Zuhaib Zafar isn’t located near the exchanges. In fact, based in Atlanta, he isn’t even near that many Traders.
In 2008, Zuhaib was a 22 year old finance major in college and caught the trading bug in the midst of the Credit Crisis. The markets were in full panic and became front-page news on a daily basis. As a requirement for his major, Zuhaib subscribed to the Wall Street Journal.
To make money, he decided he needed to learn trading skills which weren’t being taught in his classes, nor being written about in the WSJ. His class discussions “were with people who didn’t really know or understand the stock market,” says Zuhaib.
So where to start?
“I thought buy low and sell high was the way to go,” Zuhaib said of his earliest stab at trading. He opened his first trading account with a few thousand dollars, but quickly realized he didn’t know how to find the right tickers to trade. “So I started googling for tickers and this was how I came across StockTwits.”
Setting up his StockTwits account with the handle @idrinkchai, it wasn’t long before Zuhaib was amazed by the idea flow on his screen from traders and investors who actually knew markets. He was on to something.
“I thought it was so cool how the messages streamed down the page in real-time while the markets were moving. Especially as compared to a static message board, this felt real.” And while watching this stream of info, “I thought it was great to be able to follow the people that I thought were sharing the best ideas.”
Being able to follow a small but excellent cadre of users, Zuhaib has built for himself a group of mentors – even if they don’t know it. By interacting with and asking questions to the people he followed, “these people would tell me what to look for, what to do. They wouldn’t tell me actual trades to take, but would suggest resources to use to form my own opinions – like Investopedia when I was a total newbie and didn’t know a lot of market lingo. And they urged me to learn technical analysis, which was huge.”
Joining a community of supportive and encouraging contributors has been amazing for Zuhaib. “When I started, people were giving me general information which would lead me in the right direction. StockTwits was definitely instrumental in getting me going in the right direction.” Had he attempted to go it alone in the markets, he isn’t so sure he’d be at the level of confidence he’s at – not even three years into his trading career.
Zuhaib’s advice to newbie Traders who are new to StockTwits:
“Follow the Suggested List on StockTwits. The one thing I’ve learned is that despite what the indexes might be telling you, the real clues are under the hood and the best members in StockTwits are the ones who are uncovering these clues.”
“The best thing I did – thanks to the people I follow urging me on – was to learn technical analysis. Once you learn that, you don’t really need anybody else to hold your hand.”
Worst Trading Experience:
“I followed a guy into a trade and lost 20+% of my account quickly. It wasn’t the guy’s fault. It was my fault for following blindly. I learned a very tough lesson about making my own decisions and managing my risk. I don’t remember what ticker is was, but I think it was one of those b.s. China stocks.”
Best Trading Experience:
“Near the market bottom in 2009, I decided to focus on large cap stocks. I had kind of created my own thesis that companies like $GE which sold consumer staples weren’t going to go out of business. So I stepped in and bought companies like GE ($GE) and Citigroup ($C) and rode them up for a few months. It felt great to have a thesis and have it work out so beautifully.”
Zuhaib thanked StockTwits in part for this success. Thanks to the streams, he was able to interpret the sentiment surrounding tickers he was interested in and used this info to time his entries and to evaluate whether to exit or hold on for further upside.
Many thanks to Zuhaib Z (@idrinkchai) for sharing his experience with us. StockTwits members hail from different backgrounds and experience levels – from beginners like Zuhaib to crafty veteran money managers like Joe @upsidetrader Donohue. No matter your level, there is something to learn from everybody who shares here.
We look forward to following Zuhaib’s progress, and we’ll be doing it by following his best trading ideas everyday right here.
- Sean McLaughlin: Editor, StockTwits
StockTwits® is an open, community-powered idea and information service for investments. Users can eavesdrop on traders and investors, or contribute to the conversation and build their reputation as savvy market wizards. The service takes financial related data and structures it by stock, user, reputation, etc. More »