18 Nov

Don’t use NinjaTrader

clear vision of a sunset

Here’s why I wouldn’t recommend NinjaTrader to most people.

Limited Paper Trading. This is the biggest one for us. We believe that “Practice makes Profit” and if you can’t practice, you’re not going to profit in commodity futures. From their website, NinjaTrader says it’s always free to simulate trading. While that’s technically true, the data they allow you to simulate on is based on historical data. Honestly, who wants to trade on historical data? I don’t want to know if I could’ve done well in the past, I want to know if I can do well right now. I want to practice trading futures in as close to real-time as possible.

Complicated Pricing. While the cost of the NinjaTrader software platform itself can be cheap – from free up to $1,000 – that’s not where your costs end. If you want to be able to trade or practice with real time or delayed data, you’re going to have to link it up to a real time or delayed data processor. The one that Ninja Trader recommends starts at $55/mo…on sale! We think that’s too much to practice – especially with the learning curve of this software

Overwhelming Platform. From linking your data stream to adding “instruments”, to linking charts to setting your buys and sells…wow…I’m overwhelmed just telling you about it…there’s a ton of stuff you have to do and most likely for your purposes, it’s way too much and seriously bloated! Seriously, watch this demo setup and see what I mean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q60SBeJizHQ

Let me be clear, I have nothing against Ninja Trader. I equally don’t recommend Trade Station, either. It’s a fine software with tons of bells and whistles. Professional traders swear by it. Eventually, you might have to bite the bullet and use a software like this. However, whether you use it or not, the need for simplicity in practicing is glaring.

But here’s the good news. Papertrademe.com addresses all of these problems and more:

  • Papertrademe.com’s paper trading is super simple. Our entire goal is to get traders – new and old alike – to paper trade. Our data is delayed only 15 minutes (as opposed to “historical”). When you trade, you get a better picture of how you would fare in the real, current market.
  • Papertrademe.com’s pricing is super simple. It’s all inclusive and affordable. We’re not trying to “up sell” you on anything and there are no expensive add-ons or data streams. Check our pricing here.
  • Papertrademe.com’s platform is super simple. You can enter your first paper trade within 5 minutes of getting access to the site! Seriously…5 minutes.

Sign up today!

Click here to sign up.



06 Sep

September Progress Update (and mobile preview)

The Papertrademe.com app is almost done! I can’t believe how far it’s come. We’ve gone from an idea in my head to near full implementation of the app. And it’s better than we had ever imagined.

Actually, it’s taken much longer than we were anticipating, but with a platform like ours, it’s absolutely vital that we get it just right. Since our app has lots of formulas for calculating profit and loss we’ve got to make sure our future customers can rely on the information given them. 

Probably the biggest challenge we’ve had has been trying to communicate with a developer who doesn’t have a background in trading commodities. Futures has its own terminology that takes a bit of a learning curve to grab onto. Many concepts have to be explained over and over again to make sure we are both on the same page. One of the biggest successes I’ve had has been speaking in “coder” language with the developer. This project was decidedly over my head in terms of web development, despite my few years earning a living at it. However, with the experience I had in the development world, I know the language enough to put it in a proper framework. That being said, our developer has done a great job so far getting acquainted with the language.

We’ve still got some time before we’re ready to launch the site. We’re still tweaking our user management system and getting our payment processor linked up. But we’re really excited to move into the next phase of this project. And we can’t wait until we can bring it to the world!

Take a look at some screenshots of the mobile version of our app!

We have a quick view of you account status at the top of the page:

Trades are divided up in different tabs to easily locate your trades:

No matter if you’re on mobile or desktop, the entire site is at your fingertips:

04 Sep

How Commodity Traders are Like Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson Practice

Who remembers this infamous interview?

We’re sitting in here, and I’m supposed to be the franchise player, and we in here talking about practice. I mean, listen, we’re talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, we talking about practice. Not a game. Not, not … Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it’s my last. Not the game, but we’re talking about practice, man. I mean, how silly is that? … And we talking about practice.

It actually goes on from there, but it all sounds the same. (Watch the clip below.) Iverson is saying practice doesn’t matter. It only matters what you do in the game.

But when we see that interview, we cringe. Because we know it’s ridiculous. Nobody doubts “The Answer’s” talent and skill level. He was truly one of the greats of the game. I’ve got nothing but respect for his game. But these statements are cringeworthy. We cringe because we know it’s not true. We cringe because we know that practice is vital for any sport. I mean, how did Iverson get to be as good as he was in the first place? That’s right…Practice. We talkin’ bout practice.

But if we take a minute and think about our own trading habits, isn’t that how we approach it? Don’t we also have this attitude? We aren’t concerned enough to even try and practice an idea? Instead we’ve got Iverson’s attitude. We say, not the real market, not the real market, we’re talking about paper trading. Paper trading!

And that’s where we miss the point. If you cannot succeed in practice, then you cannot succeed in real life. Furthermore, professional athletes don’t just stop practicing when they reach the NBA. They actually practice more. That’s their job!

