I Met Tim Sykes (Read How and Why)

Tim Sykes Rewards Dedication (Tim Sykes & Jai Catalano)Tim Sykes Rewards Dedication

My son was upset I was leaving. My daughter was curious as to where I was going and my wife, even though she is super supportive, was probably feeling a mixture of emotions because she was going to have to parent my 2 young ones alone.

Where am I going? The where isn’t nearly as important as the why but in the words of the late great Notorious B.I.G I’m “Going Back to Cali.”

At this very moment, I am typing this blog post at a cafe waiting for my all expense paid flight to Los Angeles California compliments of the most famous (or infamous depending on how you view him) penny stock short seller and day trading marketing guru: Tim Sykes.

Like I said, the why is much more important than the where but on June 7th of this year I received the email below.

Hey Jai,

I’ve been following your blog and your trades for a while. As you know, I like to reward my most dedicated students. I’d love to have you out in Miami or LA to trade along side me for a day – paid for by me of course! Let me know if your game and I’ll make it happen!

Keep up the good work!


Wow! I was blown away when I read his email. I even had to read it several times to make sure my contacts were still serving their purpose. Officially I started when I wrote this blog post 10 months ago. And, for the first 2 months I pretty much studied. Then for 2 months I was concentrating on selling 2 homes in 2 different states and don’t forget the summer, which… usually considered a slow period… was… well… slow.

Yes Tim is 100% correct. I am a dedicated student and even though “life got in the way” I was following the market as much as I could every single day. I even blogged about certain experiences such as, shorting my first stock, taking my first loss in the challenge and responding strongly to a hate comment about me getting paid by Tim. With all that being said, I had NO CLUE he knew my level of dedication and more importantly I didn’t know he read Beyond Debt. With his busy schedule how does he even have time to read?

Anyway, the fact is I am already on my way BUT why does he want to fly me out to LA and put me up in the Mondrian hotel to day trade with him for one day? Aside from his email above I really don’t know. However, I plan to find out and document the cool experience from start to finish.

The Flight Going to LA

Flight to LAXLiftoff. LA here I come. Yes, I have traveled to LA dozens of times in my life. LA was a yearly occurrence when I was a dancer and commentator for the World Salsa Championships on ESPN. I bet Tim Sykes can’t say he has a challenge student who is also a professional salsa dancer. In fact here I am 10 years ago dancing in the LA Salsa Congress. What a wonderful life it is if you just open yourself up to the experiences it has to offer. From salsa dancing to day trading. Sounds like a book title in the making. 🙂

The Hotel

Mondrian PoolAs a dancer, I have stayed in some very nice hotels in my life and nothing beats the 5 star hotel I stayed at in Dubai but the Mondrian in LA is sweet. When I got to the front desk the concierge took my ID and said, “Ah a guest of Tim Sykes”. That’s right Woman! You better recognize is what I was thinking, however, I decided to go with something a bit more business/age appropriate so I said, (insert British accent) “You are most certainly correct my dear. I am a guest of Mister Tim Sykes”. 🙂 Okay fun is over let’s see the room.

Nice Tim. It’s sexy contemporary. Damn. I wish my wife were here. Actually I already have 2 kids. Scratch that thought. I’m good.

Anyway, I am supposed to meet Tim in an hour for some dinner so maybe I will wash up and take a closer look at the party by the pool that I can see out of my window.

Waiting for Tim

Tim wanted to meet for dinner at 6pm so after checking in to the hotel and saying good night to my kids I decided to hit the Skybar and load up on cranberry and seltzer. I don’t drink alcohol but the look of the drink combined with my acting skills seen here usually convinces everyone I am buzzed. I had 3 drinks which made my bladder work overtime until Tim walked in at 6:45pm. Now in case you didn’t know I have danced for some pretty famous people in my life. Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, P Diddy, Jay Z, Derek Jeter and the list goes on… I am not trying to brag… well maybe a little… but, on the inside, I was somewhat feeling like a screaming teenage girl at a One Direction concert. Partly because I was watching screaming teenage girls at a One Direction concert on the Skybar TV and partly because I had NO CLUE why I was in LA getting ready to day trade with Tim Sykes.

Anyway, Tim walked in casual and cool as I thought he would be. We made our introductions as he thanked me for coming and I thanked him for having me.

