Yeah. So, I mean, it's kind of a crazy story. I mean, I didn't think it was a crazy story, but everyone tells me it's a crazy story and now kind of thinking back on it, I guess it is kind of crazy. But I was either a senior in high school or a freshman in college and I had a part-time job at Starbucks, just trying to make some extra money. My dad was going through some financial struggles, so I thought maybe chipping in a little bit would kind of help him. And you know, I was still a kid at the time, so I had no real background.
So, there was a Starbucks maybe five minutes away from my house. So, I said, you know what, I'll go, I'll be a barista there and maybe I'll meet some girls, you know, something like that. And I was working at Starbucks. I was working part time, maybe like 30 hours a week and I was making, I think back then I was making either like a hundred thirty to a hundred fifty dollars a week after taxes. And I had a girlfriend at the time and what I would do is, gas was I think like $4 or $5 a gallon back then, it was crazy.
So, to fill up my tank was like 60 bucks, to take her out to the movies was like 50 bucks, and then I had maybe like an extra 20 bucks to put in my bank. So, I really wasn't making too much money. I really wasn't a baller. I wasn't really anything. I was just basically trying to you know, get a summer job or get a job to help my family, and in the meantime, I'd be able to kind of take my girl out and just have a good time.
And long story short, my girlfriend dumped me. She found a, I say that he's a little bit uglier, but I guess some guy that had a little bit more money than me. She is very superficial, very evil I would say. But that kind of lit a fire under my butt to kind of say, you know what, I want to just get rich to get back at her. I just want to make money. I want to be able to let her realize what she missed out on. And that was kind of my motivation back then and obviously my motivations have changed since then, but I basically started like anyone else, man.
Back then there weren't thousands of online gurus like we have now, it was kind of like 10 people out there. So, I obviously chose the guy with the flashy Lambo, chose the guy with the girls, the champagne bottles and you know, I said to myself, this guy doesn't seem like the smartest guy, you know. If he could do it, so can I.
And that's kind of where the obsession started because you know, I think the two biggest wealth creators in the world are real estate and the stock market, and real estate requires such a large barrier to entry of cash. I'm a f**** kid. I think I was 18, 19 years old at the time. My savings account was like a hundred bucks. Like, you know, what am I going to do?
But in the trading world with just like 500 bucks you could open up an account. So, I said, alright, you know this guy seems like he's making a lot of money, seems like he knows what he's talking about and he could alert me his plays, like s***, I mean, I'm going to be f*** rich in a couple of years, like f*** this. And what I realized is no matter what, you will never be as fast or as sharp as the guy that's running these plays, because back then I was a little bit too naive. I didn't really understand how the stuff worked.
And just, I guess a quick lesson is there's a main guru, a main pumper, and he has maybe thousands and thousands of followers, and he tells everyone that buying a stock at $5, because it's going to go to $8, and he was buying at $5 and his followers are buying at, $5.10, $5.20, $5.30 and if it doesn't go to $8, he says, you know what, the trade didn't work. I'm selling at $5.30 and getting out. And by the time he sells at $5.30 the stock craters to $4.90, $4.80, $4.70, and now you're left losing.
So, I was thinking to myself, alright, if he buys, I'll just sell quickly before his alert and I'll try to make money. I'm thinking alright, I'm smarter than these guys, I could do it. And no matter what I tried, no matter what I tried, everything in the book, I would not be able to match his entries. I would not be able to match his exits, and after a while I just start to bleed out, bleed out, bleed out. I was taught to buy the breakout, I was taught it's either you have a long strategy, you either buy the breakout, or the short strategy is short the pump and dump.
Problem is with a small account, back then, there was no access to locates to short these pump and dumps, right. It was only the big guys that had access. So, my first kind of year was almost like a romantic relationship with trading. I fell in love with it so much that I just wanted to try it until it worked. I wanted to, maybe I wasn't buying the breakout properly. Maybe I was looking at the wrong side, maybe I was the issue, right? Maybe not the guy that was teaching me, maybe I was the issue, because this guy's making so much money. Why can't I do it?
So, it wasn't until I kind of discovered what shorting was that my trading career just flipped around. I didn't know that you could short. I didn't know that it existed. I thought the only way to be involved in the stock market was to buy something and then wait for it to go up, and that's how you make money. You either buy and hold or there's no other strategy. I didn't know that you could make money when things went down.
And long story short I felt very uncomfortable opening up an offshore broker. I didn't really trust anything at the time. I really didn't, I thought I was going to be scammed. I thought if I opened up an offshore broker, and this offshore broker that I opened up does not exist anymore. So, I guess I kind of did get a little bit lucky, I would say, that the broker was available. But what ended up happening is I still remember my first trade, my first short trade ever. Shorted 2,000 shares of a stock called $VGGL which I don't even, let me see if it trades now. I don't even think it trades anymore.
