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Automated vs Manual Pt4

A benefit of providing an online automated service to members compared to locally installed, is that it can be updated and maintained remotely, with bets managed online without the need for a VPS, or to keep members devices turned on running the strategies.

This removes aspects that can cause issues, and makes it all compatible with Mac, PC, and mobile Android and Apple phones, tablets, which is a massive bonus.

My initial experience operating the cloud service started with remotely placing the bets manually to member accounts, and this blog post today will give you some insight in to the growing pains we went through at that time, essential development for us to reach the smooth operating platform we have today.

However, for me it was another personal journey I want to share, as it taught me a lot about planning, and accepting new tasks in to my routine that would subsequently overload me.

A Remote Dutch Betting service that was designed specifically to handle hundreds of member bets, all placed at once over the cloud to the Betfair exchange, was the original idea for cloud betting at Exponential Bet.

I'd put these bets on for members via my cloud admin panel, and they would be placed a couple of minutes pre-race.

The cloud set up was designed to add my selections to all member Betfair exchange accounts within seconds.

I can go through a race card each day and make a profit, if I'm left alone to study and bet on the exchange I will make a very good living this way, so to run a service I could share with members that placed my daily bets seemed like the perfect plan.

What I wanted was to have a hands on platform that could replicate the bets I make, without interrupting my selection process getting the bets matched for everyone.

Actually attempting this in a very personal way, ie running a subscription service where members have direct contact with me before, during, and after bets have been placed was a completely different story.

The second I'd place a bet emails would flood in asking if this was correct, or reporting the issue explained in my previous posts about uneven Dutch bets occurring, sometimes five page emails with screen shots asking me to stop now and examine to confirm all was correct.

I do get this, and understand as a member you want to check everything is working correctly, I'm not being a moaning bastard (again), just explaining that from my side this contributed to killing the entire concept of me placing these bets remotely like this.

It wasn't the only reason, but one of the main ones. Nobody's fault, just consequence of attempting such a humongous and difficult project.

Members who were active at that time will remember me putting a bet on, if the first one won I'd then send another email stating that would be it for the day due to the influx of emails I needed to put my attention on.

It was important I got back to people there and then, as it was an early access system, and feedback was required, but it was too much.

To say it interrupted my initial flow is an understatement, as from that moment on, and sometimes until I finished for the day late evening, I was then answering questions and solving betting issues.

Could I have preempted a lot of the questions, yeah I could have I'm sure, and I actually did with the ongoing information I provided after joining, plus with the old FAQ. Which I took down from the site as it was useless, who actually reads an FAQ these days.

I also pride myself on personal interaction with members, and want to get to know each of you to ensure you're getting what you need, and the best out of the service.

Which at the moment I can and have created the freedom throughout my day to finish my jobs. I now fit in time to reply to my members properly, without feeling stretched and overloaded.

It was also at development stage when starting to do this remotely, early access, so the feedback was welcome, but also overwhelming and reached a level that would just consume too much time.

I wanted to actively place a lot more bets on, as I do when I'm left to it on my own, that was the point of the service after all, to replicate this.

Placing bets in a way that was responsive to my normal activity, but the trying to make the Dutching fit like this was not a good idea.

The flow we get in to when applying ourselves to our work needs to be uninterrupted to be truly effective, and with the best intentions we created a platform that could have given me the chance to work this way, but it was the wrong bet type, and required too much back and forth communications that bedraggled my thought process.

I was not working to a tenth of my effectiveness using the remote placement for Dutch betting, with new projects if we adapt this, and possibly for trading in the future, these mistakes will not be made again.

Nobody's fault as stated, it was just a learning phase. Definitely not the members needing attention, not Nigel's for working to create this set up operating Dutch bets, nor mine for trying to provide this in the first place, if we don't try anything nothing happens.

We need to fail forward and learn, or we do not grow, and I needed grow and find better ways of running an automated betting service, which came as a result of this. That's a fact.

