Halal Guy Trading

There is guy in front of my building who sells halal food from a street cart. Everyday he stands looking forlornly at the crowds that pass him by. He is usually dressed in a pair of soiled brown shorts, blue dress socks and a worn pair of sandals and he frequently sits on a fold out chair staring into the blinding rays of the sun as sweat drips down his hairy back. If I was dying of starvation I doubt I would stop by his truck and buy a plate of lamb over rice.


About 25 blocks north of my apartment in the midtown part of New York is the Halal Guys cart on 52nd and Sixth. It is manned by three gentlemen wearing immaculately white pants and clean bright yellow polo shirts with their logo stamped clearly on the back. The cart advertises “organic” halal food and the line for their cart often stretches all the way to seventh avenue. On any given afternoon, the Halal Guys perform a beautiful ballet of orchestrated gastronomy as they feed close to 500 people in a matter of a few hours.

Now most likely the “Halal Guys” food is not much better than the offerings at the sad and lonely cart near my apartment building, but it is a world of difference in execution and it could teach us a great deal about becoming a successful trader.

The key difference between the guys who do business at midtown and the guy on my block is professionalism. Professionalism in any life endeavor simply means planning and preparation. The “Halal Guys” send a clear and unambiguous message -- our product is good, try it. And they back that message up by executing well. The guy on my block however, looks like he just rolled out of bed and seems utterly unprepared for business each and every day.

That’s why I believe that in trading just as in food delivery you must have a systematic approach to the business. Trading systematically does not mean that we should abandon discretion altogether, but rather that we should have a logical well tested structure to our trading. The truth of the matter is that I had spent many years of my life trading FX much like the guy downstairs sells his food -- doing things in a random manner utterly unaware of what I needed to do to maximize my chance of success. It was only after I put some structure to my trading that I started to perform consistently well.

So next time you sit in front of the screen, ask yourself -- am I trading within a reasonable and logical structure or am I simply reacting haphazardly to the market?

Boris Schlossberg

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