Interview with John Bollinger, Creator of Bollinger Bands

John Bollinger joins Cobie & Ledger to talk about his career trading, the world-famous TA tool he created (Bollinger Bands), and generally shares his trading wisdom.

Audio Version


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Show Notes


– Started as an options trader

– Spent a lot of time estimating volatility

– Would use a 21 day moving average for volatility

– When price would break out of range, you could expect a further breakout move 🚀

– They would chart and graph price literally by hand


Major Changes Over Time

– Trading hasn’t gotten easier or harder

– Data availability has improved tremendously

– Fear and greed have not changed one bit 🕰

– bbands: “I can just get more done now in a day – I’m better than I was”

Normalizing Trading

– Back in the day people who were interested would watch the S&P stock guide

– Recently we’ve seen a huge explosion in trading

– bbands: “when I started out it was $75 round trip for a futures contract”

– When Robinhood came out and said 0 commissions they forced everyone to play by those rules 🏹

– They’re doing it to crypto rn!

Onboarding to Crypto Trading

– Onboarding, from a technical perspective, was pretty hard to get involved

– bbands: “I wanted to trade volatility as you might image, and complex orders were very slow in coming”

– Cobie: “A lot of people I knew were using bbands but we didn’t know you were on CT your indicators are so widely used it feels like an old historic method” 👴🏼

– bbands: “I think the fact that I’m here proves that I’m not dead” LOL

– bbands: “I was at the supermarket awhile back and this guy comes up and says ‘OMG you’re John Bollinger, you aren’t dead!’ and my daughter looked up at me and was like ‘Daddy…? 🥺’”

John Bollinger’s TV Career

– bbands: “I was an on-air TV financial analyst for Financial News Network – predecessor to CNBC” 📺

– Cobie: “It was like the weather but John Bollinger with a chart”

– bbands: “The bands got named on-air! I was showing the chart and the guy was like what do you call those and I was like uhhhh…. Bollinger Bands?”

Crypto & TA

– bbands: “crypto is the best market for TA” 🏆

– Cobie: “in 2013/2017 everything felt inefficient and very easy to predict, now it feels much harder”

– bbands: “yes but it’s still better than any other market!”

John’s Glory Markets

– bbands: “grew up as an equities trader, I love US stocks” 🇺🇸

– coined a term ‘Rational Analysis’ as a combination of TA and FA

– Wanna look over his shoulder? he puts up about 40 charts you can download every Saturday afternoon on his website

*John get’s delivery and asks delivery guy if he needs anything… easily most wholesome guest ever on UpOnly*

bbands: “TA is pretty much like depicting emotion on paper” 😭😍

Does Bollinger Capital Take Interns?

– Ledge: “CMS Intern looking for a change” LFG shoutout but ledge ur going to get me fired I love it here bls

– bbands: “I have… a very good test is if you can figure out how to contact me” BANG there ya go opening for all u

bbands: “punish your losers, feed your winners” sell losers let the winners ride

Chicago Trading Sayings

– bbands: “You’re allowed to buy the bottom tick once in your lifetime, and you’re allowed to sell the top tick once in your lifetime”

– bbands: “The corollary is that you’re allowed to do the opposite as many times as you like” lmao

bbands Exit Strategy

– None

– I guess if I can do half days, that’s perfect

– John = bbands, daughter = shebands

Secret bbands V2?

– Not a secret, just had relatively little traction

– bbands V2 = exponential bbands

– People like the old ones

– Would never be a secret… “I’m the original open source guy all of my stuff is available” actually a benevolent leader

– It was hard to learn trading so we’d meet up and share ideas

Fighting Emotions While Trading

– Keep a tally of performance

– On a hot-streak its really, really hard not to be euphoric 🤩

– You have to just lean against them

Why Do bbands Work 40 Years Later?

– They are derived from a first principle of markets

– Everyone uses them in a different manner, you don’t auto buy or sell when it touches a band

– You need to be able to adapt when the characteristics of the market change

Michael Burry/ Other Famous Traders

– These days just posts tweets like it’s the end of the world

– They’re stopped clocks – gonna be right twice per day 🕕

– It’s really hard for perma-bears to make money

– bbands: “I just turn them off”

– bbands: “if you’re bullish you wanna read the bears, if you’re bearish you wanna read the bulls”

    – read = literature, books 📚

    – yes bbands says read books you should do it

– You see it all the time in politics – you NEED to get out of your echo chambers and understand the other side

Macro Bias + TA

– bbands: “if we’re bias towards the long side (which we have been and still are) then we just look for pullbacks and buy them”

– Cobie: “on a long enough timeline, I’m right”

– Stay consistent

bbands Best Books

– Love the classics

– Richard D Wyckoff, H.M. Gartley, Robert Levy, Humphrey Neill

– Longer reading list on

Ledge: “just gonna trust Luke and CMS Intern wrote all these down” gotchu sir 🤝


– We have a saying which has always stuck with me: “We may be going to the moon but we will trade our way there”

Favorite Brewery

– Sierra Nevada in Chico California

– Love the constant innovation

Final Alpha

– widen your experience as much as humanly possible

– encompass a great range – read very widely, do things you don’t normally do, have new experience… get a really broad perspective

– live life as widely and as broadly as you can

Notes by @cmsintern

Music by GiovanniPickle