Thursday, May 29, 2008
I'm feeling tired, exhausted, burned out even. Now that the Series 55 exam is over I have this urge to just pack up and travel in whatever direction without a destination in mind and just to see where I end up. Seattle, San Fran, Vegas, and NYC, they all sound good to me right now. I've been trading, in my opinion, near perfect according to the goals I had this month... but with the variable cost, it's hardly anything. The coaches and senior traders met today after the close. I hope they really do away with the stupid infrastructure costs.
I would love to have the opportunity to just sit down with top management to see how in the world they came up with this payout structure. Sure, there are people that supered without a problem under this new structure, but they all did it fairly quickly from my impression. Let's just say that these guys have a knack for trading and are better than me. (Yes, I can accept that other people are better than me at something... for now) I would want to know when did this new payout structure go into place, how many traders have came on board since then, the time it took them to super in a few different statistical measure, and how many traders have left.
My guess, and my hope in order for serious changes to take place is that the # of traders super quickly is about the same but it's taking a hell of a lot longer for the majority of traders. Some might get discouraged and quit before they make it, even if they've shown progress. Because everybody has a pain threshold. For some it's two months, for some it's longer. In other cases, people just flat out go elsewhere to seek higher payout.
I'm sure the new trade at cost plan was well intentioned. As you trade more of course the lower the commission the better, but I feel to get the benefit of this plan is to ramp up your share sizes quickly and not everybody is comfortable with that. The end result is that you'll end up with people taking on more risk than they're comfortable with or should. If you're progressing at a slower rate than your variable costs, what it essentially becomes is much like credit card debt. Your interest is so high that your income can't catch up unless something changes drastically.
I just think that it makes more sense from a management perspective to recruit and attract new talent. Hey, I've been running our family business with my dad and I've recruited with Southwestern before. I know what the other side of the table is thinking. If the intention of the company is to turn an average Joe into HP traders, I doubt 80% of them will even get to that point. Part of my belief also is that once you get to that super yahtzee point, some people start taking off or take off even more. It's like a validation, a vote of confidence. Ask any executives, anyone in HR, business books, or the Internet and they will tell you a high turnover is not a desirable thing. The cost and effort that goes into recruiting and training can work against you very quickly and lost productivity is immeasurable. Maybe what we should be doing is being more selective about the candidates, instead of just feeding people through the machine like some of the coaches are doing and hoping to get a few above normal catches.
It's been frustrating and lately... it's just plain stresses me out. Losing sleep. Draining mental and emotional energy. I'm not going to blame the system because I was the one that signed the agreement but I have a high self-awareness and I'll tell you that I've been guilty of over trading on days when I should be sitting on my hands b/c I'm trying to make up for the deficit when there's not much opportunities present in the market. It's also very easy to have a self-bias tendency. If you ask a roomful of people if they will have a successful marriage or if they perceive themselves to be an above average driver, the majority of them will raise their hands, even though statistically half of the marriages fail in this country and realistically only half can be above average technically. I'm sure lots of people when they join they have the mentality of "oh well, that's no problem. Look at this guy, he made 10 G's today. Yeah, I can do this or at least I will get to that point." Reality is, this is a tough gig. And the game is different now.
The Russell Reconstitution is coming up and I've been reading about it. Sounds pretty exciting and I'm hoping to do well. I'm getting all my tools ready to see if I can catch any good moves. I haven't really been posting anything interesting unfortunately... my mind is simply occupied elsewhere.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I needed a 70 to pass. I got exactly that. A 70. Not more, not less.
If I was my normal self, I would been so scared that I almost didn't pass, which I was for only a micro second. But I was just so glad to get this over with... finally! Finally, I can trade Nasdaq stocks. Finally I can implement some penny stock strategies that I've been wanting to try. Finally I can read the books that I've been wanting to read again. Finally I can move on to other exams, like the GMAT and study for the motorcycle license exam.
Either way, I got a three day weekend to look forward to.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
"Oh, is that when you knew girls weren't......"
Weren't what? I thought in my head. When girls weren't for me? Is that what you were going to say. Dang, she thought I was gay. Well, Rana was embarrassed by it and apologized profusely. She thought I was mad, which I wasn't really... it was more a hit to the manhood, although now it's quite hilarioius in recollection.
I did try to replay that evening/night to gather clues to why she might thought I was gay. I did talk about Sex and The City... but it wasn't like I was really excited about it. Alamo Drafthouse was doing this thing where they serve Cosmo for the screening but I knew that b/c I'm on their event mailing list and the whole conversation started b/c they were talking about some cute guy at the event which led to the theory of "he's just not that into you" that was proposed by one of the episodes. Also, I did talk about Top Chef and Project Runway and I'll just be frank, the primary reason I watch I watch those two shows is b/c of the host. Seriously, Padma and Heidi are freakin' hot. And I am known to whip up an occasional dish or two, especially for Mother's Day.
So friends, pls, do not judge a man's sexuality by the TV shows he watch.
Oh, I do have to mention this other funny story from that night. Rana was getting Cassie to write down her contact info on the back of this business card and just hands her the first pen she found in her purse. All I heard was that a few minutes later Cassie going "this is a magic pen." Rana and I both investigate, well, turned out that Rana handed her a highlighter.... and Cassie was buzzing too hard to tell the difference.
My down efficiency is well under control. I wasn't completely confident that I could hit the goal of having an up efficiency higher than down efficiency but to my surprise I'm actually accomplish that goal as well when Jane checked my stats for me, although not by that much. I haven't even came close to my loss limit for the day and I've been following my two strikes rule. I finally got my 2nd monitor installed after waiting for about 2 weeks... now I can have new tickers, rank reports, charts, and more tools I can utilize for trading.
Things are going well, but I'm not easing my foot off the gas and coasting. There are still times that I don't take on a trade b/c of the fear of losing money. I need to eventually get to the point where I trade without the emotion of fear present. Sometimes I still catch myself thinking about the variable cost, especially since I have the monitor to pay for now as well but I have not allowed it to affect me that much.
The CNBC thing is getting old after just one week. I don't really have a lot of time to focus on that, plus I'm not too excited about this week's prize. I should look into how they're executing the transactions and try to be more efficient from that.
I'm taking my Series 55 exam again this coming Friday. It is quite unpleasant having to deal w/ this nonsense again. There are things covered on the exam that's not even mentioned in the book or two different sources would have conflicting answers. It's really frustrating. Especially now that I'm going through the material the 2nd time I catch myself just glancing over the subjects instead of really study and understand it. I still got some time to prepare though, it's ok. After this whole 55 thing I gotta start on studying for the GMAT and maybe getting a motorcycle license. This gas price is killing me...
Apparently it's pretty easy to find my blog when people are searching for info about the company. A few rookies have mentioned that they read my blog when they were interviewing, including John. I find it somewhat amusing. I hope what I say here doesn't sway people one way or another. I pride myself on being a straight shooter and not sugar coat things yet still not be an asshole either. Obviously I hope to present the company and what I do in the most accurate yet favorable light. I don't think I'm giving away anything that's our trade secret here or anything bad/wrong/unethical... otherwise I'm sure management would've contacted me about it or straight up told me to take it down.
On a more personal level, I found that Jim Byrd is still with Dale Carnegie, he's the course instructor now, which is pretty cool. I've been thinking about coming aboard as a Graduate Assistant although I'm not too sure yet at the moment but I think it'll be a win-win situation. I could get a lot out of that plus it'd be great to work with Jim again. Maybe eventually I can become a full time trainer/consultant.
On a even more personal level... she's gone. She's really gone. I always had a feeling she was going to move away. She was drawn to that city the first time we were there and it has been calling her name ever since. I always wonder if we met at a different time, different place, maybe we'll have a different ending. It' s scary sometimes how similar our taste in music and movie is sometimes. We can debate the meaning of High Fidelity or know exactly what movie quote to insert into the conversation.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
#44 out of 400,000 (or possibly more) is damn good! You can click on the image above if you don't believe me.
You know what I wish they have as a prize? A Date with Erin Burnett! What can I say, I'm a sucker for smart pretty brunets. Maggie gyllenhaal or Marisa Tomei, if you guys are reading this, give me a call.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Sunday, May 4, 2008
A lot has been going through my mind lately, although nothing concrete or comprehensible could be formed until lately.
April was slow... but honeslty, it wasn't that bad. I could've had a much better month if it wasn't for three days where I just blew up. Honestly, this is not new news. Similar pattern happened in February and even January. I think at times I feel the pressure to make some serious bucks or I talk to another friend and ending up very negative (mentally) the next day. I would have a few consistent up days, making decent money but then it'll be wipe away on a day that I either didn't position size properly, added to the loser or I churn/revenge trade. KDN, GME, EEM, PXP, CSH, just to name a few.
God, that CSH trade... I lost almost 2 G's on it and this was right before the Fed decision announcement. I had to leave my desk and really clear my head so I can focus later. I ended up only down about $600 that day. I don't know what I would've done if there wasn't any action that day and no opportunity to make some money. I might've quit and gone home and never come back.
So for May, Jane from the Quant Team and Lawrence my coach are working with me on reining in some of these big down days and my losers. And instead of focusing on my P&L, we're focusing on my down efficiency right now. These are the goals for May, if I hit them Lawrence is taking the team to dinner (and Jane as well??):
- Up efficiency > down efficiency
- Down efficiency better than -.08
- No down days more than $800
- Two strikes and you're out policy
- Trade no more than 5 times in a day for index ETF's like SPY, EEM, EWZ
So far so good. Two trading days into May. Two pretty good up days. Having these goals/rules is going to force me to be disciplined and either be more selective or have better entries.
As for Ascent... that's on hold for now. Not while my confidence is low right now. I do have to add to the previous post that perhaps what I'm looking at is a very short term view. Sure, I can get a bigger slice at Ascent right now, but in the future will that pie grow as fast as I could at Kershner?
Oh, and this was pretty funny. I usually don't take horoscope very seriously but the coincidence with what's been going on is interesting.
4/28 Libra: Don't give up just because you haven't seen results yet. Patience, patience.
4/27 Libra: You've come too far to turn back now. Stick with it and you WILL achieve what you're after.