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 may not know, who you are, what you do, where you live, work and your experience in the trading community.
DAN – My name is Dan Ushman and I’m the founder and CEO of TrendSpider, a Chicago and Denver-based trading platform I co-founded a few years ago with our CTO, Ruslan. TrendSpider is a chance to combine two passions of mine – for trading, and for technology – into one project.
QUESTION – We understand you work at Trend Spiders. Can you explain in more detail what exactly that is – and how it relates to trading. And improving one’s trading performance
DAN – TrendSpider is the world’s first fully automated technical analysis platform for average retail traders. It’s designed to level the playing field between big institutions and prop trading desks and the average work-from-home day traders of the world.
Individual traders are at a nasty disadvantage. They’re both time and resource limited, their accounts are smaller, their execution isn’t as good, and they lack the technology that makes institutional traders successful. Unless the trader is also a programmer, they’re only as fast as they can see, react, click and trade. Often times, that’s not fast enough.
To make matters worse, individuals also are subject to emotions, pressures, fear, anxieties that institutions are immune from. All of these things impact analysis. People get tired. Their eyes get sore. There is only so much chart-watching you can do.
TrendSpider is an attempt to solve all of these problems and more. It’s a new type of charting software, and I’m very proud of the progress we have made so far.
QUESTION – What personal or professional failure/setback have you experienced in your life that has set you up for later success?
DAN – As a trader, I’ve made many mistakes and lost money. I paid my ‘tuition’ to the Market like everyone else. The thing I realized was a lot of my mistakes were due to me being a human. Everything could be enhanced with automation.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve made plenty of mistakes that have lost money or caused anxiety for myself, my partners or my customers.
I like to say it’s not making mistakes that is a mistake, but sometimes it’s how you react to the mistake that is the real mistake. To that point, I look at failure as a way to improve.
QUESTION – What role model did you have earlier in life? And do you currently have anyone you would consider a mentor?
DAN – My role models have generally been entrepreneurs who hacked their way into success at all costs. I’ve always looked up to Steve Jobs for his obsession with the customer’s experience. Jeff Bezos for his flexibility and ability to stay nimble even as his business got bigger and bigger. On that same note, Sergey Brin and Larry Page – their flexibility, willingness to take risks and try new things, weird things, things they are passionate about – that is one of the qualities that makes them great.
As a trader, I also have always looked up to patient long term investors, which may be an odd thing coming from a shorter term trader, but you know what – they do well, and probably have more peaceful lives than us active investors do. People like Warren Buffet and Bill Ackman who make big bets with lots of conviction then ride them out over time, holding firm. There’s something to be said for that. The ultimate discipline. A lot of confidence.
QUESTION– How would you describe what makes a successful Trader – keeping in mind that it has been reported that 90% of traders fail.
DAN – I would bet way more than 90% lose money over time. Very few make money trading. Recently, I saw someone mention a “90/90/90” rule – 90% lose 90% of their accounts in 90 days. Maybe that is a better way to put it? Anyway, in my humble opinion, what sets the pikers apart from the successful traders can be summed up with one word: discipline.
What I mean is they are…
Disciplined in their analysis. They have a specific analysis system that they are expert in and apply it the same way each time.
Disciplined in their planning. They always have a plan for their trades going into them and they stick to their plans.
Disciplined in their timing and execution. They don’t get excited, they don’t fall for FOMO… they wait and pounce at the right time, then they wait some more.
You have to have all three. A trader might have the best system in the world, but without discipline to perform their analysis the same exact way each time, and then the patience to wait for the right time to take action, it doesn’t even matter. How do you even know if your system works if you don’t apply it the same way each time
QUESTION : What is the role in having a balance all around life in your day to day activities. What hobbies do you enjoy?
DAN – I’m an entrepreneur – so I’m not really sure what you mean by “balance” 🙂 Building a startup is a round-the-clock thing.
In the 5 maybe 10 minutes of free time I get per day, I like to spend it playing with my daughter, or if I’m lucky, grilling. I make a mean homemade BBQ sauce and it’s a lot of fun to put it to work!
QUESTION – What advice would you give to your younger self ?
DAN – It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s when I realized having a stoic outlook on life would make me a happier and more productive person, a better entrepreneur, and a better trader. I would encourage my younger self to take time to think about what really matters before investing energy into something, to pick battles better, and to generally take it easier.
QUESTION – What good & bad advice do you hear often in life?
DAN – Well, for traders, I think a lot of people use stop loss orders improperly because they are afraid of seeing red in their accounts. I’m not a fan of using them to control risk unless they are dynamically adjusted as conditions change. Nothing more painful to me than seeing a stop loss order get filled on the lower tip of a long wick, right at support because of a short term flash crash type of movement. In many cases, it seems like stop loss orders create more risk (or at least lock in losses) than they prevent. Instead, I prefer basing stops on technical factors that are a little more dynamic, and to wait for a candle to close before making my decision. Will this exasperate some losses? Potentially. But in my experience, it will also spare you from others.
QUESTION – What are your favorite books to read and why?
DAN – I’m a big true crime reader – the last three books I read were these. All are excellent. BTW, when I say ‘read’ I mean ‘listen to’. Audible for life!
QUESTION – When you have lost your mojo or focus , what do you do to get back on track?
DAN – I don’t lose my mojo very often, but when I do, I usually just need a few days to recharge. I’ll go up to Michigan, spend some time playing in the water, take a few days off to play with my daughter and relax and then get my head back into the game. Life is short and we only have so much time to make an impact – so I try not to waste too much time being down.
QUESTION – If you could have a big billboard with your favorite saying or message on it, what would it be.
DAN – Being the big data nerd that I am, I would use this quote. It’s one of my favorites:
“If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.” — Jim Barksdale, Former CEO of Netscape
QUESTION – Thank you for taking the time for our readers to get to know you. How can our readers contact you on social media?
DAN – Me personally on Twitter @danushman
TrendSpider can be reached @trendspider