Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Definition of Insanity

I just have to laugh. Now I remember why I stopped doing seminars and limited my teaching to speaking engagements and private coaching. Last weekend, I included a section in the Newsletter article asking if folks might be interested in a seminar in Scottsdale late this coming winter. I set out the price and asked for anyone who might be seriously interested to email us or put an evidence of interest on the blog. A number of subscribers have responded and shown interest as I had requested. However, among the responses were those who felt it incumbent upon themselves to criticize things like the days (a weekend) on which I proposed holding the seminar and their opinion that the cost was too high. Simply put, if someone doesn't approve of the days on which I would hold the seminar or the cost I charge, don't come.

One person wrote: "I feel the price of the seminar is way out of line given the soft economy...3k for 2 days is way too much!" Fine, I can understand that someone may not want to pay that much. What he failed to consider, however, is what other seminars cost and the cost of not getting an education. Recently, on the blog, we had subscribers write about paying $15,000, $18,000, or $20,000. The fellow who wrote also fails to consider what it will cost him to trade without education. Honestly, if he doesn't want to pay $3,000 (actually it would be half of $2,500 if he came from more than 50 miles away and brought a spouse, friend, or significant other), then he shouldn't. Whether he comes or not is up to him. He will pay one way or the other. I have talked to many folks who have lost thousands to hundreds of thousands before deciding it might be smart to get some trading education. A single trade can pay for a $1,250 seminar. But it is up to the individual.

That same fellow went on to say: "Besides... you have made alot of money trading and don't need to charge those kind of prices..." Absolutely correct, I have made a lot of money trading. Why, though, should I give this fellow my time, energy and knowledge? I paid my dues (about $40,000 in education) and have expended a lot of time, effort, and energy to get where I am. I suggest he will have to do the same. Quite honestly, I do not believe I owe him anything. The same fellow went on to write: "But then again .. maybe you really havent [sic] done as well in trading as you have led your readers to believe... Looks like your books and seminars are the way you make most of your money." Pardon my language, but that is a load of crap. This guy doesn't know me from Adam and his accusation is false. I haven't done a seminar in years, largely because of people like him. Trading books, even relatively successful ones like "Trade Your Way to Wealth" don't make a whole lot of money. I trade for my living and I do the Newsletter for free.

I have to say I simply don't care whether I ever do another seminar or not. I proposed the idea of a seminar only because subscribers asked. Clearly, it isn't worth the hassle to have to deal with people like the fellow I quoted. If someone doesn't like the cost or the days on which the seminar will be held, don't come. I don't care, but don't call me a liar.

All that aside, I do urge traders to get educated. It definitely doesn't have to be with me. There are many good teachers out there. Don't expect them to be cheap. Their time is valuable and you can probably learn a great deal about things like cutting losses, letting profits run, money management, risk aversion, creating your plan, and exit strategies. I can assure almost everyone that one way or the other you'll pay for your trading education. I'm convinced that the most expensive way is on the job training.

It has often been said that the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Unfortunately, that is what many would-be traders tend to do. The likelihood of success for them falls into the slim to none category. Let me suggest that you not choose to include yourself in that group.

by Bill Kraft, Editor
Copyright 2008, Makin' Hay, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

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To comment on Bill's article click on the "comments" link below.


Anonymous said...

Whoa, Bill....! Apply your daily talent of non-emotionality when trading, when reading the comments of a couple idiots telling yhou how to run your business.
Thank you for your weekly letter. We are missionaries in Guatemala, and fund our living partially thru trading, and enjoy the trading ideas. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill,

Why worry ?. In every situation there are always + and -. You just continue whatever you think is the best. You want to charge high or free, doesn't matter, everybody has their own right. It is not an issue. For me, its better for you to use your time to produce a useful newsletter which we can tap your knowledge , rather than reading this worthless issue. We trust you Bill!.

Don14 said...

