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052114_0353_NewDirectio1.pngI’ve had a few weeks to kind of reset and reconsider the direction for my blog and podcast. As I said in my previous post, I’ve been busy on the programming front, and I now have some cool new tools to work with. I want to take a few moments this morning and share some ideas I’ll be exploring here over the next few months.

I’ve long struggled with social media–with my Twitter presence, with this blog, with the food blog (a projected I axed last year). I think my problems come down to this: I’m very competitive and, anything I do, I want to do well. Not just well… with excellence. There’s a school of thought in blogging that says “just write for yourself and see what happens.” That has the benefit of assuring that bloggers will write with authentic voice, but every time I’ve heard that advice it has also caused me to think “this is simply what someone in social media would tell people to encourage more people to blog.” To me, the blog has to connect. The most fulfilling part of this journey–by far–has been hearing from traders for whom my work has made a difference. Yesterday, I had a conversation with a client who is an intraday trader who frankly did not know what to do: after struggling he had now achieved a degree of consistency and profitability that had, so far, eluded him and he seemed a bit unsure with how to deal with being in the ranks of “consistently profitable” traders. I had the joyful experience of telling him to simply keep doing what he was doing, guard against hubris, and to fix mistakes when they happened! So, much of my thinking in recent weeks has been thinking about how to recast this blog and podcast slightly to help it connect with you, the reader–making the lessons a little more immediately applicable, and drawing connections more clearly from theory to practice.

There are, broadly speaking, two schools of thought in blogging. I’ve heard cogent arguments for the following: Posts need to be short because people don’t have much time. When you start pressing against 700 words (I’m already at 350 here!), you’re pressing your luck. No more than one chart per post, and only one clear idea per post. This makes sense, and I know that I often have very little time to think deeply when I read the wall of blogs in the morning. On the other hand, 700 words is really just a tiny crumb. There are many successful bloggers who regularly write over 2,000 words, and I have some of these diatribes in the archives too. I think there’s a place for both, and a happy medium can be achieved. My personal topics and focus are always shifting a bit around the margins, and I want to slightly shift our focus here. I think this will challenge some of you in some good ways. My thinking and perspective have grown over the past few months, and I’d like to share some of these insights with you.

To that end, here’s what you can expect in the next few months:

  • I want to help you make money in the markets and manage your own money and risk better. If I have a simple mission statement, that’s it.
  • To play a game well, we have to understand that game. We have to know the rules, but also understand what usually happens. Our guide in the marketplace is a solid understanding of “what usually happens.” I want to continue to help you think deeply about probabilities and statistics in the market. This is not dry and academic; rather, it directly relates to the battle we fight every day, with every tick of every position in the market. So much of the “statistics” we hear (especially from social media) are dangerous. I can only think that the bloggers who drown us in meaningless and unreliable stats are simply trying to entertain, but I also know that people lose money trading on facile and misleading observations.
  • I’ve been doing a tremendous amount of work teaching myself to become a programmer. I’ve been working with Python, and I will start to share some ideas and programming tools here. I know many of you also program and work on studying your own stats, and I think this is absolutely essential. My quantitative journey started with pencil and paper (literally), and I’ll enjoy sharing some of what I’ve learned with you here.
  • I’ll also revisit many of the simple, fundamental elements of price behavior in markets. I’ve written on many of these topics in the past, but I will turn a new page here. I will certainly cover some things I’ve covered before, but I have some good ideas about how to map this out.
  • I’ll also connect those ideas to actual trading tools and techniques. Theory might be interesting to a select few, but it’s what we do with it that really matters.
  • Because I am not a mental health professional, I’ve been hesitant in the past to speak too clearly to behavioral issues and psychological influences in trading. I think that’s a mistake, and I’ll work hard to share some of what I’ve learned in my own trading, but also in working with hundreds of traders in many settings over the past decade–from academic, to being on a major exchange, to various institutional settings, to working with the “at home” trader–we all fight some of the same battles, in surprisingly similar ways.
  • I’ve got a few other personal projects in the works. There may be a new book in the future, but I’m not sure exactly what that book will look like. I’m also going to put up a page for some off-topic and personal posts and maybe even revive some version of my food blog.

We will see how this all fits together and I look forward to exploring it with you!