Who are you guys?

This may sound like a crazy question, but I’m going to ask, who are you guys? It dawned on me that C2 people are not like me. Reading the forums and discussing topics with some of you, I find that I’m often on a completely different wavelength. I’d really like to know a little more mainly about the subscriber base, i.e. who are you and why are you here?

I’m a “joe six pack” per Palin’s description, who works at an internet marketing company and have <50k discretionary personal assets and IRAs to invest in trading systems. And I have a regular e*trade account. Trading system stuff and investing is a hobby, not a profession.

It seems like some of you have exotic accounts and perhaps invest professionally for a living. And if you subscribe to systems, are you doing so to invest other people’s money or your own? In other words, are the subscription fees and commissions a business expense or subtracted directly from your client accounts? And in a general range, how large of investment are you controlling? How much is too much to pay for a trading system? What are your goals and why do you come here? Why not just make up your own system? Etc…


My first question to you is how old are you. I too, sometimes feel out-of-sync with thread discussions, etc. Lately it seems a handful of people have become more vocal - adding to these forums, when it seemed for a while (I’ve only known about C2 since 5/97) like a ghost town.

I am 48, but many others here sound like they are crusty ol’ sages, lol and many here are probably flush with Daddy’s cash (opulent lives of the U.S.'s young) and seem to have different forms of communication than me (although, I am just getting started;)




Registered Investment Advisor Rep. I’ve developed systems for the past 5 years, and I’ve passed Level I of the CFA exam. This site is to build a record on, in my opinion.

I know Jules, who I’m sure may be one of the reasons you’re asking, as the genius that gave the algorithms for the statistical trading statistics package to Matt.

Early 40’s. MBA, retired from the aerospace industry. Trade my own funds now full time.

Trading background: I have traded off and on in futures for the past 15 years. I won the Futures World Cup in 2006 with 107% annual return, finished in second in 2005 (148%) and 2007 (112%). Fun, yes, but not a method I’d recommend to make a living.

I visit this site mainly for entertainment and benchmarking purposes. Seems like very few professionals here - most are either wannabe system providers (with snake oil to sell) or neophyte investors looking for 1000% return a year with no DD. I like seeing how people pile on to systems that crash. This site makes for an interesting psychology experiment.

I personally will never subscribe to a system on C2, unless I get some sort of independent verification that the vendor won’t go wacky on me (and I don’t know what that verification would be). It is hard enough to judge future performance of CTAs and hedge funds (based on past performance), and when you add the fact that a C2 vendor can change his method whenever he wants (usually with terrible results), I’d be afraid, very afraid to subscribe.

Thank you, Debbie Downer. I’d probably agree, though. Then you actually find vendors with verified results on the internet as well as they’re history on the web.

Worked at some major software, insurance, telecoms, and investment banks.

Trading the markets since late 80s.

Consider C2 an interesting and functional place, but find the level of knowledge of most subs and vendors as surprisingly naive. Subs are expecting, as said above, 1000% a year and are completely oblivious to Sharpe, Profit Factor, APD, drawdowns, and other statistics. Come to think of it, so are most vendors…

Then we get the Gilberts (I am up! I am down… I am up! I am down… My subs make a lot of money, if you count those in my imagination) , Caris (gee, I got a great idea and you should subscribe to it…), and other vendors now and especially in the past (who skyrocket to a $million and down in 6 weeks) who have no idea what they are doing.

I would say the number of interesting systems in total on this site, as less then 3-4…

Out of curiosity, which would those systems be, Index?

I’m also a “Joe six pack”, I got a smallish account to trade with, just some personal savings. I’ve been trading for only a couple of years, and I’m now tapping into developing my own strategy. I’m 29.

Gilbert, I’m only 32 and hope to one day be a crusty old sage. Interestingly, most of the people who talk in the forums are vendors with lots of funny cynicism. Makes me wonder how active the market is for subscribers. Or if the vendors are all paying to track their models for personal enjoyment. As they say, if there’s ever another gold rush, go out there and sell shovels.


OK, so 32 is younger than me. I worked 10 years in Silicon Valley. I have a B.S. in Optical Engineering and a Math minor. My last corporate position was with KLA-Tencor Corporation as a Sr. Manufacturing Optical Engineer.

During my career, I was regularly granted stock options and even technicians were into investing in high-tech - mostly what they knew about, since it was the boom days. I began studying the market in 1998 and decided long-term investments was pretty much the only way to go - but thought that covered calls might work in gaining a higher annual average to “beat the market”.

I started out paper-trading for 3 years and in 2002 put together my website KingdomCapital.com along with a $20,000 account to go “LIVE”, since the results were definitely encouraging. I experience the Asian contagion where I learned to stop losses at about 7% and not to keep groping for the bottom. That was huge for when my IRA account kept getting stopped out of positions in 2002 as it allowed for me to “trade another day”.

