Over the last week, I have spent two days in London in the company of aspiring and consistently profitable traders. I have decided to stretch my comfort zone of a retail trader and get out of my cave, by traveling abroad and meeting inspiring people that can help me to get better. I hope one day I will be able to repay this to future aspiring traders so the universe loop can be closed :). For me, it was one of the most valuable moves in terms of “energy in/learning out” I have done over the last couple of years. This email has a short version (most valuable lessons and things I have realised I must un-learn) and long version (all types of other takeaways). Choose any version you have time and energy for 🙂.
Must valuable lessons
- In order to grow and get better, you must become part of community of Consistently Profitable Traders (CPT’s)
- Start regularly reach out (travel and meet in person) to CPT’s to stress test your setups and exchange ideas
- Keep thinking bigger (in terms of products, markets and automation)
- Be as specific as you can in your trading execution, your trade setups. Clarity of your “next best actions” brings clear mind in your decision making and execution.
Things I have realised I have to un-learn
- I must start thinking bigger, leaving the “I am FX Futures Mean Reversion trader” to “I am multi-product, multi-market bionic mean reversion quant trader”.
- I cannot trade anymore just on my own, having few peers online I can reach out to. I must travel in person if opportunity to physically meet great people presents itself
- I must be much more specific (by nature I am a generalist) in terms of execution. Although I have if-then scenarios defined, I consider them in many cases not detail enough and that is holding me back from getting bigger and better at my trades. It also means breaking each point in this post into specific actionable items (using what I have learned in Atomic Habbits)
Other Things I have realised while talking to others
- Having a team (juniors + seniors + trading coach) where ideas can be discussed on regular basis brings huge value to everyone on the team in terms of growth
- Prop-firm really forces you to stretch to grow by simply being around and people who usually leave prop firm are doing fine for some time but their learning curve usually slows down
- Understanding the rhythm of each rotation in particular product & market for that particular day can set your expectations more clearly for defining targets
- You can set a hypothesis (hypo’s) based on Macro (interpreting news) and how it will impact trading that particular day. You can prioritise these hypo’s from most likely to least likely and then let the traders develop technical scenarios how to trade markets around hypo’s provided.
- To decipher on the Macro level what is essential and what is non-essential (noise) requires a lot of experience but just being aware what kind of impact the news might have on your trading is a good start.
- Trading first 60 minutes after the US markets open, can be traded profitably (there are trading edges to be found there)
- As a retail trader you can see “what is possible” only by reaching out to those, who made it and are making it on a daily basis. This is usually much easier by reaching out to Prop firm, then to “twitter” traders 🙂 (imho)
- Biggest money were made for SMB in 2017 (in Bitcoin) and 2018 (in Pot stocks). Products they have never traded before. You never know where the biggest potential for making the money in the markets will reveal. Stay open-minded, be more bionic, trade smart > trade hard.
- One common thing that best traders share is that they take more risk when the time is right
- You must regularly get outside of your comfort zone to grow. Mike B. mentioned coaching 7 figure traders outside of the firm, reading while walking to work (60minutes a day), reaching out to people you are interested in (authors of books) in order to force himself to grow and learn more so we can provide more to his traders.
- Sitting down with Axia traders hearing their stories, seeing the community and interaction, while having great BBQ gave me 10x of what I receive when exchanging information just online. Completely different energy (obviously)
Questions I was looking answer for from the people I met
- Do you have an edge?
- Why do you think you have an edge?
- What products and markets you execute your edge at?
- What are your A+ setups?
- What you had to un-learn to get better (what was holding you back)?
People I have managed to reach and enjoyed talking to
- Mike Bellafiore (SMB Capital) author of trading classics One Good Trade and The Playbook, checkout their great Training content, as well as their Youtube channel, where I believe they share the best trading content out there
- Merritt Black (SMB Capital) who is running SMB Futures desk and has built a great community of traders around futures
- Anthony Cheung (Amplify) who runs great free market commentary for Amplify
- Alex and his team who share amazing content via their youtube channel, also checkout their state of the art training materials
Things that I already knew, but are worth reminding
- Setups with edge first, psychology second. Not even Brett Steenbarger can save you, if you have shitty edge (no edge) in trading the markets
- Price is not enough, ability to read the tape, in any form, be it DOM, Time & Sales, Market Delta, Footprint gives you additional advantage over those that don’t use it
- There is 1000 ways how to skin a cat. You can start with Macro to set a tone for traders to execute their ideas, become FOMC statement expert or decipher Tweets of Trump (heat-map, time of tweets, tone) to trade the next direction of markets. Just find what fits you.
- Keep using Daily Score Card to work on your One Goal for that particular day and rate yourself how good of a job you have been doing
- Trading at the end of the day is still just a guessing game and only control we have is the control over our actions
- Two patterns can look 100% identical but one was simply created by noise (random price action) and the other will manifest in the direction you anticipate. Your goal is to trust your process, stats and your edge, that you can trade this pattern over period of time profitably, but still it’s your best guess, you don’t have full control over the outcome, only control you have is around your actions.
- You must fight for price (it is still game of inches)
- Traders lose the most when they trade their bias (not the market generated information) and earn the most when they trade their A+ setups with edge (setups that reflect their personality)
- Choose markets that are Easy to trade. Be in right product. This game is already difficult, why to make it even more difficult.
- You owe it to yourself and your character to be the best you can be
Things I could have done better at the events
- I could have talked to more people, but the platform to easily reach to people in such a short time was not in place
- What can I do to improve that for next time:
- Reach to Jason Graystone (and other future organisers prior to the event) with feedback, that we can leverage technology prior to the event by creating focus groups, where each group would focus on different topics. This can be done prior to the event by traders formulating their questions and voting for the best for each focus group category
- What can I do to improve that for next time:
Things I have done well and should do them at next event
- I had a list of questions prior to the event (they evolved as the discussion went on)
- Taking a lot of hand-written notes electronically (iPad + Apple pencil) was much better then writing it down via keyboard
- I have tried to be active and use every opportunity to ask or answer questions to get the most out of events. Hopefully it was not too much 🙂
I am very happy that I have visited London for these three days and now it is much more clear what I need to be doing next. Last but not least, I was happy to finally meet the guy who I have learned from so much over the years, coach and the trader that is doing so much for the community, Mike Bellafiore.
Meeting Mike, Merritt, Alex and Anthony truly made a difference and opened my eyes in many ways. Looking forward to many more of these in the future, I will do my best to make them possible.
Trade well, watch your risk and be the best you can be.