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two pathsI want to share a few more personal thoughts with you today, to look at where this blog and my work has been, and to talk about some exciting new directions for the future. First of all, we aren’t talking about any radical changes or departures. If I hadn’t mentioned it, you might not have noticed—the new directions already lie within the scope of my blog. To understand where we’re going, let’s look back at this year.

I began the year with a heavy emphasis on Python programming, and with the possibility of working on a large-scale Python course. This work stalled, largely in response to questions I got from readers, and to conversations I had. At the time, my thinking was that basically everyone who wanted to trade should learn to code and do their own backtesting. I now think that approach might have been misguided; I think I was wrong.

To do even rudimentary testing in Python requires a good deal of proficiency in the language. It’s hard to say how long it would take someone to get there, but working fairly hard (let’s say 10 hours a week), it’s hard to imagine someone starting from scratch and being able to do a simple backtest in less than six months. Now, keep in mind this is roughly two hours a day, with little time off—if you falter, it will take longer. If you get frustrated and give up, you’ll never get there.

To do backtesting as I was proposing, one does not learn to program—you have to become a programmer. That’s a significant investment of time and energy, probably requiring several years of work. I would rather be able to offer someone a good platform within which to do the testing, and then let the trader focus on learning to understand the statistics and test procedures that are most likely to allow your forward results to match your backtesting. Perhaps we do not have to build our boat if we want to be sailors (though we need to understand the boat deeply.)

So this is where I’m coming from. I am writing a book that focuses on system testing and design, and you’ll hear more about that later, but I’m going to slightly refocus this blog in the following ways:

  • From the beginning, I said that my blog and podcast would focus on elements of human performance outside of markets; the tagline at the top of this page says “financial markets, risk, and life.” I’ve been reluctant to write too much on the “life” aspects for a few reasons, but that’s going to change. Expect more posts with ideas that will extend far beyond markets.
  • I’m even more focused on helping the early developing trader over some hurdles. This was spurred on by my participation in a few active trading groups where I saw horrible advice dispensed with great authority. Your stock went down when you bought it? Don’t worry about your initial stop point, but put on a strangle with options. You struggle with false breakouts? The obvious solution is to trade penny stocks. Frustrated with trading? The VIX goes down every time it spikes, so you should use this guy’s 100% accurate daytrading system. You need a trading system? Just use moving average crosses. I could go on, but you get the point… and looking at some of these first steps of trading will also have value for much more experienced traders.
  • I’m becoming almost obsessively focused on what we can do to transform our trading results and to create positive change. I am doing some exciting work on that front, and you’ll see some of these ideas on the blog soon.
  • Expect more on meditation and the psychological side of the game.
  • I’ll share a few thoughts on writing professionally–how to structure, organize, and direct the workflow. There are easy connections here to many other fields and to trading.
  • Last, I may share a few more personal things here and there. If you follow me on Facebook, you already know that I’m studying photography—you can see some of my work (in progress) here. For whatever reason, finance and trading people seem to be very interested in food and cooking, and I field a handful of questions on cooking each week too. 🙂 I may launch a separate food blog at some point in the next year, but I don’t have the bandwidth to do so now.
  • Last, you’ll be seeing some work from a new blogger here, very soon. As I slightly refocus on the human aspects of trading and high performance, I will be joined by a friend who will continue to take us deeper into aspects of system development and design.

Exciting stuff! I’m honored to have each of you reading and I look forward to bringing you some new perspectives over the next few months.