So, interestingly enough, this is my first post on BigMikeTrading and I never thought it would be in the form of a review. I joined the forum several months ago, did a lot of reading, did a lot of testing, and eventually came across Kevin Davey's posts. Up until that point I had been trying various automated strategy techniques using NinjaTrader, but was never happy with any of my results. It had never occurred to me that perhaps the answer to my dilemma was multiple "good enough" strategies rather than one whiz-bang strategy in one or two markets.
So in March I decided to take his workshop.
One week after the workshop I wrote him this review:
It has been one week since I took Kevin Davey's Strategy Workshop. The workshop itself was well structured and packed with real trading methodologies born from Kevin's trading experience. Kevin is one of those rare breeds in this industry -- both extremely knowledgeable as well as down-to-earth pragmatic and honest. The candor with which he speaks during the workshop is a breath of fresh air. He brings an amazing systematic mind to his trading process and clearly details each step of the process, from testing to implementation. He provides charts, worksheets, and strategies that he trades with his own money. Since his strategies are written in TradeStation's EasyLanguage, I needed to convert them to NinjaTrader. This proved more involved due to some differences between TS and NT, but Kevin remained helpful and available each step of the way with the conversion process. His responses to my emails would always occur on the same day, if not the same hour! This is an amazing benefit of the program -- to have his attentive expertise available 6 months after the workshop. All-in-all, I am extremely happy with both the value and quality of his workshop and support!
So, needless to say, I was pretty excited! But the next few months were grueling. Using the processes learned in the workshop, I began first working with algorithms I had already developed in NinjaTrader. One or two came very close to passing all the workshop parameters, but always fell short. It was frustrating! I couldn't come up with one strategy that passed muster.
During this time Kevin was highly responsive to both my questions and frustrations--cheering me on when I needed encouragement and providing direction when I was stalled.
Finally, after failed strategy after failed strategy, I wrote one that passed the gauntlet of metrics he laid out in the workshop. This gauntlet is, I believe, invaluable to weeding out the chaff from the grain.
For me, the primarily problem I had was believing a strategy could be simple. I can sometimes drown in the sea of complexity and, often times, make things more complicated than they need to be. Kevin kept directing my attention to simplify. And so I did. I still can't believe that some of these strategies even work--some less than five lines of logic code!
So here it is six months later. Kevin has continued to remain responsive to all my emails. I have several strategies ready to trade in various markets. They have passed Kevin's gauntlet and I have been sim trading them over the past month. I am, at the time of this writing, ready to throw the "on" switch, quite literally tomorrow morning.
So after six months of effort it is now time for the rubber to meet the road. I believe I have good odds of success because of Kevin's systematic approach to trading, the guidance I have received from him, and the rigorous gauntlet he has created for strategy development.
So perhaps my next post will be to see how I did. But I am happy to answer any questions that others might have about Kevin's workshop. I have had such a positive experience to date, and see that positive experience extending forward.
The following 15 users say Thank You to risingfire for this post:
I attended Kevin's workshop at the end of March 2015. Before entering the workshop, other than buying and holding stocks, I've been trying to discretionary trade forex for almost 3 years. At the beginning of 2015, I decided to give up discretionary trading for personal reasons and wanted to move on to system trading.
Kevin's book was the 2nd book I read on the subject and I was quite impressed. Read some other books, but I knew I needed help. I sent a mail to Kevin through his website and got a reply the same day. After I explained my situation, I decided to learn Easylanguage, because I needed to basic skills for coding. Almost a month later, I sent him another mail and he clearly told me NOT to take his course but to consider it in the near future. Too much was going on in my personal life at the time and that's why he gave that advice but still I never heard that from any trading mentor.
Three things convinced me to attend the course later...
1) He's a real trader. He proves that by his Futures World Cup degrees.
2) His book.
3) Telling me not to take his course.
His course is very well organized. The live session is long, and he goes through a lot of stuff but the way he organized the PDFs, videos and the spreadsheets makes it really easy for you after the session. Even though they're divided into 5 or 6 sessions, the PDFs are still long but he small notes so you can find the most important parts easily.
I think the best part is the 6 month email support. He replies to your mails really quickly even if you're not his student. After being a student, you reach him by another email address and he's so quick to get back to you, it's like chatting. You can ask him anything related to trading. My Easylanguage skills are quite basic, but improving everyday thanks to him. When I have an automation problem, even I talk to Tradestation trade desk, I always get better answers from Kevin.
