Sunday, April 13, 2008

What Is The VO? And Why?

I literally get thousands, no, tens of thousands of emails a week from people asking me questions about the Virtual Office, or VO. How much money do they need to send me to join? What is it? Is it true they'll get laid more as a member? etc... etc...

So I decided to make this quick post to explain the VO.

First, a little history... way back when, I started this blog due to my frustrations with the NYSE hybrid market.

I hated it.

At the time, I was trading at home, alone, with no contact from any office full of traders or Internet chatrooms. Indeed, this was before I took up surfing again, and sometimes I would go weeks at a time without seeing anyone other than my wife, daughter, and a small group of friends.

I was a mostly a hermit, and as far as work matters went, I was 100% a hermit.

Looking to bitch/learn about the hybrid market, I found Ray's blog, (where I learned that many people hated the hybrid) and from it, NYSE Scalper's blog. I noticed that each day, Scalper would post his P&L. He had an extensive blogroll, and from there, I found a few other traders who posted their daily numbers, most notably, OBAT and Evolution.

So to answer the trivia question, "who were the 4 original members of the VO?" the answer is myself, Scalper, OBAT and Evolution.

So why did I start the VO? To create a community where it would be easy to learn from the gains and losses of other traders. In a real prop office, at the end of the day, you find the guy who made the loot, and you ask him how the fuck he did it. The guy would point at a graph, show you where he bought and sold, etc.

And naturally, as the market giveth, it also taketh away, so you'd find the guy who lost a ton of money (you'd easily find him, because his desk was surrounded by tech guys who were busy installing a new keyboard and mouse while quietly removing the smashed plastic remains of his old ones) and offer him up some hollow platitudes, "You'll get em tomorrow!" etc. The trader would give you a quick sideways glance, canine in nature, and get back to looking at graphs.

You don't want to be the pile-up on the side of the road for too often in a prop office...

The VO was my attempt to regain some feeling of camaraderie about trading (while leading my otherwise hermetic existence), and also, to engender a friendly spirit of competition among the participants. And from a logistical standpoint, I found it somewhat annoying to run to each blog each night to check for stats. Most often, they were in a different spot on each blog, and I thought having them posted at the same time each day (between 4:00 and 4:15 EST) in one central standardized spot for them would be a good thing for the stock blogging community.

And speaking of community, each member of the VO blogs daily about their trading day. So you come to the VO at 4:15, see who made the loot, and then click the link to their blog to "virtually" look over their shoulder to see how they made their money, or alternatively, blew up.

While some may disparage this "focus on the past" it's only by understanding your past trading errors that you'll be able to prevent them in the future... in theory, anyway. Also, it's one thing to write about stocks you think should be bought or sold, but it's another entirely to discuss the actual profits you made from those trades.

So that is the VO or, Virtual Office. It's a place where stock market bloggers post their daily profits or losses and from which you can learn where the money is being made (or lost) in the market each day by full time traders.