I had this idea…

The best stories start with, “I had this idea….”

Of course, you could use “It was a dark and stormy night…,” but I’ll stick with “I had this idea….”

Hi, I’m Brian Bell. I’m a trader, software engineer, woodworker, and tinkerer. I hope you find something useful here. Or at least mildly entertaining. Or, failing that, something that isn’t a complete and total and waste of your time.

This blog is obviously a work in progress, so check back once in a while to see what’s here.



I trade futures markets systematically. So I’ve spent much of my life thinking of trading ideas and testing them. Unless you’re the type that stays up late, late into the night trying just one more thing while your spouse/SO is calling “come to bed already!” I wouldn’t recommend this as a way of making a living. The tuition costs are steep – expect to lose a boatload of money before you start making some.  Most individual futures traders go broke. Maybe I’m not very smart, but that’s what I do.

Software Development

Ever since I got my hands on a Texas Instruments programmable calculator in high school, I’ve loved software development. I remember re-arranging instructions until I could fit whatever it was I was working on into 50 instructions. Later I worked on an embedded system comprising 250,000 lines of uncommented assembly code.  Apparently, the assembler was hitting its limits so someone stripped out all the comments to make it work. Unbelievable. These days I work primarily in C# on trading systems and risk management platforms.


Still in my youth and living in a one-room apartment, I bought a kit from the dulcimer shop in Manitou Springs and with a bottle of glue, some sandpaper, and an Xacto knife, put together a dulcimer. I have a few more tools now and hopefully more skill. Designing and building wood furniture is my favorite way to spend time. Woodworking is equal parts problem solving and art, which is why I love it so much.


To my mother’s chagrin, I was a “disassembler” as a kid. I took stuff apart. If there was a way in, I found it. If there wasn’t, I forced it. Many things I could get back together (my bike), and some things I couldn’t (a Big Ben alarm clock). I still take things apart just to see how they work. I can’t help it, I’m curious! A few years ago I decided to build a CNC router. Eight months and many hundreds of hours later, I had a working machine. With all the new tools and mistakes made, I probably spent twice what it would have cost to buy it. But it works, and I had a lot of fun.

Drop Me a Line

Something on your mind? Got a question? An answer?