J.J. (aka VwapTrader1), More Interviews

Interview with John Hoagland – TopStep Funding

For those wishing to Learn More About Getting Funding to Trade using 100% of TopStep’s money, visit http://tracking.topsteptrader.com/SHOz

Topstep is the world’s first and most established funding opportunity for futures traders. Founded in 2012 in Chicago, Topstep enables traders to grow and profit in the financial markets without risking their own capital. Pass our objective evaluation, the Trading Combine®, and Topstep will give you proprietary capital to pursue your strategies. You keep 80% of the profits — we take 100% of the losses. Guaranteed.

QUESTION – Thank you for taking the time to participate in the Q & A session. Would you like to share with everyone who you are, your background (current and previous career, education, etc). And your role with Topstep?

My name’s John Hoagland, Senior Performance Coach at Topstep and Chicago born and bred. My Dad was on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade for over 40 years. Personally, I went to art school but ultimately didn’t want to starve for my art and got my first job on the trading floor of the CME and the rest is history. I got to start and learn from professionals, which is something that is missing for traders today. I am a married Father of 2 great people, a musician, and a foodie.

QUESTION – For our readers who may not know. What exactly is Topstep and how do you serve the trading community?

Topstep is exactly what the industry is missing. With electronic trading being available to just about everybody, I think there are too many people funding their own personal accounts with little or no knowledge of what it takes to be profitable as a trader. It’s never easy, and it breaks my heart to hear the losses so many have taken. A random SIM account does nothing to prepare a new trader as there are no rules, accountabilities, or consequences. Without that sense of duress you have no idea how you will respond when you have real risk. Topstep gives traders the sense of having that skin in the game, in a much smaller way, some basic risk management rules everybody needs — and on top of
that, funding. Topstep is the first, and only place for traders.

QUESTION – Can you explain your rules that you have for potential traders who join your firm. With such strong rules, how can the average trader thrive and make money with Topstep? Explain the pros and cons of them for better understanding.

All of our rules are based on creating good risk management habits. Professional traders have loss limits, and we all should. I have blown up accounts because of 3 little words, “But what if.” It is vital to understand when your strategy is not in alignment with market state, or if we are personally compromised by emotion and can’t follow your process. As a performance coach, I have spoken to thousands of traders, and almost all of us have something in common. We are hardwired in our
brains to respond to the market and risk in the exact opposite way that successful traders respond. In losing trades we default to “I’ll just wait, the market will come back” or any number of rationalizations, and after creating some large losses the next winning trade is cut too soon, just to “feel better.” I had the benefit of family in the industry and I can still hear my Dad telling me “Learn
how to take a loss.” Performance coaching has me creating good risk managers and changing the “wiring” of traders to cutting losses quickly and letting winners run. To me it’s all about math. Winning trades twice what your losses are, be right half the time. Another “Dad” wisdom,”Money is easy to make, easy to lose, and hard to keep.”

QUESTION- Now some non-trading questions. What personal or professional failure/setback haveyou experienced in your life that has set you up for this success?

Well, it’s not just one, it’s the whole journey. I quit almost every day for a while but I always kept coming back. I learned a lot of hard lessons and I consider those lessons to be priceless. I don’t really feel successful because I know this can end any time, so I just keep trying to enjoy the ride and it’s a rollercoaster. I like the rollercoaster.

QUESTION : This is becoming a favorite question for many – plus readers get some good gift ideas from it. What purchase of less than $100 have you made in the past year that you simply could not live without now?

Oh boy, okay. My wife and I recently reupholstered our kitchen chairs. So a spring loaded staple gun
was not doing the job so I bought a pneumatic staple gun, I think it was about $80. Now I think about what I can upholster next, and the chairs look great! I don’t need much, at one point in my life, everything I owned fit on the back of a motorcycle.

QUESTION – If you could choose three dinner guests dead or alive, who would they be?

— Jesus
— My Dad
— John Bonham (drummer Led Zepplin?)

QUESTION – Can you explain the markets today versus the markets from years ago, decade ago, etc. And where do you see it five years from now?

Without being too obvious, the way the transactions are established has forever changed. I can’t see my competitors eye to eye. Markets are just about 24/5. I remember sweating in a position all night because I couldn’t get out. 8:30-3:15 was it. On top of that and to reiterate we are all alone out here. We can’t see our direct competitors. In the future I see more self-directed investors and traders, and I
shudder to think of the consequences for some of them.

QUESTION – What advice would you give to your younger self and to someone just coming out of school (college or high school)

10% rule. Save and invest 10% of every dollar you make, no if, ands, or buts.

QUESTION – What are your thoughts on cryptocurrency and will your firm have any role in them down the road?

