By the early 1980s, Dennis was widely recognized in the trading world. He had turned an initial stake of less than $5,000 into more than $100 million. Richard Dennis and his partner, Eckhardt, had frequent discussions about their success. Dennis believed anyone could be taught to trade the futures markets, while Eckhardt countered that Dennis had a special gift that allowed him to profit from trading. As a result, The turtles experiment was born the.
Dennis would find a group of people to teach his rules to, and then have them trade with real money. The training would last for two weeks and could be repeated over and over.
He called his students “turtles” after recalling turtle farms he had visited in Singapore and deciding that he could grow traders as quickly and efficiently as farm-grown turtles.
Finding the Turtles
To settle the bet, Dennis placed an ad in The Wall Street Journal and thousands applied to learn trading at the feet of widely acknowledged masters in the world of commodity trading. Only 14 traders would be make it through the first “Turtle” program.
Turtles were taught very specifically how to implement a trend-following strategy. The idea is that the “trend is your friend”, so you should buy futures breaking out to the upside of trading ranges and sell short downside breakouts.
According to former turtle Russell Sands, as a group, the two classes of turtles personally trained by Dennis earned more than $175 million in only five years. Richard Dennis had proved beyond a doubt that beginners can learn to trade successfully. Sands contends that the system still works well, and said that if you started with $10,000 at the beginning of 2007 and followed the original turtle rules, you would have ended the year with $25,000.