Recently, Adam Grimes and Quandl co-founder Abraham Thomas sat down to talk trader-to-trader about how the market has changed over the past two decades, from Adam’s days at the NYMEX and the CME to his current role as Chief Investment Officer at Waverly Advisors.
Adam Grimes has two decades of experience as a trader, analyst, and portfolio manager. Though he refers to himself as a critic of traditional technical analysis, he has literally written the book on it (The Art and Science of Technical Analysis, Wiley, 2012).
AT: Let’s begin at the beginning. How did you get started trading?
AG: My journey was different from the path that most people follow. I graduated college with a degree in music. I was a classical pianist. I also played jazz and I was a composer. I spent many years working intensively with music and understanding patterns. I developed a great ability to focus, but my education was light on the quantitative side.
People ask: “Are there tie-ins between music and markets?”. There are a lot of people who speculate that maybe there’s something about the way we manipulate patterns in music. There’s also probably something, if you think about it, in the sheer amount of data that a musician has to memorize. As a pianist, everything is performed from memory. I had Mozart piano concertos, note for note, memorized in my head. Not just the piano parts. I could sit down and write out the orchestral scores. That’s an unusual amount of information for a human to retain. A lot of musicians have that type of skill and ability.
The other thing is, frankly, music is very competitive. A lot of people have this idea that music is kind of a soft skill. The reality is that if you’re going to be successful in music, it’s pretty cutthroat. So I have that competitive edge.
I would lay awake at night thinking maybe you’re making money with this now, but how sure are you that you can make money for the next ten or twenty years?
That explains something that George Soros used to do: he’d hire almost exclusively musicians and athletes. Same competitive attitude, same obsession with improvement.
I certainly had that competitive mindset, and I was working as a musician after I graduated from college. I’m embarrassed to say I got an ad in the mail that said something like “Learn how to trade commodity futures” or “Get rich quick,” one of those sorts of things. I had no financial market experience. I knew it was not going to be that easy, but I had no idea just how hard it was going to be.
So I opened an account and started trading commodity futures, which I thought I understood because I grew up in a farm community. Within a few weeks, I lost the entire amount. I repeated this process several times. To make a long story short, I tried a lot of different things. I focused more heavily on technical tools. Also, I was very interested in trying to understand the numbers behind supply and demand, as well as fundamentals. I started trading very short term. Maybe I was in the right place at the right time but I ended up making money and had some success.
Eventually, I realized if I wanted to do this on a professional level, I was missing most of the skills that I needed. I knew nothing about accounting, my math skills were merely okay. I didn’t have the right education. I would lay awake at night thinking maybe you’re making money with this now, but how sure are you that you can make money for the next ten or twenty years?
At the time I didn’t really understand the depth of the question I was asking, but there was always this nagging little doubt in my head: could this all be luck?
Over the course of my career, I had contact with basically every liquid asset class. I’ve traded everything from very short term scalping to much longer term portfolio construction. I’ve done a tremendous amount of quantitative development. I’ve also worked in what I would call discretionary trading. The distinction between quantitative and discretionary trading is not as clear as people assume. The reality is that good discretionary traders are more quantitative than you’d think.
You might think you’re a discretionary trader, but there’s probably a whole bunch of quantitative data that’s in the back of your head. Conversely, you might think that you’re a pure quant following the rules, but the truth is, you’re also looking at softer signals and anecdotes and patterns, which are not explicitly in your model but implicitly they are.
Or even the fundamental question, if you’re a quant. Imagine that you put somebody through some type of rigorous quantitative education, and then you sat them down and said, “Figure out how to make some money.” You still have some degree of discretion in how you shape the research process. That discretion is always there.
You’ve been in the markets for twenty years, and you’ve seen quite a few cycles: the dot com boom and bust, the 2008 crash, all sorts of ups and downs in between. How has the market changed over your career? If you had to describe it from 30,000 feet, how would you say trading was different in the 90s vs. trading today?
It’s very popular to talk about the evils of HFTs and how much more difficult things are for the average investor today, but I think the opposite is true. Now there is better access, faster access, and cheaper access. In so many ways, the game has improved dramatically for the individual trader. One good example is that there’s so much more transparency. There’s none of this “we’re going to declare a fast market. You can call your order into the floor, we’ll fill you at some price, and we’ll let you know by the close what happened. Good luck.”
