Many people search for years to find their true passion. I was lucky, I knew what mine was at 5 years old. I loved the markets and learning how I could analyze them. Many people would think my interest in the markets was because my dad is a titan of the Fintech industry; but it was more that as my interest in the markets grew, my father exposed me to many additional aspects of the markets. Analysis and charts were definitely my passion.
At 13 years old, I was certified by the Charted Market Technician® (CMT®) Association which was (and still is) a huge honor. CMT® designation marks the highest education within the discipline and is the preeminent designation for practitioners of technical analysis worldwide.
Please tell us what you do professionally.
I am the President of VantagePoint AI, a trading software company that applies artificial intelligence (specifically neural networks), which my father founded in 1979. As President, I oversee all aspects of the company, including R&D, sales, and customer support. I really enjoy collaborating with our Research and Development team.
Before COVID 19, our company sponsored several trading conferences each year for our customers where they were able to share knowledge and benefit from interacting with professional traders who have become experts with our software. We’ve been recognized as one of the best places to work both locally, statewide, and nationally for over 10 years. This past year, I was singled out by Fortune Magazine as Leader of the Year for leading and growing our team, and for building and maintaining a phenomenal company culture.
How did you get there? School, internships, strategic plan or just luck, parents got you a job?
My path has been a little unconventional. In the early 1980s, my father would read Stocks and Commodities Magazine and Futures Magazine to me, kind of as bedtime stories. In that way my father was already educating me about the financial markets and about the financial industry. Even though I was just a little kid, he ignited the passion in me about the financial markets and technical analysis like some dads do with their kids involving football and baseball. For me, it was all about the financial markets and to an extent still is.
At six years old, my dad gave me my first “professional” job. Looking back on it now, it was the beginning of my career; that job was more than just the task that he had asked me to perform — I was “our facilities manager.” It was a fancy title for janitor, but I had a responsibility. I was taking out the trash, cleaning the restroom and vacuuming. This exposed me to the organization and the handful of employees of my father’s company. After school I was a fly on the wall in the office. I watched how things were done and listened in on conversations – and through osmosis I was learning both about entrepreneurship, trading and the financial markets all at once.
At seven years old, I was promoted. My father gave me the important task of formatting floppy disks. Initially I got paid five cents per disk but did such a great job that later on my compensation per disk was increased. My father opened an IRA account for me when I was very young, so I was able to fund my account starting at a very young age.
By high school, I was even more involved in the company daily. Fortunately, as fate would have it, the principal of my high school in Florida had been a commodities trader and broker in Chicago years earlier, still traded and knew of my father’s reputation in the industry. He told my father that I could be excused from attending school anytime to accompany my father on trips to financial industry events.
My father has been a member of the CMT Association since the 1980s. He encouraged me to join as well. So, in 1993 at just 13 years old, I became a member of the CMT Association.
In 1995, at fifteen, I developed our company’s first website. I got very excited about the Internet and HTML programming. I realized that having a website would be a tremendous benefit to our company in promoting our trading software.
So, I can literally say I started at the bottom of the company and worked my way In 2018, I was promoted to President. This was a tremendous milestone in my life and an honor to hold the position that my father had held since 1979.
Who was an early mentor in your career?
My father, Louis Mendelsohn, has been my lifelong mentor – not only in my career but also, in my personal life. He has shown me how to be an ethical business owner. He’s shown me how to become financially successful while putting integrity and high ethics over making money. He has shown me by example how to be a great father to my own children and he has shown me how to be a caring husband and a true friend.
What book/author was most influential in helping you understand TA?
When I was 13 or so, my father handed me a book and said, “This is something that you could read and understand — it will make sense to you and you’ll enjoy it.” That book was The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham.
Another book I have a lot of familiarity with is the 2004 edition of John Murphy’s Intermarket Analysis – Profiting from Global Market Relationships. I’ve known John since I was a teenager.
What do you like to do when you are not looking at markets?
Many people are surprised to find that my lifestyle juxtaposes high-tech, technology, artificial intelligence and technical analysis with nature and agriculture. I own a 75-acre cattle ranch adjacent to my parents’ property. I enjoy tractor work, working with my hands, buying, and selling cattle, and involving my daughters in agriculture as well.
I find I relax (both mentally and physically) when I’m “working” the ranch, it gives me time to think, relax, and decompress, with nothing but the sounds of nature all around. So, having the ranch as a hobby has been a phenomenal way to counterbalance everything I do in the office.
My greatest joy is my family; not only providing for them financially but also providing experiences for them. Being able to travel all over the world has given my kids the opportunity to expand their horizons. It gives me tremendous satisfaction that we can create such wonderful memories together as a family. That “investment” is priceless.
What brought you to the CMT Association?
As I mentioned, I became a member of the CMT Association in 1993 when I was only 13 years old on the encouragement from my father. That allowed him to bring me to member-only conferences on technical analysis around the country. When I attended those conferences, it afforded me great father-son time. It also allowed me to be a fly on the wall, listening to conversations and panel discussions, and interacting with industry professionals and leaders.
What it the most useful benefit of membership for you?
The most beneficial aspect of being a member of the CMT Association has been the friendships and relationships I’ve developed over the decades as a result of attending the CMT Association annual conferences.
I can remember many CMT Association meetings from the past, like those on Marco Island and the Saddlebrook resort in Florida, as well as other conferences in Chicago and New Orleans. In the evenings, my father would take me out for dinner with a couple of other colleagues. Being able to listen to their stories and talk about how technical analysis has evolved since the advent of personal computers and trading software, was just as important as the meetings. These experiences were a significant part of my formative years and of great value to me.
As an adult, I’m able to appreciate even more than before how gracious these people were with me. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who respected me, even though I was just a kid. It’s something that I am very appreciative and thankful for. To have had people like John Murphy, John Bollinger, Michael Kahn, Stephen Poser, Jake Bernstein, Larry Williams, Darrell Jobman and Jack Schwager, to name just a few titans in the industry as my role models during my formative years is incredible.
The art of technical analysis is vital to helping traders succeed. Our goal is to help traders of all skill levels enjoy the benefits of our groundbreaking technical analysis processes in a way that is easy, fast, and helpful.
And, VantagePoint traders, if you’d like to learn even more about your software, email me or access the schedule of our online trainings available to our entire Vantagepoint family through your customer portal.