Bill, there is a good quote about Picasso. He was sitting in a restaurant, and someone came up and asked him to draw something on a napkin. He did, and then said, "That will be $40,000.00 dollars(currency type changed for this comment). The man, stunned, said, "Why? That only took 5 minutes!" Picasso looked at him and said, "No. It took Fifty Years." How true. Most people, sadly, are either ignorant and do not want to pay to learn, are lazy, or both. Your seminar would be worth it.


Anonymous said...

People who comment like that are just negative and scared. Even if you let them attend your seminar for free, they still wouldn't get any value out of it because they wouldn't apply any of the knowledge.

He's just angry that he's losing money in the market, and doesn't believe he can profit in today's environment. Personally, I've been very successful with stock options. I've paid for "expensive" seminars to get the education, in just a couple successful trades, I recovered the entire cost of my education.

Anyway, don't let negative nay-sayers like that affect you. When you're dealing with the public, you might run into that. Instead just focus on the people who are willing and are interested in getting the education they need to change their financial lives.

Best of luck to you and your business.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill!
Man, I empathize with your comments. Here's a story you might want to use with some of these "critics":
My wife once worked for the world's premier soils engineering firm for the building of earth dams. The pricipal was Stan Wilson. The government of Chile wrote Stan a letter saying that they were having a problem with a large earthen dam project and would like his assistance as a consultant. Stan wrote back that his fee was $5,000/day plus expenses. The Chilean government said that was fine and wanted him to come down and check out the problem immediately. Stan flew down from Seattle, checked into a hotel, was driven out to the site, walked around for 15 minutes, said,"Okay I've seen enough". He then wrote his report for the Chileans, flew back to Seattle and sent the Chilean government a bill for $5,000 plus expenses. The Chilean government responded: "Senor Wilson, Thank you for your analysis, however we understand you only spent 15 minutes on our dam site stomping around in the dirt. Please itemize your billing." Stan responded," Senors, stomping around in the dirt - $5.00, Knowing when, where and how to stomp around in the dirt - $4,995" His report was spot on. The Chilean government immediately sent him a check.

See you at the seminar!

Steve Toth
Seattle, WA

Jeff N. said...


Just because everyone was born with a brain, doesn't mean that he will use it.

Apparently, your cynic would rather continue to "pay as he goes", and mutter "I shouldn't have done that",as he watches his portfolio dwindle (or evaporate).

Capitalism, in which this country is founded, is Investment, Risk, and Reward. In this man's case, he wishes to make little or no investment of time/money, and expects to be rewarded. That's not Capitalism, that's the Lottery !! I wish him well.

Keep up the faith that some people still believe that working and studying do yield profitable results.

Geaux Tigers !!

Nick Lang said...

Bill----not sure why you would waste much time getting excited about those that can't or won't see the value of your seminars. Instead, they choose to ramble on about the cost, the scheduling, the location, or whatever. There will always be the naysayers out there trying to rain on your parade. Please be a duck and just let it roll right off your back. Keep up the good work, "most" of us appreciate you and your efforts to enlighten our trading efforts. Thanks much-----Nick

Anonymous said...

Hello Bill,
I was going to express my surprise at the fact that you were somewhat moved by the whiners who griped about your charge for a seminar. Then I observed that the others writing to you all were on your side too. I have read your fine book,and got some valuable ideas from it. I cannot afford the cost of attending your seminar, but I am certainly not going to beef about that. You are entitled to be compensated for offering your expertise and if some of us cannot afford to spend that - then just skip it. If I wanted a certain cosmetic surgery but could not afford the fee of the surgeons who do these things I would not dream of complaining that they were cheats. If someone does object to your fees why should he feel deprived about missing a talk by a person he does not respect?

Andy Valisalo said...

Bill, don't worry about him. Thanks to all of you guys who put on seminars even when you don't need to.
Andy V.

Oxford Engineered Materials said...


