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Penny Stock Basics

Why Deprogramming Newbies Is My Duty

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 3/4/2021 16 min read

Ugh. The grammar police are at it again. I keep using the word de-brainwashing. But apparently, the right word is deprogramming. Whatever. It doesn’t matter what it’s called.

Too many newbies are getting brainwashed by promoters. They get sucked into the hype. They so badly want things to be more than smoke and mirrors. In fact, penny stock companies and this industry are shady.

I get a lot of people saying things like, “Tim, stop talking so much. Stop rambling. Just focus on hot plays…”

It’s my sacred duty to help YOU overcome the BS. The reality is…

99% of People Have the Wrong Mindset

Tim sad about promoted penny stocks making unwary traders lose money
© Millionaire Media, LLC

The reason why so many people hate on penny stocks is because people trade them the wrong way. You’re NOT investing. (New to penny stocks? Start here with my free penny stock guide.) Don’t listen to the promoters, pumpers, and Robinhooders.

Ignore the idiots who believe…

“It’s gonna be the next Microsoft. It’s going to the moon!” 

None of this is new. I’ve been deprogramming brainwashed newbies for years. Remember the Wolf of Weed Street? He gave bad advice and pumped up stocks. “Buying High: How to Get Rich on Pot Stocks” explains how I came down on him like a Hebrew hammer.

Sadly, too many newbies are brainwashed. They believe in the penny stocks and the lies promoters tell.

You need to understand the dangers of penny stock dilution. Most of these companies have zero revenue and couldn’t keep the lights on without raising money. To raise the most money, stocks get promoted right before dilutive financings.

Which is why it’s crucial to know the truth about promoted penny stocks. When someone funds the advertising of a stock, it’s a promotion. And it’s a terrible sign. If a company has ‘revolutionary new tech’ then the money should go into funding the business. Instead, it goes into promoting the stock.

Know the game. Understand the game. Otherwise, you’re going into battle armed with a butter knife.

Too many people…

Learned the Wrong Lessons in a Hot Market

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Part of the problem is that in a hot market, trading seems easy. In May and June, the market was crazy. July was still hot. But recognize that late spring and summer 2020 were outliers. We witnessed the stock market’s strongest 100 days since 1933.

So a lot of newbies and Robinhooders have the wrong expectations. They’re brainwashed AND they learned the wrong lessons. Now I have to try to deprogram people and get them on the right track.

As the market slowed a little in August and more in September, newbies started wondering …  “Why am I losing? Why is it suddenly so hard?”

A quick aside…

I don’t like to predict the market, but my guess is the next few months won’t be that great. Right or wrong, I’ll react to the market. I’ll trade based on what the market gives because the market doesn’t care what I think. And it doesn’t care what you think, either.


Trading Should Enhance Your Life

It blows my mind how many people say they want to learn trading to get rich and get free. Then they let trading rule their life…

They sit in front of the screen all day, every day, even when there aren’t any good setups. Or they overtrade — taking trade after trade, slowly churning and burning their accounts. That’s crazy. It rarely leads to riches, let alone freedom.

Don’t Be a Slave to the Action

Trading could be your day job if that’s what you want. But don’t let it take over your life.

I see too many people get obsessed with chasing whatever’s hot. That’s no different than playing low-odds penny slots in Vegas.

Which brings up important mindset lessons…

Mindset Shift: Deprogramming Lessons for Traders

Fit Trading to Your Schedule

The best traders I know take time off. Some traders take weeks or even entire months off. Especially when the market is slow.

For me, I try to show up every day with the mindset of a retired trader. I trade when a setup is so good it would be wrong not to trade. I’m not always right, but that’s my mindset. If there’s no trade, I’m happy to walk away.

2020 has been one of the best years in decades. But as things slow down it’s important that you fit trading into your schedule.

Never Chase

Trading is hard enough without chasing stocks. Chasing is a path to frustration. I’m not saying don’t trade the hottest stock in the market. But go into every trade with a trading plan — not a hot tip from a Twitter pumper.

If a stock is up too much, don’t chase. At the very least, take a step back and go through the Sykes Sliding Scale. Check all the indicators. You have no idea when a stock is gonna turn.

You have to realize that these stocks are spiking because of the pumpers.

Brainwash Deprogramming: Position Your Mindset

It’s time to deprogram the brainwashing. It’s not easy. You want to believe you’re right — it’s human nature. Cognitive bias is a real thing. So when you get excited about a stock getting pumped on Twitter…

… when you buy it right near the top and watch it tank the minute promoters stop pumping …

… you don’t want to let it go. It can be tough to take the loss when promoters are saying, “Only the weak sell.” 

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So if you’ve EVER fallen for the hype, BS, pumps, and promoters … it’s time to set you free.

Think of me as…

Jewish Morpheus Deprogramming Brainwashed Newbies

It’s like “The Matrix” and I’m the Jewish Morpheus trying to get you to see what reality is…

So if you think I’m a dick or you want to ignore me, that’s fine. I’m still gonna try to show you reality. And the truth is, all these stocks are pumped…

Be Grateful for Promoters

That’s a little twisted, I admit. The promoters won’t stop promoting if you’re not grateful. They promote because they want money. It’s the seedy, dark side of penny stocks. Rumors fly about illicit and illegal behaviors that need funding. (Maybe they’re cokeheads. Drugs cost a lot of money.)

Thank goodness they need the money, right? It doesn’t matter their reasons for promoting. Or if you think they’re the scum of the earth.

