More knowledge from the guys that go it alone — day traders. Last week you met one from Miami, today it’s Dallas.
We created this questionnaire at Clusterstock so that we could get a full view of what Wall Street is like for everyone — from New York to New Mexico.
So if you think you have something interesting to say about the way you trade, shoot us an e-mail.
For now, check out Daniel Speer. He answered our 20 questions below:
Name/Alias: Daniel Speer (@SpeeroTheKid)
Where are you located? Born and raised in Dallas, TX – just moved to Ft. Worth, TX.
How did you start trading?: I was on a double date with a buddy of mine in college and halfway through the night I wanted to trade. Dates, that is. The trade was profitable and I’ve been trading ever since. Sorta. I was a salesman at the time and did an in-house demo for the girl’s father who talked about Ford and what a great investment it was at the time (mid 2008). I researched trading on my own and the salesman was sold.
What do you trade? I day trade stocks in-play with a style I’ve taught myself through hard-knocks and practice watching video replays of my screen, but also through the help of great, free online resources. SMB Capital’s (no affiliation) trading blog is what focused my attention on stocks in-play, as those stocks obviously have much larger trading ranges and more opportunity to make money. SMB Capital, as well as a few other individuals, have had a huge influence on me as a trader.
Do you keep any particular hours? I trade the open. CST the market opens at 8:30 – so I’m awake at 6:30 a.m. I will trade from 8:30 a.m. until around noon or whenever volatility dies down. At times I will trade the close now, but when I was in school it wasn’t an option.
Do you listen to music while you trade? If so, what?: I used to listen to fast-paced music with coffee every morning. I had a run in 2011 Q2 earnings where I was doubling my profit target every morning, sometimes getting 5x my goal amount. Earnings season ended, yet I kept the same trading routine – extremely aggressive off the open with larger size. But the market changes on a daily basis, and I began losing. The slower market helped me realise that I trade better relaxed. I now listen to instrumentals very quietly, and also my buddies in the virtual trading desk I sit in.
How long have you been trading?: I have been able to trade profitably for roughly 2 years, but I have had my head in the game since 2008. I’m also self-taught so my learning curve is substantially longer than professionals. Finding my “niche” took the longest.
Do you look up to any other traders?: I look up to anyone that survives trading. I look up to anyone who is fighting – quantity of money is no measure of success to me. As long as you can take money out of the market week in, week out, you’re someone to admire.
Next step of your career?: I had plans to launch a free website through which I would stream my trading live (as I used to) and build a massive library of my trade reviews (several of which I’ve posted on my previous websites, younggunstrading.com and predatorytrading.com), but because of the path I’ve chosen I won’t be able to because of compliance. The next step would be to continue where I am, possibly finish school, and transition onto a professional desk.
What happened on your best month of trading?: Q2 earnings season of 2011 I hit my profit target consistently, doubling or tripling up most days, with only several losing mornings in the month. I recorded most of the trades and shared them online, and also packaged the reviews into a few powerpoints through google docs. They’re all free. I’m a huge fan of the free sharing of education, which is seemingly impossible to come by nowadays.
What happened on your worst month of trading:? I over-traded and lost a decent chunk. What else can I say? I’ve never had a loss that broke my bank and I never take more risk than I can afford. Loss is step in growth, so expect it.
What did you do/buy with the money from your first big trade?: Before I got into trading I had been in nearly every type of sales job you could think of. I didn’t make a fortune by any means, but I made much more than I was used to growing up. I bought all kinds of dumb things: clothes I never wore, a car I rarely drove, etc. I learned my lesson on spending feverishly. When I finally started making money trading I left it in my account and I rarely withdraw unless I’m transferring between accounts.
Do you have a favourite trading platform?: I started out using thinkorswim and still love the charts on that platform. I never traded options so I never got to fully utilise the features – but I’ve got to say my favourite platform for executions and level 2 speed is Lightspeed. I used DAS trader for a brief period and it worked pretty well also, similar to Lightspeed.
What is the most important quality a trader should have?: You’ll hear it from everyone – but you have to detach yourself from the emotion of money. If you open a trading account you should go into it fully prepared to lose every dime. You also have to be able to take hard punches to the jaw and pick yourself up off the canvas every day.
How has trading affected your personal life?: It’s given me direction. I’m too competitive, so the few times I flew to New York and met top professionals like Gilbert Mendez of SMB, it drives me to be on his level and beyond. I took advantage of the social media boom in StockTwits and was fortunate enough to meet some of the best in the business, like him. Now I’m just on twitter to meet Nicole Lapin. Yes, I know she’s not a trader.
Thoughts on High Frequency Trading?: If I could build a profitable black box I would. It’s certainly not going away. As a trader you adapt or die. Watch the documentary ‘Floored’ if you want evidence. Human traders aren’t going away either, though.
What’s the biggest misunderstanding people have about what you do?: The lifestyle. People get into trading to get magically rich. They see guys like Tim Sykes who hit the lottery and sell an inventory of products that could compete with Toys R’ Us, and think they can do the same. It’s not like that. It’s a grind and you’re going to lose often. The goal is to win more than you lose, and make your winners bigger than your losers. Losses are simply a cost of business. I don’t get along with a lot of guys on the Twittersphere – they romanticize trading too much. There’s nothing pretty about trading, it’s a grimy game.
favourite quote/motto?: I say it all the time – don’t trust anyone. When it comes down to it, it’s just you vs. the market. I don’t sell educational trading products and probably never will. I am not saying all premium services are bad, but when you can trust yourself in every trade, then and ONLY then will you be able to make good trades.
If you weren’t a trader, what would you be?: Who knows, something in sales, I guess. I don’t particularly enjoy sales but I know my talents. I have 3 passions I try to practice as often as possible, 2 of which are trading and travelling. When I have both and am satisfied with my place, life is a dream.