If you've been around Option Alpha for any amount of time, you've likely connected in some way with Reuben. Maybe he has responded to one of your posts in the community or you cloned one of the many bot templates he's openly shared.
By now you know that Reuben has always been willing to help others, often going out of his way to give back to the community, help fix automations, share templates, and offer sound advice; all without asking for anything in return. And, as you learn when you hear his story today, it's exactly the type of man he is outside of the community.
Reuben's contribution and dedication to this community go back to the earliest days. During the beta phases, when many new traders were still finding their way around the platform, he was in there hammering bots and automations with everything he could think of; ultimately breaking it in ways that allowed us to uncover important roadblocks and adjust entire systems to improve the scalability and effectiveness of autotrading for everyone.
Point blank, we would not be here today without Reuben's contributions - thank you!
Today, we want to spotlight Reuben to show our gratitude and appreciation for all that he does for everyone here at Option Alpha. So, we asked Reuben a few questions, and here's what he said:
Who is Reuben? What’s your story up until this point in your life?
I am a translation specialist currently living in Benin, West Africa. South Dakota is “home” to us and my family runs a custom cabinetry business which I’m still involved in to a limited extent via the marvels of technology.
When I was 17 years old, I joined a Spanish class and discovered I absolutely love language and have a talent for learning new languages. I chose to use that gift in the field of Bible translation, which started my journey and training in linguistics. I got married to my lovely wife in 2009 and we attended SIL-UND (Summer Institute of Linguistics at the University of North Dakota) for a final summer of linguistics training a few months later. By November that year, we were in Ghana, W. Africa for a two year training school, where our oldest son was born.
After Ghana, we returned to the United States for a couple years and then relocated to Israel in 2015, where I studied Hebrew. My older brother was living in Benin at the time, and he told me about a translation project that seemed to fit what I was looking for and suggested I consider joining. I didn’t really like the idea since it would mean learning French in addition to a local language, but after an exploratory trip in 2016, it became obvious that it was the right project for us to join.
We moved to Benin in 2017 and spent most of the first year learning the local language. I’ve continued to stay involved with my family business while running a Bible translation project here in Benin. We’re translating the Bible into a local African language that has 300k-500k speakers. For perspective, a bible translation normally takes 20 to 30 years for a small team. In an effort to reduce this time by a factor of 5, we’re not only using the latest technology, but we’ve also put together a much larger team with multiple sub-teams.
The system we’ve constructing is quite complex, but with custom technology automating a lot management of intricately moving parts, it is now a viable route to take!
Why did you start trading? What trading challenges or struggles did you first encounter when you got started?
I started trading out of curiosity, looking for a way to generate better returns than my savings account. At first, I was just dabbling, simply buying stocks and dollar-cost averaging. My younger brother got me into more advanced trading strategies and platforms. Living all over the globe and being incredibly busy, it was challenging to trade all the time. But what drew me to trading was that I could do it on my smartphone from anywhere in the world.
I liked options because they allowed me to use a smaller amount of capital and minimize risk. The first challenge was of course understanding options. Options have their own language. We all have to go through a learning curve to get familiar and comfortable with all the moving parts and calculations.
Luckily, I like learning new languages, and I enjoy the process. That’s actually how I found Option Alpha - searching the internet to understand the lingo. The other big challenge was the market opened when I was working. So trying to send orders and track my trades wasn’t really possible. That’s what attracted me to automated trading. I needed something that frees me up to do other things and not be glued to my screen.
What did you try or do to help solve these problems?
Before Option Alpha, I was limited to placing good-till-canceled (GTC) orders and basically just hoping they’d get filled. And then checking on their status during my lunch break, closing the trade, and checking on my positions. There weren’t really any other options for me.
The biggest thing now is the ability to automate position management. Of course, I love that I can use automation to enter trades, but the ability to monitor existing positions is huge for me. I no longer have to babysit orders or worry about my trades and market volatility, because the bots are always watching my positions.
How has your trading philosophy changed since you started autotrading with Option Alpha?
I would say the change for me was more practical than philosophical. My philosophy hasn’t changed drastically, though I would say I’m more convinced than ever that allocation is key!
With the bots making so many repeated decisions for me, I am able to look for more, smaller opportunities that would otherwise simply be unfeasible in terms of time spent versus reward.
What advice would you share with someone who is considering a similar path?
One thing I’ve learned is to start smaller and slower, to be more conservative. Don’t let a handful of winners tempt you into scaling up too fast. I would often get too aggressive too soon.
Another huge benefit of Option Alpha is the ability to paper trade live markets and forward test my ideas. I recommend building a bot for a particular strategy, then making at least a handful of clones with each one a slight variation on 1-3 parameters. Running a group of bots like this will let you see which parameters are optimal for that bot.
How do you see trading fitting into your bigger life goals?
Personally, I have a life outside of trading, with full-time jobs dedicated to the translation project and my family’s business. This is my way to save for retirement. That’s why trading is key for me, it enables me to take money and grow it through options. I’m using short-term trading as a long-term investment strategy.
What’s next for you? What does the future look like for you?
Once we return to the States, I plan to return to the family business and make the occasional trip back to check on the translation project here in Africa. Hopefully, the setup I’ve created works well enough that it’s worth replicating it around the globe and training others how to use the technology and how to manage the project. If I can train a few teams, we can cut years off the translation process globally. In some ways, it’s quite similar to how the Option Alpha Community is using automation to create more efficient, repeatable processes.
Earlier this year, Reuben took on the role of Community Advocate, and has been working closely with the development team to help stress-test new ideas and synthesize feedback from the community for new features. So, if you see Reuben around the community, please pass along your thanks and appreciation.