I was born and raised in Buffalo, NY and graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Today, I live in a small mountain town near Boulder, Colorado with my wife of 17 years and 4 year old son, always in search of a great trail to hike. The 15 years between Buffalo and Boulder is where my trading career launched and my experience was forged.
After graduating college and suffering through a brief six month stint as a Mutual Fund Salesman for MetLife (LOL), I moved to Florida to live near my father and began my trading career in 1998 at a Proprietary trading firm in Tampa, Florida. In my first four years I was engaged in intraday scalping — primarily NASDAQ stocks — during the final blowoff top of the “dot com bubble” and subsequent tech & internet stocks crash. It was a trial by fire as the stock markets experienced a level of consistent volatility that had previously been unseen, and hasn’t been matched since. I’ve spent the remainder of my now 20 year trading career unlearning all of the bad habits I acquired during those first four formative years.
In 2002, I began exploring the futures markets after learning about and researching the famous “Turtle Trader” story. This fascination and total immersion prompted me to launch a small hedge fund with a handful of investors to execute a trend-following strategy in commodities and financial futures. And this led me to relocate to Chicago to become a Member of the Chicago Board of Trade. Sadly, the largest of my fund’s investors decided to walk away with his 58% returns (net of fees) after only 18 months in business, thusly necessitating the close of my promising fund.
After the fund closed, I took advantage of my location (my office was on the 28th floor of the CBOT building) and exchange membership to try my hand at trading electronic mini-dow futures from a booth on the upper rim of the big Dow Futures pit on the floor of the CBOT. While it was an exciting daily endeavor to step on the floor and be part of the heart of the action, it was a short-lived dalliance. I couldn’t find an edge.
Undeterred, this led to my focus on learning about and building options strategies which began around 2007. I was greatly attracted to the ability to express my opinions of markets and stocks direction in defined-risk “bets” with advantageous leverage opportunities. Though I’ve dabbled with options since the beginning, I have been primarily engaged in equity and index options trading ever since.
In late 2010 while continuing to trade my own account, I joined StockTwits—the world’s largest social platform for finance—and became Director of Community where I was a key player in 10x-ing the growth of the audience. Here I also hosted and produced a popular Trader podcast that interviewed 40 of the biggest names and successes in the trader/social media space, and I created and oversaw a network of 35 trader meetup groups in cities around the U.S. & Canada. During this time, my love of community and trader network building for the purposes of mutual support and mentorship took shape.
In 2017, I left StockTwits and joined my friends at Trade Ideas, LLC where I continue today in a Sales, Training, and Market Strategy capacity. Trade Ideas is an absolutely indispensable tool for active traders and active investors. They are the first and only provider of AI-powered machine-learning tools in a SAAS model for Retail and Institutional subscribers, and the proof of value can be seen in hockey-stick subscriber growth and user retention. It is exciting to witness what they are building.
In many ways, much of what I’ve been involved with over the past 10 years has been me trying to build the support system around me and for others that I wish I had when I started out in Tampa way back in 1998. Launching All Star Options is another manifestation of this burning desire.
I’m Sean McLaughlin, and I approve this message 🙂