I Have Been Trading Since Before The Internet-1990

Discussion in 'Trading' started by dsq, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. mister_x


    Great to hear these stories. There are so many things my generation (I was born in the 80s) takes for granted. Things are so easy now, almost too easy...to lose money that is ;)
    #11     Dec 14, 2007
  2. I go way back when smoke signals were the norm.
    • A to M was 1 to 26 short smoke puffs and a short pause.
    • N to Z was 1 to 26 long smoke puffs and a short pause.
    • Sell was black smoke.
    • Buy was white smoke.
    • Cancel order was black smoke and steam.
    • Number of shares was always 100.
    #12     Dec 15, 2007
  3. dsq


    i remember the only way to get real time quotes was by using the touch tone phone.You could also go to the brokers office and they had a room with 2 quote terminals and chairs and a dow jones news board.There would be a crowd of regulars there evryday.Some were active traders many were just old retirees in tatered clothes sitting on 10000 shares of ibm or whatever.
    People would crowd around the terminals and you could maybe get about 20 symbols on the screen.If you added a 21st symbol it would knock off the first symbol at the top.The regular traders pretty much dominated those terminals so as to make sure their quotes wouldnt get wiped off...There werent any fights over it cause people respected the traders.It was orderly.People would line up to use the terminal.

    I also remember at one broker there was a customer/volume trader who had his own cubicle with his own terminal in the main office mixed in with all the employees.I dont think this was legal then and it was a hush-hush arrangement!!!

    As for phone quotes via touch phone,when i would visit my mother,she had a rotary phone....So i would have to run to the phone booth in the fast food restaurant down the block and start plugging away for quotes...Employees there would see me dialing what must have seemed like the longest phone number in the world or that i was a cia agent doing some weird code stuff!!!!
    #13     Dec 15, 2007
  4. man


    IMO it was as tough then as it is now. when you had a
    computer for trading in 1982 you had an edge. from our
    perspective it is peanuts, at that time it was edge. the
    opportunity then existed for those few who saw it - as
    it is today. it is an illusion to think that "if i just had the
    tools then", since the opportunity just existed because
    only a few had these things at hand.

    question is what will you need in ten years from now.
    my guess is kind of cyborg, efficient combination of human
    and machine intelligence.
    #14     Dec 15, 2007
  5. lindq


    Yes, that's what's happening. While even a couple years ago reversals could be played for a few days, profits now need to be taken intraday. And sometimes in minutes. I can't find anything anymore that works on a multi-day timeframe.

    Since the 80s and 90s, certainly everything has moved to a shorter timeframe. But that's true not just of the markets, but of anything related to technology in general.

    Like you, I never thought I'd find myself in the position of being a "daytrader", but that's what it has come to. But it does have its advantages, especially in the current environment when the market is gapping so strongly. It is comforting to be flat at the close with profits in hand, and a new start each morning.

    (My first trade was $325. in commission. 400 shares of Cox Cable Television. I got the stock certificates a couple weeks later in the mail. That will teach you patience! And now I see people here bitching because IB is .005 seconds behind eSignal. )
    #15     Dec 15, 2007
  6. Ah yes the good old quote days. It wasn't too long ago (even with the Internet) that number of quotes per days was limited. I think up until '99 or so at Scottsdale Securities (later changed to Scottrade) that you had to keep trading in order to get more quotes. You were capped at something like 100 for the day unless you made a trade.

    Stone ages!

    Good Luck!
    #16     Dec 15, 2007
  7. Exactly. Same as in poker.

    The future is Bots manned by Pros...
    Or complex Algo Systems manned by Pros.

    Only people that are not Expert Players...
    Believe that pure Bots can be competitive.
    #17     Dec 15, 2007
  8. hughb


    In 1997 I paid $30 a month for real time snapshot quotes from a site called Interquote. I got 300 snapshots a day, and I rarely ran out, since I wasn't really daytrading anyway. As you would guess, Interquote was eventually taken over as brokers started giving away free real time on the internet.

    Back in late 95/early 96 I was at the library going through old Wall Street Journals on microfiche and getting data to hand draw my own charts. Back then they had real stock tables, it had the volume, high, low and close so you could draw charts if you wanted. If any of you have looked at stock tables today, you see that they are very limited and don't even include all the stocks anyway. As far as I'm concerned, that's a bad thing. Even though I don't use the newspaper to look up prices or draw charts, I like going through stock tables and just looking at what happened in the market on a stock by stock basis.

    On the other hand, I no longer have a huge stack of newspaper stock tables in my closet.
    #18     Dec 15, 2007
  9. Aok


    I distinctly recall jackhammering my concrete sidewalk to dig the hole for my HUGE satellite dish pole. $500/month for 15 min delayed "real time" data! Hahaha.

    Even better was when my broker lowered commish on futures from $51 to $33 round turn. I could then trade nearly twice as much for same expense. Lol

    You can have the good old days.

    I do miss fractions on stocks though. Being pennied to death gets old at times.
    #19     Dec 15, 2007
  10. Carried out my first inter-bank forex trade in 1988.

    It is no better or worse now, just different.
    #20     Dec 15, 2007