We at StockTwits are lucky to be able to cross paths with so many unique, driven, yet sharing individuals who have a passion for the markets. And we are introduced to new people daily as more and more people get involved in our community.
No matter who you are and what your goals are, interacting with the StockTwits community has something to offer you.
Recently, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to chat with a young upstart trader named Jason Brach (@Swooon on StockTwits). Recently hired at a NYC based hedge fund, 22 year old Jason is very new to the markets. And his route to the trading desk was a little more challenging than most… He had to endure brain surgery to get there.
Diagnosed when young with a brain tumor, Jason had several surgeries to treat it. The most recent when he was 19 years old. “I used to be very talkative and into sports. Really hyperactive.”
But after he got sick, he began to see things differently. He didn’t care about being the popular kid in school anymore. And he became much more introspective. Being close to death can have that effect on you. “My perspective totally changed,” says Jason.
“Judaism has a saying: ‘being quiet is the secret to wisdom’ and I totally believe that now.” Today, he spends more time quietly thinking and learning about the markets. “Ever since the surgeries, I’ve become mentally quicker… And I’m much more content with myself, and happier.”
It was during this time of a new self-awakening that Jason discovered trading and became enthralled in the process of learning the skills necessary to compete.
“At first I kind of screwed around, but I quickly learned that there is a business to this,” Jason said. Like many do-it-yourself newbie traders, he fell into the usual traps. “Like every idiot, I sought out all the ‘secrets to riches.’ I got into penny stocks, subscribed to a lot of newsletters, and lost a lot of money. Most people – after losing a lot of money – decide that trading is not for them. But I got so into it. Ever since then, I just started getting more and more into methods and strategies.”
While his initial efforts where focused on dodging land mines, his interest in trading never diminished. “Trading just appealed to me. I paid for a lot of things and wasted a lot of money. I realize now it was a waste. But I’m happy I did because this was how I learned. This was the best way. No matter what anybody yells you, you’re not gonna believe something or learn it unless you try it for yourself.”
Smartly, Jason offhandedly remarks: “I don’t consider myself such a good trader yet, I just try to look at different ideas every day.”
One of the “different” ideas Jason had was to fund his first trading account with money from his wedding. At the early age of 21, he took the plunge. “I am happier having responsibility for someone else. I didn’t think it was worth it doing everything for myself because who was going to benefit?” Luckily he can look back and chuckle about the “mistake” of using his wedding money for trading.
Then Jason discovered various social media outlets that discussed trading. “I made so many mistakes. I just jumped into it and thought information was all pure and anything that people put out HAD to be legit. I learned the hard way that much of it was BS.”
“Then, when I discovered StockTwits… everything that I was trying to learn was right here… and it was free! And many people seemed legitimate. I didn’t understand how this could be? Why would successful traders share?”
Jason says @ZorTrades was the first guy he followed on StockTwits and couldn’t believe the level of sharing from Zor and others he found.
Today, Jason is a newbie trader at a hedge fund in midtown Manhattan. He doesn’t message that often via his @Swooon handle during market hours. “I keep StockTwits up, but I don’t look so much at the stream during the day. The stream feels too emotional to me. I tend to watch the stream more during off hours. I’m still getting acclimated to it.”
“I have to bring ideas to each morning meeting. So usually the night before as I’m doing my homework I’ll diary my ideas on StockTwits.”
One StockTwits tool he uses regularly is the StockTwits 50 list which is published every weekend: “Every Monday I print out the StockTwits 50 and hand it out to all the traders at our fund. We generate lots of trading ideas on stocks from this list.”
Jason is learning the ropes in his day job with the hedge fund, but he also derives value from the StockTwits Blog Network: “I mostly use StockTwits for the blogs. They are awesome! I don’t really tweet that much… But I definitely read all the blogs. There is so much great free technical and fundamental analysis. I find it very refreshing.”
So what advice does Jason have to other newbie traders like himself?
“Even if a book or tutorial or blog post you are reading about trading isn’t that engaging or interesting, read through to the end. They are always worth reading because there will be something, no matter how small, that will teach you about trading and will help your psychology. You gain insight into how people think.”
“I’ve learned as a trader, you have to sit through things you don’t love. Suck it up. There’s value in everything, often not immediately obvious. Don’t skip things because you think they are a waste of time. And if in the end it was a waste of time and you’re upset about that… you’re not gonna succeed in trading.”
We look forward to tracking Jason’s progression and luckily we have the tools to do so on StockTwits as he’ll continue to journal his thoughts and trading ideas on his stream.
Best of luck Jason!
~ Sean McLaughlin: Editor & Curator, StockTwits (@chicagosean)
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 »