I caught the bottom in March 2003 - within days, and the rest is history. I divorced and gave up gains from my house and most of my retirement accounts, but hung in there going full-time into managing my website funds using “trade alerts”. I then found Collective2.com about a year-and-a-half ago and am looking to expand my subscriber-base with an extrapolation of my results from covered calls into futures that are providing about 3 times my annual average.

Again, I am entirely without significant financial backing and I kinda like it that way, since I don’t have to answer to anyone or share in my gain (unless I want to). Soon enough I think my results will open doors to “managed accounts” and perhaps move into the next level.

I don’t know who or what reads or follows these postings or results, but most important for me was to develop a strategy that worked over many, many, many years - and once gains were ramped up from targeting trends. . .that they are retained for the next one.

So far so good.



Vendors (and subscribers) can do scary, abnormal things during scary, abnormal times, and I wish there was a way to prevent that. Maybe, if a vendor says " I trade 1 ES contract only, with 5 point stop always" C2 could hold him to that. I’ve seen countless vendors change their strategy midstream. My recent favorite is the one who said “I only will trade ES” then during the recent turmoil, started trading AUD/USD and got immediately HAMMERED.

Its not only C2 vendors who do this, though. I know of some hedge fund managers who have panicked and done the same thing. I know recently I’ve almost done it myself (and maybe if I had I would have done better, but that would be throwing out my tested and verified trading histories).

Matt - if you are reading this, maybe their is a way to hold vendors to the rules they create for their system (ie limit the number of contracts, no averaging down, trade only what they say they are trading). Probably a lot of work, though, and I’m not sure people’s confidence would improve much…

I don’t think you’ll ever be able to hold vendors to “rules”, but I don’t think you need to. Unless a subscriber is auto-trading, he sees the orders before they’re placed. If the vendors doing something screwy, or doesn’t place a stop, the sub knows that instantly and can intervene to control risk to his tolerance.

Auto-trading is a different story. I’d bet many subscribers don’t see the trades for hours after they’re placed. A lot of things can happen to blow up a sub account in that time frame. I think a lot of work should go into the auto-trading setup to protect the subscriber from a vendor gone wild.

Can’t they limit they’re exposure? I thought they could set a maximum number of contracts, in the overleverage case.

"“Matt - if you are reading this, maybe their is a way to hold vendors to the rules they create for their system (ie limit the number of contracts, no averaging down, trade only what they say they are trading). Probably a lot of work, though, and I’m not sure people’s confidence would improve much…”"

Now that is a very interesting idea. It could be like the ‘Test’ option when you set up an account that you can choose to hold your system to certain criteria that is then irreversible so that it would only accept orders when a stop is also filled in at the same time or will only accept orders of a certain futures contract, the vendor might regret it afterwards but you could inadvertently be doing him a huge favour!

If a vendor says his sytem is end of day, with no orders placed during trading hours, and the instrument he trades has a huge outlying move against him (kinda like today, or yesterday, or the day before …) those rules wouldn’t let him exit a position.

You can’t tie a vendor’s hands for conditions his system’s never seen.

Not intraday no, because then it wouldnt be an end of day system would it?

"You can’t tie a vendor’s hands for conditions his system’s never seen."

The VENDOR would be tying the vendors hands, nobody else, that’s the whole point. Self-imposed discipline to override intraday emotion. I think it would be an interesting option for vendors who know they might have a problem with indiscipline, trading when they’re bored or over-riding signals. It would be a selling point to a sub knowing the vendor can’t intervene in a moment of madness.

Look at what happened to MVP-3.

Very true. But, many vendors base their strategy on a backtest, and hang their hat (and reputation) on it. If the vendor now wants to push the “panic” button and change his system (and negate at least partially his backtest), at the very least subs and potential subs should know about this. And that is my whole point: without knowing the vendor very, very well, how can I ever be sure that he won’t change his successful ways and do something different (which could be due to the market, stress over his dog getting hit by a semi, rolling out an “improved” system, whatever)?

My idea is really aimed at vendor’s who claim they religiously follow a “system,” but become “discretionary” when it is convenient. If they said up front “I trade 1 ES contract always following a moving average crossover, except if the market really falls apart due to world chaos, then I’ll do whatever I think I have to to stay alive,” I’d be fine with this, and at least everyone would know that it is a hybrid type trading startegy.

I’m looking, what’s your point? That he wouldn’t have been able to get out if he chose that option? Then if that’s going to be a problem for him my advice would be don’t choose that option. Or reduce your size, let’s face it it would really make people think what’s the most I could lose, what’s my absolute worst case scenario, some of them for the first time.

Exactly, and that is why despite what people say virtually every system on here is discretionary.