A little course correction, and a new direction

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.


Adam Grimes has over two decades of experience in the industry as a trader, analyst and system developer. The author of a best-selling trading book, he has traded for his own account, for a top prop firm, and spent several years at the New York Mercantile Exchange. He focuses on the intersection of quantitative analysis and discretionary trading, and has a talent for teaching and helping traders find their own way in the market.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Lindani Ngeleka

    Do you sleep?

  2. A_Joe

    Cool….. Looking Forward !

  3. pete

    Really looking forward to the system development and design material. Thanks for what you’ve brought into the universe, Adam.

  4. TA_Reader

    Sounds great Adam!!! Looking forward to seeing the new content. [still think your online trading class is the best out there – I need to do a refresher on that as I’m sure I’d pick even more up on the second go round! I especially liked the tracking spreadsheet built up thru the course.]

  5. Bo

    Even as a programmer the learning curve for backtesting with a python is very steep. Where do you get *good* data? How do you make a backtest? (you will need a few weeks just to grasp the landscape of available software) Then you must learn a chosen framework or make your own. And then you need to have a testable trading idea, which is not so easy to come by as a beginner (“oh, good idea with support and resistance levels, let me test it… – hm, how do I implement support and resistance?”, “breakout above previous high… this must be easy… – oh.. how do I define previous high?”, “Multiple timeframes? sounds good.. – hm, does this framework support multiple timeframes)
    Now I understand why there are more discretionary trading books and traders than system traders.

  6. cesarcf1977

    Not trying to sound supportive, but I believe you were not wrong and everybody (every trader looking for statistically significant edges) should learn to code to a reasonable degree; maybe no need to build a new platform from scratch every time, but being able to take something like Zipline and make it serve your particular purposes (I don’t agree, though, that you have to become “a programmer” to achieve that, especially with a “simple” language like Python). If you are not able to do your own research/backtesting, it seems you’ll always be at the expense of others, following -somehow blindly- what they say, which in the end is not better than trading Fibs because they are “supernatural”, or so they say.

    On the other hand, I understand not everybody is into coding and it’s not an easy task if you’ve never had any involvement with it, but that shouldn’t prevent you from increasing your coding content a little bit in your posts (you dropped that series right after a few Excel posts); maybe don’t blog about building your own Python library yet, but some general flowcharts on how to structure your tests, your recommended approach to test visual patterns, significance tests, etc should still add value. There are plenty of quant blogs out there, but few combine quant research with discretionary trading the way you do, and that’s what really makes your approach valuable/different, IMHO.


  7. owen cooper

    Hi Adam

    Great photos I appear in no less
    than three of them!!1st one of me is on page 2 last but 1 row 3rd
    picture in, me thinking hard about my trading plan. Picture 2 last row page 2 ,1st
    picture me looking at the screen after a trade has fallen out of bed and wacked
    me good and proper .picture 3 page 2, 3rd row from bottom 3rd
    picture in me thinking, stuff it, lets go and get some of Adams chocolate cake
    page 1, 4th row 1st picture YUM YUM

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