officially launch "Jellyfish Enterprises LLC".

I'm also pleased to report that I indeed spoke with the CFTC this morning who referred me to an excellent rulemaking and case law governing trader education and seminars that's very clear on what requires CTA certification and Commission registration and what doesn't. While I passed the Series 65 and have acquired a host of initials over the years (CMA, MBA, etc.), I'm not a CTA, nor do I purport to be. What I am, is a trader.

And so with a few careful tweaks to the intended program and jellie selection process, it's clear that the effort qualifies for exemption from registration, and we can get on with the more important matter of building traders. One of the actions I'll be taking to ensure there's no question whatsoever is to select a good mix of participants. Doing so will ensure I'm not tailoring advice based on individual characteristics ... which is a key line in the sand from the CFTC's perspective.

Now to the planned format ... still subject to change, but I'm getting close. The core effort will consist of 20 traders ("Jellies") who will be locked in a virtual Internet room (the "tank") with me during the day for ten weeks. During that time we're going to live and breathe (or however Jellies survive) a trader's life hour by hour and day by day as we attempt to make sense of what the market's current rhythm ("wave") is telling us.

Our job will be to learn how to float, react, and sting -- or be stung -- essentially using live market action (the "current") as the best teacher of all. For legal reasons, I can't direct the other Jellies' trading, yet that shouldn't at all detract from what I expect will be a highly-intensive educational effort.

Now once (perhaps sometimes twice) a week at night, the Jellies will be moved to a larger tank for a mandatory 1-2 hour feeding, at which time they'll be joined by other hungry sea creatures, including those with day jobs or those who weren't able to fit in the initial tank.

OK, enough puns. Seriously, as this continues to take shape, I firmly believe the proposed format -- as crafted in part by all of you based on your comments -- is a win-win all around, and I intend on making the evening "feeding sessions" highly worthwhile, as the formal "lectures" will occur at that time and be complete with interactive Q&As. At this end, it will be the most intense training I've ever been associated with. I apologize if my excitement comes across as hype ... you know how I feel about that by now. I'm simply excited.

What's left at this end is to select the initial group of Jellies, construct both the intraday and night tanks, complete some administrative stuff that goes with a new venture launch, and finalize the participant cost for the Jellies and the other night creatures.

And a special note on cost. While I don't think your eyes will bug out, please understand that this effort requires a solid infrastrucure and large commitment from this end both during and after hours. Having said that, my plan has always been to price the Jellie effort below some of the higher-end training mentorships and "home study" courses, and the ten (or more) night sessions comparable (as a total package) to other industry one-day seminars. Simply put, I want everyone coming out of this experience feeling it was the best educational value they've ever received.

Yes, it's true that as a trader I've certainly been hard on some of the industry's "trainers". So once again, it's time for me to put up or shut up.

I intend on putting up.

Enjoy the evening.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tuesday Notes - A Rare Breed

4:00pm Tight, solid, play at this end today (I know ... what a novel concept) for a modest win largely as the result of getting up early at 4am for the Globex trade and trading ES long off Monday's late day 890 support with the DAX doing a decent job as lead/confirming indicator (see charts; ES on top, DAX on bottom; click to enlarge). And today was one of those days where the Globex trade provided the only trade off prior-day late support, as once that played out, ES was already tired when the U.S. regular session opened.

And it seems I heeded my own blog post yesterday in terms of patience, as I traded minimally over the rest of the day, fading a couple of TICK and price spikes after the mini-retail move where I seemed to have located some of my timing and confidence. What I really need is to string several of these tight days together to set the universe right at this end and get off my current P&L see-saw. I plan on doing so.


Now for an update on the Jellyfish effort. I spoke with a compliance expert this morning who helped set me straight on what's allowed and what's not in terms of pursuing such an endeavor. And while I plan on verifying what he told me with the CFTC, I'm comfortable continuing to proceed with planning the implementation, built around the regulatory roadmap and ensuring I don't overstep required boundaries. And as I mentioned before, to that extent, it won't be an exact duplication of the "Turtles". On the other hand, that wasn't the intent as Jellyfish don't have to come up for air.

I'd also like to respond to a few private messages asking if (1) I'm trying to clone "Don Millers", or (2) trade my trading for teaching. We'll take the second one first: No, never. That was easy.

Now in terms of cloning, the hopefully oh-so-obvious answer is of course not. Nothing has changed in terms of my fundamental belief as stated over a full year of yakking -- and years before that -- that every trader on this planet will trade somewhat differently, even with similar methods, that self-sufficiency rules, and that no method -- whether discretionary, system-related, or combination of both -- necessarily has an advantage over another, as they're all about probability. And again for the record, I don't have a monopoly on processes that work over time.

And while I'll be using how I trade as a primary point of reference, the greater emphasis will be for participants to live like a trader, think like a trader, and view the market like a trader ... minute-by-minute, 24x7, and over the long haul ... so they can become self-sufficient and not reliant on anyone but themselves. And doing so will take nothing less than complete immersion on the part of the team. Yet I am NOT Willy Wonka, these are NOT golden tickets, and there is NO such thing as an "Everlasting Gobstopper" ... whether it be candy or trading strategy.

Last night, I spoke with a former NFL quarterback about his experiences, and he relayed a story about how newer quarterbacks have to "think" through their passing route options as they unfold, while experienced ones can see the whole field at once as it becomes largely intuitive. It's my hope that three months of full immersion will help accomplish that from a trading perspective.

Next, today I firmed up plans to transition completely out of my non-market endeavor by the end of July, which will allow me to be 100% dedicated and committed to both my own trading and making the Jellyfish "come to life" ... so to speak. So there's no life preserver, and I'm going to have to swim along with the other jellies.

Lastly, given the overwhelming interest, I've given a great deal of thought as to how to allow those not able to participate in the in-depth effort to somehow benefit without diluting the intended concentrated effort, and I may have found a win-win. The idea would be to make available a weekly after-hours topical "webinar" offering at a lower cost to highlight key points of emphasis over the course of the twelve weeks that would be open to all interested. I've not settled on the concept, yet if the prevailing feedback is that it would make sense, I'll consider pursuing it. Simply put, I like win-wins where all benefit, the sheer volume of inquiries is too great to ignore, and several have other commitments during the day.

And should I do that, I'll commit to donating a portion of any webinar proceeds to the American Diabetes Association to help fight Type 1 diabetes (for those new to this trek, my youngest daughter was diagnosed with diabetes at age 11, and here's her own inspirational and public story as documented in our paper last year).

Comments of course remain welcome as I continue to work this through.

btw, the official plural for jellyfish -- or "jellies" which may be more accurate since they're technically not fish -- is "swarm", which per Wikopedia "implies some kind of active ability to stay together". It's almost as if they're describing that "rare breed" called traders.