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Developer/CTA Interview
Samuel K. Tennis
Founder of Vista-Research
Program(s) Developed: Converting system developer or individual traders trading programs to automated trading platform
Interview Date: May, 2012
Interviewed by John F. Gallwas - Founder of Striker Securities, Inc.
Samuel K. Tennis is the founder of Vista-Research, with headquarters in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. Mr. Tennis specializes in converting system developer or individual traders trading programs to automated trading platforms using "EasyLanguage" as well as other programming languages. As one of the leading programmers at Omega Research, where he played a vital role in the development of the popular EasyLanguage program, he is uniquely qualified to provide these programming services. Moreover, he is the author 240 page book entitled "Ask Mr. EasyLanguage" published by TradersPress. Mr. Tennis is not a system developer in order to avoid any conflict-of-interest issues.
John Gallwas: Tell us the story of Omega Research, one of the pioneers of computer generated technical trading tools, and how that eventually led to automated trading systems.

Samuel Tennis: When I started working with Bill Cruz, one of the founders of Omega Research, Inc ("Omega"), we were developing the first (of several) Time Extraction Method ("TEM") black-box Trading System. At that time, the Omega business office was a roll top desk in Bill Cruz's closet and the programming was done in a spare bedroom. In 1985, I became the Head Programmer of Omega.

After the third or fourth TEM system we realized that making research tools, for the trading system developer, was far more profitable than actually coding and marketing systems. Our first "toolkit" product was DOS based "System Writer Plus" ("SWP") which was re-named as "TradeStation", when we migrated to the Windows operating system . Those were exciting years and many system developers were our customers. We never again ventured further into developing trading systems of our own.

John Gallwas: EasyLanguage was developed by Omega Research to make it possible for the developer or trader to automate their trading systems. However we understand that while it is relatively easy to learn the syntax and components of the language, but much more difficult to actually convert a trading system into a reliable automated program. What is the problem and how can it be overcome by the developer or trader?

Samuel Tennis: It is true that most anyone can learn the syntax and components of EasyLanguage, but not everyone has the time, patience, or background to be a successful programmer. While the main goal of my book is for programmers, the secondary objective is educating the trader on the language, and how it works.

This is because I have found that the more the user understands about EasyLanguage and its design paradigms, the better they can take advantage of the programís features. As a result, I recommend that any prospective developer or trader, who is considering automating a trading system, start by spending the time and effort to learn the fundamentals of EasyLanguage. If they have the programming skills they can move forward on their own, but if they need help, they are in a much better position to hire a programmer.

John Gallwas: As you know, at Striker, we work with many 3rd party system developers and publish their actual performance daily. What services do you provide for these professional developers?

Samuel Tennis: A professional system developer is generally a true student of the markets and although they have skill to design a trading strategy, may not have either the time or the capabilities to automate a system. The greatest majority of my work is to automate the developers trading strategy, and to prepare the supporting studies necessary to evaluate the hypothetical results.

I also convert from other platforms to TradeStation and review code written by other programmers to verify that it is properly coded before the program is activated.

John Gallwas: Based on your years of extensive work with automated trading systems, what are the key features you have found necessary for a profitable automated program?

Samuel Tennis: Trading systems are a part of the ever-changing information age and like any other technology need to be kept up-to-date. System maintenance is sometimes overlooked, even though it is key to sustaining a profitable system. An ongoing systems maintenance program is vital to the long term success of any program and an area that someone like me can be a big help.

Also, I feel that more research needs to be done in exit strategies, and I have recently been working on developing exit strategies to compliment the trading methodology.

John Gallwas: In addition to your Yahoo EasyLanguage group, do you provide any other web sites or formats where developers and programs can meet and interact?

Samuel Tennis: Anyone interested in EasyLanguage, or wanting a resource for help using TradeStation, is welcome to join my group at . I also monitor several other sites and will jump in from time to time to clear up an issue.

This interview is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a solicitation of any kind. Trade only with risk capital. The risk of trading can be substantial and each investor and/or trader must consider whether trading systems are a suitable investment.
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There is a risk of loss in trading. It is the nature of commodity and securities trading that where there is the opportunity for profit, there is also the risk of loss. Commodity trading involves a certain degree of risk, and may not be suitable for all investors. Derivative transactions, including futures, are complex and carry the risk of substantial losses. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Please read additional risk matters on our web site, www.striker.com. It is important you understand all the risks involved with trading, and you should only trade with risk capital. This communication is intended for the sole use of the intended recipient.

About this report The information and links on this website are for informational purposes. The risk of trading can be substantial and each investor and/or trader must consider whether this is a suitable investment. Past performance, whether actual or indicated by simulated historical tests of strategies, is not indicative of future results. Striker is a member of the National Futures Association ("NFA"), the Managed Funds Association ("MFA"), and the National Introducing Broker Association ("NIBA"). Striker is registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission ("CFTC"), and was formerly registered with the Securities Exchange Commission ("SEC"). Additionally, Striker is a former member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA"), and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation ("SIPC"). FINRA is the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities business in the United States. Please read Striker Disclosure Statement for the additional disclosure.

The trading performance cited throughout our web site is based on actual trading history, unless otherwise noted. The starting account balance is based on the system developer recommendation. Striker tracks actual performance by recording and maintaining each trade ticket for each system generated. The performance information assumes that no additions or withdrawals have been made. The rate of return for all systems disclosed in the Striker Report is cumulative from the day the system actually started trading at Striker. We maintain a "life" track for all 3rd party systems. We do not necessarily base our records on any particular client account. No one particular customer has achieved these results. The percentage returns reflect inclusion of commissions and fees.The actual percentage gains/losses experienced by investors will vary depending on many factors, including, but not limited to: starting account balances, market behavior, the duration and extent of investor participation (whether or not a client takes all signals for a system) in the specified system and money management techniques.

Striker is a revolutionary concept in action: an international, professional team of brokers dedicated to trading only for clients. It bears repeating: unlike most other brokers, Striker does NOT trade futures for itself or any of its employees. This policy has been in place from the start in order to guarantee that our entire focus remains on the interests of our clientele. Striker believes that when brokers are allowed to trade for themselves (or have in-house trading practices) there is a strong potential for conflict of interest, as the broker may place more importance on his own trading activities (or that of his firm's) than on those of his clients. Finally, Striker has no financial ties to system developers, so there no bias or pressure on how we report the actual trading results posted in our client section. This section is designed specifically for Striker's clients, so they may audit their results on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis.