Jorge Salazar, More Interviews

Jorge Salazar “@FunkTrader” – Interview

CgEFMS3h_400x400 (1)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, where you live and what is your current occupation?  

JORGE: Before I begin, I would like to thank you for this opportunity; I am truly grateful. My name is Jorge Salazar, and I am currently living in Ventura, California.  I am member of the U.S Navy who has served close to 21 years and who is getting to ready to retire.   


QUESTION – Do you trade full-time, part-time. What trading instrument and are you part of any Trading Community you like to share with our audience?

JORGE: I trade futures contracts primarily the micro ES.  I am a part of a trading community called MicroEfutures.  I have to say this is the best group of people I have come across in the trading world.  As we all know there is no lack of trading rooms/communities out there.  As a matter of fact, I have been part of a couple.  But this one is different.  It is lead by JJ who has this indescribable desire and passion to help other traders who have the desire to learn and work hard.  When he interacts with you, you feel as if you are the only person in the room.  It is all about education in there. You are almost guaranteed to walk away with a new piece of knowledge everyday you are in the room.

I need to mention all the wonderful traders in there too.  We have some talented individuals in there who consistently help other traders. The support for one another feels like family.  Trading is tough and can be lonely at times.  Having people around you with a like minded mentality really helps in this journey.  I could not do it alone.


QUESTION – What personal or professional failure/setback have you experienced in your life or professional career that has set you up for later success?

JORGE: This is a very good question and I was talking to my wife exactly about this subject.  What has set me back in my professional career is the lack of believing in myself.  I have put limitations on myself because I either thought I was not good enough or I was afraid of rejection and failure.  Now that I have realized that and understand how it has affected me, I can use it to my advantage.  Without any action you end up without any results.  Not taking any risks because you want to protect your feelings, you will end up saying “what if”. I have decided that I will not be that person anymore and it is only pure growth from here on out. 


QUESTION– How would you describe what makes a successful trader. Good traits, bad traits?

JORGE: What is helping me become a successful trader is my support system.  My wife and family.  They have been there my whole 21 years in the Navy and I would not be where I am today without them.  The work ethic, passion, and discipline that I learned while in the service help in my trading as well.  Now I have many things to work on.  This is an ever-improving endeavor.  Perhaps the hardest thing I have ever done.  But I need to learn to be more patient and put aside my emotions.  


QUESTION : What purchase of less than $100 have you made in the past year that you simple could not live without now?

JORGE: My music streaming subscription.  I cannot live without music.  Good times and bad times music has always been there for me.


QUESTION – What advice would you give to your younger self as it relates to your personal life. What about advice for your younger trading self?

JORGE: Believe in yourself and do not be afraid of failure.  You will never truly know what you are capable of without discovery.  The advice I would give to my younger trading self would be to focus on one trading instrument or stock.  Learn its characteristics and get familiar with it before attempting to tackle multiple things at once.


QUESTION – Outside of your career * trading, what are some of your hobbies? How do you escape from the real world during these crazy times?

JORGE: Cycling, hiking, swimming, coffee roasting, working out, music and reading.  Anything that gets me out of the house and around nature I am there.  But my favorite thing to do from that list is cycling by far.  To me there is no better feeling than the one I get after completing a 50 plus mile ride. It is only you and the road and there is no quitting.   


QUESTION – Where do you see yourself in 5 years – then 10 years?

JORGE: I see myself having a successful micro-coffee roasting business. Coffee and trading make for a perfect combination.  The first five years will focus on getting established locally and then years 6-10 move into the e-commerce space. 

I also want to have an impactful role in the community I am going to be living in.  This will be the first time I am going to be living in the same location for more than three years. I am a firm believer that to have a strong community you need to do your part.  I want to give back wherever I can. 


QUESTION – When you have lost your mojo or focus, what do you do to get back on track? 

JORGE: I remove myself from whatever current environment I am in because if I do not, I tend to force things.  Then I reach out to those who have helped me along this ride called life.  Talking things out has always had its benefits, it provides me with a different perspective, or it identifies a small but important detail I might have been missing.  Then being able to see things more clearly, I get back on the bicycle saddle.


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

JORGE: “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever.”  -A Bronx Tale


QUESTION–  Thank you  for taking the time for this interview. How can our readers contact you, including on social media. And is there anything else you like for our readers to know about you?

JORGE: Thank you! I am currently only active on Twitter where I go by @FunkTrader.  The last thing would be that I love hip-hop and don’t forget to support your vets.

And feel free to join me in the trading room where I am a member.

Excerpts Writings From JJ @vwaptrader1, Trading Essays

Excerpt Writings from JJ @Vwaptrader1


The function of wholesale and other time frames in the market and their impact on price action.
(How to swim next to the shark instead of into its mouth)

(Footprint chart provided by null_antechamber)

When a market is trading up and down in a narrow range this type of price action is known as “chop”. As traders, we are taught to avoid this type of price action and for good reason. By the end of this, you should have an understanding of how and why “chop” occurs and how to position yourself on the right side of the trade once the opportunity presents itself.

Let us see why this type of price action occurs and how observing it can help you trade with the size players who move price in the market.

While price is moving in this up and down fashion larger timeframe players are building a position. Using the tools that we have, we can see where the position is being built and how the structural location of this position can tell you the agenda of the size traders who are building it.

In the graphics below is the structure in question. Here is some background: before the regular trading hours (RTH) of July 17, 2020, the overnight inventory was long. At about 35 minutes into the RTH session, ES began its downwards correction as trapped longs sold out near the overnight low. At this point, price cannot break the overnight nor the previous day low. This is a huge indication that the sellers who took price down are not OTF size sellers, but rather trapped long players who are selling out or having their stops taken out.

Market Profile (TPO charts) shows what business is transpiring. Now we must investigate how those size traders deal with this selling and how they later profit from it.

As the initial wave of selling starts to slow down, momentum traders see this and jump in and buy. The wholesale side of the business knows this and in order not to buy the momentum traders stock back and cut into their profits, they move bids up and down resulting in chop. (Also keep in mind when a market goes to areas like the overnight low, some traders who follow price will short here and there will be others that sell from long positions down here too.)

This order flow and the way the wholesale handles it is the mechanics of this business. By creating this back and forth price action the wholesalers are able to absorb all this selling order flow, consequently resulting in what we retail traders call CHOP.

Now we will see how the wholesalers resell this position back into retail buying as the selling subsides and is “taken into wholesale inventory” This is how the wholesaler makes their money as they provide liquidity to retail traders.

Screen Shot 2020-07-23 at 4.35.59 PM

The above is the market profile which shows selling has shot off down at 3196

Screen Shot 2020-07-23 at 4.37.07 PMScreen Shot 2020-07-23 at 4.37.15 PMScreen Shot 2020-07-23 at 4.37.20 PMScreen Shot 2020-07-23 at 4.37.32 PMScreen Shot 2020-07-23 at 4.37.37 PMScreen Shot 2020-07-23 at 4.37.44 PMScreen Shot 2020-07-23 at 4.37.48 PM

Excerpts Writings From JJ @vwaptrader1, Trading Essays

Excerpts Writings from JJ @vwaptrader1

How the markets have become cleaner over time,  My confessions of Stealing order flow

Before the advent of online trading the markets were very opaque: very few people now know anything about order flow, back then even fewer did. Practically no one, including people who took companies public, knew how the mechanics of the market actually worked. For pirates of the over the counter and small-cap markets, it was heaven.

This gave rise to opportunity.  

If you had a company you took public and you were the financier you had a large position. In order to sell or dispose of that position, you need to create a market to sell it into.  This is where the Stock promoter came into play. He was hired by the inside shareholders to bring in buyers. He is given a position of say 5 million shares to use as he desires to create a market for the insiders, to say, sell 40-50 million shares.The promoter will start his campaign using all known methods of advertising to bring in buyers. When those buyers come in, their orders go to large market makers. If the large market makers do not know where to find a size seller they will move their bids up. We relied on the fact that 90% of promoters do not know how to trade or are too cheap to hire a specialist like me to manage the market. This is how we did it.

We identify deals with weak promoters and hunt their order flow. So if their stock is 1.00x 1.05 (bidxoffer) and a size buyer comes in, NITE the market maker would go bid 1.02. We would see that, call him and say “Oh we have an interest what you got?” “ I can pay the bid for 100k” he would reply. Sold!

We have just shorted 100,000 shares of a stock at 1.02. Now that bid drops and NITE goes back to say 98 cents. (under the best bid of $1).

Now for the fun part. 

We go and hit the bids HARD! You do this by hammering every bid on level 2(of course you tell your buddies to get out of the way first) then you slam it down. Once you break $1.00, you offer 200,000 shares at 98 cents and SHOW it, while you are hitting the bids. This scares the heck out of everyone, buyers scatter like pigeons, you take the stock down to close to 50 to 60 cents. You now call around looking for stock. “I can pay the bid for 150,000 shares”  The promoter will find out because you want him to. You have a market maker who is on neutral grounds call the promoters brokerage firm and show the bid; he will sell. He has too. He has gotten the stock for free and spent money to bring in buying. HE MUST SELL. You cover your short, a quick 50G booked and on to the next pillage!  All before lunch.

 JJ (@vwaptrader1) is the head educator and trader at highly popular 


More Interviews

Shana Sissel – Interview

ShanaQUESTION: 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, where you live and what is your current occupation?  Do you actually trade, invest, etc.

SHANA: Sure. My name is Shana Sissel and I am the Chief Investment Officer of Spotlight Asset Group, an RIA located in the greater Chicago Area. I am originally from Worcester, Massachusetts and relocated to the Chicago area in 2016 with my husband Jason, our son Gabriel, and our dog Teeko. 

As Spotlight’s CIO, I oversee all aspects of the firm’s investment platform ranging from overall strategy, implementation, and communication to clients and prospects. As part of my role I am responsible for leading the Investment Policy Committee and implementing enhanced due diligence for investment selection.

I have been in the investment management industry for nearly two decades. Prior to joining Spotlight, I served as Director of Investment Due Diligence & a Senior Portfolio Manager with Orion Advisor Solutions. At Orion, I was tasked with building the firm’s in-house due diligence group. Establishing the framework on investment strategy review & analysis for the Orion Portfolio Solutions Turnkey Asset Management Program & Model Marketplace. In addition, I served as co-manager for the firm’s tax-managed direct indexing suite of separately managed accounts & was the firm’s subject matter expert on Alternative Investments.


QUESTION: You have an interesting Twitter profile.  What actually is a masshole? What are your goals (if any) on social media?

SHANA: 😊 A masshole is generally considered a derogatory term used by outsiders (usually northern New Englanders) for people from Massachusetts. It’s usually in reference to our very aggressive and some might say “wreckless” driving and tendency to be loud and outspoken. Native Massachusetts folks wear the term as a badge of honor. While intended to be an insult, we consider it the ultimate compliment. 

In terms of social media, the way I leverage the various social media platforms has evolved over time. In 2018 I was abruptly laid off from the job that actually brought me from Boston to Chicago. I spend 7 long months unemployed and it was a very dark time in my life. When I finally landed my role at Orion I swore to myself that I would use the opportunity to build my personal brand within the industry to serve as a way to reduce the risk that I would experience that type of career setback again. Reputational equity was important for me. In addition, it has really helped me build my public profile. Influencers are growing in demand and media outlets and corporations look to work with those who they believe have significant reach and influence across their target demographics. 


QUESTION: What personal or professional failure/setback have you experienced in your life or professional career that has set you up for later success?

SHANA: I have experienced plenty of failure in my life and career. In my opinion, failure is the key to success. Failure allows you to learn, keeps you humble and helps you develop resilience. There is a big difference between regret and failure. As I look back on my career, I regret nothing, not even the decisions I made that led to failure. As I eluded to earlier, being laid off in 2018 was probably the biggest failure/setback I’ve faced to date. My husband is an entrepreneur and runs a charity called the Endure to Cure Pediatric Cancer Foundation. The stability of my employment and income is the key to his ability to take risk as an entrepreneur. As the primary breadwinner supporting the family, I struggled with feeling like I was letting them down. At times I wondered if I’d ever get the opportunity to be in the investment industry again. I felt like the career I loved and that I had worked hard to progress in had been taken away. At a time when the unemployment rate was at all time lows, I struggled to get even initial interviews. I felt really lost. That said, had it not been for that experience I would not be where I am today. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity I was given at Orion and the way it helped drive me to focus on building my personal brand.


QUESTION: How would you describe what makes a successful financial professional. Good traits, bad traits?

SHANA: Hubris is the absolute worst trait if you want to succeed in the world of finance. The markets are unforgiving. No matter how smart you think you are the markets have a way of humbling you whenever you think you have it all figured out. Another bad trait for success in finance is being close minded. The most successful investors in the business seek out opposing views to help them better understand the weaknesses in their approach and make them better at assessing risk.

On the flip side, having a short memory and a resilient attitude is a key to success. Like the very best athletes in the world, you can’t dwell on your mistakes as an investor. Being willing to learn from every mistake, and not let it hinder you from moving forward is key. 


QUESTION: What do you feel is the role in having a balance all around life in your day to day activities. 

SHANA: Honestly, I don’t believe work-life balance is a real think. For me there are times where work takes priority and there are times where other aspects of my life take priority. Realizing that has significantly reduced my stress levels. 


QUESTION: What advice would you give to your younger self as it relates to your personal life. What about advice for your younger trading self?

SHANA: My advice would be the same in both cases. Don’t worry or stress too much about what the future holds, everything will work out the way it is meant to. 

My early life was not easy, if you had told 22 year old Shana that I would be the CIO of a major investment advisory firm who makes frequent media appearances and travels the world speaking at financial industry conferences, I don’t think I could have grasped that. It’s beyond what I ever thought could be possible based on the world that surrounded me then.


QUESTION: Outside of works, what are some of your hobbies? How do you escape from the real world during these crazy times?

SHANA: I really enjoy horseback riding, yoga, downhill ski racing and genealogical research. During the quarantine I’ve actually started coloring, as weird as it sounds, adult coloring books are really calming.


QUESTION: Where do you see yourself in 5 years – then 10 years?

SHANA: It’s hard for me to even think about where I could be 5-10 years from now honestly. I hope that I’ve continued to progress in my career. On a more personal level, I’d love to have a house I love in the next 5 years and hopefully get back into horseback riding more regularly. I’d love to own my own horse again.


QUESTION: When you have lost your mojo or focus, what do you do to get back on track? 

SHANA: There have been so many times in my life I’ve felt lost. As I’ve already mentioned when I abruptly lost my job in March 2018 and spent 7 long months looking for a new opportunity was particularly difficult. I had only moved to Chicago 18 months prior and was still recovering from a very bad car accident that occurred in June 2017. Most of my family and friends were still back east and I was deeply depressed. I spent a lot of time soul searching, rediscovered my faith in God and did a lot of meditation and yoga. It helped to remind myself that I had a little boy to look out for and I had survived multiple terrorist attacks and overcome other significant obstacles in life before. I knew eventually I would look back and understand why I had to go through that. Looking back now, the entire period made me stronger and I wouldn’t be where I am today had that not happened to me.


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

SHANA: Teddy Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena Quote is my personal mantra. I think it’s an important reminder that taking risks is important and failure is the key to success. 

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”


QUESTION: Thank you Shana for taking the time for this interview. How can our readers contact you, including on social media? And is there anything else you like for our readers to know about you?

SHANA: Well I’m excited to be the reigning Mrs. Illinois International and will competing at the Mrs. International pageant in a few short weeks! The opportunity has been amazing. I’ve really earned a valuable platform to help further one of my great passions in life: Improving financial literacy rates for women and underserved minority communities. I’m really excited to continue to bring financial literacy education to more communities, especially those beyond the major city financial hubs. I know pageantry is associated with some many negative stereotypes, but I’ve found competing to be a tremendous source of personal growth even as I’ve gotten older. I’m not sure if people realize the amount of impact and influence titleholders can have and a focus on service to others is a huge component of pageantry. I would not be where I am today had I not discovered pageants. When I was in my 20s, I used to try to downplay my participation, but honestly as I’ve gotten older, I’ve stopped caring about people judging me about it. People will always find ways to try to cut you down, if someone decides my voice isn’t of value because of it, that’s not really a reflection of who I am, it says more about who they are. Embracing all aspects of who I am is something I’ve gotten better at doing as I’ve gotten older. 

If people are interested in following me on social media, my twitter handle is @shanas621, they can also find me on Instagram @financequeen2020.

My Biggest Trading Weakness- and My Method in Combating it, Trading Essays

My Biggest Trading Weakness – and My Method in Combating it – – By AllxDayxRay

Ray D'Argenio
Ray D’Argenio

Me seemingly choosing two careers (trading & poker) that require keen mental dexterity would seem counter-intuitive to an overseer of my life. I’m a highly emotional being. Some blame it on my Italian heritage and upbringing; I’d think most would agree Italians on a whole are a passionate group. I’ve had people in my life turn to astrology to explain my nature: “Scorpios are inherently one of the most emotional signs”. Others of an old school variety would say I’m just a pussy, where they would get met with an unpleasant response because I’m anything but. The reasons for my sensitivity honestly don’t matter and for years I’ve wasted mental energy trying to determine why. I identified my hypersensitivity; how do I cultivate it into my gift instead of my curse?

The correlation to trading is straightforward. It’s well documented that a person in an emotional state is rarely using their reasoning and logical faculties. When you feel angry, discouraged, irritated, frustrated, sad, confused; it’s tough to be of a clear mind. On the converse, I’ve found when I’m over exuberant, overconfident and in general over stimulated, you get the same dampening effect.

While I’m considered a “newbie” in the trading game with just under a year of trading experience, I’m no amateur when it comes to wagering money. Starting off in poker I had success relatively right away. I mean that is what hooks a person right? Winning from the get-go, fast money. Open my laptop, fire up a few tables and watch the account balance grow. I put tremendous dedication in learning the theoretical and technical aspects of poker. What I was ill equipped for was the bad luck that accompanies money waging activities; and poker in my opinion (and the opinion of others I’ve spoken too who’ve venture in both arenas) is far more callous than trading. Poker really teaches you about probabilities in a visceral way. Still to this day its hard to wrap my head around losing as a 95% favorite in a poker hand; why does God hate me? Losing a hand being such a statistical favorite test your fortitude. You played the hand to perfection, got all your chips in the middle near 100% favorite, to then digging in your pocket for more cash befuddled at your misfortune. Losing a hand like this and letting it disrupt your mental equilibrium can and will have dire consequences. In poker we call this “tilt”. Now people’s tilt looks different from individual to individual, but more often than not it leads to pressing the action. You’re down money now and you’re going to do everything in your power to fight back tooth and nail. Lady luck the supreme seductress, played you and left you with the rage of a scorned lover. This is 100% applicable to trading right? Losing a trade on a surefire set up of yours can have the exact same effect. How about a string of 5 losses in a row? 10? The more they compound the bigger the explosion can be. Protection of the account is of the utmost importance.

You might not be inherently as emotional as myself, but you’re human none the less. These are issues we all deal with. So how do I go about combating “tilt”?

  • Understand the Game You’re In

Often “tilt” stems from a lack of understanding. In a poker book that has stood the test of time, in my opinion, where many have failed to do so, author David Skalansky in “The Theory of Poker” said the #1 way to prevent tilt is to not only understand and perfect how to play the game, but understand the role luck plays into the equation. I am going to lose. Being 95% favorite is not 100%. I am not entitled to that pot. My mentor and podcast co-host JJ (vwaptrader1) echoes essentially the same premise. When you understand market mechanics, what drives markets to move, the underlying structure; you’re not going to tilt. There’s a big emphasis on trading psychology in our current environment and rightfully so. But you don’t have to fix your mommy and daddy issues to become a profitable trader. Having a deep understanding is not a cure all, but it’s a huge step in the right direction in curtailing rising emotions that can have disastrous effects on our bankrolls. 

  • Set rules/parameters for losses

A well talked about subject so I won’t go too in depth. Personally though, I’ve been far too liberal in this area. I forget who coined the phrase “maximum pain threshold” as I’d love to give them credit for this idea. We all have a point to where additional losses do not add to the already excruciating pain we feel: we’re numb to any additional money lost. For an extreme example let’s say you lost 50% of your account on a given trading day. You might be beyond tilted at this point to where blowing up the whole account doesn’t add to the pain and frustration you currently feel. For poker players & traders this is a frightening place to be. This leads to account blow ups. This leads to days, weeks, and months of great execution going down the drain. Setting account stop losses prevents you from spewing money. You must be thorough with yourself and set parameters to prevent from breaching your threshold: 3 losses in a row, x% of your account lost, a fixed dollar amount lost. There are no right or wrong ways to go about it. The point is set parameters & rules to prevent yourself from going past your “maximum pain threshold”. 

  • If you have drama or difficulties in your personal life, you may be and probably are prone to tilt

Being a professional poker player, I didn’t necessarily have the luxury to take time off when there was drama in my life (too frequent and much of my own doing). But I had to keep this in mind when I went to the tables. You are in a vulnerable state. Losses that normally do not affect me have the ability to make my blood boil. It can be difficulties in a relationship, the health of a love one, a child struggling in some facet of life. JJ has impeccable discipline when it comes to this. Having a heart condition there are days he is just not feeling it: a lack of energy, lack of clarity. He doesn’t trade. There are people though, that are great at blocking life out and showing up with complete focus. It serves as a distraction from the troubles of everyday life. I believe I fall into this category somewhat. But I cannot forget I’m human. I don’t think you can completely block life circumstances out; I’m not sure it’s possible. When I’m at turbulent periods in my life, I’m apt to shut a potential disastrous day down quicker than normal; I tighten my daily stop losses. Not trading in the first place is never a bad idea, but if you must, be hyperaware of your condition. 

The beautiful thing about trading and poker is that it has taught me principles about life. Being a highly emotional person susceptible to mood swings, these endeavors have taught me how to moderate my temperament and keep my wits about me. All we can do is focus on the process, refine it and push forward with unwavering determination. 


If you want to learn how to use market profile, trade futures & or equites: Trade along side JJ & Ray at or

Trading Essays, What I Learned From Hosting A Trading Podcast

What I Learned from Hosting a Trading Podcast – AllxDayxRay

I have had the pleasure and good fortune to have started my trading journey literally with the “Confessions of a Market Maker” podcast. I co-hosted a good 4 to 5 episodes before I even executed a SIM trade. Me and my co-host, JJ (vwaptrader1) started just over a year ago; June 10th 2019. We were both approached by a mutual party to embark on a podcast together at a time in my life when I was at a crossroads. I was at a crossroads for a while in my life. I was/am a professional poker player. Those familiar with the poker industry know the abundance of obstacles it takes to be successful in this current environment. Poker as a career has been increasingly getting tougher to make money. With the advent of sophisticated training tools, rampant cheating, and shady operators, poker has been on the downslope for some time. This is the difficulty a lot of poker players face. You have spent most of your adult life putting your blood, sweat and tears into a career that is slowly deteriorating; now what? What’s the next career move? I’m not sure how employers view “professional poker player” on a resume. Just trying to explain to people I meet in real life that I “gamble” for a living and seeing the peculiar and skeptical look on their face is a challenge in itself. My ex-girlfriends’ parents were not a fan of mine. This is the life I choose.

In June 2019, right before I’m headed out to Las Vegas for the 2019 World Series of Poker (which I went 0/5 in the tournaments I played), I started co-hosting “Confessions of a Market Maker” with one of the best story tellers I’ve encountered, JJ: “The Guerilla of Howe Street”. His unique, calm and poised personality mixed with stories of debauchery and excess during the height of penny stock hay days had me sold. We went into this venture with the idea of getting JJ’s story out and using me as a guinea pig; can JJ take someone with little to no market knowledge and turn him into a successful trader? The pod has then morphed into a guest formatted show with highly respected traders, psychologist, authors and even actors. A year into trading, while I’d be hesitant to say I’m a consistently profitable trader (key emphasis on consistent), I believe I’ve made positive strides on the path to my new career. Here’s what I’ve learned from talking with notable people in the trading industry:

  • All guests have had an obsessive love and obsessive drive to be the best, yet most believe balance can be achieved or at least strived for

The beauty of hosting the podcast is that I get to talk to long-term successful traders one on one (well 2 on 1 but you get the point). I often draw from my own inquisitions as a developing trader which often overlap with the audience. I frequently ask a question along the lines of work/life balance. We all know hard work is required, but is an obsessive drive necessary? Is an obsessive drive healthy? I’d say almost all the guests we have interviewed have had been completely enthralled with trading: no surprise. Some have shrugged off this question with the attitude that extreme effort and time commitment is what is needed. Most though have admitted to spending a little too much time thinking about markets. In a hilarious story told by trading legend Damon Pavlatos, he recounts getting a globex machine installed in his house to capitalize on the overseas and overnight trading. This was in the 90’s so the installation men had to run large wires through his library: much to the dismay of his wife at the time. My co-host JJ pulled a Lazarus and came back from the dead! He had a heart attack and constantly reminds me to go have fun gallivanting around south Florida. Thanks to him I’m more cognizant of my stress levels on a day to day basis. We’re in a sport that will no doubt raise your cortisol levels. Damon’s now wife, profiled in the market wizard series, Linda Raschke talks about the importance of her health now due to raised cortisol levels. Bill Perkins, natural gas hedge fund Titan, high stakes poker player, movie producer, author and philosopher drives this point home. What’s the point of being successful if you’re a slave to your work? 

  • The Struggles are Real 

I debated even typing this point out because of the rudimentary feel. No matter how basic though, I believe it’s worth repeating. Every single person we interview had to take the windy path. Tom Canfield, perhaps known for beating this topic home on twitter, discusses blowing through 25k and having to ask family for a loan. He is now one of the most respected retail traders in the community. One of JJ & I’s favorite people, Turney Duff, New York Times bestselling author and frequent advisor to “Billions”, bounced back after blowing up his career on wall street due to drug and alcohol addiction. He went on to recount his life on Wall Street, triumph & tragedy, in the “Buyside” which stands as one of my favorite autobiographies to this day. Though not a trader but portrays one on the screen, “Billions” actor Daniel K. Issac was still waiting on tables well into the 2nd season of “Billions” until he could fully sustain himself acting. JJ & Dani Hughes, CEO of Divine Capital, discuss the devasting effects 9/11 had on their careers and the tools they used to bounce back. Scott San Emeterio, CEO of the innovative Ballstreet Trading, had a front seat to the collapse of 2008. Entropy in life is a given. Keep your wits about you.

  • Don’t Make The Big Mistake

I had the honor to read a draft of a soon to be released book by James Vogl, backgammon and poker professional who went on to manage 1.6 billion portfolio for a pre-eminent US marco hedge fund. He highlights this point in his book on risk/reward theory and on the podcast. Avoid the big mistake that will blow up the account. Your objective is to stay in the game. As long as you have chips, your still in the game. Then from there we can worry about maximizing the upside. I have to constantly keep this as a reminder to myself. I’ve incessantly worried about maximizing my profit: most likely from my poker background as squeezing every ounce of EV(expected value) is of the utmost importance to your bottom line. Ignoring the potential for a possible fatal mistake while your throwing haymakers could result in a KO for your bankroll. Troy Prince, whose leading a noble effort in bringing Wall Street opportunities to the underrepresented urban community with his non-profit Wall Street bound, hit home the simple fact that you just have to win more on your winning trades than lose on your losing trades. Once again, a rudimentary point, but one that’s not put into practice by many traders. Cut losers quickly. 

  • Get Familiar with Technology 

This is the 21st century. The “good old days” are over. It’s funny to me that I hear the same traders preaching adaptability to markets, yet resist the changing environment, whine about the FED, Elon Musk or any other external factors out of their control. Former US interest rates market maker, quantitative researcher & systematic trader Chris Cain, talked about how finance professionals now a days harness the power of python to build trading models. CEO of Trade Ideas Dan Mirkin talked about his days in the mid to late 90’s exploiting the small orders execution system, and the power of data mining and having back tested proven strategies. Auto-trader and Trade Ideas consultant, Michael Nauss, gives insight to how a statistical driven trader thinks and goes about his work. You don’t have to be a quant to succeed in the market today, but getting familiar with what your up against appears to be optimal. 

I apologize to the other guests who I haven’t mentioned thus far. Peter Reznicek and his surprising sex appeal amongst women traders. Steven Goldstein and the great work he’s doing with Alphamind and his enlightening podcast. Harmel Rayat, JJ’s mentor: A genuine, moral, ethical human being. Gregory Zuckerman, who I’m sure is not going to read this, was a little pretentious for my taste, but wrote an excellent book in “The Man Who Solved the Market”. The ever popular and eccentric Julia Cordova, whose free trading advice and material has helped countless retail traders. Tracy Shuchart and her informative geopolitical awareness and down to earth personality. Kelly Aucoin, actor who plays Dollar Bill on “Billions”, couldn’t have been more gracious. Walter Deemer, 52-year career as a market analyst, was a complete joy with his corky humor and nuggets of wisdom. Paul Asmar, a New Yorker through and through, took us down a trip through memory lane being on the floor of the NYSE for 25 years and discussing the traits and tools that make him a successful trader to this day. Dr. Brett Steenbarger, aka “the 3min lover”, dropping wisdom as always. Kunal Desai, whose natural abundance of energy I relate too, is witty, intelligent in many arenas, and just a flat-out fun guy.  

If you haven’t listened to the podcast, get on it. Rate and review it for us on apple podcasts and like. I’m absolutely glad I got dragged into this venture and we don’t plan on quitting anytime soon

If you want to learn how to use market profile, trade futures & or trade equites: Trade along side JJ & Ray at

More Interviews, Valerie Sanchez

Valerie Sanchez – Interview

ValQUESTION: 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, where you live and what is your current occupation?

VALERIE: Of course! Thank you so much for the opportunity. I am thrilled to be here. My name is Valerie Sanchez and I am a proud Latina, born and raised on the west side of Chicago. I am a mom, I love to volunteer and serve the Lord, I love music, cooking and being with family. My husband and I currently reside in Union County, NJ. I am an advisor; a financial education warrior and I am co-founder of Divine Asset Management.


QUESTION: What is it like being in management at a Wall Street woman owned trading firm. Care to share any positives, as well as negatives you experienced over the years up until the present?

VALERIE: I joined the Capital Markets division of Divine in 2014 and since the first day the experience has been like nothing I have ever experienced during my 29 years in this industry. We are like family. There is a top down culture of inclusivity and true respect and care for everyone at the firm. Any negatives I experienced were before I got to Divine. Starting out incredibly young, I never felt like I had very many female role models while I was growing up in this business. I had a couple exceedingly early on and then It was not until later in my career that I had another female boss who I felt was someone I could emulate. I admired and respected for her work ethic and tenacity. That is not to say that I did not have amazing male bosses and/or role models who guided me along my career, but the women were few. And now of course, my partner, Danielle and I have become like sisters! We have known each other since we both sat on the trading desk at MH Meyerson in 1993! It is wonderful to have such a like-minded and strong partner on this journey. We aspire to be the role models we did not see early on. I have to say that I have been incredibly blessed while on Wall Street because the positives have far outweighed the negatives.


QUESTION: What personal or professional failure/setback have you experienced in your life or professional career that has set you up for later success?

VALERIE: In 2010 I suffered 2 tragic losses back to back. My 13-year-old nephew was shot and killed in Chicago, and 10 days later my grandfather (who had helped raise me) passed away. The pain was unbearable and added to the already tumultuous personal struggles I was experiencing. I had to take a leave from my high-paced career to finally focus on my family and my health. When it was time to return to work, I realized that I could not stay in that position and maintain a healthy lifestyle and home. So, I resigned. At the time everyone thought I was crazy (including me!), but it set me up for the journey I am now on. I would have never joined Divine Capital and I would have never co- founded Divine Asset Management had I not paid attention to the tug on my spirit and stayed on the previous path.


QUESTION: How would you describe what makes a successful Trader. What do you look for in a new recruit at your firm?

VALERIE: I believe a successful trader or sales trader, or any employee, is someone who understands their craft but is still teachable. Whatever you do – do it well but know that you always have room for improvement. Someone will always know more than you and that is ok – learn from them. It does not have to be a competition. It is not a zero-sum game – we can all “win”. When we look for a new hire we want someone who has industry knowledge and expertise, and/or a strong desire to learn. They must be likeable, trustworthy, a self-starter and problem solver.