It wasn't easy to start after the workshop. I set a goal and that is to produce at least one strategy (according to the Strategy Factory rules) per month starting with June. I was stuck till Kevin hosted a free webinar called "My Favorite Entries." (not quite remember the title) I basically copied his entry idea, added a condition, an exit and that was my first strategy. After the first one, things got much easier. I'm now incubating 12 strategies. Kevin also helps you to find ideas other than his webinars. He recommends you books and magazines. Before the workshop, I thought that finding ideas was going to be the hardest part. Now I have so many ideas to test, time is not enough...
Kevin formed "Strategy Factory Club" where the students submit their strategies which passed the course's rules. After 6 months of incubation process, the profitable strategies are shared among the profitable strategy creators. And Kevin shares one of his strategies with the profitable strategy owners. So it's a win win situation for the profitable strategy creators.
After the webinar, Kevin shares 3 strategies with you. With the free strategy on his site, you already have 4 strategies ready to trade.
Now a little about the downside...
You have to have basic coding knowledge. Yes, basic is enough. You don't have to write hundreds of lines to create profitable strategies. As Kevin says "Simple is better."
Kevin trades futures, so you have to be well funded to trade his strategies or to trade futures generally. Though he was kind enough to send me an ETF version of one of his strategies. But beware that the strategy club participants submit strategies for futures. If you're not well funded to trade 5-6 futures strategies, you might consider creating strategies for ETFs and Forex.
If you're not sure, read his book and sign up to his mailing list so you're informed on his upcoming free webinars.
This has been an amazing journey for me so far. I'll update this post and share the results of strategies which are in incubation process.
The following 10 users say Thank You to ilkan10 for this post:
That's a good point about a well funded account. I was originally going to start with $20k, which is doable for 3 or so strategies (if you consider margin + potential drawdowns). I decided to start with a larger account size so that I could trade more strategies, but a colleague of mine is doing well on $20k with 3 strategies. I am thinking that this might be a good "minimum" starting place.
And so far, so good since going live two weeks ago. The account is up 10% since starting and has not suffered a drawdown yet that would eat into the original equity. I feel very fortunate for that because that certainly could not have been the case -- it could have easily started in drawdown.
I'm currently trading ES, EMD, JY, HT, PL, W and will soon add soybeans.
All these strategies have been designed according to Kevin's workshop parameters.
The following 6 users say Thank You to risingfire for this post:
I think I would like to answer that with "Things I Have Learned..."
The system, on the whole, is sound. But I ran into some obstacles during Oct and Nov. I decided to pause the system during December so that I could reassess and restart trading in January.
So what happened during Oct and Nov? Three of the strategies performed just as expected--they did well and were within acceptable drawdown limits for me. But four of the strategies ended up on rocky ground. And then I ended up on rocky ground.
I made some novice mistakes that I really never thought I would make again. Never underestimate the strength of personal history repeating itself and be prepared for it to happen. In that regard, I was blindsided by my own fear-of-loss reaction to trading when several of the strategies began to show repeated losses. Even though they had not yet hit the "turn off" point I had previously defined for each strategy, my confidence was shaken and I became reactive. I turned a couple off, only to turn them back on later, and then off again. Obviously this violated the integrity of the strategies themselves and resulted in worse losses than if I had just left them alone.
Okay... so that was all "my bad." Lesson learned (again) and time to regroup. My total loss for that lesson was about $8k total during Oct/Nov trading. Had I just left all the strategies run as-is, my total loss would have been around $6k. I am actually very fortunate because the strategies that were performing well did a good job offsetting the losses.
In the scheme of things, even a $6-8k loss is acceptable drawdown for my account size. However, I suspect that four of the seven strategies are no longer seaworthy. At least they will need more time to prove themselves than I had given them. Kevin refers to this proving period as "incubation" and it is part of his system design to avoid the types of losses I sustained. These particular strategies could have benefited from this "wait and see" approach. And I would probably have a bit more hair on my head, too.
So the end result is that (1) I have learned a valuable lesson and (2) have three strategies that are solid and performing well. My intention is to bring that count up to five so that I can begin trading again in January.
The following 8 users say Thank You to risingfire for this post: