Think Like A Trader Blog

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

T-Model Trader Interviews James Orr Part 2

Hello Traders. 

We are back with the second part of T-Model Trader interviewing me. He even managed to slip in a question that made me incredibly uncomfortable this week!

James Orr 

Interview Part 2

Question 4

I would like to stay focused upon the development of your trading style for a bit longer.
You have stated that you undertook various forms of education, which fundamentally didn't work out.

I would like to know more about the time when you decided to go it alone and develop your own trading plan, in what would appear to be a pivotal time in the overall process.

At this point did you have any sort of concept as to what you were wanting to do?
Did you go looking for something specific in the back testing?
Or did you find what worked due to the endless hours looking in that back testing?

­James Orr

Well, after a time, I came to realise that a lot of the people I had found as mentors and who I thought knew what they were talking about, were full of shit (sorry for the language). I began to see that they were showing me how easy it was in their videos and using clever marketing to pick at that ‘easy money’ part of my brain so I handed over my credit card details.

I went through a range of emotions at that stage, and a lot of them were ‘woe is me’ or very similar. I blamed all of the people I had paid for courses and really harboured a lot of anger toward them.

But then, and I still remember this happening, because an advert popped up for one of the guys I had already paid for a course – I can’t remember if it was an email or online – but you know the kind. Special offer. Extended for a few more days. Don’t miss out.

By this time I had seem them offering that special, extended offer that was only valid for a few more days… for months. I remember I started laughing in a ‘why are you so damn stupid at times?’ sort of way. Because there was a sense of clarity finally. I could see that I had made mistakes in my approach to trading. I had been looking for answers from the wrong people and expecting it too fast. I honestly expected to quit my job after 4 months and be a full time trader.

There was a pretty simple, two option choice to make at that time.

1)    Give up and get back to ‘life’.
2)    Figure out how to make it work.

I chose option two. And it was really was through a determination not to be suckered again and also anger at the money and time I had already wasted that convinced me to go it alone.

There really wasn’t much of a plan at that stage in all honestly. I just began looking at charts. For hours and hours and hours. I tried to forget everything I had learned, because for me, that knowledge was now garbage. Unless I could prove something on the charts, then I wasn’t interested in what someone had told me or shown me.

I started practicing things like support and resistance over and over again. I would look for correlations between the times I marked it up and it didn’t work. I would start to list the things that seemed to be causing the mistakes and then the next time round I would aim at correcting it. If the results were an improvement, I carried it forward. If not, it was back to the drawing board.

I did it for candlestick patterns, entry points, exit points, stop sizes, risk reward ratios, timeframe considerations, trend identification.

I did it all over and over again. I looked at the same charts so many times that I could have probably drawn them candle for candle! And things started to happen very slowly but noticeably. I suddenly had things that ‘worked best’. And I could begin putting them together. When I added two things together, I would again test that as though it were a completely new sample. And then I’d add another and another until I had definite ‘confluences’ I could look for.

Even writing about it now exhausts me. It felt like climbing a mountain, sometimes on my hands and knees, but I could see what I was doing and for the first time it was in my hands so I had to make it work. As I mentioned earlier, there was no one else to blame now. It was on me.

Question 5

I have noticed that this notion of "time" has appeared again in your answers. I really am quite intrigued by this reality that seems so common to any trader who has written their story of their trading development.
A couple of months ago I took up learning Mandarin. Given that it is so foreign to my English speaking tongue, I had no illusion that it would take a considerable amount of time before any level of proficiency took place.
Yet, in a similar fashion as you have stated, I also fell head first into the illusion that I would be up and running in a relatively short time span.

Do you have any thoughts, conclusive or not, as to why people seem to fall for the illusion that they can be trading profitably in a very short amount of time?
Surely there must be something more to it all than just being gullible to doggy marketing techniques?

James Orr

Yes. And it’s an easy answer, but maybe also a controversial one…

We all think we’re special!

Each and every one of us harbours the belief – either deep down inside, or closer to the surface for some – that we are somehow better equipped than everyone else. And it is a persistent belief, one that very few people ever seem to quash.

People overestimate their abilities and underestimate the amount of work that is going to be involved. My attitude and very real belief when I came to trading was:

I will learn this in depth for two months.
I will then spend two months building my trading account.
I will then be a full-time trader.

It didn’t matter that there was a 90% failure rate amongst retail traders; It didn’t matter that all of the professionals were telling me to only risk 1% of account and aim for small returns; it didn’t matter that I had never traded before.

I was going to be different. I was going to make a fortune.

And we all do it, over and over again, with just about anything new we approach. That’s why people give up on things so frequently. They approach it with unrealistic expectations (but they’re not unrealistic to them, because remember, they’re special) and when it becomes apparent that it’s going to be a lot of hard work and take time, they can no longer be bothered.

What amazes me most is that quitting one thing doesn’t change the mind-set. It is carried into the next goal or task and just repeats itself. We really are a very strange species!

I also think that it is worse for this generation and is only going to continue getting worse as time progresses. The reason is that we have everything at our fingertips and are able to achieve almost instant gratification.

You want something but can’t afford it? Well, your parent’s and grandparents knew that meant time and saving. For us? Slap it on the credit card.

Want to buy something your friend has? Order it online and it will be here the next day.

Need to find something out? Google it.