That would irritate me too! While nothing in this newsletter will help me trade, Trade Your Way to Wealth sure did! And, you know, if folks don't like your rates or times, they can always sign up for the cheaper seminars with whiz-bang headlines like
“Treasury’s Gold Glitch: Make Money AFTER Gold Rises”
“Don’t Let this 10-Bagger Pass You By”, or
“Bonded Trusts — Bailout Loophole Creates Massive Windfall”
Ever notice that fools and their money are STILL easily parted?

TheRumpledOne said...

Hi Bill:

I have been reading your weekly newsletter for years. This is my first reply to you.

I know EXACTLY how you feel. No matter where I post there is always some @$$hole that wants to take me on. When I defend myself, it usually results in my being banned from the forum. I created the NEVER LOSE AGAIN threads on TradeStation, eSignal and BabyPips and got banned. I was banned from Forex-TSD for posting charts of "donational" indicators. Banned from ForexFactory for telling the truth about fixed spread brokers.

StockFetcher has been the only forum where I haven't been banned or severely warned. Of course, my home site, Kreslik, was created for me by Michal Kreslik so I could have a place to post freely.

You really hit the nail on the head with this:

"Simply put, if someone doesn't approve of the days on which I would hold the seminar or the cost I charge, don't come."

But for some reason, some people feel the need to make unfounded accusations. I guess it makes them feel good.

Keep up the good work, Bill. And if someone doesn't like how you conduct your business just tell them MYOFB!

Thanks again.

Avery aka TheRumpledOne

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill: I am interested in attending your seminar, & yes, I will happily pay the fee! I have not been able to find anywhere in your writings, is the date determined yet? Thanks, Duane Kuhns

Anonymous said...

Bill, keep up the good work! You don't "owe" anyone anything. Folks get what they earn, but unfortunately many folks are used to getting something for nothing in a wealth-redistribution model and now feel they deserve it when it's not there.

Charge what you want, go where you want to go, do it when you want.

Thanks for the newsletter, your efforts are not unnoticed or unappreciated.

Anonymous said...

I am not a regular reader, but your comments are suspiciously defensive. There are so many FREE webinars, investor education, technical and fundamental teachings available to anyone who wishes to take the time to read or watch, that paying thousands of dollars to learn from ONE trader seems rediculous to me. Why would you even consider a seminar anyway, or expect anyone to pay for it, when information from world class traders, is readily available to anyone, for free?

Anonymous said...

Dear Bill:
I appreciate your perspective of the week's market festivities. As an entry level options trader, I think that it is IMPERATIVE that you arm yourself with the knowledge to participate successfully in this game. I owe $10,000 I paid for classes, books, DVD's and VCD's -- some of which I have barely scratched the surface on. I cant afford to attend any seminars right now, but you might want to consider making a DVD set available. That way you put some distance between yourself and ignorant creeps!

Anonymous said...


I am a new subscriber to the newsletter. I don't know who you are or anything about you. However, let me say a few things.

I know how frustrating it is to be railed on by some idiot. If you charged nothing he would say your seminar is worth nothing. If you charged $30 he would gripe about the accomodations, the drive, the location and the high cost of the tickets (still). Some people are just like that, I know, I used to work in a business that used seminars.

I, unfortunatley, will not be able to attend because of my own economic issues, but I am grateful that there are people like you out there that are willing to share their knowledge AND charge enough that only the serious will show up, and make it worth your time. Knowledge isn't free, money isn't free, and freedom isn't free and some people are just to stubborn to realize it (our national leaders and leader wannabes, included). Keep up the seminars and don't let people get you down. Remember what the Miss Universe who was deaf said, when asked about how she overcame people questioning if someone whith her handicap could win. She said "I couldn't hear them."

Anonymous said...

Mr. Kraft

Just to thank you for your free weekly Newsletter that I read avidly every time it arrives to my e-mail. If I lived in the US I would gladly come to your seminar and pay the price that, I’m sure, would come back to my pocket within the next week thanks to the seminar.
One out of your thousands of readers is not statistically significant.
Luis H. Gonzalez (Mexico)

Anonymous said...