So, it was, I shorted 2,000 shares at $4 of $VGGL and within a few minutes the stock went to $3.50. I made a thousand dollars. That was it. That was it. I was like, I've got it. This is it. I found it. I'm so good at buying the breakout and the stock tanking, all I got to do is short the breakout and I'm going to make money. I'm just going to do the inverse of what I've been doing that's been causing me to lose money. So, I thought I had it. I thought first trade, a thousand dollars. It just made sense to me. It just made sense to me.
So, fast forward, what ended up happening is now I was just shorting f**** everything, right? So, I lacked a process. I lacked a routine. I lacked a real strategy. I was now winging it, right? If a stock was up on a day, short. If a stock is down on a day, short. Short, short, everything that you see short it, because that's what I thought would be the solution. I thought that all these companies will just continue to just go down and I didn't realize what I was really doing.
So, my first year I spent going long and losing money. My second year is when I discovered shorting and I found a little bit of success at first, you know, I had some beginner's luck, right? But I slowly started to bleed out my account again, and this time I was bleeding out my account because I was just shorting anything that was up on the day. I did not have any criteria. I did not have any ability. I didn't know how to read filings. I knew how to read a chart. I'm used to basic technical analysis, but I was missing a special ingredient in there. I was missing something that I didn't know. I didn't know what I was missing.
So, I think I was 20 at the time and I was just chugging along and just grinding along and at that point I was looking for communities online. I'm trying to find someone that maybe is better than this first online guru that had the champagne, and the cars, and all this stuff. And I went on Twitter and I was kind of looking around, but as you probably know everyone on Twitter is broke at home, but they're rich as f*** on Twitter. These guys are clueless. They think they're experts, they think they know everything, so I was kind of stuck and trapped into that rabbit hole.
And as I was trading, you know, I was still attending classes, I was going to college, it got to the point where I started to maybe find a little bit of consistency in my trading, about maybe middle of year two, or something like that. And when I say finding consistency, I mean I was making $100 a day and when I was at Starbucks making $150 a week, all of a sudden I'm making $100 a day and I feel like the richest guy in the world.
So, I'm telling my parents I want to drop out of school. This is it, I found it. In class I am paying off kids to help me with my homework. I'm paying off kids to help me with some of my tests. I'm basically using this hundred dollars a day that I'm making and in the college world $20 is like big money. So, I'm giving these guys 20 bucks, 20 bucks, and it just made my life easier because I would sit in the back of class with my laptop and I would make my hundred dollars trading, and then I would pay off certain students to kind of help me with some of my class work, so that I wouldn't get screwed.
So, my parents were saying, you know, this is gambling, you know you're just getting lucky. Stop while you're still ahead, like this is not going to work. And the reason why they thought that way is because back in 2008, my dad had a lot of money in his 401k that just almost all disappeared. He panic sold. He freaked out and you know ever since then he's hated stocks and he still hates stocks to this day. So, I had my parents telling me to stop, I had my friends that had no idea I was trading, I would not tell a soul because I didn't want to, I just felt like it was personal. It was something that I wanted to kind of figure out. I wanted to just do it, and I just wanted to indulge in it.
So, parents weren't really having it, friends really had no idea about it. I was kind of isolating myself to be able to figure it out. And as I found more consistency, as I was making $100 a day, I remember my max size at one point was 500 shares, then it was a 1,000 shares, then it was 3,000 shares , and then I was basically slowly able to size up because I was able to build my bankroll. That offshore account, I got it from, I think it was a $2,000 dollar account maybe. I think I had that $2,000 account at six times leverage. I grew it up to $10,000 and then that $10,000 grew to $30,000. Moved it to a USA broker and then again, just started grinding, and grinding, and grinding.
I remember my first big trade that I ever had was, I think $CLTX was the ticker. I think that doesn't even trade anymore, I think I made $67,000 in one day on that stock and then I was like, I posted on Twitter, you know, I posted my daily P&L's, and then there was a conference going on, there was a Las Vegas trading conference that was going on and the guys that were running it were telling me to come, you know, meet some traders, network. At that point, I think I just turned 21 or I was just 20, so I was maybe able to just get into the club... you know what it was, the event was in October and my birthday was in September. So, I just turned 21.
So, I got invited to go to the event in Vegas. They even wanted me to do like a Q&A panel. So, I went to the event in Vegas and I went with my dad because my dad didn't really believe in trading, he didn't really believe in the stock market. He said it was a scam. So, I'm telling my dad, look I made $68,000 in one day. We're going to go to this sick hotel in Vegas. We're going to be surrounded by traders, let me show you what this world is really like. And it's not a scam. I promise you it's not a scam. I know you had your own experience but let me show you.
So, we went to the event and we saw a lot of these traders, a lot of them humble, a lot of them good people. And we were watching a presentation from some Asian dude named Bao, and this guy was showing his P&L calendar of when he was trading, and he had like 5 red days in one year. And you see $500k in a month, million dollars in a month, and he's making stupid, stupid, stupid, amounts of money yet the way that he's talking, the way that he's articulating, and after all the speakers that spoke, my dad was like, I like this guy. That's all he said. And at this point, I didn't know who Bao was, he's just some guy on the internet that made a bunch of money, whatever.
So, we're talking and that whole trip is a little bit hazy because I was definitely drinking and definitely partying, but I think I went to the club one night with Bao. We were just hanging out, not even really talking, and then at the end of the event, I think texted him or I DM'd him on Twitter and was like, yo, it was such a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for being so kind and generous, thank you for sharing your knowledge, this and that. And he was like, yeah man, it was cool. He met my father at, there was like a cocktail reception. So, my dad was very interested, he wanted to talk to him. So, he talked to my dad. He didn't know he was my dad.
So, long story short, that's kind of where I figured out who Bao was, what his deal was, and if I never kind of took that leap of faith and went to Vegas, maybe my life would have been so much more different. So, that's kind of where that whole journey started. That's kind of where I found Bao, and it was, you got to think too. It's like everyone wants to befriend a trader that makes money for their own selfish reasons. I wasn't really befriending Bao, I was just telling him, hey man, thank you for what you did and it's going to help me, and that's all it was. I was just trying to be a good guy and appreciative of him being able to share his knowledge.
And it just so happened that my dad really got along with him as well. He thought he was a great guy. I thought he was a smart guy, really appreciated how humble he was. And fast forward after that, Bao and I kind of kept in touch. We were in a kind of private chat room. I was invited to like a private chat room with a bunch of other big-time traders, and we were all kind of sharing ideas.
Bao was more of a technical trader. He's very, very good at reading and understanding charts. Whereas back then I was more of a fundamental trader. I knew how to read filings. I understood filings. I spent time learning it. And here I was being able to add value to these other big-time traders which is why they kind of kept me around, right.
So, we're in that private chat with I would say maybe five or six big name traders, some of the big guys you see on Twitter these days, and we were all just trying to kind of help each other out, right. So, that chat dissipated, a lot of people kind of didn't want to share their ideas anymore, felt like maybe they were too smart. I don't know. Traders have an ego, and I'm not that type of person, but I understand these guys. They are making millions and millions of dollars a year and they have no reason to kind of share their ideas.
So, Bao and I kept in touch, right. So, we kept in touch on Skype and we would just be friendly and just talk and share ideas. If there was a stock moving, let's say today $EYEG was moving. So, we would say what are the levels that you're watching? So, I'm looking at, I see $6, $6.50, I see 7 bucks. He's like okay, I see the same thing. Now whenever both me and him agreed on the lines or the levels, we knew that was a trade that we should take. If even one of us was off, that would either be a trade that we wouldn't take or that would be a trade that we size in less on.
So, after a shipment, I can't even remember, maybe like a year of just talking and just sharing ideas, I was kind of able to reverse engineer what he was kind of looking for. So, Bao was mentoring me while I was also reverse engineering. It wasn't like, alright, these are what the lines are. This is where you should short, this is what you should do. It was almost like seeing him trade, seeing how he traded after the fact, and reverse engineering. Kind of like what we do at MIC, right. We show you our trades after the fact, we explain our plan, we trade, and then we show you the trades after the fact.
So, that's kind of what we were doing back then, and it started to become a friendly competition. We started to beat each other, we start to compete to see who could get better fills and then you know, we both started to find a lot of success. But there was still something missing, right. There was still something missing, because as we would trade, and as we would make money, there would be certain days that we would just give it all right back.
And back then, we didn't understand what was happening. There was kind of like a missing puzzle piece in our trading. We would make $5,000 a day, right. And then every Thursday that $5,000 would be like a minus $5,000 day and we just wouldn't understand what the hell was going on, until we started to realize that okay, you know we're making money in the morning, but the middle of the day, towards the end of the day, the money is shrinking. We're losing the money.
So, we ended up figuring out that past 10:30am is when the volume shrinks, the algorithmic trading takes control, and they use the low volume to bounce these stocks. So, when you have a stock that goes from $5 to $6 and tanks all the way back down to five, you maybe think to yourself, alright $4.50 is coming. I'm going to short more. Instead, they bounce at the $5.50, consolidate it, bounce it back to six, consolidate it and then rip it through the roof. So, after losing so much money, getting squeezed, we created a rule around it. It wasn't as formal as the zombie rule that we call today. It was just kind of the rule that, hey, it's time to walk away. It's time to walk away. Because as you know, Bao was addicted. He can't stop, and I'm the same way. I can not stop unless someone rips me out of the computer.
And what I do these days is I tell my broker to cut me off. One of our members, Anh does, is his wife calls the broker and tells the broker, yo, shut my husband off. Or his secretary will take his laptop. So, we are addicts. So, what we realized is the longer you stay in front of the computer does not mean you make more money. For the longest time we thought that the longer you work, the longer you trade, the more money you make.
Actually, it is the polar opposite. The less you work, the quicker you're able to walk away, the more money you're able to keep in your pocket, because I think of it as a casino. The longer you're in front of the tables, you're bound to make a mistake. You're bound to get sloppy. You're bound to get overconfident. If you have that ability to stand up and walk away, and do it consistently, that's been my secret for so long. That's been my Bible, has been the zombie rule. So, I know that was a lot.