You must see this movie.

People lament the decline of the print news media, the victim of computer culture. The trading floors of the exchanges have also had a sharp decline in the number of floor traders who populate the floor, as the trading business is being increasingly facilitated by computers. In 1992, there were 10,000 traders on the floors in Chicago, today there are only a few hundred and 95% of the volume is electronic. James Smith, the producer of “Floored,” the movie, examines the life of past and present traders both off and on the floor. He discusses the culture, environment, wins, losses, personalities and future of traders, past and present. He pays close attention to the struggles the ex floor guys are having without the edge that the pit gave. He examines the character of the players involved, and lets them reminisce about their floor days. He compares and contrasts the differences between local traders and computer traders. He interviews ex floor traders trying to make it on the screen. He pays particular attention to the off floor lives of traders and gives them a free reign in telling their stories. The stories are great as everyone that was successful in the pit has a great story, and ego to boost. The movie has many great shots of the action in the pits a few years ago and today. Many of the floor traders don’t realize that they’re subjects of the forces of natural selection, just like any other creature in nature. One of the interviewees said that a big difference between watching the pit and watching a screen would be equivalent to watching an entire football game on TV or just watching the scoreboard. This, and many other observations bring clarity, and numerous trading lessons that might be useful to anyone interested in trading. Also interesting to note is the obvious lesson in humility that is learned by ex-denizens of the trading pits. “Floored” is 87 minutes long, and can be found in its entirety in 8 segments, here.

(I highly recommend this movie to anyone interested in trading, futures, trading floors, etc. It’s a 150 year old way of life that’s sadly disappearing very quickly.)

Incidentally, for what it’s worth, there’s still some floor action in the cattle and hog markets, which have resisted the encroachment of electronic trading to some degree. Also, many options are still primarily traded by open outcry.

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