Hi I am Mat Trader, (@matmasr) and I am the founder of Profit Mission Control. My journey in the stock market started in 2004, which was the year I took my first trade! For better or worse it was a profitable trade as I made $200 in less than 3 minutes. Since then, I was hooked. I wish I could say it was fun ride after that, it wasn’t.
It has been a rough journey with many pitfalls along the way. I honestly failed a lot and fell in the abyss many times throughout the years since my first winning trade and never seemed to be consistent. During my early years of trading, the stock market took way more money from me than it ever gave, and that IS what the stock market is supposed to do. The stock market’s purpose is to take money from the chasers and dreamers and those who think about the market as a get rich quickly and easily path.
See at the time, although I was hooked on the stock market, my attention and focus were mostly on pursuing my career as a mechanical engineer/materials scientist and building a family. Being an active trader was always on the back of my mind, but having to juggle the responsibilities of work and family, it was nearly impossible to dedicate more time to becoming a better investor/trader. I knew though that if I dedicated the time to learn and perform the analysis that I am fully capable of doing, I could find an edge and become more consistent. Whenever I had the opportunity, I spent time reading books and consuming any information about the stock market I can get my hands on, but never was able to have “Screen time” to study, learn and analyze how stocks actually behave.
After a few years, I started becoming better at not losing too much. Yes, I didn’t have big wins, but I also didn’t have big losses. This is when I understood the concepts of Risk Management and why your statistics as a trader become important. At work, I was professionally trained as a Six Sigma black belt. Eventually became a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, so I knew the importance of statistics and statistical significance as well as creating processes and testing the validity of these processes.
Financially, it was challenging to say the least to keep up with life expenses and although I was in the same boat as most middle-class families and able to afford a house and food, I wasn’t able to save at all and was not certain how I can afford to send three kids to college. The thought of trading on the side and starting to create a second income started to germinate again and this time I felt more confident in my abilities, but still struggled with finding time.
Then in 2015, I changed job responsibilities and my new job allowed me to have more time to dedicate to the stock market. At that time, there was an explosion of “gurus” selling courses and having chat rooms and sharing their experience on YouTube. I dove into much of this and quickly started filtering the good from the bad and the ugly. But I made it a point to collect the good ideas and bits of processes here and there and assemble them into my own “book of knowledge”.
Shock and Awe
In 2016 I had my personal shock and awe experience that transformed me forever and made me fully committed to succeeding in the stock market NO MATTER HOW LONG OR HOW HARD I had to work. The SHOCK event was what I call a workplace sheep slaughtering experience. Business conditions were changing and during one September day at work, we were notified that mass layoffs are coming the following Monday. Surely, that next Monday, my group lost almost 40% of its workforce which included many of my peers, my bosses and my direct reports. I was lucky to survive the slaughter and was given a new responsibility at work which was a blessing. However, living through that experience and watching many coworkers who were once big shot employees and influential bosses along with hard working peers being sacrificed like sheep shook me up deeply. I promised myself to never let something like this happen to me and that I had to take care of my OWN financial destiny. I had to laser focus my attention on the stock market again as it was the only other thing, I felt, could offer me the financial freedom I was seeking.
The Awe event was coming across an extremely powerful trading tool called Trade Ideas. Trade Ideas is a market intelligence software tool that gives your real time information based on specific set of market criteria of your choice. Sure, there are many scanners out of the box, but the power of Trade Ideas that struck me was that you not only can create your own custom scanners but you are able to also statistically test the outcome of those scanners. This was just like the Design Of Experiments activities I did at work many times as a Black Belt and a scientist. The idea there is that you test a theory, and see what is the statistical significance of the outcome of that theory. You can mathematically understand the effect of specific inputs on the output. In the case of investing and trading, you find the effects of certain market, price, measures and volume conditions on the future price of a stock. Trade Ideas is not only an amazing tool, the company has a great team behind it and I was blessed to interact with such an innovative team.
Keep in mind I wasn’t seeking a holly grail, just a statistical advantage. So I created a set of overnight scanners, and I diligently went through these scanners every night to pick up the best stocks that I could find that were expected to follow a specific price action. I called this a Launch List. I tracked the results of the Launch List for months until I felt comfortable with the outcome. So, at this point I have to put in a little side note. I am a space geek and love anything about space exploration and astronomy. Let’s also not forget Star Wars.
Ok back to topic. The Launch List and the terminology I devised was mostly for making trading a bit less boring. There are actually common attributes between launching a rocket to space and getting involved in a stock trade. The two that come to mind are discipline in development and testing of your tools, and discipline in risk management. Both are critical for success in both endeavors.
I experienced a lot of success with trading using my launch list. Best of all, all the homework was done at nighttime after the market closed. On the next trading day, I would have my Launch List lock and loaded to trade with either limit orders or live orders. I didn’t have to guess or analyze as most of the hard work was done before and all I had to do was execute well. This led me to develop an automated trading software tool I call the Command Center. This software helps me execute the trades automatically which meant I could be doing my normal job work while at the same time having the Command Center trade for me with only limited monitoring.
The Start of Something Meaningful ?
Over the following couple of years, I started to develop what I call “Intraday Scanners”. My goal was to focus on scanners that didn’t trigger too many times during the day but yet has a good Profit Factor and win rate.
These intra day scanner and alerts are a bit different than the overnight scanners as the goal there was to find a statistically significant set of conditions that had an edge and provide some level of confidence to the direction of a trade during the active trading session. The statistical performance of some of these scanners worked for a long time with the proper tweaking, but others changed with the seasonality of the stock market. All in all, I still find these intraday scanners useful and offer good short and long turn returns. I am planning on continuing to develop and optimize these scanners as I get more free time. So, what is next for me and Profit Mission Control? Certainly, I plan to trade more, continue to learn, develop and optimize my scanners and processes and eventually become a venture capitalist. In my heart, I love technology and want to see humanity advance to the next level it deserves. I hope one day I would be one of the venture capitalists that help create the next Tesla or Google.
From a resume perspective, I hold a Bachelor’s of Science, M.Sc. and PhD in Mechanical Engineering and remain employed at a US fortune 50 company. I held many roles at the company I work at including being an Research Engineer, Technical Team Leader and Engineering Manager for 20+ years. I am also an inventor with more than half a dozen patents or so.
I enjoy running, biking, hiking, space exploration and new technology development. I also enjoy developing and writing code.
2018 Podcast Interview