Talk about being short an option.
Exactly. And you’re putting your buy and sell orders in without getting fills back. You don’t know at what time or price they’re done. That’s crazy. And that’s gone. We could have a healthy debate over whether it’s good or bad that the floor died in so many markets, but it definitely has resulted in more transparency and cheaper access.
Now, it’s certainly possible that structurally we have some concerns. Perhaps the market makers added some stability. But even that’s not clear. We had 1987 and there were market makers back then.
We all make the same emotional mistakes in response to risk, volatility, and financial markets.
And we haven’t yet had a real catastrophe in the HFT era. We had the flash crash, but the market bounced back pretty quickly. Whereas, of course, there’s Black Monday, and many other examples before.
Apart from the “mechanics” of the market, would you say over two decades that the same styles of trading or the same strategies/models have continued to work?
I think so. I have a whole list of things that I don’t really know or that I’m not sure I know, and this is one of them. This is a fundamental question: how much do things change? How much do styles come in and out of favour? We could make an argument that we don’t see the classic trend-following strategies as a group performing as well as they did during some of the big markets in the ‘70s and ‘80s. People say markets have changed, we don’t have those markets anymore. But I wonder if there’s a linear assumption there. This could just be a multi-decade cycle and maybe we will see the glory days of trend following return at some point in the future.
There are some cycles that have fifty-year periods, like Kondratiev waves, where there’s a trend era and a range era. Markets operate at different scales.
What has surprised me with all of the changes that we see — the structural changes, the ETFs — the same fundamental concepts keep working. To my way of thinking, you can dress it up any way you want, but there are only a few things that work: mean reversion, momentum strategy in trend-following mode, trade pauses and consolidation, pull-backs, if you will, in existing trends.
Unless we go into relationships between markets and we’re looking at different spread-type of relationships, the trades I just outlined are all there is. And I could use the same tools I was using within the first couple years of my trading.
Why do you think some things work year in, year out?
Here we’re getting into speculation. I don’t really know. The trend followers always make the argument that if markets are going to move from one price to another, then some trend-following strategy is going to be effective. There’s some truth to that. If you have these large scale trends, it’s hard to imagine a world where simply going with the trends becomes completely ineffective.
The other thing that is going on here, and what people are recognizing academically more and more in the past 10 or 20 years, is that there is a behavioural element. We all make the same emotional mistakes in response to risk, volatility, and financial markets. I’ve looked at some very old data series: stock prices from the 1700s and 1800s, commodity prices from the Middle Ages even. You still see the same kinds of overreactions, the same kind of spots where markets will go too far, back off; how do they act when they back off? What does the volatility look like? It’s probably some fundamental element of human psychology.
Which does not change, whether you’re trading olives in prehistoric Greece or electronic HFTs today. It’s the same psychology, it’s the same cognitive bias which you are trying to exploit.
To that point, cognitive biases apply even to a lot of the algorithms. Even if markets become more machine-driven, you still have those behavioural elements because humans write the code. The emotions are still baked into the market.
Just because you program in a panicky stop out, it’s still a panicky stop out.
That’s a very good way to put it. Just because you programmed your emotional mistakes into the code doesn’t make it non-emotional.
But academic research is catching up. There’s a lot more theory of human failings these days coming out of psychology labs and into finance departments.
Andrew Lo has always been on the cutting edge of that. More than 15 years ago, he was talking about the Adaptive Market Hypothesis, the idea that the market is an ecosystem with all these competing groups. Things like that make such good common sense. They explain what we see. It’s a very satisfactory model in so many ways. I do think you’re right, research is catching up.
Whether you’re trading olives in prehistoric Greece or electronic HFTs today, it’s the same psychology, it’s the same cognitive bias which you are trying to exploit.
Do you use the same strategies over different asset classes and geographies and time frequencies or do you have to pick and choose sometimes?
It depends. The reality is that if you look at mean reversion, you find that mean reversion functions differently in different asset classes. All asset classes mean revert, but they do it in different ways at different intensities, different time frames. Volatility also tends to behave differently (for example, in a currency versus an individual stock) so there are some adaptations.
You mentioned that early in your career, especially because you started by trading ags, that you looked a lot at supply and demand and the numbers underlying prices. To what extent is that still true today? To what extent do you use signals other than just market prices, whether quantitative or qualitative, anecdotal and soft, to define your trading strategies?
