Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Weekend Trader - 500 Reflections

Some thoughts on this fall weekend as the leaves and Red Sox begin to drop.

500 Reflections - On this, the 500th post of this trader's open journey, part of me wonders why this online diary has attracted so much interest and staying power since we began this trek in July 2008 -- especially over a period of time when the markets have tested the very souls of all traders, often leaving a path of reckless abandon in its path.

Yet as we look back -- and more importantly, ahead -- here are a few thoughts as to perhaps why hundreds of traders continue to check in on a daily basis.

As most hopefully know, one of the reasons I decided to begin blogging my experiences last year was that I wanted to open share all aspects of this trader's life -- or as I've stated time and time again, "the good, bad, and ugly". Not just the winning days and triumphs, but the far lesser discussed (in terms of the general industry press) difficult times when trades and days don't go your way, or when you slip on that virtual mental banana peel. The recent -- and later syndicated -- "Necessary Mistakes" post probably says it best, which I encourage you to read if you missed or skipped over it.

Such a premise has always been a fundamental cornerstone of my writings -- and in the subsequent Jellie efforts on a moment by moment basis -- to a point where some onlookers indicated that they were growing tired of hearing what they perceived as "depressing" writings.

Yet an interesting evolution has taken place in terms of both blog onlookers and Jellie participants. For over time, it's become crystal clear that those who have remained loyal blog readers -- and by no surprise those who have been the most successful in the Jellie efforts -- have been traders who, as I've stated in the past, "get life". And as a result, this virtual community has grown in strength day after day.

What do I mean by "get life"? Well, they're the people who simply understand that life -- and trading -- is what it is, man's (or woman's) continual struggle to fight through the curve balls that are thrown at them every second of every day. Call it the neverending game of Dodgeball.

Over the last sixteen months, some onlookers have come and gone after growing weary of stories of how this nonfiction account of success was time and time again built on foundations of failure. Examples include a personal record loss to jump-start the run to end all runs. A burnout period that sparked an evolution in how traders are trained. A prior-day (or morning) loss that provided market data or helped tighten the mental belt for the subsequent successful trade the next day (or afternoon). Which by the way occurred just yesterday in the tank as an unsuccessful late-morning breakout attempt was followed by a successful afternoon sequence.

Yet those who have stayed, "get it".

CME Lease Prices - They continue to drop and I'm just about ready to lock in a 60% reduction in my monthly lease cost for the next six months. So for those who have long debated whether CME membership makes sense for modest trading volumes, I encourage you to take a hard look at the new prices. For when volatility picks up again, you can expect a return to higher prices. Here's the link to the CME membership page.

Future of the Jellie Efforts - I admit I'm at a bit of an unexpected crossroads right now as the result of additional requests to continue with further 4-week live efforts. It's frankly a situation that I never planned for, anticipated, or expected, as I've been planning on simply going back to focusing my market energies 100% on my own trading. For the plan has been for me to take my place alongside the mature Jellies as peer traders in November, leaving the educational side to the 16 hours of Study Session recordings which will remain available and continue to represent the best value of any pre-packaged teachings I'll likely ever produce.

So here's my quandary. On the one hand, feedback suggests the intense four-week format works. btw, by "works", I of course don't mean that 100% of the participants will end up maximizing their potential -- as such is never the case when teaching anything, whether it be an Executive MBA program, a golf-swing boot camp, or an intense trader training program. Yet clearly, participant feedback and results indicate we've made a difference in how traders are taught. And on that same hand, it's also clear based on mail and various discussions with traders that the need remains.

On the other hand, continuing with the efforts wasn't in "my plan", although 48 years of living reminds me that "our" plan isn't always the "right" plan. Which of course brings us full circle back to the Jellie concept of continual evolution in trading and in life.

History has long taught us that it's not wise to throw out something that works, simply because it "seems" to have run its course. Does anyone even remember "New Coke"? And so I'm not going to tinker with the current direction and -- like a decent trader -- rather than trying to impose my will on the market, I'm going to let the market make the decision for me.

So, the invitation is there for those interested in participating in the 4-week effort -- simply email me at with some contact info. For you and you alone will decide my course of action.

As I mentioned to the team on Friday, I have an incredible passion and unquenchable thirst (pun intended given the Coke analogy) for this business. After all, who would be crazy enough to log 500 deep inner thoughts on a daily basis for all the world to see ... warts and all. The fact is that I simply love trading, talking trading, and helping other traders. It's just in my blood.

Yet I'll close the invite with a word of caution. The live effort -- like the blog -- will remain an intense effort to openly share and discuss all aspects of trading. No smoke. No mirrors. No hiding of the bruises and battle scars. No "feel-good" easy road to riches. Simply reality and hard work, which combine to reflect the only ticket to the door of success.

500 posts. $2 Million plus and counting. 40 Jellies ... and counting?

And if the market decides otherwise?

I'll be on the playing field ... playing dodgeball.

Enjoy the weekend.