QUESTION: What do you feel is the role in having a balance all around life in your day to day activities. What hobbies do you enjoy?

VALERIE: I think it is a challenge to have overall balance. I feel like some days I am amazing at my career, some days I am amazing at being a mom, wife, or friend. The days are few and far between when I am killing the game in BOTH. However, I do not beat myself up for having off days at either one. I also must remind myself that self-care is critical. Whether that is reading a good book, reading a devotional, resting, or creating one of my DIY projects. I need me time because I cannot pour from an empty cup.


QUESTION: What advice would you give to your younger self as it relates to your personal life. What about advice for your younger trading self?

VALERIE: Personally, I would tell younger Val – “Trust yourself. You are doing great, keep going!” I am such a detail-oriented person that I can get sucked into a place where I need to know everything about something before I act, or I question myself to death even when I know what I am doing. I realize afterward that my initial gut reaction is always right. I must remind myself that I am an expert at some things and what I say and do matters, it carries weight. I can be confident and stand in that truth.
I would tell my younger sales trader self – “Do not let anyone make you feel inadequate, you are exactly where you belong.”


QUESTION: You are part of an impressive Women in Finance Initiative. Can you share with our readers exactly what this is about?

VALERIE: Absolutely! Divine Asset Management is a full-service financial firm with a focus on women and education around money. We want to guide women to be their best, most enlightened financial self and align with their desires. We want all women to understand that they are the engine of the economy and we have so much financial power. Women are in control of more financial decisions than ever before, but they are also locked out of the bigger picture of wealth. A lot of women feel left out from conversations about financial decisions and isolated because of the shame associated with facing the unknowns in our finances. We work with our clients to change that. Change the narrative and harness our financial prowess. And how we do this is through an online educational program, blogs, Youtube videos, weekly virtual group meetings, one on one planning, and asset management.


QUESTION: Where do you see yourself in 5 years – then 10 years?

VALERIE: Personally – I see myself enjoying all the things I enjoy now. God, family, food, travel, DIY projects and friends. Professionally – I see our firm building our client base, growing investable assets, recruiting amazing advisors, and continuing the mission of transforming people’s relationships with their finances and creating their legacy.


QUESTION: When you have lost your mojo or focus, what do you do to get back on track?

VALERIE: Any time I am out of sorts or need to recalibrate I go to a place of gratitude. I immediately think of 3 things that I am grateful for and it helps realign my mind and spirit.


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

VALERIE: “If you get, give. If you learn, teach.” -Maya Angelou


QUESTION: Thank you Valerie for taking the time for this interview. How can our readers contact you, including on social media?

VALERIE: Thank you so much for having me!
We can be reached:

Phone: 212.344.5867.
Our Website
Twitter: @gathergrowgive or @divinevalsan

Readers can also sign up for one of our weekly “WealthWise Wednesday chats with Dani and Val” HERE.


Beyond The Trades is now sponsored by EquitiesETC Educational Trading Room  at 

…….and their sister site Microefutures Trading Room at 

Jessica McCarthy, More Interviews

Jessica McCarthy – Interview

EFC39D16-B661-4405-95C5-039BCADB3933QUESTION: 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, where you live and what is your current occupation?

JESSICA: Thanks for reaching out! My name is Jessica McCarthy. I live in Nova Scotia Canada with my fiance Mike and our adorable pup Winston. I’ve been a registered dental hygienist for almost 10 years but since the pandemic started 3 months ago, I have started my own little journey into learning how to trade.


QUESTION: We understand you are getting married to Michael Nauss, a recent guest on the Confessions Of A Market Maker podcast (as well as a previous interview here at Beyond The Trades last year). How has Michael played a role in your development as a trader. We Understand that using backtesting strategies is a major focus in your trading

JESSICA: To be honest I never thought I’d be giving the trading thing a go. Mike has tried and tried over the years to get me interested in the financial markets but I was always intimidated and overwhelmed by what I saw. All that data, so many numbers and so much risk I just always thought of it as another way to gamble! Mike does a lot of work on building algos and backtesting with Trade Ideas and he takes his work almost everywhere, so I’ve been able to see A LOT of it. He is a total nerd with all the math that goes into building all that and it totally goes over my head. I’m actually more interested in the technical side of things. I like looking at charts and patterns, it just makes more sense to me. Once we get further along he will be teaching me the rundown on the backtester and you can be sure we’ll have all the hows and why’s posted to my channel.


QUESTION: What personal or professional failure/setback have you experienced in your life or professional career that has set you up for later success?

JESSICA: One of the biggest ass-kickings of my life was when I decided that I was going to run my own mobile dental hygiene clinic and service mostly nursing homes and long term care facilities. It was an awesome idea! Low overhead, little competition, scaleable, and something I knew I was good at. So, once the financials looked good I started buying equipment and contacting facilities that I knew needed me. Although I was gaining traction the job itself was way more mentally and emotionally taxing than I could have ever imagined. Most of my clients were riddled with cognitive decline and extensive medical issues and it was SAD. I thought I would get used to it after a while but I would cry every single day I left. Had I done any kind of research on what it was like to work in long term care or perhaps decided to visit one for more than 5 minutes I might have known that it takes a very special type of person to work with this population day in, day out. Instead, I was blinded by what I thought was my perfect opportunity to become my own boss without truly getting into what running that type of business would take. My ego and heart are both bruised on this one.


QUESTION: You appear to be documenting your journey as a trader on your YouTube Channel called “Trading with Jess”. What are you goals and ambition for these videos

JESSICA: My main goal is to be a resource to those just starting out. Social media is so flooded with the “trade like me and make a million dollars in 15 minutes” videos that I just wanted to make something real. I’m hoping that my journey might resonate with the people who are just starting to look into the markets or starting to look at charts and are thinking what the f* is going on? What do I do? Just like I was! I am still so very very far from being steady on my feet but I am certainly more confident now. If anyone is following along learning with me and they also get to experience these little moments of hey! I can spot that pattern and I know how I am going to trade it! I totally think that’s mission accomplished.


QUESTION: What do you feel is the role in having a balance all around life in your day to day activities. What hobbies do you enjoy?

JESSICA: I think balance is the key to a happy life. Taking care of yourself so you can function at your personal and professional best is very important. I just started gardening and I have found it has been great for clearing my head. Winston is always down for a hike or walks in the woods so I spend as much time as I can outside. Also, drinking wine, I’m really great at that!


QUESTION: What advice would you give to your younger self?

JESSICA: Be patient! With everything! Life, career, yourself, and others.


QUESTION: If you had to give up to three books as gifts to someone. What three books would they be (and why)?

