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The Story Behind My Most Controversial Photo Ever

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 1/24/2023 15 min read

It’s easily my most controversial photo ever. It gets posted over and over again. My haters and doubters come up with all kinds of conspiracy theories based on this one photo.

So I’m writing this post to clear it up. What’s the deal with the missing shadow? For that matter, why do I take photos from all these places? Why am I almost always holding my laptop?

It’s not to brag. I do it to inspire and educate people.

I work with several different photographers who come with me on trips. Most of them are very talented — so I’m not trying to rip on any photographer.

In the case of my most controversial photo, the photographer wanted the photo to look good. So he edited it. If you look at it, he edited the color of the water — it’s not usually that blue. But also, there should be a shadow where I’m standing. I guess he didn’t like it, so he took it out.

Check it out…

My Most Controversial Photo Ever

tim sykes controversial photo on social media
My most controversial photo ever. © Millionaire Media, LLC

I’ve posted thousands of photos. But this ONE photo gets people saying I’m a fake and a liar.

I’m sick of it.

I don’t care if he took out a shadow. But because of that, it’s become my most controversial picture. Ever.

My photographers take photos and videos and give them to me. I posted this without even thinking about it. I had no idea it would become my most controversial photo.

“Gotcha, Sykes!”

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Here’s the photo someone made to point out the supposed fake/photoshopped picture. The conspiracy theorists say, “They don’t match up.” They point out the missing shadow, the fact that I’m holding a laptop, and that I’m not on the same level as the chairs behind me.

tim sykes missing shadow photo
The missing shadow conspiracy © Millionaire Media, LLC

This photo has been posted SO many times as a ‘gotcha.’ And it gets comments like, “Sykes doesn’t actually travel. He just photoshops himself in places.”

But it’s laughable…

The crazy thing about being real in an industry full of scams is that I’m not looking for more students. I’m not desperate, hanging out on the street saying, “Hey, who wants to be my student?” 

Every time this gets reposted, my haters help me weed out bad students. And THAT lets me focus on dedicated students. The cool thing is, I’m not a fake.

Crushing Conspiracy Theories

I posted a video of me standing on that very rooftop. This IS real. You can see me standing on the rooftop. I actually did hold up the laptop. And you can see there’s a little ledge if you watch the video a few times. That’s why I’m a little higher up.

Check it out…

As you can see in the video, the water is still beautiful. But it’s not as blue as the photo would suggest. So I guarantee you the photographer boosted the water’s vibrancy. I’m not trying to throw any photographers under the bus. I like the photographers who travel with me. They just don’t realize how stupid and insane the financial Twitter community is.

But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t there. It doesn’t mean that I’m a fake. It just means I have an overaggressive photographer. Again, I have a bunch of photographers. They give me photos and videos … and I post them.

How Demented Are My Haters?

Of course, my haters weren’t happy with pointing out the bad photoshop job removing my shadow. They went further and questioned what happened there on the rooftop. Check it out…

tim sykes gotcha photo
Haters attempt another “Gotcha!” © 2020 Millionaire Media, LLC

Notice how they boxed out the section at the bottom?

There actually were other hotel guests lounging around the pool. And they actually were very confused. They actually did ask why I was standing there in my robe holding out my laptop like a crazy person.

And … surprise … I did make a joke about it being just another day in the life of the world’s preeminent laptop model. 

People spreading this around think I’m faking these photos. They even think I’m faking the videos. This is how truly demented my haters and doubters are…

“You somehow edited yourself into this video.”

Are you insane? I’ve been to Positano six years in a row. This my first year not going — and that’s only because of the pandemic.

My Travel Photos and Videos Are Real

It blows my mind that people don’t realize it. I don’t even look at these stupid little things when these photographers give me their photos and videos. I’m sorry one of my photographers edited the photo thinking I would like it better. He thought it would look better for me.

But I assure you, I was…

Standing Poolside at Villa Franca

Villa Franca, in Positano Italy, is one of my favorite hotels. The funny thing is that I was holding up the laptop to show that you can work from anywhere. And Villa Franca has the fastest Wi-Fi I’ve found anywhere in Europe.

Several times when I’ve stayed at villas nearby instead of the hotel, I’ve gone there to upload videos. My trip last summer is an example. I had a lot of video lessons to upload before leaving Positano. I was going somewhere in Africa where good Wi-Fi wasn’t guaranteed. So I wanted to upload all my long videos.

Where did I go? Villa Franca. I didn’t go to the pool that time. I was there uploading five-, seven-, and 10-minute videos at midnight.

So in a way, it’s fitting that this is my most controversial photo.

Villa Franca Gets My Highest Recommendation

When this pandemic is over you can go to Villa Franca in Positano and experience its fast Wi-Fi. I highly recommend a stay there.

