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.


Don Miller said...

Oh boy, did I really mispell "education" on the initial site draft??

Don Miller said...

btw, Poker night tonight, so I'll likely get behind on comments and emails and post a slew later tonight.

Initial response to the new site and prices are very favorable.


Don Miller said...

All -

For the record, we're getting spammed tonight which I somewhat expected by folks looking to cause trouble, and I don't plan on responding to personal attacks.

For those new and questioning integrity, simply read the last year worth of posts, and then call Pat Lafferty at MF Global and ask if he can vouch for every word and cent ever referenced in these pages.

And then please change the channel :-).

As I said the other day in anticpation of this, "and dogs bark at the moon".

Stay well.


Anonymous said...
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Trader Kevin said...

"16x7 access to Don over the course of the program"

Don, I was with you right up until this one. If I can't have 24/7 access, forgetaboutit!

Seriously, best of luck with this project. It will be very interesting to see the results.

Don Miller said...

Kevin -

Cute. Believe it or not, I had 24x7 on an earlier draft, before I realized I was nuts.

All -

Here are some responses to some recurring questions:

Can Jellies continue to trade their own platform? Absolutely ... the MF Global offer is just that ... an offer.

Will Jellies have the opportunity to view my statements supporting performance referenced in the blog? Absolutely.

Must Jellies commit to "full-time"? No, and I imagine most will miss a few days and portions of days to tend to other commitments.

Hope that helps.

P.S. I just got back from Poker (took 3rd AND the bounty). Is the bad life streak really moving behind me??


Anonymous said...

How do you go about getting into your positions? I know you manage risk by $ amount and not ticks. I am starting to see your point of the difficulty of picking the exact entry. I was just curious as to how you decide on you avg. down or avg. in? Do you have a max positions (ex: 100 lots and break those up to enter 20 here , 20 here , and so on? )

lastly, when you enter a position and your in the money you add more on at a certain point or do you just make less and let the trade run?

Sorry for all the questions and thank you so much sir for taking the time to even read this and hopefully it makes some sense.

Trader Kevin said...

"Believe it or not, I had 24x7 on an earlier draft, before I realized I was nuts."

Don, I think even 16x7 is nuts. Set aside a day to make it 16x6 and you can thank me later.

Don Miller said...

Kevin -

OK, my wife has also knocked some sense into me. We'll partion specific times for the Jellies after hours, and I've revised the description accordingly.

Oh, and I'll thank you now vs. later :-).