Weekly Podcast

State of the Union: Same Mission, Better Tools

On this week's show, we'll do a mini "State of the Union" on what we've been up to, what's new, and what you can expect moving forward.
State of the Union: Same Mission, Better Tools
Kirk Du Plessis
Jun 7, 2021

After a couple of months on pause for the podcast, while we focused on the Beta launch of our automated trading platform, we're thrilled to be back and ready to rock and roll again. We’ll do a mini "State of the Union" on this week’s show on what we've been up to, what's new, and what you can expect moving forward. We think this is a great way to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short amount of time and make sure we're all aligned together moving forward.

The Option Alpha Mission

“For far too long, the options industry has been fragmented, lagging, and unnecessarily complex. At Option Alpha, we are devoted to empowering traders with simple, powerful tools supported by world-class research and education.”

What’s New?

We have launched our new, no-code, auto-trading platform! Everybody is in Beta at this point. As traders have been using the platform, we have listened to their feedback, worked out bugs, and added new features. There have been no major bugs and it has been smooth sailing as far as server loads and capacity on the platform.

Just yesterday, we had 507,000 automations run! The total templates shared across the Community amount to 653. We have spoken before about how much of a game-changer it is to build out a strategy and then be able to share it as a template. 

A new feature we have recently added is the ability to share individual automations too, and we have also set up a library where they can be browsed. There have been a total of 38,000 backtests run so far. Total clones created so far amount to 19,555. By clones, we mean examples of people taking strategy templates and using them or modifying them.

We Are Finalizing Pricing and Live Trading Next

Pricing as a module inside automations and bots was one of the most tricky things we had to figure out. However, we think we have come up with an elegant solution around pricing trades through the feedback we have received.

An exciting new feature we are using is called SmartPricing. SmartPricing analyzes the bid-ask spread of positions, makes calculations to determine intervals and pricing timelines, and then sends limit orders in a fire and kill fashion down the bid-ask spread depending on which side of the trade you are getting into. This means that when you are placing orders through SmartPricing on our platform, you are always giving yourself an opportunity to try for better pricing.

Once this has been done, then the next stage will be working on rolling out live trading. The thinking around not allowing live trading yet has been about getting people used to using the automations on the platform in paper trading mode. We recommend that any new users paper trade for a period once live trading has been switched on.

Working People off the Waitlist

Once we get everybody that is in Beta locked in for live trading, then we will start working people off the waitlist. We will be taking people off in large groups of multiple hundreds or thousands at a time. We'll go in order of your position, so the first people who signed up for the waiting list will get in first. Remember that you can move forward in position by sharing invitations if you are far at the back of the queue!

Pricing Levels and Features Coming Soon

We don’t have our subscription pricing levels out yet, but we expect them to come soon. We do have a rough idea, though, and expect to have three different tiers.

As far as tiers, there will be a Lite plan with one or two bots but not limited functionality. Then there will be a Pro plan with more bots and additional features. Finally, we will have the Elite plan, but this won’t have as many bots as our current Elite lifetime Beta users have because we have realized that this many bots simply are not needed.

We are still coming up with exact pricing because we want to test the platform’s capacity so that we can make sure we are offering something that we are capable of delivering on. We are trying to learn more about usage and server load first.

Our Expanded Team

We have hired some new faces for the support team, bot doctors, trading and platform specialists, and community managers. Check out the new team page with profiles and bios. We are actively looking for new dev hires.

The New OA Website!

This is the fourth time we have overhauled the website. The front end has been disconnected from the trading platform for security reasons, meaning we can do a lot more things with it, including with the University and the Help Center.

Better Organization and Structure Moving Forward

The main change with the new site is that we have been more organized with which content goes where, as opposed to the legacy site which got added to as we grew. Please give us your feedback because this is how we steer our ship and make sure we are providing the best service possible.

The Option Alpha University

Inside OAU, there are already a bunch of resources but there are many new things coming soon too.

