The Best Trading Advice Comes from A Guy Who Makes Tapas

Boris Schlossberg

Unless you are a foodie the name Jose Andres will mean nothing to you. But in the restaurant world, Mr. Andres is a big deal. He owns 26 restaurants across the world, several of which carry Michelin stars. Ha has also been the face of Puerto Rican relief serving more than 100,000 meals in PR daily.

In short, Mr. Andres is what my grandmother would call – a mensch – a good and decent person who also has done well for himself.

Although I’ve known about Mr. Andres for years and have even eaten at his Las Vegas restaurant, I really didn’t give the man much thought until I came across a Business Insider profile of him.

Unlike many Emperor Chefs who brook no criticism, Mr. Andres has stayed humble and in fact, does something remarkable that caught my eye. Every day, before he starts his day Mr. Andres reads every Yelp review of his restaurant. Unlike most chefs who refuse to even consider the words of the hoi-polloi, Mr. Andres takes the reviews seriously and tries to instantly fix matters if he considers the complaints to be legitimate.

This is, of course, easier said than done. No one likes to be criticised, least of all chefs who are some of the most domineering personalities in the world. But Mr. Andres uses a very interesting trick to help him cope. As he tells the interviewer,”Thicker skin is something like, José the person, José the chef, inside me, I’m, like, ‘What the heck do those people think? Who are they? I don’t want them in my restaurant anymore,’ which is good to have, but it’s good that you do that internally.
“And then he’s José the businessman, who says, ‘Man, this is free advice that I should thank the person for, taking the time, and this we will use to communicate.’ Every day on my phone, I receive reports of every restaurant, social media, comments in-house by the guests. We use them. We don’t use them every day, but sometimes maybe something needs immediate attention and other things is information you put together and then three, six months later, you say, ‘Listen, look at the pattern here.’”

Now let’s see how we can apply Mr. Andres’s tricks of the restaurant business to our own little world of trading. What is a stop, but simply a market critique of your trade? It is essentially an instant Yelp review of your actions. Now for Joe the Average Person a stop is a very painful experience that makes him question his worth as a human being. That’s why we all hate stops and why we try to avoid them at any cost, often blowing up our accounts as a result.

But what if we decided that when we engage with the market we become Joe the Trader-Businessman rather than Joe the Average Person? Suddenly a stop is no longer a mark of shame, but a very valuable piece of communication.

Think about it. There are only two reasons why you get stopped. One, you were dead wrong in your analysis and the market went the other way. Two you either mispriced or mistimed your entry. Now while there is precious little you can do about one, there is actually quite a lot you can do about number two. Instead of punching the screen when you get stopped out, ask yourself – what is the market trying to tell you? Are your setup assumptions still valid? The answers are there. Sometimes it’s a matter of regime change in volatility. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking trades only during the London-New York interchange. Sometimes it’s a question of creating tighter risk control rules.

The point being is that when you start looking at life like Mr. Andres, criticism becomes communication allowing us to improve and make more consistent pips, just as Jose makes delicious tapas.
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