I’ll tell you what I think the answer is, which is that I have eliminated all of that. I work very hard to focus on what I see in the market from a pricing pattern perspective. I try to discount narrative. However, the reality is that my process is a blend of quantitative and discretionary tools. No doubt some of that is baked in, but by and large, I try to isolate non-price signals, because I feel that the markets are reasonably efficient at capturing all the relevant information in the price.
A big part of my business is providing market advisory and market signals to people who are already using fundamental macro inputs. It’s important for me to be able to give them an uncorrelated input, which is why I try to focus on the pure quantitative pattern perspective.
I knew a very successful fund that had a two-pronged approach, where they would have big macro theses, which were abstract, divorced from price action. When it came to actually executing those trades, they would ignore that and just look at price action. They would decide the trade based on theory, but they would execute based on prices. It sounds like marrying two completely incompatible approaches, but it worked pretty well for them.
That makes a lot of sense to me and that’s potentially a constructive tension, because the beauty of a price action or technically driven process is that it really makes you pay attention to what is happening in the market. You can’t say, we have this thesis, it will probably play out some time over the next few months while your short is moving against you 200%. You have to face the reality of that.
Let’s talk about data. Quandl is entrenched in this world of data, and the sheer volume and variety of information out there is staggering. It’s not just balance sheets and supply and demand and production numbers. There are a ton of long tail indicators, sentiment analysis and satellite imagery and shipping data, which more and more people are incorporating into their models. Do you feel that puts you at an informational disadvantage or do you feel a clean and robust technical process supersedes all those inputs?
That’s the type of question from a business perspective you have to keep asking yourself. There may be an edge in some social media data where people are finding different types of divergences between social media sentiment and what’s actually happening.
There’s probably an evolving informational edge. Ongoing research is important, it’s part of what I do. I narrow down my focus so I’m looking just at the tools that I’m comfortable with from a statistical perspective. I always look at new ideas but it’s very rare that I find a new idea that’s worth digging into and incorporating into the process. We have to strike a balance between stability and confidence and being open to new ideas.
I like the way you put it, you have to strike a balance. No model works if you constantly question it, you’ll just get whipsawed. At the same time, you can’t be completely isolated. You have to be open to new information, new ideas. That balance is a tough one to strike.
It’s tough, and one of the ways we do it is ongoing meta-analysis of the results of our work. If you start to see that your signal performance is degrading, which (depending how finely tuned your system is) may happen frequently, then you know it’s time to make adjustments. I’ve talked to a lot of retail and developing traders and that’s something most people don’t do quite enough of. Are you really analyzing your own analysis? Do you really understand your own performance?
I think it’s a very human tendency. If you make money you try not to question it too much. If you lose money, you try to avoid that. Either way, you end up not analyzing yourself enough.
This goes back to something we talked about earlier: the importance of trying to to separate out skills versus luck which is a hard, hard problem in the general sense but you always have to be doing it if you want to survive over the long term.
We talked about various ways you can have an edge. There’s having different models and strategies, there’s having different information. Where else do you feel that sustainable edge comes from?
One of the things that I’m probably guilty of in a lot of my writing is that when I talk about an edge I focus very narrowly on having an edge on the market: a single-trade edge. Meaning that you see certain conditions in play – technical, fundamental, whatever – and the conditional returns are superior to the baseline returns, so you put the trade on. And if the returns aren’t superior, you don’t have an edge, so you don’t trade. That’s one definition.
But your question brings a little bit of wisdom to the whole situation because it suggests that there is such a thing as “Edge” with a capital “E,” call it big-picture “Edge.” I’d say this is a combination of everything you do: Are you managing your risk right? From an operational standpoint, are you getting in and out of trades efficiently? Are you managing your non-invested capital appropriately? Are you managing your tax situation appropriately? And then there are all these other non-market things: Are you taking care of yourself mentally and physically? What are you doing to develop both academically and socially? Are you going for walks in the park? That’s what is fascinating about markets, all this stuff has to be working, or you’re not going to be successful in the long run.
Those are insightful words; you have to manage all of those things. Paying attention to your own health and psychology and intellect, that leads to having big-picture “Edge,” which then translates into lowercase “e” “edge,” which is individual trade performance. We can’t have one without the other. It’s very valuable to keep that in mind.
