by John Sweeney
Bill Wyckoff suggested I write this—not personally, of course, since he's long out of print. He just noted
in Wall Street Ventures and Adventures Through Forty Years that writing and publishing The Ticker was
a terrific way of learning about his market (the stock market). I can take a hint.
I decided to write about growth. After all, nine months of full-time speculation have given me more
growing pains than I ever thought possible. It occurred to me that a careful documentation of my path
might be valuable to others as well as to me. That this would probably highlight mistakes hasn't bothered
me. I know that, in theory, people actually learn from mistakes, whereas success is tough to evaluate and
easy to forget.
I see the world as full of restraints and pitfalls, amongst which we poke and probe for a safe, rewarding
path. When a probing trade comes back with two-thirds of the margin missing, the novice learns to avoid
something. For a novice, that knowledge is enough—survival alone is the novice's goal. A trader, on the
other hand, having bested the issue of survival, may probe some more, perhaps more gingerly, to find a
profit-maker. And by the time one is a true speculator, I assume one knows what is in that
margin-devouring pitfall! After all, the word "speculator" comes from the Latin verb "to see"; hence, a
person who truly does see what is before him. To become a true speculator, then, would be a great
achievement, and is the goal to which these writings are dedicated.