I honestly have no idea how strong other stock market trading chat room communities are around the internet. If I was forced to make a bet on anything, the bet I’d make is that our community is one of the strongest in the stock market world.
I realize, proclaiming “our community is great” is easy to say, but what about “walking-the-walk”? Well… that’s exactly what happened this past weekend as The Inner Circle community had its 3rd ever Meet-and-Greet. Previously, we were in Chicago, I didn’t write a blog post about it, but I wanted to do that this time.
This “journal entry” is really intended for those members who weren’t able to join. If you are someone maybe sitting on the fence about joining, maybe this can, LITERALLY, show you that we are indeed a close knit community of traders and FRIENDS (whom are always welcoming of new people).
My journey started off at waking up at 3 am est. on Thursday morning. I had to catch a 5:30 am est. flight into Baltimore, MD. Community member Nate Wilson (listen to his podcast), who lives in Baltimore, invited myself and itNate to hang out the day before. The first ever Meet-and-Greet was in Baltimore, and I slept at his house then (and didn’t get murdered), so I was glad to accept the invite.
He picked us up at the airport and off to breakfast we went at Blue Moon Café. Where as you can see below, we had an epic cinnamon roll! Mmmmm….
Breakfast was followed by heading to his house in Federal Hill and just hanging out with him and Nate, the IT guy, (whom in the community we call “itNate” – listen to his podcast). This consisted mainly of making fun of one another.
For lunch we went to a restaurant featured on Man vs. Food for some Pit Beef. It was fantastic.
While not intended, it worked out perfectly that the Baltimore Orioles were having an afternoon game, so after we grabbed lunch, it was time to head to the game.
The Orioles got smoked 7-2, but there were some great plays within the game (not to mention, I don’t really care about the Orioles), so it was a fun time regardless.
After walking back to Nate’s house, we just relaxed around his house again. I caught up on customer service emails, we watched some TV, and once again, continued to make fun of one another. After quite a bit of research, we determined German food sounded good, so we headed to Das Bier Haus.
The night ended with walking off some of the calories by going to a local park and acting like we were all kickball pros as we critiqued kickball league games that were playing out.
The next day, we grabbed breakfast once again at Blue Moon (place is amazing) and then hit the road for the four-hour drive to Pittsburgh. Perhaps you can guess by now what we did, but yeah, there was lots of making fun of one another.
Poor itNate just wasn’t built for life on the road…
Eventually we made our way into the state of Pennsylvania.
A couple hours later, we arrived at our final destination, Pittsburgh.
Upon arrival at the hotel, there were actually quite a few members of the community who had already arrived. Some of them I had met before in Baltimore and Chicago, others, it was the first time. The hotel lobby had a big ol’ table that was perfect for just sitting around and chit-chatting.
The “main event” didn’t happen until 6 pm est., so at this point we were all making it up as we went (still fun though). Community member Darren (listen to his podcast), and his super cool wife, invited everyone who was already around to come down to the river and hang out at his boat. So… we started a journey that began by needing to take the train (only the 2nd train I’ve ever been on) down to the river…
What then followed still makes me laugh thinking about it (and typing this up). It truly gave me flashbacks to college with the imagery I was seeing… we had to walk to where the boat was docked, and yeah…
And then the IT guy and The Stock Trading Reality Podcast cohost Chezz (the guy with the ice). The funny thing here is itNate does not drink, yet how he ended up carrying a 30 case of cheap beer I’ll never know – haha!
After a very long walk down to the river (cool to see the sights though), we arrived at Darren’s boat and then just hung out and had a great time.
It was amazing how fast the time flew by. It seemed like we had just gotten there and it was already time to head back for the “main event” at the Hard Rock Café. Given the size of the group, we were able to get our own private room.
In total we had over 30 people come to the official meet-up. I arrived a bit early which allowed me more time to meet more people.
Once the main event began, we had a full house and there were people everywhere I looked.
We had originally planned on bowling or something afterwards, but people just kept on chatting…and chatting… and chatting… and chatting. The night began at 6 pm est., but I finally headed back to the hotel at midnight. There were actually a few other members who stayed even later until the restaurant closed down!
The next morning, those who were able to wake up and attend, headed to a local breakfast place. We had plans to go somewhere else; however, the weather was not too pleasant, so we decided to keep it within a short walking distance of the hotel. We essentially took over the entire breakfast place, but it was another great time of conversation and chit-chat.
With breakfast complete, we took a final group picture (which is missing people since we forgot to take one the night before) and then people began to part ways. If you’re interested in seeing more pictures from the trip, you can visit our photo album here. Special thanks to member h00ch for annotating “who is who” in the group photo. Click it to make it easier to see.
The journey wasn’t quite over for me. I fell behind quite a bit on customer service emails and the other logistics that come with running a business, so I wasn’t able to relax yet at the Pittsburgh airport, I had stuff to do!