If we went back in time and asked a floor trader, he’d agree. But a guy sitting at home with R, Python, a pile of data and plans to create a meaner version of an intraday trading system, he may not understand why it’s important to have a life outside trading. Why it’s important to go to the gym. But it is. No matter what you are doing, you might have transitory success but if it’s going to be enduring, you really have to take care of yourself.
Just because you program in a panicky stop out, it’s still a panicky stop out.
What insights did your time at the Merc give you, that you’d like to share with people who only look at computer screens?
I was at the Mercantile Exchange but I was not in the pit. That was one of the ways I was very fortunate in my career. By the time I got to business school and wanted to be on the floor, the floor was dying so it made no sense to go. There are probably still opportunities in some of the options pits, but I sat upstairs. It was painful to see these floor traders who had very long, successful careers — people who had 30, 40 years in the pit — who were completely unprepared to function in the new world. I saw people, who thought they were doing heavy quantitative work. They were building big matrices, technical indicators; when they lined up, they were going to take trades. I could see how that would make sense, but most of the things they were using did not have an edge in themselves, so the strategies, by and large, did not work either.
It was humbling to see. Going back to our conversation earlier, from my perspective, very little has changed in twenty years, but for that group of people, the world had changed completely. The pond dried up and their entire universe evaporated. That’s probably the observation that stuck with me. Seeing the human cost. It’s a good reminder of why we do need some quantitative backing and quantitative trading because these were very motivated, well-capitalized people who did not have a heavy quant background in most cases. I’m not sure you can succeed in modern markets without having some kind of awareness of quantitative factors, whether through explicit analysis, or, as you said earlier, baked into your process implicitly.
The world does evolve. That’s why I liked what you said earlier about how you want to anchor your strategies to things that don’t change, like human psychology and cognitive bias. I also get the sense that simplicity is a big motivator of your design philosophy.
Simplicity resonates with me as a human being. One of the detours I was fortunate enough to be able to take was to apprentice with a classically-trained French chef. I did all this French and Mediterranean cooking, but when I started cooking for myself, I settled on Japanese cooking, and even, for a year or so, a type of Zen temple cooking, which of course is very minimalistic. Perfect ingredients presented carefully and simply. That resonates with me, from music to food to design to art, and certainly to markets. There is a famous Einstein quote, something like “Simplify as much as possible but not further.” It’s funny, but do you know the original quote? That’s ironically a simplification of a more elaborate quote, and probably an oversimplification!
[Ed. The quote itself is Einstein’s own paraphrasing of his belief that “It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience.”]
I’d like to ask a few more tactical questions, with the caveat that I understand every situation is different. Generally speaking, do you aim to go 50/50 between wins and losses but with bigger wins? Or do you try to go 90/10 and win more often but with bigger losses?
I’ve been all over the map with that. I’m very comfortable being right half the time. Winning more than you lose on average, that is what works for me. A mistake a lot of retail traders make is that they focus on high-probability trading. The best is when you see someone selling a high-probability, low-risk trading strategy. Well, it doesn’t exist. It’s not actually possible. To be caught up on either side leads people to then ignore the reality that your overall lowercase“e” edge is the interaction of those two factors, risk and reward. That’s what people should be focusing on. I’m happy being a fifty-fifty trader.
In general, are you contrarian by nature? Or do you you feel more comfortable on the side of momentum?
By nature, I’m extremely contrarian; however, with trading, because I know that’s my tendency, I actively fight it. I do find most of my trades are actually with-trend trades. Most of my trades are looking for places where the trend pauses or consolidates in some way, and then looking to enter the momentum.
Social media has made this so bad. How long have people been calling a bottom in crude oil? How long have people been calling a top in stocks? There’s an asymmetrical pay off for pundits. If I’m a pundit and predict that it’s the end of the rally and I’m wrong, you’ll be glad I was wrong and you’ll forget about it. But if I’m right, I’m a genius. So I can say that every month for six years, and when the market goes down, I’m a genius.
That’s why the perma-bears are so famous. They only have to be right once every five years.
If that. Once every decade, write a book, do some seminars. The short answer is that I certainly have both counter- and with-trend trading techniques. I focus the majority of my trades on with-trend trading techniques. I wouldn’t say that I specifically have a trend-following approach. It’s more of a swing-trading approach, I’m not that happy to give back. I’m looking to manage my risk, that’s why I’m more of a fifty-fifty trader.
