Going it alone

I don't know why so many people do their thinking out loud on forums, twitter and blogs. Trading is about finding an edge with which to profit from. How are you going to find an edge when you fritter away your valuable knowledge online?

Of course, only losing traders broadcast their knowledge. They want someone to tell them where they are going wrong.

These online system builders are not tipsters trying to influence the market, which I have already discussed in another article. Observing the poor maths these people use, I guess they are beginners who have looked at the market for 5 seconds and found The Mother of All Systems.

In The City of London I learned the value of information. My mother thinks that money is power, it isn't, it's the knowledge that generates money that is real power. Today's £5 note was worth more yesterday and will be worth less tomorrow. Information that generates fivers is more powerful than the fiver itself.

During the 1990s I worked for Reuters in a blue sky research group. In the group we had to keep abreast of all the latest technologies to see if there was any value in it for Reuters. Maybe Reuters would invest in the company that created the technology or licence the technology for a new Reuters data product. I met the creators of Google when it was just a start-up and soon after I ditched Yahoo as my default browser page.

I worked on cryptography, machine translation, artificial intelligence, got depressed through work and personal problems and started crawling into the office at noon. A drunken lunch before staggering home at 3PM.

Before disillusionment with my job set in, I had an idea for machine written news stories. What a trader wants to know is, "Is this information going to give me a buy or sell order?" He doesn't want to know if the story writer fancies himself as the next Ernest Hemmingway or fellow Reuters alumnus Ian Flemming.

I touted my idea to editorial. "No," was the reply. My idea was madness in the eyes of many and a threat to jobs for others. Today, of course, machine written financial news and automated trading on that news is common place.

Then there were the countless times when other employees (with the right contacts) plagiarised my work or managers took all the credit for what I did. That's why I now keep all my cards close to my chest. I had ideas for RFIDs on product labels as well as automated machine translation that have come to pass.

But dwelling on the past, like posting a system on a forum, is for losers. When I was offered voluntary redundancy following the DotCom bubble burst, I jumped at it. I haven't worked for anyone since and never will again. My information is mine alone. I sink or swim by it. I never follow the herd.