Bill, first, I very much appreciate your contributions through this newsletter.

What the person who chastised you does not know is that, regardless of your extensive experience and knowledge, you will probably spend a hundred hours just preparing the seminar. This is worth lots. You will also have to pay for the use of a location for the seminar. And, of course, you will have other expenses.

Additionally, if an attendee can just pick up one good idea it will help him pay for the seminar.

I am a long-time consultant and and have made a very good living from it for 15 years. I have learned that usually the people who seek and appreciate my help the most are actually the smartest . . . they can recognize when they need assistance! It is the know-it-alls who make the costly mistakes and do not see the wisdom of learning from others.

Again, thanks for all you contribute.

Pat Beale said...

Deart Bill;
Thank you for your newsletter. I look for it every week and would attend a siminar by you anywhere held if i had not lost 85% of my base investment not following your advice. Now i will rebuild with your advice, starting with your book. OUt about 2500 for outside advisory services all topnotch and worth what i paid. Worth what i paid if i followed their advice that is. IBD for example and canslim work if used. Like some of your critics some of us reserve the right to be stupid.

Anonymous said...

There are many fortune tellers spouting wisdom via newsletters that profited off of the goodtimes and had very little actual knowledge or great vision of the future. It's easy to spout on when with accuracy during the run of the bull market we just experienced. I can name you several experts that continued to push oil futures for weeks even after there were blatant signs that oil futures were about to go bust. What we all have to remember is the term "fortune tellers" really means and put things in perspective. Homework and research can't substitute for a self-proscribed expert's rantings. We are all now very very skeptical as only the future will seperate the men from the fools on the hill.

Anonymous said...

Bill: Enjoy your weekly newsletter and comments, and also like your book on various concepts, techniques and strategies for trading. With respect to your critics however, let me suggest you're both right. The critics have no basis to expect they can really learn much in a fast-paced two-day seminar, regardless of the cost, and you seem to not have the time, termperment or talent to be an effective teacher, not because you're not a fine fellow (you seem to be), but because it is unrealistic to expect that one can learn to be a trader in any two-day gathering. Learning about the markets and trading requires years of experience, and then the results depend on some human traits and instincts that simply can't be taught. It would be a little like wanting to learn how to be a starting quarterback in the NFL by attending a football camp. So, don't worry! Your readers will love you for the services that you do provide and don't sweat the ones who don't. They don't matter within the environment that you're operating within.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

No worries Bill...

I teach currency/options trading some very creative methods. Many of my students are funding things in this environment that most would deem impossible.

I feel great with each new success story. I appreciate the gratefulness from many of them.(they're doing' much better than

ALL my students are showing great successes. The upside is the sessions are free...yes every night for 2-4 hours we evauluae the markets, economy, etc and many make decisions from there...

One day I held a special webinar and invited many to show, keep in mind these can run hours). Most who attended were incredibly greatful but those few inspite of it being free in their selfish unfocused needs proclaimed "I ain't getting nothin outta this", "I want,...blah blah..etc.."

Basically the level of being a sponge and absorbing great, abundant, fresh, and useful knwledge was dwarfed by jingoistic selfish predisposed fantasies of "get rich quick"...thus the "I want" syndrome..

Well now knowing that I was able to contribute something great to most of those there and several who attend the sessions in the last three years are having great success.

I've decided to scale back my sessions and eventually must halt them and focus on the accounts I manage.

It was delightful to see so many do and still are doing well...

the best to those who appreciate new knowledge, and new perspectives...

Anonymous said...