All in all, though, it was a great trip! It’s so cool to meet people from all age ranges and walks of life. The crazy part is, no matter how old or different someone is, because we all have a common ground of our interest in the stock market, it was always easy to strike up a conversation. I feel as though it’s safe to say I left Pittsburgh with some new friends.
If you are in the market and searching for an online community to join, then I hope you give us a try. Like I said already, it’s very easy to “say” that a community is friendly and has a sense of teamwork, but as you hopefully now see, we actually take it to a whole other level of wanting to meet up and hang out.
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. It was totally voluntary, but it gives a good glimpse into what the trip looked like through other’s eyes.
“Dimliwitti” (listen to his podcast)
My perspective regarding the meetup in Pittsburgh include many facets, as a first-timer to one of your meet-ups. Here’s just a couple:
One perspective is the one of a spouse bringing my wife who was not a part of the Inner Circle. Although very familiar with ClayTrader.com and the IC chat rooms through me, she had no idea what to expect. Everyone was welcoming and down-to-earth and loved the fact that she is part of my trading pathology…. the ying to my yang, if you will. Better still, she’s looking forward to the next event!
Another perspective was that of a person who didn’t want to come to a meet-up where 100% of the conversations would center around trading and stocks, only. While those conversations were insightful and I learned a bit, I was glad to find that the social event was just that – social! We got to know people instead of people’s business, if you catch the difference. I genuinely feel friendships were made and look forward to reuniting, in person. In the meantime, the chat room is now even better than it already was, now that my wife and I can put faces, voices and personalities to the names and avatars in the Inner Circle.
Thank you for doing it and providing a wonderful environment for your traders; experienced and new.
Darren (listen to his podcast)
It was a real surprise to find that everyone on this trip was normal fun and educated, I was not sure what to expect since people were from all over this country and the other country we don’t talk about (lol) . With that being said It was a great pleasure to meet all that attended and I would do it again if time permits. My favorite part was talking face to face with the folks I only had a mental image of . Seeing everyone’s different personalities now makes it easier to chat in the rooms.
Thanks Clay for organizing this meet up.
Thank you for providing the opportunity for members of your Inner Circle to meet. The place was great. You and your team hit a home run selecting the hotel and area, downtown Pittsburgh, the rivers, the skyline and the food were unexpectedly excellent. Meeting so many member’s of the Inner Circle, some for the second time and most for the first time, was so exciting and rewarding. Clay, you attract great, smart folks, who are down to earth, level headed, and very kind as well. Darren and Heather were very kind, as was Doc, they made the meetup even more relaxing and enjoyable, by sharing their time and experiences.
Thank you Clay, and thank you all who were there, it was a great time
Chezz (listen to his podcast)
Considering I spend many hours a day with all of these individuals in the chat room, I can’t stress how nice it is to finally put a face to a name. I stand by my statement that we have one of the rarest communities in the trading world. It truly is a place of genuine support and friendship. I do believe and know that it really does help in the learning process (because it helped me). I look forward to these trips every year and can’t wait to see the community again at the next trip.
Paddy (listen to his podcast)
I’ve heard the number of people who attended was 32. People felt it was worthwhile, to spend their time and money, to travel to meet others (many of whom were still strangers) in this small community of like-minded traders. What more validation do you need, of the merits of this trading program?
Being able to talk to everyone, was like having live access to podcasts and being able to tailor the questions to what you wanted to know. Everyone was eager to glean or share information about what we do together in IC, and everyone appeared to have fun. I know I did. It was great to finally meet people I already considered friends online.
Add to that, folks came away having formed new friendships with people they otherwise would probably never have met. The value that people see in being a part of this group is quite evident. The affection for, and the desire to see our fellow members succeed, is genuine. No more proof is needed, that this is a great program to be a part of.
Thanks again to you and Nate for organizing the get-together. As someone who has not quite found my groove with trading yet, coming to this was an eye opener. Not only was it helpful to bounce trading mentalities and philosophies off of other people from the group, but seeing how much joining the group has really helped people succeed in there personal lives was extremely encouraging. I already knew that CTU has paid dividends for many members so far, just seeing it in person was very motivating.
Also, I would like to say to everyone that I did get a chance to meet and talk to, I obviously have not been a big participant in the chat for a few unrelated reasons and right now I am currently in between brokers. I’m working towards getting an account up and running again by the end of summer, and when that happens I look forward to being more vocal in chat and talking to everyone again. It was nice to meet everybody, keep up the good work.
“Chris from Nashville”
I went to Pittsburgh suspecting quite a bit, but not quite sure of anything. Based on the podcasts and messages in the chat room, this was a group I knew I wanted to meet. I’ve been thinking for a little while, “these are my people”, but needed more data points for confirmation.
Clay is as down to earth and personable as advertised. Admittedly, I went in half wanting him to show less consistency, but was disappointed. Makes roasting him harder. I was also shocked and disappointed to hear that he’s not a fan of “The Big Lebowski”.