JESSICA: Hmmm… I have to be honest here. I’m really not much of a reader and the only time I pick up a book is to read something about serial killers or some true-crime scary stuff. I’m more likely to gift a bottle of booze instead!


QUESTION: Where do you see yourself in 5 years – then 10 years?

JESSICA: Oh my, what a question! In 5 years I’d like to be able to work from home 100% of the time. I have a few little projects I’m working on to hopefully accomplish that and trading would be an awesome supplement. 10 years? I’ll guess I’ll wait and see! I’d love to be settled down with a career I love and be surrounded by lots of family. But who knows what the tide will bring!


QUESTION: When you have lost your mojo or focus , what do you do to get back on track?

JESSICA: If I have a task that needs to be done that I’m not super pumped about I actually have a really hard time focusing. I actually consider this one of my biggest personal flaws. I need to take breaks (sometimes lots and lots of breaks) and switch to other tasks I find easier or more fulfilling before I can come back and say ok let’s do this.


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

JESSICA: The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.


QUESTION: Thank you Jess for taking the time for this interview. How can our readers contact you, including on social media and your YouTube channel.

JESSICA: You can find me on twitter @tradingwithjess or on Youtube at Thanks!!


Beyond The Trades is now sponsored by (Educational Trading Community) & their sister site at 

Aaron Miles, More Interviews

Aaron Miles – Interview

image0QUESTION: 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, where you live and what is your current occupation?

Aaron: My name is Aaron Miles, I’m a Data Scientist based in Columbus, Ohio. I live with my wife, two sons (5 and 8), dog, and rabbit.


QUESTION: You have a very unique background as a data scientist now getting involved in retail trading. I sense you will be incorporating both skill sets in the near future. Can you explain?

Aaron: The two skills I think apply best to trading are distributional modeling and automation. With distributional modeling (as detailed in some blog posts here), I can get insight into the expected range and skewness of a security, and trade in such a way to profit from it.

Another skill I hope to use is automation. There are thousands of securities traded on the major exchanges, with the software skills I’ve learned throughout my career, I can set up a system where stocks are automatically scanned, profitable trades identified, and those trades executed, all at the touch of a button. In a nutshell, I hope to be able to identify and execute profitable trades in an automated way.


QUESTION: What personal or professional failure/setback have you experienced in your personal life or professional career that has set you up for later success?

Aaron: One of the most disheartening things I hear in my career is ‘you build exactly what we told you to, but we can’t use it for [reasons]’. In these cases, my team and I built what we thought was an awesome system with exact detail to client specifications, but some barrier that nobody anticipated prevents the system from actually being used.

In trading, I’ve built models that estimate a security’s movement from one day’s close to the next, and they are fairly accurate for a trading model. However, this is no guarantee of profitability at all, you have to think about after and before hours movement, entry points, etc. in order to actually profit. In my career, it’s easy to just think about a model’s accuracy, but that’s only a small part of the picture.


QUESTION: How would you describe what makes a successful Trader as it relates to making correct decisions based on statistical math probabilities?

Aaron: Two things, seemingly contradictory. First is a trust in your model. If you don’t trust your model, or the probabilities you’re working with, you shouldn’t be using them at all. One paradigm I’ve heard is that a good model is better than no model, and no model is better than a bad model.

Second is an almost paranoid attitude to your model being wrong. Every model is based on underlying assumptions, and you need to have a critical view of whether those underlying assumptions are still being met. The 2008 crash is a great example. Renaissance Technologies is the gold standard for quantitative funds; they definitely produce good models. But when some of the underlying assumptions of financial markets stopped being valid, Jim Simons had them halt trading, according to Greg Zuckerman’s book. Always be thinking critically about your model, this will both allow you to quickly identify and act on changes, and also build your own belief in your model when things are going smoothly.


QUESTION: What do you feel is the role in having a balance all around life in your day to day activities. What hobbies do you enjoy?

Aaron: You have to have balance. Your brain simply cannot focus on one thing all the time. My main hobbies are golf, exercise and weightlifting, video games, and wrestling with my kids. Many of my breakthroughs in work have happened when I’m doing these activities and not mainly thinking about work.


QUESTION: As a data scientist, what attracted you into the world of Trading?

Aaron: Conceptually, one thing I love about my data science in general is when I’m able to systematically predict the future, or the outcome of an event. There’s nowhere that’s more profitable than in trading. It’s also REALLY hard, and has kind of become my white whale. Whenever I learn a new technology for my job, I think about how it can be applied in the trading world.

How did it become my white whale? A few events kind of pushed me toward where I’m at now. First, we met with a wealth management firm for work, and I was fascinated by the data they were using, how they were making predictions, and what they were doing in general. Shortly after this, I went to the ODSC conference in Boston and attended some financial modeling workshops. Sitting in these workshops, I remember having the thought that ‘I can do this.’ and I got work that night.

Another pivotal event was the Big Data Bowl held by the NFL. The goal of this competition was to predict an entire distribution of possible rushing outcomes. This wasn’t a type of modeling I had done before, and thankfully I work with some awesome people who taught me a lot about it. I immediately saw an application to trading and have been working on a distributional modeling system ever since.


QUESTION: What good or bad advice do you hear often in life?

Aaron: I might just be an ornery contrarian, but I kind of cringe at how often I hear ‘Focus on process over results’ when it comes to trading. I get the idea of this quote, a trader who struck gold on a single YOLO trade is likely a worse trader than the person who is systematically extracting a half a percent from the market, even though p/l might way otherwise. But you always need to be focusing on whether or not your process is a good or bad process. If you’re following your process and consistently losing, then you probably need to ditch the process and find a new one!


QUESTION: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Aaron: Still moving along in my data science career, and having trading be a consistent supplementary income. Other than that, wherever the wind blows me!


QUESTION: When you have lost your mojo or focus , what do you do to get back on track?

Aaron: Some kind of exercise, it helps me focus and slow down all the things going on in my mind. Most of the time when I’ve lost my focus it’s because I’m restless and I need to get that energy out. Yes, I’m kind of a 5 year old in that regard.


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

Aaron: ’You have to play to win.’ I don’t know if trading will ever be as consistent a money maker as I want it to be, but I know it WON’T be if I just sit on the sidelines.


Question: Thank you for taking the time for our readers to get to know you. How can our readers contact or follow you on social media?

Aaron: I’m most active on twitter at @_aaronmiles. I’m also on LinkedIn. I try to regularly write at my blog, where I post about things I’m learning about probability, data science, finance, and fantasy sports.


Beyond The Trades is now sponsored by (Educational Trading Community) & their sister site at 

James Vogl, More Interviews

James Vogl – Interview

IMG_7650QUESTION; 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, where you live and what is your current occupation?

