How to Share a Trade Idea

By Zach Hurwitz hurwitz, Uncategorized

By Zach Hurwitz

At least now your terrible trades will look nice.

It’s small consolation, but your trading comrades will appreciate it.  No, I’m not talking about improving the way you sound on Skype; I’m talking about enhancing the clarity — and therefore accessibility — of the trade setups you post, tweet, email, or otherwise barf out into the digiverse.

Crowds gather to watch the Grand Opening of the Digiverse™ (c. 1936)

PLAN:  Is this information timely?  Relevant?  Does it suck?

Before you blast out your brilliant thesis, consider if it’s even worth sharing.  Personally, I don’t trade anything under $15/share, so every single message from a friend about a biotech/IPO/midcap/pharma/SpongeTech trade setup kills a fraction of my soul.  Furthermore, anyone who knows me is aware that I won’t trade those names, so the FDA-decision bursts get immediately mentally archived along with my mother’s email forwards — the ‘FWD: FWD: FWD: SHARE IF UR A TRUE FRIEND!!!’ Sisyphean punishment to which my generation is doomed.

Bottom line, consider the audience or risk incurring their wrath.

It’s certainly fine to endure for a while, and I don’t want to discourage the next Paul Tudor Jones (I know you’re out there, Calvin Dooley Waterbury and Rupert Savington-Joffrey — you boys have names to challenge PTJ for both pretension and, at the same time, respectability!) from connecting with the requisite traders to advance his own illustrious career-to-be.  But if you’re reposting a head & shoulders pattern just so people can see you shuffling your zombie-trader feet forward, putting forth the barest of effort to maintain a presence on StockTwits… save everyone the trouble.  The world needs fewer repeats/retweets.

Actual photo of NYSE pit traders (c. 2014)

CAPTURE:  What is the BEST way to share this content?

Stop using Print Screen.  Start using workflow-integrated tools.  Email is fine but PLEASE STOP ATTACHING FILES ARGHH I’M DROWNING IN JPEGS

Jing and CloudApp are lifesavers.  It all comes down to copy/paste, and yes, in a pinch, Print Screen is fine albeit somewhat clumsy.  To my fellow Mac users — Command-Shift-3 for fullscreen and Command-Shift-4 for selectable area screenshots.  You’re much more likely to convince someone to click on a well-described link (like this), easily created with Jing/CloudApp, than you are to sway them to open, download, and view your email containing Screen-Shot-2015-02-27_at_10.45_AM.

Speaking of which, if you do insist on email, don’t even get me started on the Subject line.  If I receive an email from you whose subject is No Subject, I will perpetrate heinous crimes upon your SMTP server.  Title your damn emails, people.

ANNOTATE:  I don’t care if you think that Ending Diagonal pattern is obvious; it is NOT.  Anyone who’s done coaching with me has witnessed the magic (lol yeah, right) of my mouse-drawn annotations on a price chart and will attest it’s infinitely superior to the insanity of “Okay, just watch my cursor for a second”.  Particularly when it’s not a live screenshare via Skype, Join.Me, or similar platform, viewers will need context and direction to efficiently glean insight.  Use simple, colored arrows as trade signals and red or green lines to represent support and resistance, and PLEASE WRITE TEXT IN BLANK SPACE ON THE CHART, not smashed into the margins or jammed in between pivot points.

I could make a complicated analogy about how this relates to the Norden bombsight won the Second World War for the Allies, but fortunately, I’ll spare you.

…Okay, okay, I can hear the ‘Encore!’ calls out there.  Sure, I’ll tell you about the Norden sight and how it relates to chart annotation.

Back in the early 1940s, people weren’t very good at flying planes yet, let alone accurately dropping things from them.  Simple answer?  Pack the planes full of many, many little bombs and use many, many more planes.  This is known as ‘carpet-bombing’ and is essentially a lazy (and not even particularly effective) method of saturating a target with arbitrarily-directed fire.  Norden therefore not only revolutionized the efficacy of Allied bombers but arguably prevented countless future civilian casualties by requiring fewer bombs to be dropped in the first place.

The lesson?  If you lazily carpet-bomb your charts with Fibonaccis, indicators, and Gann spirals, you’ll be laughed at by technical analysts everywhere.  Choose wisely and sparsely when selecting things to include on shared charts.

Here’s some horrible bullshit masquerading as analysis.

SHARE:  I’m not going to lecture you on using StockTwits, but I am going to encourage you to use it.  No matter the scope of your current network, it could improve if only I get over my apprehension, reluctance to use Twitter (I?  I, uh, mean, um, YOUR apprehension… totally not something I’m experiencing at all).

Tweet a chart at me — @ZachHurwitz — and prove both our fears unfounded.

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About the Author

Zach Hurwitz


Zachary is an independent equities trader, trading coach, systems developer, consultant to emerging hedge funds and proprietary trading firms, Volume-Weighted Average Price (VWAP) specialist, and in his spare time, a totally average guitarist. Zachary graduated with an Economics degree from Tufts University in 2008 and resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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