We are so used to getting everything ‘now’, that the thought of waiting for something and working toward it, expending great effort over the long term is even harder to comprehend.

But it will take time. And as I mentioned earlier, the real difference between trading and say learning Mandarin as you mentioned, is that believing you will learn Mandarin quickly is no big deal. You find out you’re wrong and then you either stick to it or you give up. With trading, the belief that you can do it quickly means you risk money before you are ready, and then the trouble really starts.

 Question 6

Lets take a new direction here and give trading talk a wee rest.

So....this is the scenario.
I am sitting at your kitchen table talking to your girlfriend over a big pot of tea. Just to make it really juicy, your sister is there as well. 
And in light of what we have been talking about recently here, we have LOTS of time!

I am asking them.....what is this James Orr bloke really like?
What would THEY say?

James Orr

That is probably the worst question you could ask me! I am not a fan of self-evaluation in the eyes of others. I mean, how do you do it without sounding like a complete idiot?

I really should have known you would ask something like this though!

Ok, here goes.


My sister Charmaine would very likely start by saying something like – ‘he’s an annoying idiot,’ because, well, that’s just my sister.

But I would like to think she would then say that she sees me as someone she can trust and come to with anything that is ever troubling her. She knows I would bend over backward for not only her but anyone in my family. She would say I am a hard worker and driven. I hope she would also say that she is proud of me. After that she would most likely to tell you to pour the cup of tea down the sink and hand her a vodka!


Again, I hope Kirsty would say I am someone she can trust completely and who knows I have her best interest at heart all the time. She would say I am a very hard worker – most likely that I work too much actually! But she is always supportive of me, so I don’t think she minds too much. I am almost certain that she would point out that away from work I am essentially a big kid as well!

There, that is all you are getting from me. And that felt like drawing blood from a stone! What I will do is I will message my sister and girlfriend as well and ask them the question. I’ll ask for a one or two sentence reply and tag it on when I post this to the blog.

Here are there actual answers in a couple of sentences (PS, I will pay you both later)(PPS - thank you Charmaine for most likely having me banned from Peru now!)

Charmaine (sister) - My brother and I are extremely close. If I had to sum him up I guess I'd say he is extremely loyal, dedicated, hard working, outgoing and just a little crazy. I can always count on him to be there when I need him, any time of day. Family is super important to him and we always come first. I have many great memories involving him - from epic nights out and amazing vacations to him carving 'Happy Birthday Sis' into stone on the Inca Trail in Peru just because he couldn't be home for it. I'm extremely lucky to have him and will always be his number one fan.

Kirsty (Girlfriend) - James has found the perfect balance between having fun and working hard. He is extremely dedicated to his career and business and he has conquered every goal he has set for himself so far.

Alongside a busy work schedule, he still manages to have a whole lot of fun, whether it be hanging out with family and friends, curling up for a movie night on the couch with me, sampling his favourite whiskys, or just going on a nice walk with me and his pup Cally.

Question 7

I am guessing that it must be going on close to 2 years since Decisive Trading went public.
I have observed a few people over the years that have started up businesses, with a couple of these being internet based as well.
As much as these people were shaping the business, they were also going thru changes themselves, due to the process of that developing enterprise shaping them.
I am wondering how these couple of years have been for you?
Has the business changed you in any significant ways?
Have there been any great surprises for which you would not have imagined?

James Orr

It is actually very close to two years since I loaded the first video onto YouTube. I believe it was the video teaching people how to read a candlestick chart, and that was at the end of April 2015.

The couple of years in between has been both amazing and also completely and utterly unexpected. When I made the first couple of videos, they were simply intended to reach maybe a couple of hundred people and help them avoid a lot of the mistakes that I had made in the beginning. I was still seeing so much nonsense online that I wanted to at least offer a small corner where people could cut through the bulls**t and get some useful trading knowledge. I can still remember my first 100 subscribers and thinking wow, there’s 100 people out there in the world who have connected with my videos and decided that they were useful enough that they wanted to see more.
I never envisioned Decisive Trading as anything more than the few video views, so I was totally unprepared for everything that came after. However, I found that I enjoyed it that way, because it forces me to be creative and inventive in the ways I do things and what I do, which I really enjoy.

I don’t think it has changed me in terms of my values or how I am as a person. However it has brought me out of my comfort zone, especially in terms of appearing in videos. I am a private person and the fact that I now make videos with me in them and post them online still often shocks me when I stop to think about it.

There are two main surprises that have come out of Decisive Trading for me:

1)    I am amazed at how much I enjoy teaching and how attached I get to the students. I feel a sense of responsibility, especially to Zone Traders. It is like there is a community of Decisive Traders now and to as great an extent as possible I need to steer the boat. That is one of the big reasons I am always thinking of ways to move forward and why a lot of what I am doing in the next six months is happening.
2)    The second thing that really surprises me is how I have developed genuine friendships with a lot of the subscribers. I don’t know if that is par for the course with the trading community and educators, but there are a good sized portion of students who I consider friends. If they message me for advice, even if it is out with trading, I am always happy to respond. I also find that I learn about their lives outside of trading and I can honestly say that if they were in Edinburgh I would be happy to meet them for a drink. Likewise if I was in their neck of the woods, I wouldn’t hesitate to message them and find out if they were free.  



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