As you suggested, you can be contrarian and still ride the trend. Very often, trends occur while everybody is saying “this makes no sense.” But the price action is what it is.
To another point about being naturally contrarian, I do think it’s a valuable component of trader’s make up– the ability to constantly second guess oneself. And I’m not saying be whipsawed, but constantly test your own assumptions.
I have an idiosyncratic technique which I think you’ll understand. It’s impossible to explain to most people that every time I put on a trade, I expect to lose money on that trade. This puts me in an interesting place. Psychologically, I have no issues taking a loss, because when I put on the trade, I’m expecting to lose money. It shifts me away from confirmation bias.
Then when the trade starts moving in my favor, I just tighten the stop and reduce the risk. At some point, I start making money. I don’t expect it but it’s a nice surprise.
It’s hard to explain this to people because you would think you’d be trading from a position of psychological weakness, but the exact opposite is true.
I completely understand what you’re doing. It’s actually very clever because you’re simultaneously insulating yourself from confirmation bias and loss aversion. Starting with an expectation that you’re going to lose money, you’re guarding against two common cognitive biases that would otherwise be the doom of many traders. That’s a great psychological trick if you can do it right.
If you can manage it. I actually had a really warped accounting system that would make any accountant cringe. When I put on a trade, I know the initial risk on the trade, and I would recognize that loss when I entered the trade. Then, if I actually take a loss that’s smaller than what I entered, I’m happy because it’s found money. I don’t actually use this system today, but it really helped me deal with the issues of losses and P&L swings while I was figuring all of this out.
You know, another thing I like about that approach, it’s a way of accounting for opportunity cost. If you have fifty trades, and they’re all marked to market at par, then you’re thinking, “I’ve got a flat book. I’m not really doing anything.” But actually, you have fifty trades, you should be worrying.
Right, it makes you recognize the risk.
In the past, you’ve talked about the advantages that small players have vis-à-vis big market participants. They’re more agile, can capture smaller opportunities, have more risk tolerance. But there are also big disadvantages in terms of information and access. Would you agree?
I remember when Quandl first started popping up in my universe. I was aware that somebody was aggregating a ton of data, and was making things available to investors and traders at different levels. Data that people had just not had before. I remembered how revolutionary that was. I’ve talked to so many people who still have no true respect for the data problem, for how difficult it is to get it. Even daily stock data. If I’m going to download daily prices for ten years before I can start doing analysis, it’s really not easy. It’s pretty amazing the information that small traders and firms have access to now.
By and large, do you think it’s still possible for individual traders to make it today?
It’s possible. Everyone starts by reading the Market Wizards books. Some of the legendary returns made during that time period might not be possible today. Someone can certainly get lucky and do that. The challenge is that a lot of retail traders are very undercapitalized. Going into the market and competing with $3000-$5000: that’s probably enough to fund your trading education, or a big chunk of your education. You can learn a lot with that, but to make any kind of meaningful return, that’s another thing.
People need to moderate their expectations. You’re not going to make 400% a year on your money. You certainly need an acceptable capital base.
The question I get from a lot of smart retail guys is: “If all these big mutual fund managers can’t beat the market, how can I beat the market?”. Well, a lot of them are not trying to beat the market. The reality is that so many of those big firms cannot beat the market because they *are* the market. At some scale, it becomes hard. There are a lot of possibilities with being a smaller, nimble retail trader, but someone has to commit to doing what needs to be done to be successful. That’s absolutely possible.
That’s encouraging news for a lot of Quandl users. We have the full spectrum of individual traders, investors, all the way up to mega-hedge funds. It’s a healthy market when everyone is participating as opposed to just a few players.
About the interviewer
Abraham Thomas co-founded Quandl after a successful career on Wall Street, where he was the youngest-ever trader at a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund. At this fund, Abraham conceived, designed and executed a number of quantitative data-driven investment strategies while managing a $300 million arbitrage portfolio.
UPDATE: June 20, 2016
Ed. Note: Thanks to all who submitted questions for Adam. We are publishing his thoughtful responses here.
May 6, 2016
Great read. A question about one of the last comments. What is a reasonable capital for a beginner to enter market with?
