Friday, December 16, 2011

Trading Successes

It's amazing how very few people in this capitalist society we live in know anything about trading. I mean, being that free markets and trade is the tenant that capitalism is built upon, you would think that people would pay more attention to it. I have to admit though, I myself was one of the ignorant masses back in my high school and university years. Finance was always a 'dirty' subject and a 'necessary evil' in the beautiful world of absolute truths that I used to like to believe that we live in. It was not a 'pure' science, and thus was not worthy of study. But how little did I know back then. In truth, the study of the markets is the study of human nature, and understanding them is like understanding oneself. There is a value in knowing how people think. Using that to your advantage. Manipulating circumstances to tip the scales of the game in your favour. This is the skill set necessary to be successful in this life, its just that nobody told you that when you were born, nobody gave you an instruction manual. Why? Well because its evolutionary. For there to be winners, there must be losers. So how to separate the winners from the losers? Setup a system by which the winners are the ones who seek out the means to win. Who are perceptive enough to know that a game is being played, and cunning enough to outwit the others who have gotten to this realization.

So it came to pass, in a round-about fateful way that only destiny itself could manufacture, that I came to learn the ropes of trading from a game, a simulated market, but with participants of all kinds that you would find in the real world represented in it. To succeed in such a market, virtual or otherwise, you have to learn to outsmart your opponents. To beat them to the punch, and to persevere in seeking out opportunity where they didn't even think to look.

Here is an some example trades in which I am rather proud about. I know it is tradition for traders never to give out trade ideas, as they guard these as close as magicians guard their secrets, but heck it's just a game and I have many more secrets in the markets that I have up my sleeve that I would not share with the general public. (if you are truely a winner, you will learn them yourself)

This one is a awesome case of a market discrepancy and taking advantage of a market 'feature'. The feature I speak of is the relative knowledge gap between newbies and experienced players. Take a look at the snapshot. The item in question is the Civilian Afterburner. I made over 30million isk in my first month trading on this item. As you can see in the prices, my average buy was 60k, and I sold at average of 280k. That's almost 500% profit! Why? Well, I asked myself that question when I first chanced upon this gem of a trade. And using brains and logic I found the answer. It's quite obvious (as everything in markets usually are if you stop to think about it) to people with a logical and analytical background. The key thing to note here is that the 'Civilian' version of ship modules are normally underpowered, underperforming parts that are given to you when you start the game for free, as part of your starter tutorial missions. I believe in one of those missions, players are asked to sell this part to the market. As a beginning player, most people don't know how the markets operate, so they just dump the part at the best bid price, and move on with their training missions. That explains the low buy prices. Now the high sell prices are interesting. As I mentioned, these civilian parts are given to new players as part as their tutorial missions, and they are not manufacturable in the game by players. They are so horribly underpowered I don't know who would want to use them anyway. BUT apparently, some people (rich established players) sometimes have very tight power constraints on their ship fits, so it becomes impractical to use a normal afterburner on their ship, in which case the civi version is a cheap and low power option to give their ships some boost in speed, even though it may not be as good as a normal afterburner. These buyers have money and they cannot be bothered to shop for a low price, especially if the difference between 60k and 250k means little to someone who has several billions of isk. Thus this market was ripe to exploit, and profit I did.

This next one is my most recent win. On Dec 1st 2011 CCP released new battlecruiser class ships which could mount battleship guns (one larger class than normal battlecruiser guns) That's all fine and dandy, but as any good trader knows, where there is a market for new goods, there is profit to be made. I quickly did a scan of the most popular battleship guns in the market looking at the past historical trading volumes. Of the highest was this gem of an item below. This gun was trading at around 3.5million several days before the release of the new ships. I quickly put down several hundred million in buy orders and managed to score quite a large lot of them at the 3.5 mil mark. 2 days after I did so, the price started jumping up as players started fitting out their brand new ships. As you can see below, the price has almost doubled.

These are just 2 of the many ways in which I have been able to play the markets to profit. The cool thing is that doing this, even in this game setting, has made me much more aware of how real world markets work, and to appreciate what a trader does on a day to day basis on the trading desk of a large firm. It truely is, what capitalism is all about. The funny thing is that I don't even play this game much for the actual 'spaceships' part anymore. I just do my trades, setup my orders for the week and watch my profits come in (or lose my shirt) via my iphone. Its fun to con people and rip them off when you don't have to worry about breaking any laws. The thrill of trading is academic. It's not whether you actually make money or lose money, its the thrill of winning. And winning at the markets is sweeter than any other win which requires a 'fair' game (like chess, or poker). Because winning at markets can be achieved by many different means: skill, perseverance, attention to detail, insight, or just plain dumb luck. But at the end of it, if you can make money and win, the sweetest feeling of all is that you have outsmarted others.

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