I've met many people in my trading journey.
In 2014 I drove around the country for three months, traveling over 7500 miles to meet and trade with some of the best traders on the planet. Some of the people who’ve influenced me I met on that journey. Others I’ve met via social media, in trading chat rooms, or just by chance. While everyone I’ve met or interacted with in this business has had at least some impact on my trading style and abilities, there are six people who stand out from the crowd due to the things they’ve taught me. I believe strongly in giving credit where credit’s due, so I’d like to take some time to recognize these people (in no particular order). I’m keeping their last names and personal contact information private to protect their privacy, but will provide their public contact information so you can follow them if you’d like.
1. Tim (@vegastrader66):
I recognized Tim for this on Twitter recently but I’ll give some more details here. Tim and I first connected via a trading chat room back in 2010 or 2011. I stayed with him and his family in Vegas back in 2014 as I was traveling around the US meeting different traders. He was extremely hospitable! Having never met me in person before, he put me up in a guest room in his house for a week so that we could trade together and get to know each other and our different trading styles.
The reason I’m putting Tim on this list is that while I was there, I was swing trading a (now defunct) biotech stock and asked for his input on it. His response was basically “You’re nuts, this company is going to go bankrupt.” He was right too. I bailed on the stock the next day for a small profit after gaining an understanding of exactly what I was holding and within a month the company declared bankruptcy. Tim’s explanation of why I was naive to be holding such a stock and the analysis process he showed me is something I still use today and not just on biotech stocks. In fact, Tim’s process opened the floodgates for me in terms of my understanding of fundamental analysis. Since that week in Vegas I have never looked back and now make sure that I always know exactly what I’m trading, which gives me a unique edge and ability to understand complex press releases and SEC filings. Without Tim I never would have even thought about this stuff, so he gets a spot on my list.
2. Michele (@offshorehunters):
Michele is another trader I met on my trip around the country in 2014. We had connected originally via a trading chat room and like Tim, she was nice enough to put me up in a guest room in her house even when she barely knew me, and allowed me to trade side by side with her, pick her brain on her methodology, and get to know her and her family for an entire week.
Michele is a swing trader who trades much bigger positions than me so it was a unique experience getting to know someone who had a longer term outlook than me and traded quite differently. The reason Michele is on this list is that while I traded with her, I was day trading an airline stock and was about to bail on the trade for a large loss. In my ranting about the trade, Michele glanced at the chart and told me not to take the loss because the stock was approaching the 50ema (50 period exponential moving average) and she had recognized throughout her years of experience that stocks will often reverse at or near this indicator.
That trade turned almost on a dime, right at the 50ema, and continued the reversal from a large loss into a large gain. Before that point I didn’t use any indicators on my charts and focused solely on price action and volume, but since the reversal on that stock was so clear I decided to give the 50ema a shot. I tracked data on it for 6-8 months after that point and soon began to realize why Michele relied on it. To this day I still use the 50ema on every intraday chart I look at and it has become an indispensable resource for me in timing tops and bottoms as well as determining trend reversal points and low-risk places to enter a trend. It is the only indicator that I use on my intraday charts and has made me money on more trades than I can count. For this reason, Michele gets a spot on the list of most influential people in my trading.
3. Emil (@cuzmane):
Emil is a day trader I met via Twitter many years ago. We originally connected because we were both struggling to find profitability in our trading and would often chat privately during the day about what we were watching and trading. Over the years we became good friends and learned we had similar trading styles. I put Emil on this list because while we were both struggling when we met, he found profitability sooner than me and became a mentor/guide to me over time. Emil taught me the importance of keeping risk extremely low and the importance of anticipating the move you want instead of waiting for volume or a breakout. He also gave me priceless guidance over time on how to properly “size into” a trade, giving me the ability to really hammer the trades that work for me and truly maximize profits, as well as the ability to safely “fix” a trade that I misjudged the initial entry on.
While there are certain trades I still use a “breakout” strategy on, the idea of anticipating moves vs waiting for confirmation has made me much more profitable and consistent, and the ability to repair poor entries when, like all traders, I inevitably make a mistake, has vastly improved my win rate and given me better emotional control when a trade goes against me. Without our constant interaction, I never would have found the balance between anticipation and confirmation or had the ability to “fix” a bad trade, so for this reason I gave Emil a spot on my list.
