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.
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
Liftoff. 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. 🙂
As 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.