“You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea.”
SMB Capital started as just an idea. “Hey what if we focused on building an elite training program for new traders. The markets are much more complicated than when we began,” pitched a future co-founder. Then two experienced traders made One Good Trade, trading only trading and all its freedom for trading and building a firm, with the grueling schedule of a contested presidential primary. They were boyhood friends, both with law degrees, a decade of trading experience, but with very different talents. There was never any thought of Wall Street Warriors, CNBC, magazine profiles, SMB Blog, StockTwits TV, and now One Good Trade. Papers were filed, business arrangements struck, some money moved around, and it just all started.
Towards this ambitious goal of creating an elite trader training program, a whole lot of domain knowledge needed to be shared with new traders. The partners wrote after every close like hungry novelists about trading principles the market had taught them. Weekends now belonged to this idea. Then new traders entered stage right creating real life stories of success and unfortunately failure mastering these important market principles. Amazing future star traders walked our trading floor like Franchise, Dr. Momentum, MoneyMaker, GMan, JToma, and G. And chapters of trading stories compiled. Some if you had made up no one would ever believe (see reality TV).
So then came SMB Blog sharing the stories of new, developing and professional traders trading the markets. This new SMB believed that you work with those whom you deserve to work. If you share goodness then better candidates will walk onto your training floor. We got that right.
Along this journey we made many friends, one a preeminent trading coach, the Coach K of trading coaches, Dr. Steenbarger. He encouraged me to write a book. How did I have time to write a book when I was barely sleeping four hours building my firm? Some time went by and Dr. Steenbarger encouraged me again. Dr. S is persistent isn’t he?
I enjoyed writing. Our blog readership was growing. The feedback was educating and grateful. I had something to say about what really makes the difference between success or failure as a trader in longer form. So finally I reached out to Dr. Steenbarger for a next step.
I was invited to speak at the 2009 Trader Expo in NYC and an editor from Wiley was to attend catching my content. I talked at the audience about building trading skills, original content at this event. I had a power point ready, prepared for weeks, with a word for word speech prepared. As would be expected of anything you do for the first time my presentation was horrible! After I finished I handed the Wiley editor a binder of the hundreds of blogs I had written (man I hope he just walked in at the very end), with an outline of the book I wanted to share with the trading community. We talked at a public table with other nearby tables possessed by noisy deal makers at the Marriott Marquis. I left thinking if I ever get a chance to write this book I have so much to say and in a way so entertaining.
Today One Good Trade: Inside the Highly Competitive World of Proprietary Trading (Wiley Trading)
is the number one selling trading book this summer. One Good Trade is a collection of trading stories of whom we have taught, sat next to, heard about, with market lessons wrapped inside. I share what the market has taught me over the past twelve years as a trader always with skin in the game. One Good Trade is the first book to ever gift an inside look at the “eat what you kill” world of proprietary trading.
And it all started because of an idea, a friend’s encouragement, an invitation from The MoneyShow and despite a horrid presentation by this author.
I have to say I’m very pleasantly surprised with your book. I’m only about 100 pages in, but I greatly appreciate you sharing your story. I have a good friend who is “a quant” at a large brokerage firm. When I asked him several years ago how traders started out in this firm, I was amazed at the answer. I wondered if there were classes, times when traders got together to share what setups are working, etc. The answer was no – it was everyone for themselves and the poor performers lost their job. What a difference compared to what you’ve created at SMB. Through your book I feel you’ve created a wonderful learning environment, extensive training materials, and brilliant coaching that focuses on the core fundamentals with an emphasis on improving everyday. Bravo to you!! I look forward to the rest of the story.