I’m of the age that I am very distrustful of them. I feel like the governments of the world are going to find a way to either delegitimize or take them over, and if the government gets involved, they’ll screw it up like they do everything. Topstep is looking at adding it as a tradable product as we want traders
to have access to it, but I don’t have any kind of timeline.

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?

You can share any messages for me at support@topstep.com. Come say hello during Topstep’s daily Market Forecast at 7:45 AM CT and Market Recap at 3:00 PM CT on Youtube, or during our free Group Coaching sessions every Monday and Wednesday at 1pm CST!

For those wishing to Learn More About Getting Funding to Trade using 100% of TopStep’s money, visit http://tracking.topsteptrader.com/SHOz

J.J. @VwapTrader1 - Interview 2020, More Interviews

J.J. @Vwaptrader1 – Interview

F9D92229-917A-4BDB-94A2-478E479425E3QUESTION:   JJ so much it seems has happened in your life since you last completed your first interview with us. I do not know where to start. How about you explain your popular podcast you co-host with @AllxDayxRay called “Confessions Of A Market Maker”?

J.J. :I think people enjoy the podcast because I really don’t hide what goes on in the business. I think people appreciate knowing what goes on behind the scenes when their hard-earned money is at stake. Also, we like to use humor and keep things light while educating and bringing on some incredible guests thanks to Steve our producer. These guests bring a wealth of experience you cannot find in a book.  People like Linda Raschke and her husband Damon.   Harmel, who started in the mailroom and then built an empire.  That kind of insight is what I wanted to bring to the public.

QUESTION: If the podcast was not enough, we see you are also are part of the launch and unbelievable growth of the “Micro E-mini Educational Trading Room. Can you explain the concept, your target audience and future goals of the room?

J.J.: The concept of the micro futures room is to educate folks on how this whole beast works. I use the concepts of market structure to show people how markets are actually traded by size time frame players.  This is what moves price and we get some wonderful trade locations, risk and target locations from the market structure.  We are also able to tell a lot about who is in the market that day, what their intentions are so we can make intelligent trading decisions.   My goal is to keep the barrier to entry on trading education low and really help people make good common sense trading decisions. Trading is a business and a good understanding of things like inventory, front running, etc are very useful to traders in taking higher odds trades. My target audience is anyone who wants to trade with some good old fashioned common sense.  An example would be I was warning people NOT to short TSLA when the stock came off 900 down to the 735s.  The market structure was SCREAMING BUY not short.  The price rallied from 735s to the low 940s.  The profile showed how the selling just shut off.

QUESTION: You are a disciple of Market Profile. Many of our readers who are new traders may not understand Market Profile can you briefly explain why traders should take the time to learn. And is it good for equities (stocks) or just Futures & Commodities?

J.J.: Market profile is just a way of organizing order flow that has transacted.  To put it another way, look at it like looking at the sales in a store while the store is open.  You know who is buying or selling what and where.  It’s fascinating and the accuracy of it now given the algorithmic nature of execution is oftentimes to the tick.  Hey, if I can use this thing to find great trade location, anyone can. How handy would it be to know if you are short if there is going to be no more selling? If you are long to see when the buying dries up?  What if you could see when the crowd was trapped? Sounds crazy but like they said in the old days, “The tape never lies”.  Well same with market structure you can’t spoof, poof or moof it, TRANSACTIONS, not orders are what tell the tale.

QUESTION: For those who did not read your first interview. You have some background as a 20 year maker maker, now turn retail trader. Do you feel your background on the “other side” of the trade helps you now as an individual trader?

J.J.: I think my background on the other side has helped immensely.  I was shocked to learn how many people actually trade this market without having a clue of the mechanics of the system let alone the AGENDA that CREATES order flow.  Having taken or assisted in taking over 200 companies public, I have experience in actually CREATING order flow then feeding it into the market via the market makers and by generating retail interest.  When you have built a market whereby a client can sell two hundred million dollars worth of stock into, you get a good understanding of the mechanics of the system. Things like clearing and settlement are never discussed but have everything to do in equity trading and deal running.

QUESTION: What is one piece of advice you would give to new traders about trading low float penny stocks, considering you were often on the other side of those trades in the old days.

J.J.: My piece of advice to new traders who want to trade penny stocks and are looking for offshore brokerage firms to avoid the PDT rule is to drop that nonsense and learn to trade a real market using the micro futures.  There is no PDT rule, there are no borrows, (or fake borrows those OS firms charge you for) You simply click to short.  And you have the US government policing the markets and the firms.  The CFTC runs a clean shop.  The order flow and fills in the micro-market are wonderful, also there is no selling of 0 cost stock into the market from mysterious offshore companies(causing dilution).   Learn to trade the micro, a bad day is a 50 dollar loss.  You can basically learn to trade with training wheels.  Once you switch to Emini then you can build your account once you have learned how to trade well.  The low float game is a trap.  My old clients are buying 20 million dollar houses and flying around on private jets thanks to penny stock traders.  They thank you for being so careless with your money.   Keep trading the otc stuff, my clients can always use another beach house or Bentley, they are not shy!

