Over the years I have done several "unsuccessful" auto trading journals with futures. Those strategies turned out rather disappointing after back testing them on YEARS of intraday data only to watch them blow up in the real world. Now I have a rather bad taste in my mouth when it comes to the art of backtesting. This time is different. I am no longer trading futures, I am daytrading a basket of 12 carefully picked stocks. There are several benefits to this: #1 I can control my leverage which allows me to "develop as I go" (more on that in a moment) #2 I don't have to fit a square peg into a round hole like I did with futures #3 More "ideal" trading opportunities As I mentioned above, I am no longer very fond of backtesting after seeing "good" strategies not work when live with real money. There are a lot of reasons for this phenomena. Some of them are obvious but many not so obvious at first. For example there is the classic curve fitting.. everyone has done this. But a less obvious problem is what happens if you develop your strategy with trading starting at 8:30 central everyday.. but in live trading maybe you don't start until 8:31 one day? Think that doesn't make a difference? Download say NinjaTrader and run a strategy that is set to start at 8:30.. now run same strategy with start date at 8:31 over your history... VERY possible to have very different results.. That is a very simplified and stupid example.. Will provide better examples as the thread continues... For me backtesting is useless.. so what am I going to do? I call it "develop as you go". Basic premise is I took a "strategy idea" that I have used in the past... just the basic concept.. no optimized parameters... just the flat concept. Implemented the concept and then tested it over 1 week of "walk forward" trading. Did this over this past week. Not so much for the actual results. Instead this was done just to make sure the strategy was trading properly and properly identifying the setup I planned on trading. This process was completed over the past several days. Now I am moving into trading the strategy LIVE with real money. Over the coming weeks I will make tweaks to the strategy.. improve its identification of the pattern... better exits.. etc... But this will all be done in the context of it trading LIVE with real money. I am sure some of you will say this is a sure way to blowing up and won't work. Perhaps you are right, but in my mind it makes perfect sense. If what I plan to trade is LIVE with real money, then I should develop my strategy LIVE with real money on the line under REAL conditions as they happen not in a simulated backtesting environment where you don't watch day in and day out EXACTLY how your strategy is responding to the pattern and the market. This is one of the benefits stocks allow. I can controll my leverage to ensure I won't blow up my account or lose TOO much money while developing the strategy. To start with the system is limited to $3,000 per stock. Therefore since there is 12 stocks in the basket the MOST money that can be active at any given time is $36,000.. however in practice normally no more than $9,000 is active. Most days I will only post total number of shares traded and net P/L. Others I will discuss things I learned about the strategy that day and ideas for correcting or tweaking the strategy. As of this writing the strategy has initiated 2 trades so far this morning, So I will have some results to report by end of day.