JAMES: Thanks for having me. I’m James Vogl and have always lived in London, (there are worse places I guess). I started out as a pro backgammon player, then transitioned to poker in which I was lucky enough to win a World Series of Poker bracelet on my first attempt at 23. This opened the door to switch to another form of gambling – the markets – when Goldman gave me an offer to trade equities. I only spent two years there before moving to the buyside where I worked for two US macro funds (Moore and Graham Capital) as a portfolio manager for the bulk of my career. The past two years I’ve traded for myself and have just finished writing a book called “51% Certain – Risk, Reward and the Pursuit of Edge” which will be coming out soon. 


QUESTION: What exactly is your 51% book about?

JAMES: After 20 years as a professional risk taker, I saw so many similarities between the way games players and traders think, in contrast  to the layman. So I tried to write a book explaining some of these concepts and thought processes and how they can be applied – from whether to wait for a bus or walk to whether to take our insurance or not. So the book looks at the fundamentals of risk reward to employing strategies and tactics to psychology (eg how to cope with a $50 million swing in a day). But it’s written in a far more street than scholarly tone. There are no academic references just some of the experiences I’ve had playing games and trading  and how they may be applied for better or worse.


QUESTION: What’s your take on Covid-19 and how markets play out from here?

JAMES: I know no more than the next man when it comes to Corona so I’m not sure I can add much value on how if plays out from here. But from a macro perspective I’m not too bearish because unlike the GFC I see it as an exogenous event – there is no underlying issue as there was during the credit crunch of 08 say, and (fingers crossed) the crisis will play itself out. That said, it’s like the governments and central banks have gone on stimulus steroids, printing trillions like confetti. We’ve already seen bond yields go negative, oil go negative and their policies will have all kinds of unintended consequences in the years  ahead so it’s fascinating from a macro perspective. I’m very long the gold miners as I think they are a clear beneficiary from these policies and very “cheap” here considering gold is near an all time high and the gold producers’ costs are through the floor given the commodity price falls, yet their share prices are still half of their all time high. 


QUESTION: What failure/setback have you experienced in your personal life or professional career that has set you up for later success?

JAMES: I’m by no means a contrarian investor, but am going to give you a contrary answer here to kick things off, sorry… I honestly can’t think of a single setback that has set me up for later success. Setbacks by definition SET YOU BACK. I think the “learn from your mistakes” and “what doesn’t kill you makes your stronger” platitudes are drooled out to make people feel better when things aren’t going well – yet the trait I’ve seen from every top poker player and trader, bar none, is an ability to put the inevitable mistakes as far out of your mind as quickly as possible and get on with the next hand/trade. Don’t spend too much time learning from them, forget them and focus all your energy on the things you are good at. Analyse why things went well, and try and replicate the secret sauce. If pushed, I guess not winning a single match on the pro tennis tour when I took a year out to play full-time at 18 was a total failure but allowed me to move on with my life to play in games where I had a chance! 


QUESTION: How would you describe what makes a successful Trader as it relates to making correct decisions based on statistical math probabilities. 

JAMES: There are by no means just one way to skin a cat, but every successful trader has a good feel for probabilities. Some are more quantitative than others. As an example, a good friend of mine doesn’t even know the Black Scholes formula yet is one of the best options traders you will ever meet – he is totally intuitive, and told me once he feels the market like a heat map. Perhaps there are few “correct decisions” in trading where there can be so much randomness around an uncertain future – but the best traders, as opposed to investors and the general population, are great at having a view on the price rather than having a view.  


QUESTION: What do you feel is the role in having a balance all around life in your day to day activities. What hobbies do you enjoy?

JAMES: I am literally the worst person to ask about balance! I do everything to extremes. Not because I have goals and drive, I just get caught up in whatever I’m into and it comes at a big expense for the rest of my life (ask my ex). One thing I am religious about now, and should have been when I was trading 60+ hours a week is to get in at least an hour of fitness a day – running number one for my mind, weights two, yoga three. Hobbies, I’m a voracious reader (fiction as well as non-fic), if that counts as a hobby and still play a fair number of games: backgammon, bridge, poker and gin, but mostly with my kids these days. 


QUESTION: You hear all the good and bad stories from people working at Goldman Sachs, Can you share the positives and negatives. 

JAMES: Well I only worked there for two years, fourteen years ago. But I doubt much has changed… On the plus side, everyone at MD level or above is just exceptionally brilliant – you don’t get there if you aren’t. On the minus side, they care about business more than people. When I moved to a small commodity prop shop on leaving Goldmans, it was so refreshing to actually work with bosses and colleagues that I consider close friends to this day. Don’t get me wrong, you had to produce, but you were never just a number to them. 


QUESTION: What good or bad advice do you hear often in life? 

JAMES: For me “the good advice” I hear, or what works for me is to play to your strengths rather than be something you are not; read, read, read; but importantly, just follow Naval Ravikant on Twitter or listen to his Shane Parish interview, “the Angel Philosopher”, he will blow you away if you are not familiar with him. The bad. Well, my favourite quote is “Taylor Swift telling you to follow your dreams is like a lottery winner telling you to go and buy tickets”. “No pain no gain” also sucks – it’s amazing how much improvement you can make in the gym just being consistent working within yourself, and that spills over to any area in my opinion. Run your winners and cut your losses is probably bad advice – you can die from a thousand cuts too! 


QUESTION: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

JAMES: Sorry you’ll have to ask me in five years. I don’t really believe in goals or visions. I do what I’m into at the time (usually lasts for about a 7-year cycle, not sure why), and I end up where I end up. (As an aside, goals have never really worked for me. Any time I set them I usually fail and when I have occasionally achieved them, I am usually left feeling, “now what??”). 


QUESTION: When you have lost your mojo or focus, what do you do to get back on track? 

JAMES: For me, breaks are the best, (others can work through bad periods), and usually in direct correlation with how much mojo has been lost. Sometimes a walk around the block will do it, sometimes a two-week vacation is needed. But if you keep losing your mojo, again you are probably playing in the wrong game – I don’t think I took more than 10 days off total in the first five years I was a professional games player. 


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

JAMES: “Don’t plagiarize Tim Ferris!” Kidding. Hmmm I guess I can be quite tough on myself, so perhaps: “Look for the best results possible, not the best possible results”. 


QUESTION: Thank you for taking the time for our readers to get to know you. How can our readers contact or follow you on social media? 

JAMES: Thanks for having me. Market Wizards by Jack Schwager is my favorite trading book of all time by far, and even though I am no wizard, this format has been a thrill. You can find me @jamesvogl on Twitter and I’m actually just putting together the originally titled, for my writing related stuff which should be up and running in the next month.


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