So, here are three ways that commodity traders are like Allen Iverson:

  • They put their money on the line without paper trading first.
    If you’re like me, you’re excited about using different trading techniques. Whether it’s trading off of a different chart type, or getting the inside scoop on a piece of advice, your ears are tuned to see new ways to gain an edge. But the problem becomes a refusal to paper trade it first. A refusal to see if we understand the concept properly. We rush out to try it using real money. It’s a recipe to losing money quick.
  • They follow a “guru’s” advice hook, line and sinker without testing him out first.
    It always amazes me how quickly traders will blindly follow advice. I remember a broker offering me advice on a trade he felt I needed to get in to. I didn’t really have the money to make the trade, so my response was that I would take the information and paper trade it this time around. Guess what? That trade lost money. This was a lesson that actually helped lay a foundation that would eventually lead us to create papertrademe.com. Read more about that here.
  • They think we’ve arrived.
    There’s nothing worse than a cocky athlete that’s too good for practice. Allen Iverson certainly fit that bill at times. But we can do that, too. We have a couple of successful trades and we think we’re ready for the big-time…that nothing can go wrong. But if you’ve spent any time in the commodities market, you know that things can turn against you really fast. Even the most advanced trader needs to continue working on his skills.

Papertrademe.com’s aim is to make sure that you have a chance to test out all your ideas and continually work out your own personal trading technique. Our platform is dead-simple and get’s straight to the point. We don’t mess around with trying to get you to trade real money. We see that as a conflict of interest. We just want to give you a simple, clean platform to paper trade commodities.

24 Jun

Tools and Tips for How to Trade Commodities

We encourage you to use papertrademe.com to practice your own investment strategies. But we understand that if you’re a beginner you may need a little guidance in getting started. Below we’ve compiled some tools that we use and some tips to help you get started.

Feel free to comment below with your own tools and tips!


Quotes & Charts

Easily one of the most important aspects of trading is viewing quotes and charts. Although papertrademe.com uses real, live data, you’ll also want to view historical data and trends. Here’s a few of the websites that we use.

Tradingcharts.com – Specifically, we’re looking at the futures section: http://futures.tradingcharts.com

Danielstrading.com – www.danielstrading.com


1-2-3 Method

Channel Method

16 Mar

Isn’t trading commodities just pure gambling?

Every time I hear someone compare commodities to gambling, I think of Matt Damon’s character from the movie Rounders, in which he is talking about playing poker. At a high point in the film he says angrily to his girlfriend:

Why does this still seem like gambling to you? Why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table at the World Series of Poker every single year? What, are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas?

It’s my favorite part of the movie. The character is finally confronted with having to tell his girlfriend the truth that he’s been playing poker again. It’s revealing in a couple of interesting ways. And they both line up to trading commodities.


  1. Matt Damon’s character is right. “Big name players…have made millions of dollars over the courses of their careers. They show up time and time again at the final table of major events.” And there are a ton of other reasons to suggest that poker is not gambling as well. (Check out this article which explain more about the above quote and explains many other reasons.)

    The same is true of commodities. If it was just pure gambling, people wouldn’t be able to consistently make money trading commodities and “win at the game”. But people do it all the time! They work hard, look for the signs, and make money in trading commodities. People literally make a career out of this! A career they can spend at home or abroad!

  2. You can make a gamble of anything. How many times in our lives do we just put the money down without doing research and hope things turn out ok? Matt Damon’s character did this. He got lost and started gambling rather than sticking to his plan (hence the conflict with his girlfriend). Is it possible to throw money at the commodities market and just gamble? Absolutely. That’s how most people do it, in fact. But we think there’s a better way.

At papertrademe.com, we’re looking to take the gamble out of trading commodities. Go in with a proven plan, execute it, and win more times than not. Then, watch your account balance go up. Honestly, that’s the whole point of what we do! You can take your hard-earned money and throw it at a broker and hope everything turns out ok (talk about a gamble!), or you can paper trade, save your money, and practice until you get it right! Then, when you’re ready to make that first real trade with a broker, it won’t be a gamble, it will be a proven plan that will win over the long term.

Is there risk in trading commodities. Absolutely! But those risks can be mitigated.
Just look at your own life today:

  • Are there risks in driving a car? Absolutely! Wear a seatbelt.
  • Are there risks in your job stability? Absolutely! Learn new skills.
  • Are there risks to your health? Absolutely! Don’t drink too much. Eat right.

There are risks in commodities. But those risks can be lowered by planning.

So, is trading commodities pure and simple gambling? No, it’s not. And just like anything else in life, there is a smart way to do things and a foolish way. We want to help you do the smart thing.

Join papertrademe.com today! Sign up here: http://papertrademe.com/signup/

14 Mar

First Screenshots Revealed!

