Did I ever have plans of meeting people face-to-face when I first started the Inner Circle community over three years ago? Absolutely not. But… it has happened once again, for the 5th time…

Previous to this, I met members of the community in Baltimore, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Nashville, and now almost a week ago, Columbus, Ohio!

If you have no affiliation with my site, then for you, I can’t really say there is any educational benefit to this piece of content. All I’ll say is that if you are on-the-fence about whether you want to spend the $99 for the yearly subscription (NOT monthly, YEARLY) to join, maybe this can show you that the community is truly a friend filled place.

I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again since it came up in conversation in Columbus, but for many of us, in our “normal” lives we don’t have anyone to “talk trading” with. People either think we’re gamblers, boring, or just have no understanding of the markets.

With that being said, when you are part of a community and can sit down face-to-face with someone to “talk trading” and they’re just as passionate about it as you are, there is truly an adrenaline rush that is hard to replicate/describe. The coolest thing is, you could sit down a 20 year old next to an 80 year old who have never met, and they’d instantly be able to kill an awkward silence by simply “talking trading”. It’s that one common ground we all have and is the key ingredient to making these meet-ups such a success.

If you’re read my articles regarding Pittsburgh or Nashville, then you know I essentially treat this like a diary where I give an account from my perspective.

Nashville 2016 Meet-and-Greet

So why Columbus, Ohio? Simply put… I LOVE the city (2nd only to Kansas City). I grew up in the state of Ohio, but I attended The Ohio State University for college, so spent a whole lot of time in Columbus during those school years.

On top of this, it was in driving distance from where I live in Michigan now… to add to this, my wife wanted to come, and at the time of the meet-up (and as I write this right now), she could be having our 4th child at any moment. Point being, she wanted to come and flying was not an option, so that led us to Columbus.

Speaking of my wife, yeah… all I’ll say is at first I would have NEVER considered it. I mean really? Meeting up with strangers you met in an internet chatroom… come on! But, after realizing that all these people are just like me, normal/rational, I felt more than comfortable to bring her along. I have some good friends from my “normal life” that also accepted an invitation to come along, so it was a road trip of five (supposed to be six, but itNate’s wife got sick the night before).

The journey started for me at 8 am est. on Thursday. Our motely crew of friends met at my house and we embarked on the five hour drive. There was lots of “baby talk” on the drive, but oh well, by no means the end of the world, just a different dynamic given these trips are usually just “tough guys”.

After doing some research, I found a popular place in Columbus that was featured on Man vs. Food, so we decided we’d go there for lunch. The name of the place? The Thurman Café.

They are known for their burgers, and as you can see below, they lived up to their reputation (although, I must say, the picture doesn’t do it justice on just how big it actually was).

I’m proud to say I owned on it. As for the IT guy who runs the behind-the-scenes of the site… well… he got owned on. I’ll leave it at that.

After lunch, we have two VERY IMPORTANT tasks to attend to. The first, go get some dessert, aka, donuts!

In all honesty, out of all the various quests I’ve gone on for donuts, these were my favorite. If you’re a fan of donuts like I am, and are in the Columbus area, check out Buckeye Donuts for sure.

The second vital task that needed to be completed, was head to the home of the Ohio State Buckeyes… yes… I’m “sorta” a college football fan.

If you consider yourself even the slightest bit of a college football fan, then you know The Horseshoe is one of the more well known stadiums, so why would I not drop by for a quick visit?

When these important tasks were completed, we made the 15ish minute drive to the hotel we were staying. Again, if you’re ever in Columbus and need a place to stay, Easton Town Center is an amazing spot.

Things were pretty mild from here to the next day. Our motely crew hung out at the hotel for a while, then headed to World of Beer for late night appetizers (we were stuffed from lunch) and then enjoyed some epic cheesecake thanks to The Cheesecake Factory.

The next morning started off with a few hiccups, but that’s okay, we managed. The one hiccup was the flight delays that The Stock Trading Reality Podcast co-host Chezz was dealing with. The main reason this was a hassle because we had a pretty tight timeline. We had lunch plans for meeting up with those members who were in town early, but before that, we wanted to record a live/video podcast.

