Trade Ideas Blog

Two Different Make-overs on the Virtual Trading Floor Will Impact Your Trading

Jul 14, 2008

Quick Assessment

Are you taking advantage of internet communications to speak/talk/converse with other traders of significantly more experience on a regular basis?

If you are not a “Jedi” master trader, where are you getting additional, one-on-one help? Who is enabling you to achieve better insight into your trading?

How does ongoing training and/or lessons learned in trading loop back into trading plan revisions and updates?

The approach to training and the use of virtual trading floors by two companies will soon change the way traders improve themselves and are described below:


It helps being in the right place at the right time – part of the “it’s better to be lucky than smart” chapter in the book of life. I graduated the University of Texas in Austin in 1994. A year and half later and I was completely immersed in the day trading revolution. At that time there was a mechanical advantage involving two NASDAQ networks: SOES and SelectNet. The early technology improvements to the centuries old method of trading really made it possible to make some serious money. Our Director of Trader Education, Jamie Hodge, also speaks about this topic with authority from experience.

Austin, Texas had one of the highest number of day trading firms in the country during the mid nineties:

  • Block Trading
  • Momentum
  • Cornerstone
  • CyberTrader

There were great trading floors to sit in on and learn the game. You came in and learned from traders making serious money daily.

“Being there” used to be the only way to learn how to trade – an informal apprenticeship/trial by fire – often using the apprentice’s money. As one of those traders, I was able to hone my skills and gain an understanding otherwise impossible to get by myself/on my own. There was no alternative for getting fast Internet and direct connections to the markets. The trading office was the only place to learn.

Things have changed. The exchanges removed the mechanical advantages SOES traders had in the 90’s and put into slow decline the existence of trading floors with the right combination of good traders, good management, and a committment to training. So it comes as no surprise that long-time traders understand how to adapt their trading plans to market fluctuations as well as to exchange-driven, structural changes in the way the markets operate.

Thanks to our customers we see many ways that traders associate themselves with other traders in order to receive invaluable, ongoing training and learning – a crucial input towards creating sustainable, profitable trading. Below are a couple of standouts I’m highlighting – I’ll recap more innovative firms in future posts.

Today Trader

Physical Locale: CA

Two of my good friends, Andy Lindloff and Steve Gomez, are professional traders with whom I cut my teeth trading since 1998. Recently they decided to start a virtual trading floor. Their growth admist this wild market stems from innovative methods they use to give access to fellow traders to their live trading. We think there are few substitutes to being able to watch pro’s from the comfort of your own home and see how they utilize the tools of the trade (They continue to be some of the first full-time users of our Trade-Ideas software). This is not a chat room – while you can chat with others in the room, but rather a virtual desktop where you see the trading screen of either Steve Gomez or Andy Lindloff trading live. They talk you through the genesis of the trades, risk management tactics (e.g., stop loss, hold time, key trading times, etc.) and how they utilize Trade-Ideas software to help them spot the trades.

Another interesting innovation: if you can’t see the live sessions, edited and condensed versions highlighting some moments of the session exist on YouTube for review.

Trading impact: See the trading instincts and trading plans of the more experienced traders in action. Watch virtually to internalize how their reactions can improve your trading plan.

SMB Capital LLC

Physical Locale: NYC

David visits NYC quite often and first bumped into Stephen Spencer years ago when he was part of a large group of traders trading at the edge of the Garment District. Steven Spencer and partner, Mike Bellafiore, designed a deep, extensive trading curriculum as well as a detailed interview process they use to pick up psychological and behavioral traits they know match well with the trading process. Training videos, audio and written lectures, one-on-one mentoring and virtually there technology round out their offering. The result is that traders they associate with are predisposed to doing well – a function of being able to pass the company’s hiring process, follow their training, use the tools (like Trade-Ideas and others – it must be said), and learn from the more experienced trainers.

Trading impact: Trade with other professionals that share similar behaviors and preparation techniques. These similarities can lead to a form of shorthand in communication and trading that may add valuable time when it’s needed most.

We suggest that readers of our blog take tours of the sites and see what it is all about, because at the very least seeing a pro doing it live can perhaps give you some valuable insight into what is needed in your own game.

PS – We can’t mention everybody but if we did, we’d include those who have been riding this trend for awhile (but who, in all honesty, still gather traders in one physical location for learning) like Bright Trading, Mel Raiman, DayTrader Canada, etc.