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Interview with J.J. – (aka VwapTrader1)

marketmakers

QUESTION – Thank you for taking the time to participate in the Q & A session. Before we start in detail. Would you like to share with everyone, who you are(name), what you do for a living, where you live and how long trading?

JJ – JJ is the name, I trade ES and advise clients for a living. And do some work for public companies. I live in Canada and I have been trading since 1996. Retail trading for only 2 years now.

 

QUESTION – You have a very interesting background in trading having coming from the opposite side of where our readers trade from. Can you go into detail you past, where you worked, what you did and some insights that could possible help individual retail traders better understand the industry?

JJ – I started out in the sewers of the penny stock world. I did not have a classic b school, then MBA, then NYC. I was in Vancouver BC and wanted to be a trader. The city was closed to new traders as the VSE floor was closing so I got a job for the government downtown so I could be next to the exchange. One day a funny little man saw me reading the WSJ at lunch and started talking to me. He offered me a job calling leads at night for a mining deal he had. Then he got me a job at the company that generated the leads. I worked there for 2 years and sold advertising to generate investor leads (direct mail) to public companies and deal guys, and stock promoters. This gave me an education that markets are created and so is liquidity. It just doesn’t happen. It also gave me over 200 clients that did nothing but make markets to liquidate large positions into when I started as a trader. This is odd because people usually get the job and then hunt for clients to trade so they can generate commission income. My first client was a Swiss Bank! I came to the trading firm with 200 clients ready to go. I had never traded in my life so I had to learn. The firm taught me and so did my clients as they had owned brokerage firms etc, in the past. They went with me because they could trust me to not front run their orders. They trained me like a bird dog. Insight for retail traders is 1. Stay the hell away from penny stocks. When you are buying that stock at 30 cents there is someone like me with 100,000,000 shares with a cost basis of 0.0001 cent selling it to you.

 

QUESTION – What failure or setback in life have you experienced that has set you up for latter success.

JJ – I have had many many setbacks and failures, its the nature of the business. My first year in we were doing a short squeeze for a client who was using a DVP account. We took the stock from 30 cents to 25 dollars. But what we didn’t know was that he was siphoning money out of the prime broker. One day he stuck us with a 600,000 dollar debt. I had very good other clients who gave me lots of order flow to pay that off under 1 year. Also after 911 I lost everything and had to start over again. It took 2 years to rebuild myself. Then others, But I get up every time. I am hard to kill

 

QUESTION – Outside of trading, what strange or unusual habit do you have and enjoy?

JJ – Nothing unusual that I can think of, I am obsessed with the stories of old wall street. The Commodore, James R Keane making a market for JP Morgan’s US steel. The first billion-dollar IPO.

 

QUESTION– How would you describe your trading style? How has it evolved over time?

JJ – My trading style is very measured and careful. Sometimes too careful. I have only been retail trading for 2 years, I am still learning a lot every day. It is completely different than making markets. When I was making markets and feeding order-flow I was doing 200 trades a day, So you just answered the phones and worked out stock with Market makers all day. Its all relationships and different skills like holding a stock down to flush out a big seller. Retail is different its preparation, patience, discipline.

 

QUESTION – Outside of work and trading, how do you enjoy spending your time?

JJ – I really don’t take much downtime. I live in a small city that is my hometown. I was in Vancouver for 25 years. I haven’t taken a holiday since 95. I love work, I am always leaning to trade, reading about the markets or helping someone place a block or helping them with Investor relations, etc. I already had the whole heart attack thing at 44, tried to be a normal person that does regular things, but my mind keeps going back to work. I have a saying I got from a movie (big surprise) “ I have worked very hard to work this hard”

 

QUESTION – What advice would you give your younger self ?

JJ – Advice to my younger self would take every good opportunity that comes to you and ride that train till the end. I missed a few good things because I doubted myself. Also, don’t trust villains so much. LOL

 

QUESTION – What good & bad advice do you hear often in trading?

JJ – So much good advice I have seen on Twitter, I don’t think I have heard too much bad advice because as soon as I started retail I was lucky to find Peter at Shadowtrader. Then Jim Dalton. Of course, I am sure it’s out there. Remember before last year around fall I have never been in a stock chat room. The one room I did try was Simon’s and he is a great guy. But the thing is I still at that time had a lot to learn and decided I shouldn’t be lazy and if I am really to be good retail trader I need to do the work, the learning, the prep myself. It’s like having someone learn to ride a motorcycle for you, Cant be done

 

QUESTION – What are your favorite books to read and why?

JJ – All my favorite books revolve around the market, Reminiscences, Liar’s Poker. Also, some of the stuff written in the 1870s about the operators and deals of that day William Worthington Fowler his stuff is amazing.

 

QUESTION – When you have lost your mojo or focus (both at work and life), what do you do to get back on track?

JJ – Losing mojo is something I have had to deal with a few times. 911, my heart attack was the worst, just being physically weak really sucks lol. I have been lucky I would turn to my mentors, some of the old clients and they would get me on track. Even the villains have helped me come back. One of the most feared and despised short sellers for some reason liked me and took me under his wing like a little brother. The market-making community is a brotherhood. We would cut each other’s heart out for a ⅛ but if you need a place to crash a brother will always take you in.

 

QUESTION – If you could have a big billboard with your favorite saying or message on it, what would it be.

JJ – My favorite line is from Wall Street, Marv says “ We are all just one trade away from humility” It is so true I have seen it time and time again. The moment you pat yourself on the back you get a swift kick to you know where lol

 

QUESTION – Anything else you like for our readers to know about you? How can our readers follow you on social media?

JJ – I would just want your readers to know I am open to helping them out where I can. I in my career never had a retail client. I never recommended or sold stocks. But since I did some teaching after my heart surgery I was stunned to find out how little retail knows about the market they commit there hard earned money to. For me trading these markets without knowing the underlying mechanics of what affects price, things like inventory and T+2. Just simple things the foundations of the market like why VWAP is important or what it even is. I find people wanting to trade without know what they are trading is like wanting to be a surgeon and not taking basic anatomy. My twitter is vwaptrader1

Thanks for taking the time to let our readers get to know you a little bit better. Wishing you only the best on your journey in trading and life.

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