4. Bernie (@sandman7591):
Known to Twitter as “The Sandman”, Bernie is a guy I met by chance via Twitter. We originally connected due to an alert I posted on the ticker FWM which he made a bunch of money on after the stock nearly doubled. During a subsequent chat I found out that he happened to be coming to my area that weekend so we met up and grabbed some drinks and dinner and talked about trading. Since that point we’ve talked nearly every day and share ideas during the day.
The reason Bernie’s on my list is that learning his unique trading style has really expanded my profitability. Bernie (like many others on this list) trades bigger positions than me and has a lot more experience, and studying the trades he makes has helped me recognize that there are two sides to every trade. I’m short-biased much of the time, and often Bernie and I are playing the same stock but in two different directions. This is really cool because he will shoot off an idea, and I look at it but feel it’s too extended to buy, so I will wait patiently to short it instead. During a couple calls we’ve had, Bernie has also showed me the importance of not being afraid to follow momentum even if the stock seems too extended, as long as the risk is well-managed. I’ve made tons of money on stocks I never would have bought without knowing his approach, thinking that they were too extended and the “easy money” was gone.
Probably most importantly, chatting with Bernie every day and seeing him repeatedly mention the same symbol all day long has shown me the value of patience, especially on slower-moving securities. I’ve seen this guy make money on huge positions in stocks that are so thinly traded you’d think you wouldn’t even be able to buy 1,000 shares, simply because he is so patient and has a rock-solid thesis and belief in the trade. There were multiple times in the beginning where I wrote off his alerts because the stock seemed to be “just sitting there” only to look back several hours later and see that it had ground up 20 or 30 percent, a few pennies at a time. Today, I use the knowledge he’s shared literally every single day to trade with more patience, more size and more conviction. For these reasons, Bernie gets a spot on the list of most influential people in my trading.
5. Kunal (@kunal00):
Kunal is the guy who taught me most of what I know about technical analysis and day trading. I’d been trading (poorly) for many years before I even met him, but never really had a trading system until after we met. Recently I did a live webinar in which I discussed the five things I look for on every trade I take. Those things include: the chart pattern, the float, the short interest, the relative volume and the news.
Literally every single one of those items was something that I learned the importance of from Kunal. Of course, how I actually use them might be different from how he does, but the core concept that it’s imperative that you pay attention to them came from him, and over time has made me an more systematic and consistent trader. Probably even more important than this, since Kunal and I met we’ve become really good friends and he’s helped me not only to grow my trading capabilities but also to grow my other ventures. He’s given me tons of advice during bad times when I was feeling discouraged about my trading or the growth of a company, website or other venture I was working on, and even put his faith in my abilities by bringing me into his trading courses as a guest speaker numerous times and vouching for me both as a trader and as a mentor.
Basically, watching Kunal grow showed me the value of self-improvement and hard work. I’ve watched him take his business from a tiny chat room with 10 people in it to a massive multi-million dollar company and he’s been there to offer advice and insight on how he did it the whole time. On top of all this, many of the people I know in the trading community I’ve met through Kunal or through connections that began with him. I’ve also traded side by side with him many times and having the ability to always pick his brain has been hugely influential in my trading. All of this definitely warrants a spot on this list.
6. My students:
Last but certainly not least, my mentoring students have been incredibly influential in my development as a trader. Within every student I work with I see a little bit of myself. Helping people resolve the problems they have, which are often similar to or the same as those I’ve dealt with in the past or still deal with today, forces me to constantly hone my own skills and become a better trader every single day. Being a mentor means I need to set an example for anyone that I work with, so having people trying to learn from me makes sure that I keep my head on straight and always practice what I preach. I’m usually harsh when my students do something stupid because the people who’ve taught me much of what I know were harsh with me and that really was what it took to get it through my skull.
It’s often said that the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else, because it not only forces you to have a deep understanding of the subject matter but also forces you to break complex subjects down into simplified material that can be easily understood. I thoroughly believe in this idea, and that I would not be the trader I am today without helping, and being helped by, those who were struggling with the same issues I had as I developed this incredibly complex skill set. For this reason, every one of my students gets a spot on the list of most influential people in my trading.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the people who’ve had the biggest influence on me. Without these people and the things they’ve taught me over the years, I’d probably still be stuck in a cube working a 9-5 job. Instead, thanks to persistence, hard work and the lessons these people have taught me, I’ve been given the ability to make my own hours, be my own boss, and work from wherever I want every single day – a really amazing feeling. If you're struggling in your trading, connect with me and/or some of these people. Having a solid network of positive trading influences can have a hugely positive impact on your profitability.
Until next time, happy trading!