Friday 19 December 2014

Comfortably Dumb

Some of you may have read the story published in New York Magazine about 17 year old Mohammed Islam who, from a starting bank of close to nothing, had supposedly made $72 million since the age of 10 by trading stocks.

As the Yahoo!Finance web site pointed out almost immediately, the story was clearly bogus. A simple check of the returns needed to generate such an end total would have shown the impossibility, or at least the very remoteness of the possibility for such an achievement, and the reporter’s fact checking appeared to be limited to seeing a statement showing an eight figure sum. These days, it is not the hardest of tasks to fake a statement to back up a story, but when a little common sense is applied to such tales, the reality is usually apparent.

This story brings me to our old friend the Sultan, whose blog was long ago dropped from my blogroll, but whose latest adventures are brought to my attention by an “on/off” reader of this blog. On-Off was happy to confirm that the Sultan was indeed one of the traders funded by a court-siding syndicate some time ago, and with the advantage of speed, it is hardly surprising that the Sultan’s results were greatly improved during this period.

What would be really interesting to know is why the Sultan was dropped after a short time, but it is unlikely we shall ever know the full story there.

It wasn't that I was worried about losing the money because the deal was that I was not liable for any losses. In theory, that should've made trading easier and more relaxed (and that was indeed the case once I'd got a few wins on the board) but it was the strain of knowing that if I failed to make enough profit to impress the syndicate, I would be dropped and lose out on a fantastic opportunity, that was the real pressure.
Reading between the lines, the pressure was too much. 

On-Off’s concerns were that comments to his blog have been disabled for anyone who is not a member – either someone who has bought his trading guide, or of his ‘academy’ I assume – and perhaps more importantly, that the Sultan appears to be following a well-worm path with his blog or sales strategy.

With assistance from On-Off, his method appears to be to:

Tell everyone how well you are doing.

Announce that you are tiring of all the winning, the fame and fortune, and that you feel you have more to offer the world than being just a humble, albeit hugely successful, and quite possibly the greatest the world has known, tennis trader.
I know I have a lot to offer the world in some capacity but at the same time, I'd be stupid to throw away the incredible income stream I have fought so hard to generate. It's a real conundrum.
Offer a time-sensitive, last chance to enroll in the “Academy” or buy the Sultan’s High Intensity Trading manual. Avoid specifics on P&L figures, but refer to the one £10k month as often as possible. Emphasise that you are more of a mentoring guru than anything else, that there can be no guarantees, and that help will be available via email only.
What he couldn't understand, was the mentoring aspect that I was offering as part of my Academy.
Announce that you are now “financially comfortable” in your rented accommodation, exhausted from all the success, and are now retiring into the sunset. Make sure the “final” blog post is poignant, if possible more poignant than the previous “final” blog post, or the “final” blog post prior to that one. Try to avoid copying and pasting from pevious “final” blog posts, and end with a forlorn “bye bye”. This is it, I’m leaving now. Bye. Farewell. Really, this is it. I’m going. Goodbye. For ever. Never see you again. Byeeee…..

Wait a few weeks.

Re-appear on the blog, and tell everyone that there is / will be a life-changing event (first ever girlfriend / first sexual encounter (at least one with someone else present in the room) / marriage / pregnancy / medical crisis / divorce / upset stomach / broken fingernail etc.) and that you are considering a return. If this can be timed for some time towards the end of the year and a new tennis season, then so much the better.

Announce your return, and repeat.

Indeed, this does sound familiar and On-Off points out that the new season is just around the corner, and surely the door will soon be opened for new “Academy” members. Perhaps. Time will tell, but as I wrote previously, and as with the tale of Mohammed Islam, the Sultan’s claim to be “financially comfortable” is simply not credible.

This link will take you to a previous post on this subject, but one £10k month for a full-time trader is nowhere near enough to take someone from zero to comfortable in the time-frame claimed, at least not any reasonable definition of “comfortable”. On-Off also points out that results are not detailed on his blog, which is a red-flag to anyone thinking of joining the “Academy”.
“All in all combined with the fact you can no longer comment on his blog freely like in the past, it just seems rather fishy”.
Indeed it does. I think we can safely take with a grain of salt that he is financially comfortable, so with credibility already an issue, any potential ‘Academy’ member needs to ask themselves why would a (albeit self-proclaimed) “successful” trader (not paying the Premium Charge mind you) give (sell) away his Golden Goose secret to success, rather than build on it himself?

The answer is that without the edge offered by court-siders, the probability of success for someone on the outside is greatly reduced. Although speed isn’t everything, it is the biggest thing (assuming even a modest amount of market knowledge), and any crumbs left for the home-trader are left for a reason - which is that they are probably not value.

With the profits from actually trading matches thus reduced or eliminated, how else can someone like the Sultan garner an income?

Oh wait! I think I know the answer to this!

On a different topic, I see via Twitter courtesy of Online Trader, that another old friend Jonny Grossmark, is making noises about a few rather innocuous comments posted by Shapeshifter.
Lawyers now! Last time it was the police, for whom incidentally, I am still waiting. From what Jonny said several months ago, it is illegal to post on a blog. I really hope my fears are unfounded, as this time of year would be a particularly upsetting time to be incarcerated in a cold and dark cell.

As is his wont, Jonny takes any comments, however reasoned and polite they are, about his ramblings as an ‘attack’, but unfortunately for him and his persecution complex, disagreeing with someone is not considered the same as attacking them. I thought Shapeshifter’s words were quite mild in tone actually, and more respectful than was warranted, and the appropriate response from any reasonable person would be to offer a counter argument, ideally with some logic behind it, and further the debate.

Sadly, Jonny is not a reasonable person, nor is logic, or law for that matter, his strong suit. Running around shouting and screaming about lawyers and calling the police when the discussion is about something ultimately as trivial as football betting, is frankly ridiculous, but we have seen this from Jonny before. He seems to be unable to dwell on a point long enough to comprehend it, before racing on in his own world to some other imagined slight. His Tweet count must be close to 100k now, if not more. Still some way to go before catching these guys – now closed down:
In just 106 days @Market_JP blasted out 1,560,781 tweets for a ridiculous 14,724 tweets per day. Not sure why they stopped – maybe Twitter closed ‘em down – but how those 156 followers coped is anyone’s guess. That’s a tweet every six seconds, for Dorsey’s sake. In terms of any kind of average you can think of, @Market_JP was the tweet beast of Twitter.
Good heavens! Jonny can’t be far behind. Unfortunately, quality necessarily goes out of the window with such quantity, and what ends up happening is that everything gets ignored.
If anyone has any problems with this individual, I was provided the following:
If you need to get the police or lawyers involved then the following may be helpful:
Jonathan Simon Grossmark lives with Deborah Anne Cass at 16 Holyoake Walk, East Finchley, London N2 0JX. Tel No: 02084449432

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