Trading Lesson: How a Veteran Trader Adjusts and What You Can Learn
01/31/2018 4:30 am EST
Veteran trader Dave Landry describes how he’s adapted his trading and personal life to new challenges, how he’s trading cryptos and equities, new books about trading and how he’s adjusted from six screens to a single huge screen. More Trading Lessons every Friday.
I’ve been thinking about doing a what’s up report for a long time. My concerns were that it would come off as narcissistic and/or product placement pimping. Since I’m often asked about tools of the trade for trading and what I’m reading/up to outside of trading, I figured now would be as good of a time as any to start. I truly think that you can benefit from my experience/experimenting.
Helping my Mom
I’ve been helping my mom with her battle with lymphoma, alternating between the home office and my second office at my sister's house. Lately, it’s been two weeks on and one week “off.” It's great that I have a job that allows me to work anywhere in the world, provided that there's a decent internet connection of course.
Spending time with my mom has been great. It’s been nice having her tell everyone in my family that I'm “always working.” I think before now everyone thought I just hung out at home all day while they slaved at their jobs.
My second office
I found out fairly quickly that going from six screens to a laptop wasn’t going to cut it, especially if I was going to do more than place a few orders and keep a loose eye on the markets. Projects and hardcore market analysis were problematic at best. A laptop works great for short-term stints while away on business, but it isn’t a very good longer-term solution.
Rather than dragging a bunch of equipment to the west office (and frighten my sister), I decided to go big and small. Instead of a half-dozen monitors, I decided to get one big one. For the computer, I went with a tiny one. The monitor allows for picture-in-picture so my laptop and other computers can be added in, if necessary.
It’s a bit of a God gives you lemons, make lemonade experiment (although initially, I thought about asking for vodka). The computer can be mounted to the back so that I could use this as an all-in-one setup. It’s also somewhat ruggedized (no moving parts other than a fan that only runs if I'm doing serious graphic crunching) for possibly a more mobile setup down the road (or across the water).
Ergonomics have been a bit of a challenge so far, but I’m working on that. I quickly found out that you can’t sit in front of this monster monitor. You have to be able to literally stand back. So, I went with a fixed standing desk. I figured that I need to stand more anyway, so now I have no choice! The floors are hard here so I ordered a decent mat.
What I’ve been trading
I’ve backed off a little bit in my cryptocurrency trading. This is not because of any particular reason other than I’m just following my methodology.
Notice below that bitcoin (BTC) has been trading sideways to lower. BTW, I’m a little annoyed by all these newly minted crypto experts. Crypto is just another market with a few caveats. Study the stuff here that we use in stocks/other markets and you’ll do just fine.
I am long ethereum. As mentioned previously, I don’t intend to report every crypto trade like ethereum (ETH). My goal is to show that markets are markets and if you learn how to trend follow, you’ll do just fine (longer-term!) regardless of the market traded. (Although I do tend to prefer inefficient markets.)
In forex, since the market is very efficient, I continue to look to trade hourly bowties off of major highs/lows to catch the occasional inefficient moves.
This takes a few stabs, but eventually, you catch a new trend developing on the hourly which turns into a daily trend. The reason it takes a few tries is that you are a bit of a pioneer, going against the longer-term (daily) trend.
In stocks, you would think that I’ve been printing money, but this run has been hard to get on. The old Wall Street adage, “Bull markets don't let you in and bear markets don’t let you out,” comes to mind. It's tough to stick with the methodology when this occurs but this is what you should always do. I do think we’ll see the mother-of-all Trend Knockouts at some point. And, this would be a healthy reset for the markets-and hopefully me too!
Getting organized and more efficient
With the new year and a second office, I decided now was the time to get more organized and get on top of the distracction that often occurs by being pulled in different directions-and now locations. In the process, I accidentally discovered Rocket Notebooks from Everlast (thanks to a Tim Ferriss blog). Now 30-bucks seems like a lot for a 30-page notebook but it’s quite useful and has been a lifesaver so far. You can dry or wet erase the pages and quickly upload to Evernote, email, and/or other web destinations.
BTW, they also make a cheaper nonwet erasable version that is about a third of the price that feels and writes more like regular paper. (I’m using these to outline books for my trading psychology master course.)
So, why am I so excited about a notebook? I've been experimenting with electric pens on and off for years. These cost hundreds of dollars and are problematic at best. Now, I simply X where I want the page sent online and take a picture.
What I’m reading
Quite a few of you have been asking what I’ve been reading both with trading and outside of trading (I used to keep a recommended reading/current reading links on the site).
Right now my focus has been on psychology. I’ll be re-publishing my recommended books page soon. I’ll also have a massive list of trading psychology/psychology books that I have read/intend to read which I’ll add.
I'm currently reading Tribe Of Mentors by Tim Ferriss. What I love about Tim is that you get so many new ideas to pursue. I’ve gotten a ton of tangential books that relate nicely to trading psychology. From that, I have re-discovered Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (say that three times fast!) Ted Talks and am reading his book Flow-The Psychology Of Optimal Experience.
I'm also reading Thinkertoys which I found by accident in a secondhand bookstore. I’ve gotten a lot of fantastic ideas from it such as Lotus Blossoms. These are a great pen and paper complement to digital mind mapping which I’ve recently been experimenting with. I’ve been applying the Lotus Blossoms to trading, business and life.
I haven't had much time to read many blogs lately, but I have been keeping up with Charles Kirk's The Kirk Report. He's a Tim Ferriss of the markets-lots of good things to follow up on, e.g. Principles (below).
What I’m listening to
For audiobooks, I’m currently listening to Principles by Ray Dalio. I’ll now definitely want to get a hard copy of this one.
During the workday, I’ve been listening to Peace and other Liquid Mind productions by my friend Chuck Wild. I then sometimes go complete opposite (especially on bad days) during my after market analysis with a little screamo.
I can think of a dozen other things I’m doing, but that's enough for now. Hopefully, my first “now” post wasn’t too narcissistic. Let me know what you think and what you're doing now.
May the trend be with you!