In 1957, Dr. George Bond began ground breaking experiments to evaluate the feasibility of humans living and working under the sea. This early worked proved that saturation diving was possible and substantially changed the way deep oil field work and scientific research would be conducted for many years. Like Dr Bond and his first “Genesis” experiments, we are looking to test a model we feel can be the genesis of a sustainable future for ourselves as well as other non-profit organizations.
In my last post, we discussed the need to set limits that meet our own risk profile. As a cave diver, I was taught the mnemonic “The Good Alert Diver Lives” as a way to remember the five best practices a diver can follow to increase safety. This mnemonic has had to change a bit over the years to remain relevant but the same principles still apply. The “T” here represents training. A lack of training continues to be recognized as contributing to cave diving fatalities as recently as a 2009 publication by Buzzacott et al. with data from the Divers Alert Network.*
Trading in financial markets is all about risk management. Just the same as a diver will “plan a dive and dive the plan” to increase the level of safety on a dive, traders “plan a trade and trade a plan” to give themselves the best opportunity for a favorable outcome. People need training before diving and divers need training before cave diving. Likewise, the first step to becoming a successful trader should be learning how to read the conditions and make a trading plan.
My interest in stocks really began in the ninth grade. There was a competition held in our Political, Economic, and Legal systems (PEL replaced the old Civics) course that gave us a budget and a way to purchase our virtual stocks based on price quotes printed in The New York Times. We worked in teams of three or four to select our companies. Our team was not the best but I found the process fascinating.
In November of 2011, I saw a Facebook post from one of my dive buddies and founding board member for Rubicon. He commented that his mother and father has just registered for a “Foundations of Stocks and Options Scholarship” that was being offered by TradeSmart University online. For years I had wanted to know more about how to better take care of the retirement funds I was accumulating through my employer and remembering how much fun the learning in my PEL course was enough to make me send him an email. These courses were 90 minutes, twice a week for four weeks. I had missed the first class but he assured me that I would not be lost (and the first class had actually been recorded in case someone like me came along late anyway). By the end of the second week I was hooked. My wife purchased the next two levels of the course as an early Christmas present for me and by the end of December I had watched all 24 videos in the series.
I started reading and watching everything I could on the market and spent every free minute that I could “back trading” or working through historical price charts and making decisions as if they were live. I could practice chart pattern recognition and candlestick formations virtually and gain valuable experience along the way. This idea of back trading was awesome since it reminded me of the simulations we put medical teams through to improve their skills every day.
TradeSmart has continued to support my education and provide mentorship as I have traded my personal accounts. It was through TradeSmart that I first came in contact with Anne-Marie Baiynd and began reading her books. I ultimately began subscribing to her trading service for ideas. Anne-Marie is an active member of the StockTwits community and it is through her interactions there that I first came in contact with many traders that have shaped my own style. Some days the StockTwits stream feels like I am drinking from a firehose but the content created in that community is a huge asset to a beginner like myself.
It is through the StockTwits stream and the growth of Anne-Marie’s services that this idea for a sustainable future for small non-profits was born. I have a real job in medical simulation, try to be the best father and husband I can be, operate Rubicon to the best of my ability and find time to trade when I can. Fortunately, the time required to learn to trade has gone down but I have also been fortunate in that I have never really needed much sleep.
This feeling of being pulled in multiple directions is something every non-profit director or board member I have ever met can relate to. Another of my frustrations has been that every minute I spend trying to secure funding through a donation or grant is another minute I am not spending on the tasks needed to make us successful in accomplishing our goals. If we don’t spend that time looking for funding, we will either have to pull it away from our families or have to close our doors.
Over 98% of Rubicon’s funding in the first ten years came from the US Government because we have been able to substantially impact the operational effectiveness of their researchers and clinicians. The recent sequestration and lack of support in 2013 made us seriously re-think the funding model that we would need to follow going forward. At the end of last year we began reaching out to the trading community for input on how these skills and various technologies could be applied to support non-profit growth and sustainability.
Bond was able to model and evaluate saturation techniques that were needed for the growth of military, scientific, and commercial diving. Over 50 years later diving medicine is faced with funding challenges for the foreseeable future. Please continue to follow along as we experiment with our own model.
Later this week I will summarize the methods we are employing to evaluate our goal of becoming more self sufficient. I have provided links to some of the resources and people that have helped me in my education and in the development of this experiment. If you do intend to follow along, I highly suggest joining the StockTwits community and checking out these contacts.**
* Peter L. Buzzacott, Erin Zeigler, Petar Denoble, and Richard Vann. American Cave Diving Fatalities 1969-2007. International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 2009, 3, 162-177
Gene Hobbs is a technical diver and founding board member of the non-profit Rubicon Foundation. Hobbs has served as medical officer for the Woodville Karst Plain Project since 2004 and was named the 2010 Divers Alert Network/ Rolex Diver of the year. Hobbs is the medical simulation coordinator for a simulation and patient safety laboratory at a major university medical center.