Gator warmed up quickly – giving me grief for being a University of Tennessee football fan, while fully acknowledging that we’ll likely be the better team this year. 😉
Nate Wilson explored most, if not all, aspects of my relationship in “gameshow host” fashion. He has a bright future… in daytime talk shows… on public access television… If he believes and applies himself, he could gain tens of fans – becoming as popular as Jerry Springer or Montel Williams at the lowest points of their success.
IT Nate is just “chill”. Its like nothing phases him. I envy that. Disappointed that he wasn’t following Clay everywhere with a camera and/or a fresh t-shirt for him to do another video.
Chezz was not at all like I expected, though I can’t exactly say what I expected. Super nice guy, and easy to talk to, even if he’s a Blackhawks fan. Now that I’m aware of this, I will speak to him more slowly, and in smaller words.
Chad and I have big plans. With his business idea, we stand to make millions and you’ll all be jealous when we buy our yellow Ferraris.
Now, I must get on the ClayTrader/Nate Wilson fitness plan. Needs to be a CTU course called “Gym, Trade, Diet”. Not to be confused with “Gym, Tan, Laundry” of Jersey Shore fame…
Shawn, Chase, Dim (and Mrs. Dim), Hooch, Mustang, DT, Doc, Paddy, Ray, Darren and all the rest – great people, and I’m glad I met you all. We have a pretty compatible, intelligent, and fun group. Coming from different places and finding ways to talk, laugh and have a good time with complete strangers, and for almost no reason at all makes the prospect of working together in trading that much easier. In all sincerity – thank you for welcoming Michelle and me to the group. We had a great time, and even though I was more “getting to know you” than talking shop, I learned a bit from talking to many of you and I’m already looking forward to doing it again.
Chad (listen to his podcast)
Networking, trading insight, constant comic relief from Nate Wilson, and good conversation with new friends. There are a lot of good people in our community. I feel lucky to have met all of you in the great city of Pittsburgh.
Michelle (Chris from Nashville’s Girlfriend)
I had a wonderful time and it was great meeting everyone. What you have created as far as a company is certainly impressive to me. I know Chris is thoroughly engaged learning from your product.
Thanks again for a wonderful time last weekend and for sharing your talent through ClayTrader. Most of the guys I know in trading would never think to share their craft because their egos get in the way. It is refreshing to say the least!
Shawn – Wisconsin (listen to her podcast)
What an amazing time at Pittsburgh! Not only did I get to finally meet some of the IC team that contributed to my beginning journey in trading but also the ones that are early in their own journey.
It was great to see all the different cultures and personalities that unite this team with the one thing we all had in common-trading and wanting a better life for ourselves.
The ease of conversation was relaxed and incredible since the relationships had already been established through our memberships of IC. My personal favorite part is that we are not just an avatar anymore, and the sharing of our stories, hardships and successes in trading did nothing but make it more personal the first day back in the lounge. I cheer even louder when there is the ah-ha moment and successful trade, encourage when the day may not have gone so well, and join in the banter with more openness and even boldness.
Can’t say it enough, “love this group- my second family”
My wife and I really enjoyed getting to meet and chat with others at the meet-up. It was also great to get to meet Clay in person and some of the staff members. I’ve never thought about how important the chat room is until talking with so many members and realizing how much interaction there is. The meet-up was a great excuse for my wife and I to get away from our busy schedules.
Daisy (Tony’s Wife)
For me it was fun because I had the chance to meet people whose stories I had heard either from some of the podcasts (whenever Tony listens to them) or from Tony. Tony has shared stories about the other meet ups and the people and what not. I also liked that even though I still don’t know nearly as much as all of you guys, I was able to understand some of the lingo and did not feel lost when someone would talk options.
Regarding the actual place you guys picked, I really liked Pittsburgh. Good choice. Nice places to see, walk to, and not that you could have controlled the weather, but the weather was perfect. All the people I met were interesting and I feel those meet ups are also a good place to learn from each other.
h00ch (listen to his podcast)
To my wife: “I’m going to Pittsburgh” “Why?” “To meet a bunch of people from the chat room I’m in all day” “Sounds safe” “and one of them is flying here to drive down with me” “Even better!”
To the US border guard: “We’re going to Pittsburgh” “Purpose of your visit?” “To meet up with some friends” “How long have you known these people?” “Most of them a year or 2” “Have you met them before?” “No” “How about you guys, when did you meet?” “About an hour ago”
Was I nervous about the trip? Not at all! I felt as though I was going to a high school reunion. Meeting old friends that I have not seen in years. Everyone was pretty much exactly what I had expected, since I have seen pictures and heard their podcasts and gotten to know their personalities through the Inner Circle.
It was great to see such a big turn out and I expect the next will be that much bigger. I already miss everyone and wish that we could have spent more time together.
As traders, it’s so great to be around so many like-minded people who have similar experiences and who are on the same path to trading success. No one else understands all the hurdles along the way or the mental anguish that we put ourselves through and it’s nice to be able to talk about it with someone who actually listens (other than my dog).