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Racing Against Bitcoin

by Keith Alan

September 30, 2021 marks 1 year since we auctioned off our very first paid subscription and launched our first products for crypto traders. The journey that followed turned into a race against Bitcoin.

License #001 was a Founding Members Lifetime License that gave the high bidder lifetime access to every current and future retail product we release. The decision to launch with a LIVE Auction was a strategic one for a number of reasons, but mostly to protect the modest infrastructure that we were building on.

To be honest, even though the tools were working well, we didn’t feel that we were quite ready to launch, but some members of our Telegram community were literally begging us to allow them to pay for unrestricted access to the tools. Many of them were already making money with free versions of our MTF Mean Reversion and Trend Precognition Indicators and they were even more excited about FireCharts.

HBD FireCharts

Most of them had been in the community long enough to witness the development process and performance upgrades that Fred figured out and they rallied behind us and encouraged us to launch. We had some trepidation, but we knew we needed cash to scale the infrastructure to accommodate more users without degrading performance, and we didn’t want to raise outside capital to do it. We agreed to start offering a limited number of paid subscriptions and mapped out a plan to do it in phases so that we could maintain and monitor performance relative to the infrastructure. We were, and to date, remain a boot-strapped startup, organically growing and scaling our community, our infrastructure and subscribership in step with each other.

Community Support

The Countdown to Launch and LIVE Auction created a lot of buzz among the Telegram community. I think we had a few hundred members back then, and a group of them put up deposits to participate in the LIVE Auction and sale that followed. Since we hadn’t published any pricing yet, we had no idea what to expect. We understood that our products are only worth what the market was willing to pay for them, but we truly did not know what that number was. We were at the mercy of 9 guys spanning the globe, one bidding from Tazmania at 3 A.M., another bidding from Spain, and so forth to establish a value that we could model pricing around. As the bidding started to accelerate we realized these guys really did value the tools, but they also saw something in our team. They believed in us enough to put up the money to help us scale our infrastructure and build better products in exchange for access to use them. They knew more was coming, but they, nor we were really sure when. I’m not sure if those 9 that became our first subscribers really understand what they did for our company.

In addition to the capital they infused into our company, they gave us a boost of confidence that confirmed that we were on the right track which is why I consider them our Founding Members. If you want to watch the crazy bidding war that happened and get a little background on how we formed our business. Check out the highlights in this edited version of the LIVE Auction from September 30, 2020.

The Covid Effect

It’s worth mentioning at this point, that when we first formed Material Indicators, our resident mad scientist, Fred aka @Mtrl_Scientist was a college student finishing his undergrad work. Once he started his PhD program, school wasn’t just a priority, it was also the job that was paying his bills. For the first 2 years Material Indicators was in development and testing mode, and didn’t generate a penny in revenue. Once money started coming in, every cent went back into the company. Fortunately we all had other sources of revenue coming in, but the Covid Pandemic had a pretty severe impact on that. I have worked all over the world, and I can honestly say that planning for a global pandemic never once came up at a meeting. Not sure we could have done anything to prepare for what followed. We all know the havoc that Covid 19 has had and continues to spread on the world and the markets, but like most entrepreneurs, we had no clue what impact it was going to have on our business. Fortunately the bull market that sprung from the Covid Crash in March of 2020 inspired many people stuck at home on Covid lockdowns to start trading. That may or may not have helped create a tailwind for the market. It definitely helped us, but not in the way you might think. Losing my primary source of income was a catalyst that forced me to decide between putting my time into finding another source of income to support my family, or going all in with Material Indicators, LLC. I knew it wasn’t going to be an immediate source of income, but knew the potential was there if we could build more interest in what we were doing. Besides, I also had a killer set of trading tools at my fingertips that I had gained confidence in so I stepped up my day trading efforts and began posting more about trades and market conditions in the community.