  • The Courses have been moved over from the old site. We will be refactoring them and adding newer versions based on feedback we have received.
  • Another feature of the University is Training. We will do live training sessions, which we will record and then put into the library. Our first bot workshop is coming soon!
  • In our Bot Workshops, we all build a bot together. We then share it with the Community to edit and change.
  • In the Tutorials, we will cover how to solve specific problems using automations on the platform, e.g., ‘How do you estimate the probability of max loss?’, or, ‘How do you close a position based on time until expiration?’, etc...
  • For Elite members, we will also have what is called Office Hours, which are Q&A sessions. We record these and put them into the library afterward.
  • We will have Masterclasses too. These are long and in-depth classes that you need to carve out some time to join if you are interested. We are looking for suggestions about topics that warrant a deep dive conversation such as this.

The Option Alpha Handbook

Another feature of the university is the Option Alpha Handbook. This is the best go-to digital encyclopedia resource available, in our opinion. There was never a non-subjective resource guide for traders, so we built one! This is totally free and accessible to anybody.

The Option Alpha Handbook is the ultimate reference guide for traders seeking clear, non-subjective answers to thousands of investing questions, no more wasting time searching endlessly across dozens of unreliable sources cluttered with ads. Consider this the digital encyclopedia for everything trading you've been looking for but never found until now.

There are also fields where you can leave your feedback and questions that we will incorporate and continually update the Handbook.

Templates

One of the things we wanted to do inside bot templates is give you the ability to organize templates. For example, you can filter for templates specific to hedging, active trading, event-based trading, and momentum trading. You can filter further using tags, asking what bots use exponential moving averages, IV rank, long call spreads, etc. This will be a great resource to get ideas about different strategies that can then be customized and re-shared.

Additional Sections

Additional sections include the Ideas section, which is our new blog containing ideas around exploring research, new ways to trade, strategic thinking, and for example our new post, Automated Doesn’t Mean Unattended. This is where we will talk about the abstract stuff relating to trading, such as how you measure performance, build portfolios, etc. (Stuff that is more subjective.)

Help Center

The Help Center is one of the first things we launched with the new platform. It was important for us to get it out first because we want you to have all of the help you can get to understand how the platform works available in one place.

Make sure to check out the technical documentation section. We made this because we didn’t want OA to be a black box trading platform. Here is where we will explain how automations and data feeds work, the infrastructure and security we have in place, etc. If you are into the technicalities of coding and trading, this is the section for you.

Feedback

We urge you to use all of the forms and text fields on the website to give us your feedback. The new site is much easier for us to update dynamically, and we made it this way so we can more easily satisfy our users and know how to update ourselves based on your feedback.

The changes don’t stop here with what has been described today. You can expect a lot more expanded functionality as we move forward! We have dedicated teams working on both the trading platform and the educational sides of our organization. Each side needs to work and grow in conjunction with each other; feedback is a vital part of pushing forward as a cohesive whole at the fastest pace possible to serve you better.

Podcast

We have shows coming up that will be important. We will have one dedicated to the OA Handbook and another dedicated to the idea that automated trading does not mean unattended trading. This is an important concept to get out of the way as we move into what we see as a completely new phase in trading. It sets the foundation for what people should expect from automated trading moving forward.

Another show will be on how to use SmartStops intelligently. SmartStops are a new feature that does portfolio management tasks that people want to do with positions but don’t get the opportunity to do. 

We will do podcasts around popular decisions we have seen inside the platform too. Some of the interviews that we recorded last year will also be released as new podcast episodes. These might be a little dated, but the fundamental ideas are still relevant. While we have a lot of new shows scripted, we are open to suggestions for topics to dedicate future episodes to as well, so we are very open to your feedback.

Trader Q&A:

“GAVIN: Hey Kirk, this is Gavin from Texas. I bought a put contract to protect against some of my Invite stock that I own in my Roth IRA and part of the reason I entered at the time I did, I was looking at a lot of insiders, they had just sold over $39M worth of shares in the last quarter and typically they aren’t selling any or they were actually buying, and then on top of it, they were coming out with a public stock offering at 51.50 and the stock was trading at around $55 so I thought it was a good time to maybe enter into some puts, protect against the invite I am holding long-term in my Roth IRA. I was just wondering, do you think that was a good entry and a good reason, like I am trying to hedge my Roth IRA and then on top of it I am trying to enter in a good time where I think insiders are selling and on top of it they are doing a public stock offering which I think would put down pressure on the stock and just wanted to know your professional opinion. Thanks a lot and I appreciate all you do for the community and everything you contribute. Thanks a lot.”

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