I would venture to guess that most of you know and remember TiVo. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, TiVo came out in 1999 and allowed us to record live TV so we could watch it later with the added bonus of being able to fast forward through commercials.
The fast forwarding of commercials sparked lawsuits and controversy from advertisers, but that is an entirely different subject. If you were around during this transition period you know how amazing it was to be able to record hours of shows and then blaze through the annoying commercials. Now what if we were to apply this to trading?
What if we didn’t have to wait for each week, day, or hour to pass in order for us to make a decision or place a trade? What if we could compress a year’s worth of movement into a couple hours? Or what about being able to rewind and fast forward through a setup so we can see it unfold over and over before our eyes and learn the details of how it worked.
It is easy to see a chart and point to where the setup is and what we *would have done* since hindsight is 20/20. But what if we could go back in time to when that event happened and relive it over and over to see exactly how we would have treated it on all the time frames we use?
May I now introduce you to an under-utilized miracle of our modern world, brought to us by the smart people of ThinkorSwim. The TiVo of the stock market, OnDemand.
This little talked about feature is more powerful than you may think, especially if you are trying to learn the ways of the market. This one feature is how I taught myself how to trade and allowed me to learn lessons faster than anything else.
The biggest problem I had as a new trader was the space between seeing historical chart data setups, and then trying to apply them in a currently moving market. Looking at a picture and seeing where the place to enter was, is not the same as seeing price develop and move in front of you.
What OnDemand allowed me to do was compress a year’s worth of movement on one ticker down to about an hour. Since I am an end of day trader, I make a decision to buy, sell, or hold once every 24 hours. By compressing the time between decisions from 24 hours to 30 seconds I was able to learn my mistakes more quickly and then apply what I had learned nearly instantly.
Let me clarify this real quick. As an end of day trader, I have to wait till the end of each day to make a move, 24 hrs. When I use OnDemand, I can click forward one day at a time as fast as I want, let’s say every 30 seconds. This means that the process of a stock setting up which could take days or weeks, is now taking a few minutes.
Now consider all the thoughts you have about should I sell, should I buy, should I hold over the course of a month on just one ticker. Mix in all the events of life over that month and you can see how your thought process could get scattered. But if you could compress that month-long thought process to 10 minutes, you have now been able to make a decision and see if it worked without anything else in life distracting you.
This is how you can actively practice trading without risking money, having to wait days and weeks for setups, or to find out if your decision was right or wrong.
Give it a shot, dedicate some time to it, and I think you will see the power of this little-touted feature that could be one of the best tools in our trading education kit.