Proper response: Yes, I agree that if I get the minumum of 15 people, I will lecture for aprox 15 hours and reieve over 20 thousand dollars which is over 150 per hour. However, I think my teachings are worth the money, should you wish to learn the easy way, how to preserve hour weatlh, or invest, without doing the homework on your own. I will teach you to preserve your wealth,or give you the basic fundamentals, on preserving your investments in my two day seminar for your high investment in my teachings. Thankyou, and I appreciate your investment (and my profit) in your trust in me...

Anonymous said...

I thought the cost of the seminar was HIGH, but not outrageous. I do agree for the novice or idiot trader it is a good thing and education is key to not losing your shirt. But if you want to compare prices you might want to look at the big one is having this month, I think a fraction of the cost with a bunch of speakers. I do appreciate your honestly and candor very much and appreciate your comments about other subscribers. It is actually quite funny and amusing. Just don't get to wrapped around the axle about a few comments from ignorant people. I personally prefer to read books and learn OJT than attend seminars.
God bless,

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your letter, and I'm grateful for it, thank you. I appreciate the Scottsdale invitation, but respectfully decline at this time.

The complaining individual you referenced is typical of the "soak those who have earned it" lemmings whose every problem is the fault of another, who have nary an initiative, who think the government is the source of all wealth and all solutions, who always seek the shortcut, never make a personal sacrifice, never read between the lines let alone a book or newspaper, never have an original opinion nor thoughtful basis for one, lust after the success of others, as they blame others for the absence of their own success. I did not need to be so descriptive. Nor did you. Either of us could have just have simply written, "an Obama supporter....".

Best wishes,

A Fellow American

Anonymous said...



Andrew said...

Hi Bill,
I really enjoy your newsletter and have your book. But what I don't understand is how someone of your inteligence and integrity can be so sensintive to negtive feedback.
Don't let them get to you Bill!

RC in Saudi said...

Hi Bill,

There are good and bad characters in the world. You just happened to cross paths with one. I have been receiving your weekly emails and just bought your book. I intend to buy one for my youngest son who is in college.

Don't give up because of bad characters. There are a lot more people that need your help and guidance.

I work in Saudi otherwise, I would like to attend one of your seminars someday.

Anonymous said...

Professional traders and other business men are supposed to have ice water in their vains. You would think that a true professional trader who proclaims to know so much and to have paid his dues would know better than to go on rant about a few crazy comments from some possibly mentally unstable people. Here it is back at you. If you don't want to give the siminarm, don't.... There are many others. If you don't want money then don't insult us and don't write it in a newsletter where you advertise for money at the bottom of the page. Don't insult us by telling us you do this for free when it is all about making money. If it is not for money that you write the news letter, you would not advertise your services at the bottome. I have read all the professional marketing books and you are doing just what they say to do to make money. Give them something they precieve to be free and then hit them up for on your newsletter for money in the form of advertisement of your service or services. This is commonly done and taught all over the internet. So, If you don't want money from us, do not advertise. If you don't want to write this news letter then don't do it. We don't care. There are hundreds if not thousands of other services out there. You are not the only one. Now, stop crying and insulting your readers. It is most unfortunate that you would do such. (Especially From A So Called Professional) Now go ahead and waste some more of your time responding to this on your news letter. We don't care.

An Insulted and Former Reader of Your Newsletter Advertising Service

Anonymous said... has the best seminars on trading and they have the most competitive pricing. I would advise anyone who wishes to get their money's worth to check this out.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your weekly commentary....please keep doing it for those of us who enjoy your market thoughts. People never cease to amaze me...if you don't like the price or city of the seminar then don't go...but why write someone and critize them for offering such a seminar. Makes no sense but then again, so much doesn't today.....KEEP

Anonymous said...


I met you personally today at your session in Chicago. Once you meet people in person, it isn't difficult to distinguish between the people who view "trading education" as simply another ploy to make money, and those who genuinely want to share their story so others can participate in the same success. In my opinion, you're the latter. Keep up the good work.

Gemma Star said...

Likewise, I met you in New York in February; I agree that it's clear that you're the kind of person who genuinely wants to share your story and success so that others can create the same success for themselves.