AG: Hi, Piotr. Thank you for your kind words on the interview. The answer, like so many things in this field, is a frustrating “it depends.” There are, of course, stories of people entering with a few thousand dollars and making tens of millions. This happens, but it’s the equivalent of buying a lottery ticket—you cannot plan on this happening even though there are stories of people doing this! On the other hand, I’ve seen people (individual traders) lose mid six figures in a few months of trading at first (and I’m sure people have lost more).
The question, to my mind, is really “Can you trade small enough relative to your available capital to stay in the game long enough to learn?” Figure learning curve is 3-5 years and you’ll be losing fairly steadily most of that time, and also paying transactions costs in various ways. So you see, the answer is different depending on your market and timeframe. If you are trading shares of stocks or currencies, you can size positions so that your risk on each trade might be as low as $20. (Excuse my US-centric answer, but you can translate as appropriate!) If you are trading futures, consider a recent gold trade I put on in which you needed to risk about $3,500 per trade… If we want to size the risk so that represents, say, 0.5% of the account, then you can see we need an account far north of $500,000.
I also think the education “industry” has done people a disservice by focusing on the fact you can enter markets with very little money and make a ton – classic “get rich quick” thinking. Most people would have better chances of success if they did this: start with an account between $20k – $50k; plan to lose for 3-5 years while learning; avoid daytrading and the “low risk trading” traps (i.e. tight stops in noise), and focus on having the resilience to get through the learning curve psychologically. So… the answer really is “it depends”, but there are some guidelines!
May 6, 2016
Great interview. Thanks.
I am following Adam for quite some time, so I know his work quite good.
Adam has traded markets intraday for some time and I am interested what kind
of guidelines and systems he traded back then on the intraday timeframe.
Thanks for answering.
Hi, ju474. I would put a disclaimer in bold type on this, and point out that I have not focused on intraday trading for many years. I’m confident I could do it again, but also would expect that more modifications to my approach would be needed (compared to swing trading, which requires relatively few adjustments.) I found that the following things work: retracements in trends, if you can avoid getting chopped up in non-trending markets; tests of intraday high and lows; mean reversion, in general; and breakouts of some key levels. That’s a fairly short list, and you see that it can be spun out into a number of related trades. Keep it simple, and remember that intraday markets usually are highly random. So, the job comes down to figuring out when to trade and when not to. It’s usually the latter.
May 8, 2016
What advice would you give to someone who has great interest in following markets and trading (particularly the forex market) but because of the demands of parenthood and work are unable to devote large blocks of time?
AG: Great question, Hank. Trading is not one of those jobs where you get better results the harder you work. You get better results the more right things you do. So… avoid the “hard work” trap—even if you have limited time to devote to markets, you can still do this successfully. You just have to figure out how to do it and on what timeframe. I would encourage you, above all, to avoid intraday trading and to focus on trades in the “few days to a few weeks” timeframe. That type of trading can be done with checking into markets once or twice a day, perhaps with some alerts set (price level alerts or volatility alerts) to tell you when you need to look into markets. There certainly are many traders who have done well looking at markets once a day, so it’s possible. Also, I’d probably push you to look at more “with-trend” approaches vs. mean reversion. Last thought: an obvious observation is that you might want to consider some type of automated trading in which you can carve out the time to do your system development and testing according to your own schedule, but don’t underestimate the difficulties of actually implementing such a system. There will be a time when you have to spend some time babysitting the new system when it starts using live ammo.
May 9, 2016
What advice would you have for a trader who is forever stuck in the beginners cycle? (i.e., someone who is constantly changing their method/strategy in the quest to become consistently profitable).
AG: Well, you’ve identified something that doesn’t work for you. You know that constantly changing your method and strategy does not work, so stop doing that! Now, obviously that answer is a little tongue-in-cheek, but the true answer is that you must stick with a style, timeframe, and approach that actually has an edge in the market. This is the great tragedy of learning to trade, at least in my thinking: there are many well-intentioned and disciplined traders who are doing everything right—they are trading with discipline, they are following their systems, they are using good risk management, they are doing their homework, they are persevering through the learning curve, etc.—with one “small” problem: the methodology they are using does not work! If you’re, say, simply trading moving average crosses or Gann angles, or something else that doesn’t work, you are wasting your time, no matter how well-intentioned and disciplined your efforts may be. So, two things: 1) be sure your method has an edge, and 2) stop changing your approach. Maybe check out my free trading course (http://adamhgrimes.com/TAAS/) which will give you some insight and direction into the kinds of approaches that might work for you.