Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday PM Notes - Thank You New York

Some observations from the Trader Expo as I head back to the comfy confines of Cape Cod courtesy of Amtrak to Providence, and then via the Miller van for the final stretch drive.

Well, I guess they weren’t kidding when I was told we’d have a full house for this morning’s presentation (I was a bit skeptical), as the official headcount tally clocked in at 250+ with folks standing in the back. According to Pat Lafferty, it was apparently the largest Expo crowd MF Global has ever sponsored, and my thanks to Pat and Chuck from MF Global, as well as the fine folks at the CME for inviting me to speak. Also, congratulations to May Guan who won the Jellie study series drawing.

My thanks also to Tim Bourquin for inviting me into the MoneyShow videotaping studio where we did a series of brief segments which will be aired over the course of the next few months. It was a far cry from my humble trading office studio webcam. In general, the Expo folks did an outstanding job as always.

Some initial take-aways. As was the case with prior years, there was an abundance of how-to trader training booths, ranging from hired salesmen pitching dreams to a few (in my view) refreshing bona-fide efforts that endorsed longer-term training programs. Having said that, it remains to be seen how many are actually led by pedigree traders who have proven themselves at one time or another. Frankly, I still don’t see it.

Which brings me to my continuing dilemma which I discussed with no less than a dozen people over the last few days, including the Jellie traders who got together Sunday night. There’s now no doubt in my mind – absolutely zero doubt at all – that the modest effort we began last year with the Jellies, which unexpectedly grew into three subsequent efforts and a single planned session for 2010 beginning in two weeks, is on the right track.

Add to that the extremely warm reception the Jellie effort received both in private discussions from past participants & onlookers, and then on a national and very public stage this weekend, and I’m left wondering how to properly devote my time going forward. As I hinted last week, the combination of trading and training is quickly growing beyond one person and I need to consider options if I’m to maintain my focus, energy, and sanity.

What I’m beginning to realize, is that there apparently wasn’t just a trading bamboo planted a few years ago … there was an educational one as well that people are screaming at me not to stop watering.

I of course continue to consider myself a trader. A trader who continues to want to push himself toward new goals and new horizons. Yet I wonder if it’s selfish of me to continue to put that at the top of my priorities. Is my recent challenge in increasing sizes to block size trading and grow millions into mega-millions misplaced?? Is there an actual limit to the height of a Bamboo??

My dad (a very wise man as most dads are) once told me that everything is good – in moderation. Not exactly what a Type A overachiever wants to hear.

For now, my immediate plan remains to try to strike that careful balance by primarily trading, while sprinkling in some teaching at appropriate intervals. And as I told the Jellies over the weekend, I also want to continue to improve on the effectiveness of the ongoing communication link so all can benefit.

Last week I did an experiment of sorts. During portions of the week I traded alone as I traditionally do, while other times I traded with the ongoing Jellie link active on my screen where we exchange observations and compare market biases in shorthand. To my surprise, I traded more effectively and profitably when I was in the room actively monitoring and commenting. Simply put, my head was “more in the game”, compared to other times where I was sloppy and unfocused. And this is from a guy who has always traded better alone in a cave.

A reminder I derive no benefit from the ongoing room – aside from improved trading results should they occur -- as we all share the cost. I don’t even see the bill as payment is handled by another Jellie.

With others, it’s just the opposite – which continues to prove that everyone must find what works for them in terms of facilitating optimal focus.

This much I know. Tomorrow morning I’ll show up at my trading office and do what I love to do. Trade. And as the Amtrak “Polar Express” passes snow-laden Stamford, Norwalk, New Haven and beyond, I find myself invigorated by the events of this weekend … on all fronts.

To those attending today's session, thank you for your time and I hope the effort got you thinking about this business with a newfound passion and perspective.  To Cliff, John,  Joe, & your spouses, thanks for sharing time and/or dinner with us. And to Ed – not an official Jellie, but a friend of a Jellie who couldn't attend – my thanks for showing me a few techniques to improve my posture and neck issues.

To Pat, you remain my broker lifeline and continue to have my utmost respect. To Linda & Damon, we didn’t have much time to chat, but keep up the great work and I wish you continued success and that balance in life that I’m similarly seeking.

To the many who stopped to say hi and thanks for the blog -- several of whom also gave me great comfort in that telling me I will need to slow down at some point and there's nothing wrong with that -- I appreciated the discussions and will consider your advice.

And to the city of New York, thank you for welcoming my family and me with open arms.

You are indeed a special place.


Terry Prindiville said...

I agree, don't stop watering. You are one of the reasons I am still hanging in there. Thank you. TSP in Minneapolis

nqtraderjay said...

I just saw 2 traders profit, live, at the NY Traders Expo. So I think they aren't all charlatans. If you go back and see the traders challenge from prior expos, there was profit made on those also.

Don Miller said...

Absolutely agree. There are some good folks out there ... no doubt about that.

steve said...

I was hoping to find the NY meetup on livestream, but didn't see it - darn! Glad your presentation went well and you continued to add value to the industry.

Quinn A said...

I got to sit in on your presentation and really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, time, insight, and most of all honesty about the business of trading Don. Glad you enjoyed your time in NYC. I look forward to being able to hear you speak again in the future.