I'd say: ignore people who complain. Easy to say, I know. They DO get under one's skin. The writer's complaint got under my skin -- and I'm not even you!

Like so many others, I, too, appreciate your weekly enewsletter. Thank you for taking the time to write it every week. I look forward to it.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...


I appreciate your newsletter very much. I always look forward to reading it come the weekend. Keep up the good work.


Anonymous said...

Your credentials might be impeccable, but do you have any idea how many snake oil salesmen the average trader hears from in a month?

Jim said...

Years ago my youngest brother hit bottom. He lost his car, collage scholarship, apartment etc. Since he was destitute, my mother and I offered help. He sat in my mothers kitchen and dictated to us the conditions under which he would accept our help. I have not seen/spoken to him in years.
The world will always have "jerks" like your guy and my brother.
You do so much good. Try to see all of us who stand , applaud and say thank you. Tell the "jerks" to go elsewhere for help and then forgetaboutit.

Anonymous said...


I had to respond to your letter. I am not a subscriber, but I receive your free weekend newsletter, which by the way I find very useful and sometimes educational. The anwer to your question as to people questioning your price is simple…just look at the mentality of this country today. More than likely the next president of the US will be Obama. His message is one of “Spreading the wealth” , a socialistic view which apparantly is what many Americans agree with. “Why should you have, what you have and I don’t”…this is the thinking that has permeated this country. So I am not surprised to hear what these critics have say about you. It is a shame that self determination, hard work and study is not what America is about any longer, it is what big Government can give “me” for doing as little as possible, while picking the pockets of those who actually contribute. Thanks for listening.

Anonymous said...


For those who say "Your seminar is too expensive." I would respond with the story motivational speaker Jim Rohn relates. When he was a young man being mentored, he once remarked to his mentor that a certain car was "too expensive." His mentor responded with something like, "No, no, Mr. Rohn. The car is NOT too expensive; it's that you can't afford it. The problem is not with the product; the problem is with you."

Let's put the problem where it really is. Stick to you guns.

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't even comment on the idiots that write that stuff to you. Keep up your good work. They would be the type that paid the money, came to a seminar, failed in trading and still found reasons to complain.

Anonymous said...

You are the man! I am going to join your service once I have enough cash built up to open a new account.....thanks!

Anonymous said...

Read your book and would like to attend the seminar. Thank you, for your weekly web page.

Bill Kraft, said...

Thank all of you for writing with your opinions, both positive and negative. I particularly would like to thank those who have actually seen me speak and actually met me for their kind defense. I hope you all do well in your trading. Not surprisingly, I have a pretty good idea of those who are doomed to almost certain failure in trading and those who give themselves a chance. For those who are offended by the cost of a seminar, let me say again I only raised the issue because of the folks who wrote asking me to do one. I'm perfectly happy to go fishing instead.
Bill Kraft

Bill Kraft, said...

Steve, thanks for the story about the engineer and the Chilean government. Truly apropos! Also, I want to give a nod to the blogger who suggested the CBOE seminars. I agree that they are quite good. I have attended many over the years. Also, I recommend webinars put on by brokerage firms that are often free. Events like the Trader's Library function at which I spoke this weekend (for no fee) included some exceptional folks like Dick Arms and Charlie Kirkpatrick who are legends in the trading arena. The point, folks, is get the education. If you are willing to ferret it out for free, great. That certainly can be done if you have the time and are willing to expend the effort.
Bill Kraft

Anonymous said...

Do you have any good or bad comments on Spread Trade Systems ?

Bill Kraft, said...

Hi MJ. In general, I like spread trades because they limit risk. Of course, they also limit the reward and do require some tending. I often do both debit and credit spreads in trending markets. Is Spread Trade Systems a company? If so, I don't know anything about them so I couldn't comment one way or the other. Perhaps someone else on the blog could provide first hand information. Thanks for writing.
Bill Kraft