The Death of ProphetCharts

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And of this pleasant garden that I have mostly goodly planted, I will make him gardener for his own recreation….

If all goes as planned, the greatest and most widely-used thing I ever created in my life is going to be snuffed out. ProphetCharts, used by traders all over the world for the past dozen years, is going to be eliminated from existence by those who bought it a dozen years ago.

It was, I suppose, inevitable, but when I first got the news last December, I felt a sadness I didn’tprophetNetLogo expect. I would never compare the sense of loss to losing a child – – a pain I pray I never experience and would never wish on anyone – – but it did seem like my “first baby” was being killed, and I felt powerless.

Far more than a sense of impotence, however, was a loss of efficacy. There is a scene from the movie Escape from Alcatraz that perfectly captures what I was anticipating:

For those not familiar with the movie, the above scene takes place shortly after one of the prisoners, Doc, has had his canvas and paint brushes seized by the warden. For Doc, painting is the only joy he has. It is his means of expressing his individuality, and his method of passing the time. The warden, oddly offended by the fact Doc created a portrait of him, had the materials seized, and Doc executed his last act of self-determination by truly rendering himself unable to create art.

My life has revolved around ProphetCharts virtually nonstop since its introduction in 2004. The product’s About Box makes plain two important things…..first, that this product has been around a long time, and second, that it hasn’t been touched in years.

About-Pcharts

Indeed, there have been no real improvements to the product for the past decade, and even so, I consider it the easiest-to-use, most user-friendly charting product on the web. For me, using it is as effortless and natural as using my arms and legs.

After I got over the initial shock of hearing the news, I faced the realization that, since I still wanted to chart and trade, I’d have to do so in a world devoid of my beloved product. Like it or not, I had to find a replacement. So I began my search.

Let me make plain this search was done with every intention of finding the best product I possibly could. I wanted something that “felt” as natural to use as ProphetCharts and had all the features I wanted. I figured that the world had probably made gigantic strides in charting products since I sold Prophet in January 2005, so I tried to look upon it as an adventure from the eyes of a consumer.

I’m here to tell you I was completely shocked at what I found. There were plenty of charting products, but I hated every one of them. They were completely non-intuitive. The learning curve was ridiculous. They had awful watch lists (if they had any at all). I couldn’t find anything even close to what I wanted.

I started with the likes of TeleChart, which has an insane number of customers. Their business probably just prints money, because a subscription business like that, with that many subscribers, is going to be an amazing cash cow. However, their software had been developed and improved since the 1980s, and it felt like it.

I also tried stuff like Metastock, which is cram-packed with features, but it could only show only a couple of years of daily data. Naturally I tried Stockcharts.com as well (my old nemesis from Prophet days), and it seems to have been frozen in time for a dozen years. I guess once you’ve got a great business, there’s no sense in improving the product. I was absolutely slack-jawed. It’s like the world stopped developing when Prophet was sold.

So here I was, facing the prospect of losing my right arm (that is, ProphetCharts) and having no decent substitute. I wondered for a moment if I should just stop trading altogether – – let’s face it, just about the biggest decision I could ever make – – but dismissed that instantly. I couldn’t live without good charts, however.

Then the obvious thing hit me: do it again. No one knows what I want better than I do. Start over. Create your own charts again. Start from scratch. Make exactly the kind of charting platform you would want to use the rest of your life.

And so I set about the task. And before I had the first line of code created, I started with the values of the product. In particular:

  • Simplicity
  • Ease of Use
  • Social

Over the past few months, I have been hard at work on this product. I’ve mentioned it to no one. I’ve shown it to no one. And it’s going to be free (at least for a while). For those of you using the product, I encourage you to do what I suggested in this post. And for those of you who are GOOD at testing and want to help me out, drop me a line and say so.

Don’t expect to see another full-blown ProphetCharts, but do expect something from your beloved host, a person who cares more deeply about financial charts than you can imagine. I have almost no resources at my disposal, nor have I ever, but there is one thing I have that I couldn’t find anywhere else: a passion for charts. I actually care about this stuff. And when I roll out version 0.1 of my new charts very soon, I think you’ll see what I mean.

ProphetCharts is dead. Long live ProphetCharts.
Booth People

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