You have to recognize it’s the promoters pumping it up. If you fall for it, you might as well join a cult because they use the same slimy attempts at mind control.

Watch this video. It’s a few years old but it shows how the game is still the same…

Exposing the Ridiculousness of Penny Stock Promoters

Brainwash Alert: Never Believe the Hype

Deprogramming someone once they’re brainwashed isn’t easy. People believe in the hype and pipe dreams. I have to try every which way to snap them out of it.

One of the most common brainwashing techniques pumpers use is cherry-picking fundamentals. Another is claims of a revolutionary product “waiting for the general public to catch on…”

It’s a nice idea. And sometimes those products do catch on. Sometimes the company becomes profitable … several years later. But roughly 99.99% of penny stock companies fail.

So forget about fundamentals, revolutionary products, and moonshots…

Robinhood: False Friend of Newbie Traders

And forget about using Robinhood. Robinhood is not your friend. In the stock market, Robinhood does NOT take from the rich and give to the poor. Nor am I really sure how the platform democratizes trading. (Whatever that’s supposed to mean.)

Robinhood sells your order flow and execution is often TOO SLOW for our purposes. Plus, you can’t even trade OTCs or short sell. (I use these brokers. They suck the least.)

Brainwashed Bag Holders Anonymous?

It’s time to start a program for brainwashed bag holders. But don’t be anonymous about it. Identify yourself. Call it brainwashed bag holders identified. Admit it openly so your experience can help other traders who’ve fallen into…

The Classic Bag Holder Mentality

One guy was going through my tweets and found one about de-brainwashing newbies. I’d mentioned Remark Holdings, Inc (NASDAQ: MARK) having bombed earnings.

MARK is one of the recent pumps that, theoretically, should have done better. The company has this thermal imaging solution to detect people with a high fever. They also use facial recognition to potentially trace people with coronavirus.

That should be very useful during the pandemic, right?  But the company just isn’t getting the contracts.

So when it reported earnings and the stock dropped, this guy tried to tell me that MARK didn’t bomb earnings. It’s the classic bag-holder mentality. And it’s where I quote P.T. Barnum (even though it was more likely one of his competitors who said it)…

“There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute”

Tim Sykes pointing at you.
© Millionaire Media, LLC

When Remark reported earnings, the stock was trading at roughly $1.60 per share. By the next day, it was down to $1.30. As I write it’s trading at $1 per share.

So, yeah, MARK bombed earnings.

But he wasn’t thinking about what happened. Instead, he believed the story and the hype. He didn’t consider that the stock had already quadrupled. And he ignored the fact that the stock tanked in reaction to earnings.

He was talking himself into holding and hoping. He’s still brainwashed, believing the pumpers and promoters. They throw ‘due diligence’ and numbers up on Twitter and then post BS like this…

“Maybe it wasn’t this quarter. But it will be next quarter … They’re just waiting on big contracts.”

Yes, sometimes those plays work out. Sometimes contracts take longer. But that doesn’t change the fact that MARK bombed on earnings. Those numbers matter to promoters and newbies. But with penny stocks, it’s a sucker’s game.

What do these companies have in common? It’s the same promoters. And they all spread lies like, “Sykes is shorting, that’s why he wants people to sell.”

What a bunch of absolute morons.

Teaching vs. Shorting

It’s been a few years since I was a short seller. It’s too crowded and risky. So no … I’m not shorting these stocks. But it’s my sacred duty to teach what’s really happening. Which is why I share all my trades here.

I actually want the promoters to do better. I want the pumps to do better…

Farewell, Stan, We Miss Your Pumps

Yes, we miss Stan, who left Twitter behind. Or maybe he changed his screen name. Who knows? It’s like whack-a-mole. The promoters change their names and websites. But it’s the same tactics.

We miss the promoters when they stop or they’re bad at their job. It’s sad. My students and I need them to keep spiking crap stocks.

But at the same time, I need to help YOU understand why you can’t hold and hope. YOU have to learn to expect the worst out of every company. YOU have to develop the discipline to cut losses quickly. Yes, ride the hype. But NEVER believe it.

For me … I’ll keep being real. My job isn’t just picking good plays. It’s deprogramming people to show them how this game works. It’s a very important distinction.

Deprogramming to Freedom

It’s not just about deprogramming. You have to learn the patterns, what moves penny stocks, risk management, and a whole lot more.

Many of the same brainwashed newbies complain about investing in their education. (Which is another entire post… ) So I want to make it easy for those of you willing to break free. Take your first steps with the…

30-Day Bootcamp

Matt Monaco and I put together the 30-Day Bootcamp to compress three years of learning into a month. It might take you longer than a month. (Some people go through the material faster.) Either way, it has all the basics. Everything you need to know to get started.

Can You Become a Better Trader In 30 Days?

The price is crazy low. But I’m tired of people making excuses. So to help speed up the deprogramming process, I talked my team into an insane price.

Get access to the 30-Day Bootcamp here. (There’s zero risk. Take 30 days, then decide.)

The Complete Penny Stock Course

This book distills all my teachings into an easy-to-read format. You’ll receive it as a bonus when you join the 30-Day Bootcamp.

But students often ask what’s the best way to introduce friends and family to penny stocks…

The Complete Penny Stock Course” is my number one recommendation. Send it as a gift. They’ll thank you later.

What do you think of my deprogramming efforts? Have you ever fallen for the hype and lies of promoters? Comment below. I love to hear from all my readers!

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Author card Timothy Sykes picture

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”