The OG Book
Back in 2013, life on the Mook Desk was less than sweet. I was very far from being considered a successful trader and was doing whatever feasibly possible to incrementally improve my trading skills. Late nights, early mornings, and highly stressful days of micro-day trading 50,000 shares. Getting absolutely shit faced at Pianos & Sons of Essex in the Lower East Side on the weekends to drown out the painful day to day.
Our first trading desk consisted of Ben, myself & a dozen or so Asians whose primary language was certainly not English. It was called the Mook Desk as a derogatory term. Being called a mook was like being called a Little Pussy Bitch. The goal was always to get off that desk as quickly as possible.
The worst of the worst trading mistakes would consistently happen on the Mook desk. Random entries. Random stop-outs. Random sales on the winners. Random amounts of risk on each trade. No rules whatsoever, just Wild West shit. If you made money that was good and if you lost money then See Ya Later Little Pussy Bitch.
The Mook Desk was a revolving door of new traders, some lasting a few months and many lasting just a few weeks. They’d purposely make life difficult so that if trading wasn’t for you, you’d submit very quickly and they wouldn’t have to waste a seat on you for very long. They had you in the Ken Shamrock ankle lock day 1.
Every day at this desk was exhausting. While the successful traders could stroll in whenever they wanted, so long as they made the 8:45 morning meeting, us newbies had to be there at 7:00 am sharp. If you were late you were told to go the fuck home. So that 7am quickly turned into 6:30 for me. I’d leave my shoe box of an apartment at around 5:40 every morning, take the 456 train downtown from Union square to Wall St. and walk over to the office after getting Flavors for breakfast.
One particularly brutal week, after the desk got especially smoked, the boss was laying into us harder than usual during aftermarket trade review.
“You’re all making the same stupid fucking mistakes. You have Bullshit game plans for these nothing set ups. I want you to all stay here, as long as it fucking takes, and write a complete handbook on trading. Make some actual rules to follow for a change.”
Umm, what? I’ve been here since 6am, it’s now 6pm, I’m mentally anguished from a day of getting smoked and you want me to write you a fucking handbook? How’s about you fuck the fuck off?
In my head I am thinking all this tough guy talk but my face is blank and obedient. 10 of us gather around a computer but people quickly began to fade once the coast was clear after the boss left. Ben left in about 0.8 seconds (I most certainly did - Ben). I was so paranoid that the boss was either looking at the security tapes or had an in with the janitors or something that my ass was frozen in that chair until something was completed.
The crowd of 10 soon became 3. It was me, my buddy Xu (pronounced Shu) and a small innocent female brainiac named Meng. I was probably the only American to call her Meng. Jack (from previous stories - with the bat) named Meng “Jupiter” because her small frame, smushed facial features and wide eye framed glasses made her look like an alien. So they called her Jupiter because it looked like she was from Jupiter, get it?
Credit to her though, she took the name in her stride and wore it like a crown. Jupiter didn’t last very long trading as whenever she would take a loss she’d type up any high beta stock and immediately hyper-scalp it while staring at a 2 minute chart. She had a really tough time trading but she ultimately had the last laugh as she’s now an engineer for Google (with the help of an astounding recommendation from my boss. No hard feelings -- trading’s not for everybody.)
So the 3 of us stayed there writing the google doc handbook until about midnight only to show up a few hours later and do it all over again.
The main chapters consisted around the keep-it-simple style we still use today. We focused on a few chart patterns, mostly Bull and Bear flags. We talked about volume, and finally we talked about trigger prices, stops and targets. I never went into a trade without a game plan after this day (ok maybe once or twice getting too hot on the keys ;)
The story of the first handbook became a vindicating tale for me. I used to look back on this memory as just another horror story from the Mook Desk. Now, I look back on it as the initial seed falling into the earth that planted the beautiful TE flower. It truly shows how far we’ve come as traders.
We went from a daily berating on the Mook Desk, to coming up on our own and showing people how to trade, manage risk and grow their accounts the right way over time. I believe they call that coming full circle.
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