Markham Gross ist Commodity Trading Advisor, kurz CTA. Das bedeutet, dass er professionell Terminprodukte (vor allem Futures-Kontrakte) für seine Kunden handelt. Als ich erfahren habe, dass er auch begeisterter Triathlet ist, hatte ich sofort die Idee, ein Interview über die Parallelen der beiden Diziplinen zu machen.
Ohne lange Vorrede kannst du es jetzt hier lesen. Viel Spaß dabei!
What did you do first, trading or triathlon?
Trading. My first training and racing for triathlon was pretty recent, having had two training and race seasons at this point.
Did one “sport” (trading/triathlon) help you to improve the other, or even both ways around?
Yes. I’ve participated in a number of sports and quite a bit of training and competition throughout life. My current CTA firm is also my second time acting as founder of a small company. In both cases you learn to work on improvements, skill development, and needs incrementally with the long-term in mind. In both cases, robust systematic processes help a great deal.
What would you say are the most crucial psychological/mental parallels?
In trading and sport, one has to learn how to take pain and setbacks without wavering on the process and larger objectives. One needs to be able to handle surprises, setbacks, and variability in both trading and sport.
“In trading and sport, one has to learn how to take pain and setbacks without wavering on the process and larger objectives.”
What was the biggest issue you had to overcome in order to be successful and happy with what you are doing in everyday life?
The biggest issue to overcome is possibly accepting a higher level of variability and uncertainty in life. Putting in the time to learn trading related skills, required I spend time and money sometimes differently than others. I do not watch TV for example. If one measures themselves against average cookie cutter lifestyles, then the struggle to do something not so average can seem like a large burden at first. Same is true for triathlon. Most people will not spend so many hours doing an activity even if they like it.
It’s best to surround yourself with other risk takers and entrepreneurs. Those with more average lifestyles often do not know how to support those with entrepreneurial lifestyles because one group sees challenges as opportunities and the other views challenges as roadblocks. One group is more comfortable following a path predetermined and confirmed by others, the other group more comfortable questioning everything including that path.
In all the sports I’ve been involved with there are usually only a few who will focus intensely for many hours. Most do these sports casually, which is fine, its just a different personality type. You can only control your process and effort, which will affect the outcome, but certainly not guarantee anything. Additionally entrepreneurial / trading lifestyles have more variability than some other career paths. Accepting a higher level of uncertainty is important and possibly the biggest issue to overcome for both.
What kind of people might be most attracted to trading/triathlon from your point of view?
Risk taking personalities. Risk taking meaning willing to put a lot on the line with no guarantee of payoff but the potential for large payoff. Those who enjoy working incrementally with an ability to delay gratification.
Any hint about how to improve and staying ahead of the game?
Trade your system. Do the design at the front end, not in the middle of trading. Staying ahead of the game often means working through a process and not reacting to noise.
"Staying ahead of the game often means working through a process and not reacting to noise.”
Do you have any role models in trading/triathlon?
I look up to many of the old school systematic trend following traders, such as those highlighted in Michael Covel’s books. I have less experience with the history of triathlon, but I like Craig Alexander’s attitude from interviews I have seen.
What are your long-term goals in trading and triathlon?
For trading, my long-term goal is to compound capital by trading my system. I hope to educate and bring some other like minded people along for the ride. I am also working on a cash stock systematic strategy right now. There are no current plans to offer it to the public, but who knows. I do not think it will be better overall than the futures strategy, but its fun to work on things and create. It also provides something of benefit in large equity bull markets and often lacking risk management for equity bear markets. I honestly think the best, and most unknown by the general public, long-term strategy for liquid markets is a trend following or trend capture strategy deployed across diverse futures markets, so that is where most of my focus and efforts are.
“I honestly think the best, and most unknown by the general public, long-term strategy for liquid markets is a trend following or trend capture strategy deployed across diverse futures markets.”
In triathlon, I am currently thinking about what my long-term goals might be. My first priority sport is snow-skiing. Season’s changing currently has my mind on that. My main goal in year one, which was 2014, was simply to complete one or two Olympic distance races. I had never done endurance sport before. I did the two races and ended up on the podium in my age group for both, with a 3rd and a 1st respectfully, and between the top 10 or 20 for the overall in each.
At the end of that season I decided to sign up for a Ironman 70.3 at Lake Tahoe, but a forest fire lead to cancellation. In 2015, my goal was to improve mountain biking skills. I even raced my first mountain bike race. I still did one Olympic triathlon in 2015, ending up on the podium again. After that I focused mostly on mountain bike. I did sign up for another 70.3, but an injury kept me out this time.
For 2016, I have to think a little about what I want to do triathlon wise. I can tell you that my favorite part of it is the bike.
Many thanks for the interview Mark! I wish you the best of success for your endeavors in trading and triathlon.