Gail Mercer of TradersHelpDesk.com by J. Gopalakrishnan and B. Faber
Gail Mercer, a 15-year veteran of the trading industry who is the founder and Ceo of TradersHelpDesk, has dedicated her career to helping traders achieve success. Committed to helping traders grow from amateur analysts to master traders, her unique methodology is rooted in her philosophy that success depends not on a trader’s indicators but the ability to remain focused and responsive to price. Self-responsibility, another cornerstone of her work, provides the mirror for what a trader needs to learn about him- or herself in relationship to the markets. Working with both the inner and outer aspects of trading, Mercer provides an integrated and holistic blueprint for prospering in the markets.
Mercer has recently partnered with Christopher Koozekanani of FulcrumTrader to bring the concepts of Cumulative Delta to a broader audience. The new website will launch in early July 2011.
She is a frequent contributor to Stocks & Commodities, Traders World, and Financial Sense, as well as a presenter at the International Traders Expo. She offers a free trading room where she trades on the live edge of the market. To join, go to www.tradershelpdesk.com.
S&C Editor Jayanthi Gopalakrishnan and Staff Writer Bruce R. Faber spoke with Mercer on May 4, 2011, via telephone.
Gail, how did you get interested in trading?
The funny thing is I never thought I would ever be a trader. I actually started out as a paralegal. When computers came out, I was so amazed at how something that would take me hours to do could be done by a computer in such a short time. After that, I studied everything about computers I could get my hands on. I was offered a job as an indicator specialist at a company in Greensboro, NC, which I accepted. At the time I had never heard about anything like TradeStation and when I saw those little price bars ticking away during the day, I was in love. That was it. I was never, ever going to do anything else again in my life. I just thought that was the most amazing thing I had ever seen in my life — and I still do.
You said your job was as an indicator specialist?
Yes, at a company that designed more than 500 indicators. They do a lot of custom programming. We programmed some really complex stuff. There was nothing I did not have access to. We did it for companies like TradeStation and eSignal.
What was it about those tick bars that fascinated you?
It was seeing the price movement of a company’s stock intraday. I had always been told that you look in your refrigerator, see what labels were in there, then you just buy the stocks of the companies behind those labels and hold them forever — and eventually your kids would get your money. So being able to see a price bar and actually see the price of a company increasing or decreasing had me think, “Oh man, what have I been missing?” It was absolutely astonishing. And I had always loved currencies, so the currencies attracted me like crazy. I was like, “Oh man! I could be sitting here trading the dollar and the euro when I am at work.” It just blew my mind.
As you have developed so many indicators, are there any that you specifically like or found useful?
At that time, I did not have a favorite indicator because all I did was jump from indicator to indicator to indicator. I went through everything. I don’t think there was an indicator I did not try.
Do you use that many indicators now?
No, I don’t. I made that change when I decided to become a trader instead of an indicator specialist. Things changed for me when I asked myself, “Am I doing this as a hobby? Am I doing it just for the fun of doing it, or do I really want to make money at it? If I want to make money, I have to get serious, and it has got to become a business.” I have always been good at running a business and applying business principles.
The one issue I had in my trading was applying a business model to trading. Everybody has a different opinion on what you need to do in order to succeed as a trader. So I told myself that if this was going to be a business, I had to go back to square one. What did I have to do to be a trader?