Traders: Find (or build) Your Community

April 5, 2018

It might be your best strategy for long term success.

Tuesday was a sluggish day for me, but for all the right reasons. It was because the night before was our monthly Traders meetup in Boulder, Colorado (where I live). And as true to form, many of our over 20 attendees stayed late and closed the brewery down.

While there are many wonderful groups that have regular finance-themed meetings that are heavy on content, bring in guest speakers, or trot out thinly-veiled sales pitches, our meetups are all about one thing — community. It is about Traders hanging out with other Traders, being with their people. And if you live outside of traditional finance hubs (NYC, Chicago, Boston), it is pretty hard to find like-minded individuals who speak our language and understand the trials and tribulations we all go through as we try to pry money from the iron grip of Mr. Market. So when you have an opportunity to gather with your people, magic happens.

I started our group here in Colorado nearly three years ago under the StockTwits, Inc. flag and we’ve been meeting monthly ever since. And it’s been wonderful to bear witness to profitable connections being made within our group. In just the past month, one of our attendees got hired at a Denver-based trading software company after he met one of their biz dev guys who attends our meetups. Another woman entered into a profitable mentorship agreement with another one of our members who is a long-time trader. And yet another guy has teamed up with several other of our attendees to work on building out a unique financial data set that may alter the way traders view charts in the future.

All those developments are fantastic. But to me, the real magic is in bonding over our common language. Yeah, we often get into some hardcore trading conversations. But just as often we chat about life. And the life of trading. One thing I’ve learned over the years and increasing more so recently, is that there is far more to trading success than just the X’s & O’s of strategies and execution. Sure, it’s important. But that’s only the surface. To truly be successful as a speculator, the stars need to be aligned throughout your entire being. You need to have processes and people that support every aspect of your daily life. You need to be as consistent in your trading as you are in your diet. You need to be as diligent in risk management as you are in getting regular exercise. You need to be as committed to tuning out the noise as you are to investing time every day to meditate. And you need to be just as focused on your daily P&L as you need to be on finding other alternative sources of income outside of your trading account. Because everything affects everything else. Trading and the rest of your life are really all part of one giant whole. Trouble or mismanagement in one area will surely affect all the rest.

And I have found the best way to keep everything in perspective is to surround myself with as many like-minded people as I can so that we can bounce ideas off each other, or keep each other accountable, or be simply reminded of things. There’s nothing quite like community.

If you are in the Denver metro area, I encourage you to reach out and join our group. If you are not, I encourage you to peruse and search around for groups in your area. You might find an amazing group. And if you don’t, I’d encourage you to start your own. It’s real easy and I’d be happy to help if you need it and share tips for what has worked and help me build our group here in Colorado.

If face-to-face meetings aren’t your thing, don’t worry. You’re not out of luck. My former employer StockTwits, Inc. is a wonderful online venue that was and continues to be a game-changer for me in building a robust network of colleagues and virtual mentors. Twitter, of course, is a great option as well.

I guess my greater point is this: Trading can be a lonely endeavor. But you don’t need to be lonesome. There are others out there — some perhaps in your neighborhood — that may also be quietly shouldering the burdens and challenges of this lifestyle. Imagine how much you could totally change the game for yourselves and others if you make a connection?

I can tell you from first-hand experience, whether I’m talking to someone more experienced than me or less experienced than me, I can always walk away from the conversation feeling like I learned something valuable, sparked a new idea to explore, or feel like I did some good by offering something of value to the other person. And hopefully all of the above.

Whether online or in-person, build your community. Start small and scale. It may be the best “trading strategy” you ever employ.