We’re so stoked at the progress of papertrademe.com! This has been a dream of ours for many years and to see it coming to fruition is so exciting! We’re not quite finished yet, but we just couldn’t wait any longer to share some of the screenshots that we’re working on!

Home Page

Papertrademe.com HomePage


Papertrademe.com Dashboard

Open Trades

Papertrademe.com Log


Papertrademe.com Commodities

03 Mar

Professionals Rehearse Until they Can’t get it Wrong

Today I’ve been pondering the following quote:

“Amateurs rehearse until they get it right. Professionals rehearse until they can’t get it wrong.”

I initially heard this quote on the Pat Flynn Podcast with Michael Port. Which, after a quick Google Search, is apparently attributed to Julie Andrews.

I absolutely love this quote! It so encompasses the difference between an amateur and a professional. When I first heard the quote and the discussion that followed, I immediately identified with it. I’m such an amateur! And it’s because I don’t rehearse enough.

I initially felt bad about this. But then I realized that this was already an area of my life that I’ve been working on. Whether it be giving a speech, teaching, or practicing music, or whatever, it’s no longer an option to just “wing it”. Practice must be taken seriously and it must be done as a regular habit of life. And, indeed, this is being displayed in the creation and development of papertrademe.com. The whole concept of “practice until you can’t get it wrong” is enveloped in our application.

When it comes to investing money in the futures market, it is not good enough to just learn the fundamentals and a few techniques about trading commodities – you’ll lose your shirt that way. We need to practice until we can’t get it wrong. That it is how fortunes are made. And that is what using papertrademe.com will do for you.

24 Feb

What is the difference between a commodities Speculator and a Hedger?

Am I a speculator or a hedger?

Futures contract

There are two types of traders in commodities – Speculators and Hedgers.

You, more than likely, are a speculator. Speculators are the vast majority of people who are buying and selling contracts in order to profit from predictions in the way the market moves. A speculator is not involved with the actual production of the commodity or in the selling of the physical good; usually they do not want to take delivery of the huge amounts of the commodity. They are only interested in holding contracts of the commodity to later sell at a better price.

Who are these people that are speculators? It’s people like you and me! Teachers, engineers, salespeople, secretaries, mechanics, lawyers, stay-at-home moms and dads. It can be anybody!

A hedger, on the other hand, usually has his hand in another side of the business. Perhaps he is a farmer, or a dealer of the commodity being sold. To “hedge” is to protect oneself from an adverse move against the business.

For example, the corn farmer wants the price of corn to go up so he can make more money on the product he grew. However, in the chance that it goes down, the farmer can purchase contracts of future corn betting that it will go down. This way, regardless of the actual move in the price of corn, the farmer can be in a win-win situation.

In other arenas, such as sports, this would be highly frowned upon. In fact as a player, putting money on the line to make any sort of prediction will get you banned – just ask Pete Rose. But in the commodities world, this is a perfectly legitimate way to let farmers protect themselves. Unlike sports, there’s no conflict of interest in the outcome. The farmer is going to produce as much as he can regardless of which direction the market moves.

13 Feb

Why we Created Papertrademe.com

ScreenShot PaperTradeMe

We want to be able to control our own money.

If you look online for places to invest your money, there’s no shortage of people who will gladly take it and invest it as they please. They’re the experts, right? If you’re like us, we’re a bit skeptical of investors. Once they have your money and the freedom to trade as they please, there’s no real incentive to be profitable…at least not to the extent that you have to invest your own money.

Brokers don’t really want to help you.

Have you looked online for sites that will help you trade commodities? Sure, you can practice…for about 2 weeks, and then the brokers want you to invest lots of money.

The reason they only give you 2 weeks is because they don’t make any money unless you’re trading. But 2 weeks just isn’t wise. We’re talking about trading potentially huge amounts of commodities? No way. We need time to figure this stuff out.

Blindfolded business man with bag of money is about to walk off the edge of a building representing financial risk, management, planning, investments, savings and retirement, and many other financial concepts.

We need to practice.

Each of has hobbies. From learning Chinese to gardening to DIY improving our homes our hobbies run the gamut. Well, guess what? They take practice. And we continue to practice each of these hobbies on a regular basis. We can use each of these skills in real life, but in order to get better, we have to continue to practice.

We’re learn-by-doing kind of people.

We don’t know about you, but learning the theory of any subject gets old fast. It’s so much more rewarding to actually apply your knowledge in real life. That’s exactly what papertrademe.com does. It allows us to practice trading commodities as if it were real! If we had actually made the trades, we would see the same results!

We like to experiment.

What if there’s a better way? What if that “expert trader” on the TV actually knows what he’s talking about? What about that new way of technical trading? Well…let’s test it out. We’re not going to waste our hard earned money without first giving it a shot in practice.

At the end of the day, we really want to take our futures into our own hands. We can study this stuff all day, everyday, but until we’re actually doing this for ourselves, it’s not worth anything. With papertrademe.com, we’re practicing in real life conditions because we know that “Practice makes Profitable“.