Also, they have this linguini with clams which is AMAZING. Their cappuccinos are excellent. And their breakfast bar is incredible, too. So I’m proud to give a huge shout out to Villa Franca! I look forward to visiting again. Hopefully soon.

Need a little inspiration to study harder? Check out the Villa Franca website.

Positano isn’t the only place I love to visit in that part of Italy. Check out my villa on the island of Capri…

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Here’s a throwback video from the badass @karmagawa villa in #capri #italy a few months ago and I don’t think I even posted much from here as my summer travel schedule was truly insane! Anyway, I absolutely love this island and it’s no wonder I’ve been to the #amalficoast now five straight summers in a row…yes, I’m very blessed and grateful for all the opportunity, but more importantly I’m standing here holding my #laptop in one hand and my #iphone in the other like a total schmuck to help you realize the #digitalrevolution is upon us and new tools like @stockstotrade allow you to live the #laptoplifestyle and the ability to #workfromanywhere if you’re open-minded and hardworking enough and then you too can travel to #beautifuldestinations like this whenever you want and not fork over thousands of dollars like the all the other tourists do…I actually made roughly $20,000 while staying in this villa for a week, so DM me and I’ll teach ya! Thanks for the cool #dronie video @jeremyaustiin #iloveitaly #sentimentalsunday #dreamjob #traveladdict #ilovemyjob #inmyfeelingschallenge #dronevideo #jewtalian #jewswithdroneviews

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We did a drone shot very similar to the shot we did in Positano so you can see I’m on the edge of a cliff. Again, I was holding a laptop and a smartphone to show you the laptop lifestyle. Or the keyboard warrior lifestyle. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a pretty cool shot.

Get Inspired to Study

I post these photos and videos to inspire you to study. The most beautiful, amazing world is out there just waiting for you to explore. (If you’re brand new to penny stocks, start with this free penny stock guide.)

Sadly, doubters and haters find a single missing shadow and say…

“Gotcha. If you lie about being in Italy, you probably lie about your success in the stock market, too. You probably lie about your charity. You’re probably lying about…”

It’s tragic that some negative people will use this to prevent people from learning. It’s sickening to me that this stuff prevents people from expanding their lives. 

But, in the end, I’m…

Grateful for My Haters

My haters think they’re hurting me with their cries of “Gotcha! Faker!” What they’re really doing is weeding out crappy students. Why? If someone says “I’m not gonna invest in my financial education because I don’t like this photo,” they aren’t a good fit. They’d probably be a pretty crappy student.

So, contrary to what my haters think, I’m grateful for them. And this whole fake news BS where these idiots try to get the ‘gotcha’ is funny.

Let’s not forget that I’m the one person in this niche who tries to expose scams…

Real in an Industry Full of Scams

Over the years I’ve run across hundreds of penny stock scams. I’ve exposed dozens. Like these three I exposed five years before the SEC. And this blatant penny stock promoter who got newbies to believe in a sketchy company.

Then there’s the fun Justin Bieber had falling prey to a blatant paid promotion scheme. Or the Spongetech scam from 2011.

Not to mention my legal wrangles with NBA great Shaquille O’Neal. He actually sent me a cease-and-desist letter when I exposed the NXT pump. It was one of the most interesting penny stock scams I’ve ever seen.

Beware Penny Stock Scams! (Don’t Fall for the Pump)

Rumor has it that Shaq is still into penny stocks so he can put on his suit and feel smart. Maybe he should get a penny stock education? I mean, I’m not that smart and I win roughly 75% of the time.

Trading Challenge

If you’re ready for a penny stock education, the Trading Challenge is my most comprehensive program. You’ll learn to recognize the scams and pumps. (And how self-sufficient traders take advantage of them.)

But if you’re lazy or freaked out by a missing shadow … don’t waste my time. If you’re dedicated and committed to your education you might be a good fit. It’s not for everyone. And not everyone who applies gets accepted. If you’re ready to focus, apply today.

Back to…

My Most Controversial Photo Ever: The Bottom Line

To all my haters who try to rip on my photos and videos…

You do me a favor by weeding out bad students who would waste my time. Your conspiracy theories are laughable to me. When I get these photographs and videos from photographers I don’t even look for missing shadows.

It’s more like…

“That Was a Cool View, I’ll Post It”

I probably should’ve looked closer. But my thought was, “Cool. I remember that so I’ll post it.” 

That’s what it comes down to. Not that I’m a fake. And not some kind of ‘gotcha’ moment. There’s no green screening or conspiracy behind the missing shadow. I actually do travel.

Surprise … it’s all real. That’s the story behind my most controversial photo ever.

What do you think of my most controversial photo ever? Comment below, I’d love to get your thoughts!

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Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”