The Weekend Trader – Staying Nimble & Turtle Soup

By Don Miller

Now that I have a few minutes outside the Tank to gather my thoughts, here are some weekend perspectives.

9/11 Anniversary - Today is of course a day to put life in proper perspective.  May we never forget the events from nine years ago, and may we use the scars to seek to improve life as long as we have breath.

Week 1 Training Perspectives - It’s been another pleasure and honor to work alongside a new team of 15 traders. 

In terms of demographics, the average age of the current group is 42 – down slightly from previous groups which had averaged in the upper 40s – and trading experience ranges from 1 to 20 years with an average of 11.  California is the most heavily represented state, and we have participants from Australia, Canada, and the U.S.

This month’s effort has of course been enhanced by the addition of world class top trader coach Robin Dayne, who is working alongside the team as a participating trader while providing key psychological coaching insights each day.  Her involvement has further solidified my respect for her as a coach, trader, and person who has also done a great deal on the charity side.

Primary emphasis of the effort remains on having participants identify, recognize, and trade (or SOOT) the particular market “current” in play at all times, with emphasis on identifying those critical wholesale market inefficiencies and PJO “outliers” to carve out profit opportunity, using my own actual trading as live examples.

And while we’re only a quarter of way through the month-long effort, it’s no surprise that many of the early participant take-aways mirror that which we discussed in last year’s Keys to the Castle post, which remains among the most accessed page of the blog.

One rather interesting common challenge shared by some of the incoming participants was that they’d been trying to trade various “methods” or “systems” in the past which only work in certain market environments (can you say “Turtles”?)

Think of the “Jellie” concept as you may, the term remains an intentional and purposeful reminder that the job of a daily trader - like a good poker player – is to continually adapt to current conditions and feed off the environment in which we’re thrust on a daily basis.

Frankly, I remain amazed at all of the industry B.S. that emphasizes single methods that only work in specific environments. And while there’s of course solid instruction out there if you take the effort to seek it out and separate the wheat from the chaff, the fact that one participant had been “taught” by someone who hadn’t traded for months because market conditions had changed and his method stopped working, simply made me shudder.

Like life, I suppose we have two fundamental choices in this business: (1) work our tail off to constantly adapt to conditions and live life abundantly or (2) let ignorance, ego, laziness, stubbornness, and/or stupidity allow us to remain inflexible, resulting in trading paupers who barely get by – if at all.

And while it seems like a pretty easy choice to me, it amazes me how many intentionally choose #2 because it’s far less work, as evidenced by their barking at the market or at successful traders at cocktail parties or on various internet threads – the latter of which can be described as trading’s version of purgatory … but I digress.

And while our efforts will never be perfect, our mission remains clear: To further develop self-sufficient traders by providing the technical and mental tools to help recognize and effectively trade any market.

25% ADA Donation – A reminder for those unable to participate in the September training because of a group size that I purposely limit or personal choice at your end that the series of eight videos (16 hours) chronicling the formal evening training and weekly recap sessions of the 2009 beta team remain available.  These also reflect the prerequisite material for the current team.

Over the remaining three weeks of the current effort, I’ll be increasing the ongoing donation to 25% of all proceeds to the American Diabetes Association.  If you’d rather make a straight donation, you can of course always simply donate directly to the ADA or sponsor a bike rider such as friend Steve Berube in the upcoming JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in Death Valley, CA.

Mailbag – I’ve received a great deal over the past week, much of it in response to Monday’s High Stakes Trading post.

My thought of course was to continue to stimulate ways to increase the transparency of a business that continues to operate behind curtains and in shadows. 

And while I agree it might make for rather boring TV, I remain emphatic in responding to those who suggest that magicians shouldn’t give away their secrets, or who use poker as an example where sharing insights will change market dynamics and reduce personal opportunity.

For as I stated in one of my responses to Monday’s post, someone has to teach the magicians, and poker players who can’t adapt to evolving conditions simply aren’t true poker players.

As Art Cashin has often said, “Stay nimble”.

Those who don’t will end up in another type of trader purgatory … the ingredients of Turtle Soup.

Have a peaceful weekend.


  1. Trade Flight Plan says:

    Hi Don,
    I have been reading your blog for awhile now, and always appreciate the insights you share. No disrespect intended, but I believe this is arguably one of your best posts yet!
    Thank you,