Interview with StrayDog
Done by Louis Winthorpe III on Feb 20, 2019
Ok StrayDog, people wanted to get some more information about you, and this is the “20 questions with Louis”. Before the official start – where are you from, and do you have a family?
I am from Serbia, living in Zemun (part of Belgrade), I am married and have a daughter.
Ok, lets get started with the first question.
Q1: You said that you have started trading in August 2004. Can you tell us more about that? How did you start?
A: I was working a side job for one firm, graphical layout in QuarkXPress for their material, and among other things, there was a Weekly bulletin, and Stock Market report was on the last 2 pages. So, once I have commented that “a man could make money there”, a journalist replied that the person I was working with before, made tens of thousands EUR, and in fact, now works as an analyst in one brokerage. I called him tomorrow and went to see him. Next day I invested all I had at that time – a mere EUR 3,000 in a single stock. That is all I had as a 30 yr old.
Q2: In a single stock? And how that went?
A: Well, he did told me to buy at least two different stocks, since I had a small amount, but I bought only one of the 3 he advice me. That was a pivotal point in my life. Could have ended differently. And 3 months later I have sold that position, and had 5,000 at account. And the journey started with a +70% winner.
Q3: So that period was pretty wild?
A: Yes, everything was very cheap, and soon I learned the basic fundamental ratios, like P/B, P/E, P/S… when you have a small, long only market, with low liquidity, there is nothing that TA can do for you. The only thing that matters is that company is making profit and that the stock is cheap. I was learning and soon became very good in finding undervalued stocks. In fact so good, that my broker recommended me to go to SEC and finish the course for brokers, because at that time, there was a good demand for stock brokers.
Q4: So, what did you do?
A: I have quit my job in the summer of the 2005. There was a meeting with employees and my former boss was telling us something, and all that I heard was blah, blah, blah, and in my mind was just one thing - how I made my monthly salary on stock market in 10 days. I was trading from my home, watching some primitive app from Belgrade Stock Exchange (Belex), where you could see only first level of bid and ask. For more info and to give an order you had to call your broker on the phone.
Q5: Did you go to the course?
A: Yes, and I finished that course, and got a job as a stock broker in 2006, in one of the brokerages in Belgrade. There we traded only domestic stocks and bonds. I have worked as a stockbroker from 2006 to 2010, for 4 full years. Our market was pretty wild up to the late 2007, and being a good stock picker was really awesome. Since the accounts there was and still is, a cash only accounts, with no leverage, I created a leverage of my own, by lending money from friends and family and paying them interest.
Q6: How that worked for you?
A: Money wise – like a charm. You could quadruple your account every year, and I did that. Heaven on Earth. But I had plenty of sleepless nights and lost a part of my health, that’s for sure. Especially after GFC in 2008. I sensed the disturbance in the force, haha… and turned back all of the money I borrowed in October 2007. That 2008 was hell on earth for long only market. Nobody on the bid side, no derivatives to hedge, people who didn’t exit in time stuck with their positions, no volume anywhere. On top of it, Serbian dinar lost more than 20% of the value to EUR.
Q7: That sound like a SHTF situation. Did you survive that?
A: I did, although that wiped around 1/3 of my total gains from 2004-2008 period. But it was a very successful period, and thanks to that, a guy that never had his own room, his bicycle and what not, managed to buy small apartment and a brand new city car directly from salon. And no bank would give you credit on trading portfolio. Everything I have I bought for cash.
Q8: And after the 2008? What did you trade?
A: I was still involved in domestic market, and quit trading it in 2010, but from GFC I was looking to somehow became a “citizen of the world” and switch to international markets, and to learn TA.
Q9: So you started to learn TA, when?
A: It was in the late 2008… Had a demo account and traded FX. Later in 2009 I have opened a live account. One thing that I brought into the completely different trading was good money management and experience of dealing with real money. But I didn’t know anything about TA.
Q10: But you still worked as a stockbroker to the 2010, right?
A: Yes, I quit that job, since there was nothing to trade on Belex. Our market has never recovered. I wanted to trade international stocks, but lets be honest – for swing trading stocks, you need a serious account. After I provided my family a roof over our heads, I have left with something that could be usable only to trade indices.
Q11: What instruments did you trade?
A: I started to learn TA on FX, but I have also traded Oil and Gold. Later even options on US stocks, indices and ETFs.
Q12: From the period in 2010, when you quit your stockbroker job, until now, did you worked anywhere else?
A: Yes, I did work as an assistant trader and trader in several trading companies. Usually for 6 months up to year and a half. Common thing there was lack of training and generally no good plan or idea from the management. I have learned and seen some stuff, but mostly what NOT to do. However, I have seen and used things like Bloomberg terminal, payed indicators, Market Profile and so on. So that was experience also.
Q13: How did you learn this S/R zones trading?
A: I was looking at bunch of indicators at first, but since I have a good eye for spotting things, soon I realized existence of horizontal levels and their importance. Later that evolved into zones. I have worked on them on my own, and also used and payed for EMini Player service for 2 years. That sharpened my skills additionally.
Q14: You wrote in your blogs recently – Learn and Invest in Yourself. What did you do?
A: In the beginning, I was digging trough the internet trying to find balance sheets of companies, various information about their business, learning FA, and later I was digging for TA stuff. Something I have learned from people I traded with, something from payed subscriptions and trading rooms. Mostly on my own. Watched hundreds of hours of videos, read some books… Years of screen time. You have to dedicate 100% of yourself to do this.
Q15: What is your general opinion on indicators?
A: There are hundreds of them. The thing is knowing when and how to use them, for them to make an trading edge for you. Starting from simple ones, lagging ones, like moving averages and various oscillators, to the real time ones, payed ones, like DeMark indicators. The only thing that gives you trading edge in all market conditions, whether it is ranging or trending up or down, is IMO – supply and demand. Support and Resistance zones. Proving that every single day.
Q16: Why are zones better than levels?
A: Because you can have more room to adjust, while level would require market to touch it to the point, that is not the case with the zones. There are dozens of Before/After pictures in the Examples page of my site, showing how effectively you can plan your trades, and make yourself a road map of future price movement.
Q17: You are currently sitting at home and trading just DAX, is that correct?
A: Yes, usually just DAX, and sometimes US indices. Mostly day-trading, and occasionally swing trading. As time goes by, I have lost the necessary concentration level to be able to trade both EU and US session. So I am concentrated on trading European session only, and later just observe to be in the loop.
Q18: How is that working for you? Do you work something else also?
A: To be honest, trading for a living is not a walk in the park, especially if you have a small account. That way, when you withdraw money on the monthly basis, it is harder to grow it, since that is your only source of income. Occasionally I trade for some people, for a percent of gain from their accounts, but that usually ends by them owning me promised money. Usually I get just part of what have been arranged. Banana country.
Q19: Did you consider running your own service? Seems that people like what you do?
A: I did. And probably I will try that also, as some kind of “mini-job”. What I offer for free now, is in my opinion a solid structured product, and there are some interest for it.
Q20: Ok, lets wrap this up. From the October 2018, when you started publishing your material, what is the best comment you got?
A: It was from Mr. Nowicki, trader from Poland. I saw his comment very late in the day, just pressed “like” on it, not knowing what to write on that. He hit the soft spot in me.
Bonus question: Who are Papa Bear and Sitting Bull?
A: There are my imaginary friends, since this job can be lonely… so killing some time with them.
Ok, StrayDog, thanks for this interview.
Thank you Louis for doing it.