Dinner with Tim

Tim Sykes is exactly how he is in his webinars. He is energetic, funny, brutally honest, and to the point. I found him easy to connect with because minus the fact that he is an energetic funny man he is a lot like my wife. 🙂 Anyway, after he asked me a bit about myself I said, “I have to ask you something. Why me? Why did you bring me out here? I mean I KNOW I am a dedicated student but you have many dedicated students. Why me?” He said, “that’s just it. I do this from time to time with dedicated students as a way to say thanks. I see you are dedicated by your blog posts and responses to your viewers. I even follow your trades even though you haven’t traded a lot.” 🙂

I can’t lie. That felt good to hear. It was nice to be surprised and rewarded for efforts I do by being who I am. And, it was an even better feeling that with all the months of studying under my belt I was able to keep up with our trading conversation. I knew past trades, ticker symbols, past price action, current price, support levels, resistance levels, news, terminology and many many more things. You might think this is crazy but a year ago I didn’t even know what shorting a stock was.

So we talked and joked a bit over some shrimp cocktail and sandy oysters. I told him my challenges as a trader. I said I thought I was picking the right stocks but my timing was off. I also said that cutting my losses were not as much of an issue for me. In fact, I have the opposite problem. I don’t let my winning trades win. Tim explained that that wasn’t a bad problem to have as many people can’t cut losses quickly and end up losing everything when the bull market turns bearish. He said, “go in with a thesis, use small size and feel the experience be it win or lose.”

At that moment it clicked and I knew he was spot on. I told him I read an article at the airport that discusses why some kids try harder and some give up. I quoted a line that stuck out to me. “The brain grows most by getting questions wrong, not right.”

You see I try to look at my losses, be it real or paper money as little gifts of education. Yes they are painful gifts that are as painful as a doctor with swollen hands during a prostate exam but they are educational gifts nonetheless.

Tim and I had dinner for a little over and hour and then he said it was time for him to go rest due to the California time difference. Ouch I forgot about that.

Trading at Tim’s House

My body arrived at Tim’s home at 5:50am. He met me at the door and we quietly tip toed to his patio so we wouldn’t wake up his girl Bianca and his dog Miley. It was cold, dark and very early in the morning but the market was getting ready to open. Tim told me what he was watching pre market and I told him what I was keeping my eye on since Friday. We both shared similar short ideas on 2 stocks: AVNR

which I shorted and covered for a loss but was dead on with my thesis. You see timing is everything and I screwed up timing by .05 cents and 3 minutes then it did what I originally thought it would do based off of ind…. Ok ok ok. I am sorry. I’m done ranting. Like I was saying…

& CNET. However, CNET was gapping up nicely and AVNR was choppy, unpredictable and a biotech. So we looked deeper into CNET but Tim said he couldn’t find shares to short. I said if you can’t find shares I can’t find shares. Let’s be real I’m only using IB right now and you have the secret broker.

(It’s not that big a secret).

Then the market opened. CNET squeezed up and up. Tim said he would put a short order in at $2.95 if he had shares. Then it squeezed more and he said he might have added at $3.05 if he could. Secretly, I wasn’t in agreement but that is because I believed there were too many newbies involved getting squeezed out and there was still room to go BUT I didn’t want to tell Tim that so I said “oh ok boss”. And then it squeezed. In fact it went near $4 before it pulled back. Tim said, “thankfully I didn’t have shares to short. I would have lost on that one”.

Then WATT popped up on screen. I know the stock but I don’t have enough back history to make an impulsive decision on WATT. Within minutes Tim discovered that the IPO lock up date was to expire in 2 days, the stock bounced 70% off it’s morning panic low and he saw that there was resistance at $10.75ish. So, Tim shorted 5900 shares at $10.39. It dropped pretty quickly and then up trended a bit. Tim left the patio and I did my own research to see if I thought following him in was worth it. I NEVER follow Tim’s trades unless I have done my own research first and I wasn’t about to start now. However, his thesis was very convincing on further inspection so I put in a sell order at $10.42 as WATT was bouncing a bit. The SSR was on so I had to wait for the stock to uptick to get in as I couldn’t put my offer on the bid. Unfortunately it hit $10.42 but I never got executed and WATT went down and down and down some more.

We kept a close eye on it and he explained his desires to cover at $10.10 which he actually made a video lesson about real time. After listening to him I completely saw his safe exit. Yes we both thought there was more downside in the next day or 2 but why take the overnight risk. So, Tim posted his video and covered.

Then the lull of the day came and so we chatted about stocks, life and ate lunch like 2 pals from back in the day. Tim was a real down to earth guy with a genuine heart. I don’t want to get too misty when I say…

MESSAGE ALERT FROM SECRET BROKER!… which isn’t really a secret …shares for CNET available to short.

Quickly we looked at the chart and Tim and I saw $3.20 which used to be support was now acting as resistance so he shorted at $3.05 for a potential crack and possible panic. Personally I wasn’t quite convinced there was enough reward for the risk but who was I to say to Tim not to short. So, I said “oh ok boss”. He said if he is wrong he will cut losses at $3.25. Well, within minutes it squeezed and like Tim said he got out. Tim then looked at me and said, “when you are wrong you get out.”

For the remainder of the trading day we chatted some more. I met his lovely girlfriend Bianca and his adorable puppy Miley. We shot a testimonial, took a couple of photos and got ready to head back to the airport when the market closed. It wasn’t the most eventful day in the market but it was a wonderful experience watching and hanging out one on one with Tim Sykes.

Uber Ride to the Airport

Tim and I jumped in an Uber taxi and went to the airport. I told him he was a very generous host who truly didn’t need to do all that he did for me. However, it was very much appreciated. He told me moving forward what he thought I needed to concentrate on. “It’s best to only trade the good setups when the opportunity arises and DO NOT over trade”.

Between you and me that is exactly what I have been doing and boy is it helpful. It’s not as much fun but man has my trading started to change. Don’t get me wrong I am not putting up Tim Grittani numbers yet but in case you were wondering I no longer ask for a Starbuck’s tall drip. Nope! I go all out for the caramel macchiato. 🙂

Anyway, for 45 minutes we traded some various life stories including our great love and fun in NYC. I talked about my family which has inspired me and supported me in my day trading process. Then in a blink of an eye we arrived at LAX airport, said our goodbyes and my day with Tim Sykes was over.

My Thoughts
“The vision that, in cultivating our trading, we develop ourselves in ways that ripple throughout our lives.” Unnamed caller quoted from Dr. Brett Steenbarger’s book The Daily Trading Couch.

The quote above sums it up best for me. My process has been more than just a profit and loss of money. In fact that has only been a small portion of the bigger picture. It has been a journey that has changed the course of my life. I think differently, I respond differently in certain situations and I even find that I am raising my kids in a whole new light. Sounds corny I know… but it is true.

I didn’t see it when I first began because I too got caught up in Tim’s marketing of making millions trading penny stocks, but over the course of these last few months I have come to realize that this (for me) is a journey of becoming a better man to become a better trader. It’s about research, preparation and studying. It’s about reflection, journaling and practice. And most importantly it’s about overcoming fear, controlling patience and knowing when to fully accept as well as acknowledge being completely wrong.

Up to this point of my life I have had a blast and my experiences have been bigger than I have ever imagined. Meeting Tim has just been added to one of those experience along the way. And during those many years I invested (not trading) in stocks but never really knew why I was investing aside from “it was the thing to do”. Yes I got lucky with some of my stocks from time to time but for 20 years I just put my money where people told me to put it and never questioned the fundamentals or technicals of the company. And I certainly didn’t think about the corruption, lies, deceit and pumping/promoting that most (if not all) stocks do. However, when I decided to question it Tim Sykes was all over the internet with answers. After weeks of research and multiple conversations with my wife it seemed like a no brainer to join the millionaire challenge. You see the way I looked at it I had 2 basic choices. I could keep investing in safe companies and pray that all went well with the hopes of making 10% on my money annually… Do you remember Worldcom, RCA, Paine Weber, EF Hutton, TWA, Bear Sterns, Blockbuster?  Neither do I… or I could invest in my education and blog about my growth as well as failures for the world to see.

Look I could have started my in depth education process about the stock market in various ways but I started with Tim and for that I am very happy and grateful. Maybe that isn’t your path and that is perfectly fine but I am proud to say that each step forward on this trading journey leaves a trail that began with Tim Sykes. Since taking my first steps I have joined Investors Underground Elite and frequent Ross Cameron’s free chat monthly Mondays to build and strengthen my knowledge. With that being said, I believe that this blog and my personal thoughts and experiences along the way are the reasons Tim invited me to trade with him. Point blank it helps his business which he is thankful for.

Honestly, I could care less about what people have to say negatively about Tim. In fact, I could care less what they have to say positively about him as well. This is about my experience and my new chapter in my financial life that proudly starts with Tim Sykes.

So hats off to you Tim for the wonderful experience. I will continue on this journey as well as answer the many weekly emails I receive about you and the Millionaire Challenge. I thank you for your honesty, I thank you for your work and I thank you for being the first real voice who helped me open my eyes to the lies, corruption, deceit, greed, fear and stupidity that I never truly knew was in the stock market before.

Do you remember Enron? Neither do I.

Important Resources

  • Read my frequently asked questions or if you need personal 1 on 1 guidance from me on how to fully prepare as well as protect yourself from the misrepresentation please click here.
  • Every month I update this post here for my personal "Millionaire Challenge". I suggest you read the entire post and when you reach the bottom you can see my updated progress.
  • I highly recommend the Simple Path to Wealth book to grow Your wealth simply and steadily. It will educate you beyond your financial imagination. This is my review of the book.
  • If you are new to stock trading test your knowledge here with a basic stock market quiz.
  • There are a lot of secrets in trading stocks and I reveal 20 of them in this popular post.
  • If you are confused about short selling stocks then read this simple explanation that will clear it all up.
  • This free stock research tool will give you all the necessary information on any stock you type into the search bar.
  • Do your best to avoid day trading distractions. Especially the 10 I list here.
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28 thoughts on “I Met Tim Sykes (Read How and Why)

  1. Hey Jai,
    I enjoy your blog, modern rock list was very helpful and the Sykes trip was funny read. Actually found your blog looking for Modern Rock stuff and you came up.

    I am a new trader, small account, 2k with TD. Im assuming Ill be going long more, due to the broker. I have found some Nasdaq to short but slim pickings. Studying/have Tims DVDs and the IU DVD. I am trying to decide on which chat to join. Should i join a chat after a good understanding of the DVDs or will the chat be a good addition as I learn? Tims or Investor chat? The Tim Challenge at 5k is out of my league right now. Just wondering if you were starting anew, which way you’d lean? I know your probably partial to Tim, but you seem fairly honest for the interwebz haha.

    Anyho, appreciate any feed back and I wish well in your trading and the blog.

    1. Thanks Nolan. I am glad you found my blog and enjoyed reading it. Before I answer your questions I want you to think about this. If you were in desperate need of life or death heart surgery who would you want to perform the procedure: the resident doctor or the highly trained heart surgeon? Both have the potential to save your life but who would YOU feel more secure with?

      I know it’s a no brainer but that is how you have to think about this. With all due respect you aren’t even a resident doctor yet and you are looking to start trading your small 2k dollar account: an account you will most likely blow up if you don’t study study study and then study…

      Do you get the comparison yet? I am sure you do.

      Also just so you know… I would do the exact same thing to get to where I am now. Each step I have taken has been a part of my education but your situation is very different than mine.

      So for you I suggest you do a lot more studying first before even trading a dime. In fact open up a paper account with TD and test out your theories first before trying to use your own hard earned money. You say you have Nate’s DVD which is good. Watch that DVD 5 or 6 times then find a stock or 2 you want to trade and try it on paper. If you lose write down what you did right and where you went wrong. In addition follow Modern Rock’s advise (not his stocks) and learn all about charting and support and resistance. Google every question you have and find answers that you think are right and add them to build your style.


      Then if you still like what you are doing and have fun with it or made money on paper I would join IU chat. That chat room is well run and very useful. However, it is very tricky for new traders who think they are surgeons when in fact they aren’t even out of kindergarten.

      I hope this helps. It might not be the answer you were looking for because we all want to make money but trading is really not just about making money… It’s much bigger than that.

      Good luck and let me know how it goes.

      1. Jai love the medical references. As far not trading, too late. Let me tell you my thought process. My opinion is paper trading is not as useful as most think. You can study to be a heart surgeion all you want but at some point you have to perform your first surgery. It’s a whole different world. No problem in a lot education so I see your point.

        Also right now I get free trades so I see no issue in getting the first couple trades in to just get a feel
        for things. I’ve done that, got a couple in.

        I think your spot that I’m getting ahead of myself, so I’m gonna stop trading until I’ve watch the IU DVD and Tim’s DVD until I’m at the point of generating my own watch list. No problem sitting on the side lines and watching.

        I’ll keep you updated. May your profitly be in One Direction. Up.

        1. I kind of figured I was too late. 🙂

          Trading is the only profession where you can start trading day 1 without studying. All the best to you.

      2. Just curious why you say “follow modern rock’s advise” but added the caveat “(not his stocks)”. If he knows what he doing shouldn’t one be able to learn by what stocks he chooses? Thanks

        1. You can’t follow anyone’s trade alerts and expect to be consistently profitable. You can get a trade idea from anyone but if you aren’t mapping out the exact entry and exits as well as bail out points before entering a trade you will ultimately lose.

          1. Thanks for answering. I realized that o have heard a lot of really negative stuff about Sykes and Ross Cameron. I know you said “I don’t care about the negative things people say about him”. Has you opinion changed any since you wrote this?

  2. Very inspiring post. Muy bonito Jay !!
    I follow you since I discovered Tim in February 2014 (I’ve zero experience on trading), when he mentioned your first trade post.
    I encourage you to post more posts on your process to become a professional trader and wishes the best. I´m curious about that because I think speculation is one of the hardest professions in life.

    Regards from Spain.

    1. Thank you Guillermo. It has been very very challenging but as I continue to build this skill it will be a skill I will have for the rest of my life. I look forward to adding more content to my blog soon. Especially free stuff that I think people can benefit from.

  3. I forgot one thing.
    Don´t feel forced to post things. My opinion is that if someone wants advanced knowledge or detailed information he must pay for it. It is an unwritten rule.
    And now can I ask you one thing ? One key point I´ve realized in trading is organizing your tools well, I mean your desktop so please, could you post a screenshot of your trading desktop to see how you arrange windows during trading sessions? (only if you want).

    I´ve some ideas on this but I’m sure there are other people more efficient than me in this aspect and i would like to improve this important aspect of the business.

    Thanks Jai !

    1. De nada y pide lo que quieras.

      I have a 27 inch screen and a 15″ monitor. I also have a laptop to round out my screens. On the main monitor I have 4 charts from think or swim. Under that I have my Interactive Brokers trade monitor. The bottom right of the same screen I have IU chat. On my smaller monitor I have tweet deck, percent gainers from IB, Tim Sykes’ chat and the SPY. On my laptop I have charts/videos on hand if I need.

      I don’t overtrade and I am training myself to trade with certain obstacles. For example IB doesn’t always have borrows and I can easily switch to Center Point but why rush. You only need to get rich once. Having a broker like CP sounds great but I am learning to make due with what I have so I can graduate to them.

      I hope that makes sense.

  4. Thanks Jai. It makes sense. I can imagine it perfectly.
    My idea is to start one day (not immediately) with a 13k account splited between IB and Etrade Pro.
    IB for executions and Etrade Pro only for charts and level 2, not the brokerage.
    I like your approach to trading: first learn and research as much as possible before jumping to the arena.
    I will keep a close eye on you and specially on how you manage your emotions (I can learn from other people experiences). I also track a guy called Cwood, I like his earnings plays discipline (he will become early THE earnings expert) and someone called PolisB.
    Good week !! Buena semana !!

  5. uhm, I forgot, with 13k you can only open an account with IB, not another one with Etrade because etrade also requires 10k minimum. I will be under PDT rule for a while.
    I think the only positive aspect of PDT prison rule is that it teaches you patience and discipline. Once time passed it´s better not to go wild as Nate said in his DVD and prepare good setups as usual.
    Patience, timing and discipline says Tim Sykes in his final pages of his book.
    It´s not easy but the profits seem so easy once you understand the game !!

    Chao !!


    1. Yes PDT sucks but is great for discipline. I trade with more than that so PDT doesn’t apply but I totally see the benefit. Like I said I can open a CP account but I am not ready for that and I know it. I don’t trade wildly and I am actually training myself not to trade. This morning started bad for me because I jumped into a trade based off of someone else’s idea. I had knowledge of the stock as well as the chart AND it was on my watch list but before the bell I said I wasn’t going to trade it because it was choppy. Well I did and lost but then I traded 2 stocks I was looking at based off my ideas and won both times. I am only down $1 after being down nearly $60. That might be it for me today as it’s choppy out there and my setups have changed. Trading ain’t easy but if good can be very very rewarding…

  6. I take note of your experiences.
    I cannot say anything more about trading as for now I’m just learning and trying to absorb everything.

    Have a nice day.
    Love your approach (meticulous right now).

    1. Now I am up $4 on the day. I didn’t plan on trading again but I saw an opportunity and I took it. I covered way too early on a very small position but trust me when I say I learn a ton from it all. Time to call it a day and get back to studying as well as blogging about my trades. :). Any questions or comments feel free to send me a message on hangout if you’d like. That way the comment section doesn’t get bloated with me going on and on. 🙂

  7. Hi,

    I am 19 years old and I have been thinking a lot about buying the course that Tim sells. I was just wondering, how are you doing financially from doing it about a year?

    Also have you learned a lot ?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Nicholas. I actually started trading in August. The first 2 months I studied and maybe made a trade or 2. Then the following 2 or 3 months I was in the process of selling some property. Then the summer was slow but in August I started going in daily. I would say with total honesty I am break even. I am not red nor am I green. Have I learned a lot? I have learned more about the markets in my educational journey than I have in all of my life. It is truly life changing. I hope this helps.

    1. We were trading not doing a photo shoot. 🙂 Why that post got resent I will never know. That happened almost a year ago. Damn WP.

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