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Trading with No Limits: TopstepTrader Founder Michael Patak

Posted by TopstepTrader on July 30, 2019

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Today’s guest is a special one for Limit Up! As part of our birthday celebration this month, we thought it would be a great time to bring on our Founder and Chief Vision Officer Michael Patak. Michael takes us through his beginnings as a trader, his experiences deep in the pit, and how the move to the screens changed everything. Finally, hear how Michael started TopstepTrader with a community focus and how, at its heart, the company seeks to make the individual trader feel part of that community.

This is a great conversation between two battle-tested veterans of the trading world.

BTW, as we mentioned above, this month is TopstepTrader’s 7th birthday! We’re going to be celebrating the only way we know how: by giving you all some amazing gifts! So join us for the celebration and stay tuned for more info about our birthday extravaganza!

Have thoughts about this episode? Don’t forget, we want to hear from you! We’re rolling out a new call-in line for listeners of the show, so be sure to give us a call at 855-902-0331 and let us know what’s on your mind.


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Michael Patak is the Founder and Chief Vision Officer of TopstepTrader and the Co-Founder of mobile trading platform BLUECHXP. Prior to founding TopstepTrader, Michael was a trader for several years.  In 2015 has was semi-finalist and in 2016 a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 2017, Inc. Magazine ranked TopstepTrader No. 1,261 on its 36th annual Inc. 5000. You can find Michael on his own Instagram and makes frequent appearances on the TopstepTrader Instagram account.

Limit Up! Is hosted by Jeff Carter. Jeff is a general partner at West Loop Ventures. In April of 2007, he co-founded Hyde Park Angels and spearheaded the growth and development of one of the most active angel groups in the United States. He has consulted on the startup of several other angel groups. He is a former independent trader and member of the CME Board of Directors and was part of a small group that transformed CME from an open outcry exchange to the largest electronic exchange in the world. In 1998, CME was worth $182,134,000 in membership enterprise value.  Today it’s worth $55 Billion.

  • [00:31] - This week
  • [01:35] - TopstepTrader 7th Anniversary
  • [02:25] - MARKet Reaction with Mark Meadows
  • [04:06] - Jeff Carter Interview with Michael Patak
    • [04:42] - Where were you on the floor?
    • [06:00] - What interested you in trading?
    • [08:23] - Why did you choose Dow over all the other pits?
    • [08:53] - Do you feel like that market fit your personality?
    • [09:58] - What did trading in the pit teach you that you can't learn on a screen?
    • [12:08] - When you were trading what would limit your upside?
    • [14:54] - Did you make the jump to trading on the screen?
    • [16:35] - How do you manage the volatility difference between the screen and the pit?
    • [17:33] - Do you find that having the pit experience impacts you on the business side of trading?
    • [18:50] - How are you taking the trading floor community approach and applying it to TopstepTrader?
    • [20:13] - What are you doing at TopstepTrader to make me feel like I'm not on an island by myself?
    • [22:32] - What do you want TopstepTrader to become?
    • [24:28] - What keeps you up at night?
    • [26:05] - Do you have a lot of ex-pit traders that have come on to your platform?
    • [27:42] - Where do you see the opportunities for people on TopstepTrader?
    • [29:19] - What is the culture like working at TopstepTrader?
    • [31:40] - How do you celebrate success and handle failure within the company?
    • [35:44] - Did TopstepTrader raise venture capital?
    • [36:55] - Do you find recruiting in Chicago better or not as good as other places?
    • [38:02] - Do you have a rewards program to bring in new employees?

If you'd like to receive new episodes as they're published, please subscribe to Limit up! in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving a review in Apple Podcasts. It really helps others find the show.

This podcast episode was produced by Dante32

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Topics: Limit Up! Podcast, Michael Patak, MARKet Reaction, Jack Pelzer, Jeff Carter, Leadership

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