Community Drives Everything

The smartest decision we ever made was to create an environment where traders could share and gain insight to the markets without being inundated with shills and moonbois. Our Telegram community actually started as a small group of traders testing out our MTF Mean Reversion Indicator for free, sharing feedback and results from trades and asking the right questions to inspire innovative solutions that helped make MTF become such a good indicator. With some love and nurturing, our community has evolved into a place where members support their ideas and remarks with charts and data, lockdowners in their pajamas can absorb TA and Fundamental Analysis from crypto trading OGs, and NFT thousandaires can explain why the “EtherRocks” image sold for over $600k. In all honesty our community has become one of my greatest and most reliable tools for my own trading and in my opinion, the value it delivers to those of us who engage there regularly, transcends the tools.

To date, the community has helped and inspired us in so many ways on this journey and we are going to continue to nurture our relationship by providing more valuable content, data and tools. To be clear, our vision has never been to see how large we can grow our community. We of course want growth, but we are more focused on maintaining the quality and integrity of the content and the learning environment. If we stay true to our core values and continue to nurture our communities, everything else will fall into place.

A Race to Outpace Bitcoin

Since we sold the first licenses, we were so concerned that demand was going to outpace our modest infrastructure that we never offered free trials or spent a dime on marketing. We didn’t even have an active company Twitter account. Since then, the infrastructure is much more robust and we now have an active Twitter account that reached the 5000 Followers milestone this week, and I’m proud to say it was 100% organic with no paid marketing. Our public Telegram community crossed that mark a couple months ago and along the way we hit a few other important milestones. This first was getting to our first 100 subscribers so we could afford to continue to scale the infrastructure. Along that journey Fred once (half) joked that it would be cool to hit $50k in sales before Bitcoin price reached $50k. I told him I wanted sales to outpace Bitcoin price to reach $50k, $75k and $100k. We didn’t quite beat it to $50k, although none of us were upset about BTC passing $50k. I’m proud of our team for winning the rest of that race. The good news is the increase in revenue afforded Fred the chance to park his PhD and commit to Material Indicators full time. That has made a tremendous difference in both the volume and pace of research and development. It’s also helped generate interest and opportunities with crypto media outlets, other platforms in the space as well as fund managers and other institutional traders to our community. TBH, we always intended to target that market, but felt it would be a while before we were ready. Just as we let our community guide and encourage us to launch MTF, Trend Precognition and FireCharts a year ago, we’ve asked the professionals in our community to tell us what kind of data and tools they want and we got to work on building institutional grade products and services to meet their needs. Needless to say, I’m super proud of Fred and the rest of our team for rising to the occasion at such an accelerated pace. Less than a year after we publically released our first suite of products, we’ve developed and started testing dozens of soon to be released institutional grade products and have started onboarding institutional clients. For me personally, that’s simultaneously exciting and scary because it comes with greater responsibility and self inflicted pressure to perform. We are learning a lot as we go, and I’m excited about where we are headed, but I’m even more excited about the ways our community members and retail customers are going to benefit from our institutional offerings, as it provides exponentially more data, more tools and a deeper understanding of the market to help us all make better informed trading decisions.

Wen Moon? (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself)

To say things like, “We’re just getting started” and “Our best is yet to come” sounds way too cliche, and to put it in trading terms, is just too speculative. Instead, I’ll simply say that we are committed to the principles and standards we have been building our reputation on. We don’t make claims without data to back them up and we don’t sell tools or products that we haven’t tested or traded our own personal funds with. If you have learned anything in our community or had any success making money or mitigating risk with our tools we hope you’ll stick around to see what’s next…and what may follow after that because we are infinitely curious about what moves markets and we are never satisfied with status quo. Above all, we value our community and our customers and we appreciate the support and opportunities you guys have been kind enough to share with us over the past year. None of this would be possible without our community, Fred, Brad and the rest of our team and most especially, those 9 Founding Members who believed in our tools and our team, even before we truly believed in ourselves.

Since the day Material Indicators cleared the launchpad, the ride for our bootstrapped startup has not always been smooth, but we aimed high and those that supported and encouraged us along the way, truly helped put us on an incredible trajectory at an accelerated rate. We are truly grateful for that and we are excited to have you along for the ride for the journey ahead.

Here’s to trading smarter.

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