Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Notes - The Next Iron Chef

Believe it or not, one of my favorite current programs that I stumbled across at the beginning of the current TV season is one called "The Next Iron Chef" that airs on Sunday evenings on the Food Network (see cool clip below).

If you're not familiar with the show, it reflects the ultimate in "competitive cooking" (yes, there is such a thing) as a group of proven chefs compete against the clock and each other in a series of time-based tests as they try to survive being "voted out of the kitchen" on a weekly basis.

And while I don't cook and don't understand half of what they're doing, I love watching the program. Hell, I'd watch probably competitive doodling if there were such a thing. In fact, forget "watch" ... I'd compete and hide the pencils!

Warning: Yes, I'm about to make the leap to compare cooking with trading.

Of course, when I watch anything, I tend to make instant comparisons with trading. And Sunday's show was no different as the remaining six chefs were reduced to four by night's end.

As for the similarities to futures trading? There are plenty.

Competition? Check.

Zero-Sum Game? Check, as once one of the chefs chooses one of the ingredients, it's often unavailable to the others. You should have seen the lamb tug-of-war last week!

Acting Under Pressure? Oh yes. Ever try to plan, cook, and plate a five course Indian meal in two hours ... when you're not Indian?

Adapting on the fly similar to today's bull/bear/bull combined session? Absolutely. After all, what would you do if the Pressure Cooker broke with ten minutes remaining?

Focus? Surely you jest.

OK, perhaps it's a bit of a stretch.

Or is it?

In the Iron Chef competition, each chef is essentially asked to bring years of his/her experience to the kitchen for each event, and to use such experience to interpret the conditions and make on-the-fly decisions to provide the desired result on a real-time basis and under enormous pressure. (Check out the 1:12 comment about "wild controlled chaos" in the clip below.)

And such is the case at some point during every trading day, as it was today when I -- like many others -- stopped out of a heavy trade when the key 1034 prior swing low gave way shortly after noon -- before immediately reassessing the conditions and nailing both of the subsequent unsustainable extreme bottoms to take advantage of the next wholesale opportunities that presented themselves, followed by a heavy short on the subsequent five-minute retracement.

Sure, the Pressure Cooker may break at times.

But a solid trader -- and chef -- must be able to adapt and innovate on the fly.


After all, you can't cry over spilled ... oh never mind.

And so the fall trading feast for this focused trader continues.

Hand me the salt.

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