Working intentionally: Getting what you want

So I got a good email about trading conferences. The email said “there’s a big one coming up and they are expensive and promote themselves as networking events. What do I think?” So look, I’m at a different stage of my career than probably most of the people listening. So you have to take what I say with a grain of salt. When I was much younger, I was really excited about being in the business and now I see it really for what it is.

I’m not as naive. It doesn’t mean I don’t have blind spots, but as it relates to conferences I’m not quite sure since trading is such a solitary endeavor. I don’t know what the networking is supposed to do for you. How do you want it to serve you? Because maybe if you get clear on that part that might help you make your decision as to whether or not you want to go. Is it interesting to have a community? Yes and no.

You have these online things now where, and I know a few of them on Discord where people have put in an enormous amount of work, but they don’t really get a lot out of it after everything is said and done. And it makes them feel like leaders I get that makes them feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves perhaps, but bigger in what way?

Because bigger doesn’t mean better. If you’re in a day trading Discord, you’re just in a school of people who are either losing or going to be losing traders. So I don’t know if that’s like a good use of your time as far as conferences too. Like maybe it’s interesting.

When I lived in New York city 102.7 WNEW-FM used to have these “Rocktober” events that they’d do at the Hard Rock Cafe on west 57th street. And so a buddy of mine and I would go down, we’d have a couple beers and then we’d see all the DJs and we’d see them in person for the first time after recognizing their voice. Like they wouldn’t even have to say their name. You listen to the show and you listen to an old legend like the late great Scott Muni, for example. And you’re like, “oh, that’s what he looks like.” So it might be interesting. And that’s standpoint to meet people face to face. But if you’re going there, like I’ll give you a great example. You show up with a bunch of resumes thinking that you’re going to network to get a job…that’s not going to happen. So save your money. You’re better off doing that from home.

There might be like a 2% chance that if you met some hiring folks in person that that eventually might play out. But that still to me, if you’re looking at that would be like a one- or a two-year play, it’s a long play. In this business, ultimately you have to put up numbers. No one’s going to hire you because you’re a nice guy, or gal, or a nice non-binary person.

Back to the question…usually these events come down to sponsors, right? Sponsors pay the bills because you have to rent the room. You have to get the catering, you have to get the signage, all that stuff. And that costs money. So the sponsors are oftentimes negotiated up front because there’s so many front-loaded costs to the thing. You have to reserve the room. Well that requires a down payment. So you haven’t sold the ticket yet and you have all these outflows.

So the sponsors are like, okay, great. The ticket charges are really to kind of control the gate. Like who’s serious about coming because we can’t give it away for free. So we have to draw a line in the sand. I would say that most of the conferences that I’m aware of the ticket sales are not at revenue generator. They do. I mean they do create revenue, but they’re not an net income generator. They kind of all add up.

But you know, it’s the sponsors that pay for the majority of the event itself and sponsors being sponsors. Of course they want something in return, right? No one’s doing anything for free. Despite what the nature of the event might be itself. So I think a lot of this, as I’m thinking out loud about this is what do you want out of it? Because then you’d be a lot more clear. You might be able to get what you want out of it by knowing what you want out of it before you even go.

The conferences that are more blatant with this are the ones that have sponsorship booths or expo tables. And a lot of these things are to get you in there so that you sign up for more goods and services. And if you’ve listened to the show, I think what you need is more of when you trade is much more of a spiritual awakening than need outside stuff.

I’ve said before, “there aren’t any external solutions to the internal problems” that go on for traders. I’ve said a million times you don’t need more than one or two monitors seeing things in real time and different timeframes doesn’t help you because you’re always going to be slower than the computer that you could program. It might not feel as good because you want that dopamine hit. Subscription services, technology, charting packages, these are all bandaids and they don’t necessarily help you trade better.

So the cycle of this goes on and on and on from one conference to another kind of almost preying on the sophomoric newer trader – they know a little bit about the business, but they still know enough to put themselves in trouble.

And it really, when you think about trading, it doesn’t come down to much more than keeping your losses small. So I don’t go to them. I don’t speak at them myself again. So you could measure me by my behavior, not necessarily what I say.

If you want a community you could probably find it at StockTwits. If you’re looking for ideas, because you don’t know how to start that process, you could listen to this show. You could also go to Twitter or StockTwits. There’s plenty of stuff out there that could help you find the names and this and that. And then you could reach out via email. It’s so much cheaper if you want to meet somebody. Anyway, thank you for writing in with the question. I appreciate everybody listening. That’s all I have for you today. I will see you tomorrow.

This is a computer generated transcript.

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