QUESTION: What advice would you give to your younger self back then. Care to share one or two of your scars that have made you a better trader and person today.

J.J.: The advice I would give my younger self is unfortunately not to trust 99% of the people I did business with.  As the guy in Scarface says “Never underestimate the other guy’s greed” Let’s just say a LOT of people out there owe me more money than most people will make in a lifetime.  I am a very easygoing person and I trust my ability to generate revenue in whatever environment I am in.  So I just keep swimming like a good little shark is supposed to!  It’s all made me a better person, I have 0 regrets, it’s been a hell of a ride!

QUESTION: You seem to be a Wall Street history buff. If you had to have lunch with three characters from the past on Wall Street. Who would it be. And briefly why.

J.J.: Oh, I love Wall Street history,  U.S. Financial history is fascinating, the deals, the drama.  Vanderbilt vs Fisk with Erie Railroad, Harriman, Morgan. Diamond Jim Brady, Livermore of course, Baruch breaking into his own office to trade on European news when he forgot the keys.   But I would say, Jesse Livermore, James R Keane, and the Commodore, of course, Cornelius Vanderbilt.  Livermore just because he is our patron saint of retail trading.  Keane as I would love to sit down with the man who made a market in US Steel so Morgan and the crew could dispose of 500 million in stock in 1901! And of course, Vanderbilt who built the railroads, and ran the most beautiful stock corners, trading on just slips of paper he kept in an old cigar box.   More modern figures too such as  Sidney Weinberg who started at Goldman as janitor’s assistant cleaning spittoons then rose to CEO.   Ace Greenberg who I grew up admiring and of course Lewis Raneri, the reason I became a trader!  And a list is incomplete without  Steve Cohen.

QUESTION: Tell us something about your co-host and partner @allxdayxrayx (Ray D)that the general public may not know. You guys seem to be like the Odd Couple but with great chemistry together.

J.J.: Ray and I are an odd couple but the thing people don’t know is that underneath the jokes, he is a very insightful guy.  He has really helped me learn what people want in regards to learning.  For some reason, I thought everyone knew this stuff and he keeps me from forgetting the true needs of the people we are trying to help. Also despite the fresh prince of Bel Air exterior, he is very disciplined and picked up risk management first because of his poker background.  A huge advantage as everyone thinks about how much they are going to make, but never about the risk.

QUESTION:What motivates you both professionally and personally?

J.J.: What motivates me personally has always been a love of the markets and how we can learn from history and what these great men and women taught us before.  I have always in doing deals love the action of taking something public then afterward making a market for the stock.  Creating markets is what I love to do.  I love the process of creating demand then introducing supply. Since I no longer can take stocks from a dollar to 300 anymore I really enjoy helping people get the process, pretty cool when someone who has never traded after watching profile and learning the mechanics of the market start to pick out things I missed.  Helping people to get that first lightbulb moment when things start to click is a great feeling.  Trading is a marathon so it’s nice to have a few moments of clarity along the way, helps energize people for the next step.

QUESTION: What are your hobbies outside of trading?

J.J.: I love classic cars, motorcycles, boats, sailing, etc,  but lately I haven’t spent any time doing those things.   Also, I love all sorts of music especially Brazilian music, I am slowly learning Portuguese through music.  I speak French so it’s in the neighborhood.

QUESTION: What little known fact about you would people be surprised to know

J.J.: I think people would be surprised that I have friends from all walks of life, one of my buddies since we were 5, is a folk musician,  I have friends who are artists as well since I have no talent myself I appreciate art and music.  Huge opera buff, Wagner, etc.

QUESTION: What are you goals for the podcast and Microefutures.com Educational Trading Room that you teach in?

J.J.: My goal for the podcast is to bring insight to our trading community from respected leaders so they share their insight with retail traders.  I was very lucky to have some really smart people teach and help me along the way. In the Trading Room, I really want people to have a fair shot. At least if they come in and see it’s going to be work we can get them on the way.  We don’t sell dreams but if you want success and are willing to put in the time, I will do everything I can to help out.  And if I don’t know the answer to something I will go find someone who does. I think if more people actually understood the business they would save themselves a lot of heartache.

QUESTION: Thanks JJ for taking the time for this follow up interview. How can our traders reach you on social media or your educational room website.

J.J.: Thank you for the interview,  My Twitter is @vwaptrader1 and you can visit us at http://www.microefutures.com

J.J. (aka VwapTrader1), More Interviews

Interview with J.J. – (aka VwapTrader1)


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.