I’ll admit, the below looks pretty shady, but I promise it was all for the video podcast. itNate was up bright and early in his room getting “the studio” all set up.

To make a long story short, we were able to pick up Chezz and the airport and get the video/live podcast recorded. To those of you who watched live, we appreciated your patience with us! So thank you!

When this mission had been accomplished, it was time for the first “official” event as we headed to Melt Bar and Grilled. This place takes grilled cheese and elevates it to crazy levels. I was thoroughly impressed and will be sure to visit again.

The best part though was starting to get to meet members face-to-face. While it was not everyone that we’d later that night meet, it was a great introductory group for sure.

The above doesn’t include everyone that was there, but it captures the majority. We all enjoyed a good time of “trade talk” and simply getting to know one another. I find it interesting to hear about everyone’s story and where they currently are at in their trading journey.

When lunch was complete, I personally headed back to the hotel room to regroup and then needed to run a quick errand. That errand? Well… come on… like I was saying earlier, I’m a huge Ohio State football fan, so how could I resist picking up an authentic helmet for my office? Given it has become tradition to put a picture of itNate into these blog posts, below you can see the purchase being modeled by the IT guy.

By this point in the day, it was nearing the “main event”, so after a tad bit of relaxing in the room, it was off to meet everyone else. The nice thing about the complex we stayed at was the place of the main event was within walking distance, so that always makes things a bit easier.

We rented a room at The Rusty Bucket and had a variety of appetizers on hand. For those that were a bit more hungry, they ordered meals of the menu.

I truly enjoyed meeting many new people. Some of the members had come to previous meet-ups, but the vast majority of people were brand new.

All in all, it was a great time. As you can see below, we had an awesome sized group for a meet-up that was put together on a relatively short notice timeline. The crazy part is, we had 4-5 people not show up due to last minute conflicts in their schedule… so in a perfect world, there would have been even more people in the picture.

I finally called it a night around 11:30ish pm est. It all started at 7 pm est and everyone stuck around until the end (until after I left), so I’d assume people were having a good time. I can not confirm nor deny, but rumor on the street is that a group of people ended up hanging out til 2:30ish am est…

The final “event” that people could attend if they were still around was a breakfast. We went to Northstar Café which was within walking distance of the hotel. My one complaint was not enough food. Don’t get me wrong, the food was awesome; however, for the price and quantity, I wish there was more.

The other compliment I need to give is their hot sauce was fantastic. There was no lable on the bottle, so I don’t know if it was homemade or not, but it was great. Also, I don’t know who that hot blonde is in the background who’s checking me out, but yeah… she’s HOT!!!

After breakfast, we all said our final good-byes and off we went back to Michigan. I know some people stayed around through the entire weekend to check out the city and hang out more, but for us, it was the end of the journey.

I realize I’ve said it numerous times already, but I’ll beat the dead horse one more time. I truly enjoyed meeting all sorts of new people and just hanging out. Everyone was normal and no one showed up trying to impress anyone else. No judgements were made, we just all had a good time.

If you want to see more pictures of the journey and meet-up, CLICK HERE to be taken to the photo album.

If you are reading this and currently searching for an online community to join, then I hope you give us a try. It’s very easy to “say” that a community is friendly and has a sense of teamwork, but as you hopefully now see, our community is as genuine as it gets.

Who knows… maybe I can meet you at our next meet-and-greet!

I wanted to open up the memories and perspectives on the trip to others outside myself, so below you can see what some members had to say who were in attendance. It was totally voluntary, but it gives a good glimpse into what the trip looked like through other’s eyes.

David (Listen to his Podcast)
Boy was my girlfriend surprised when I told my her that we were meeting people from Craigslist to buy a couch and it ended up being the Claytrader Columbus Meetup! She usually dislikes talking trading. Once she got to the meetup, she had a good time meeting everyone (Especially Abbey, Clay’s wife).

It was super cool to put a face to a username. A few of us stayed up until 2:30 AM hanging out and chatting in the hotel lobby. I sincerely missed everyone when it ended.

Overall, I would definitely recommend coming to a meetup. You will be meeting the people that you will battle the markets alongside and make money with.
I hope to see anyone reading this at the next one!

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