As I came from creating automated systems using third party software, which I'd share files and leave members to it with my guide.

To having downloaded software to install and run, keep updated etc.

All the way to an online platform where I would actively place the bets to your live account, just moments prior to a race starting.

Whereas on one hand it feels like we started this years ago. This all happened in the space of months, literally just coming up to a year in March, so that's a lot of learning fast.

The amount of growth this project has been through on the other hand feels like a nano second, it's truly amazing.

Another aspect of this process that weirdly affected me negatively was the stress I was feeling at the point of placing the bets.

This is complicated thing to explain or even admit, as it really freaked me out. I don't mind owning up to my weaknesses, it's a healthy mindset. My missus says I'm the most confident person she's ever met, and she is a Police Officer who's met a lot of diverse people in her 20 year career, so from her that's a rare compliment, and one I put in my pocket.

The other factor that was stressing me out was a mixture of anxiety about various techie things getting the bets matched on every member account.

Also, with having to assess the bets themselves or the market activity, which had to be done while also knowing that every action would create a reaction, and I'd then have to spend hours on email afterwards.

It became very unhealthy, and my routine was tipped upside down.

I'm fine with the pressure of placing bets on other people’s behalf, I'm used to that, but I can acknowledge there is a certain stress level when doing this, and something anyone attempting it needs to get used too.

If you put yourself in my shoes for a moment, imagine that each manual bet you place for yourself on the exchange isn’t just for you, it is for hundreds of people at the same time.

How do you think this would affect your decision making, or even ability to place the bet successfully, as it’s a live exchange with limited funds on each selected horse?

Each member has put their trust and good faith in you to do so, signed up, registered their betting account, and funded it with a bank roll to make them money over time. Would this be a stressful experience to you?

They email you about their lives and discuss betting amounts, buy in to the concept you’re developing, would this be a lot of pressure on your shoulders to deliver the right results based on this information? Would it be a distraction and could you keep cool?

I have managed it in all my prior experience handling large sums of money for clients, as I think that's because it was under other people's banners, as in I worked for different companies, but this was all on me.

I've sent emails daily with my BSP Multiple service since 2017. The membership for that service was in the hundreds, and given it was BSP I had some very high rollers following that service (which incidentally does not run because Betafir decommissioned the racing multiples feature), and it was both popular and successful. Prior to this I’ve ran a betting site, and understand very well peoples expectations with betting systems.

I've trading and bet for people using combined funds, and this carries a lot of weight and responsibility. Also worked in property investments handling huge amounts of money for clients, purchasing multiple off plan units reaching into the millions.

This why I was served a curve ball with the remote betting service, because using online software to do this for members live just seconds pre-race felt completely different.

It was an uncomfortable pressure that didn't get easier the more I practised and refined the process, it became a thing of dread, and anything like this if not addressed properly eats away, and is an energy drain.

In comparison to creating a guide, or a system to run using the software I cover in my previous blog, or sending emails each day for BSP Multiples, is a totally different routine altogether.

For BSP Multiples I used to start early, working through the race card, establishing the races and horses to include in the Dutch, place my own bets, and then screenshot a copy of the bet slip attached to an email and sent to members of the service.

Then spend the remainder of the day trading, and in the evening catch up on emails, update results etc.

This was all something in my control, and at my pace using my best ability and focus in that moment.

Remote Dutch Betting using the cloud however somehow created a tension I was definitely not expecting.

I'm well accustomed to handling pressure, so it wasn't this causing my stress. Puzzling trying to locate the cause I analysed the moments I'd enter the negative feelings, trying to draw an imaginary line around it in my mind. To cordon it off.

It was in the minutes counting down pre-race, as I whittled the shortlist of potential horses I had this extra band of tension on my shoulders.

It came from considering the technical aspect of getting the bets matched for everyone, as the platform was still early access when I was doing this. This was the trigger.

Mixed with the timing of the bet required to reach a targeted minimum profit, with another eye on the available money each horse had to be matched. As it was all live to the exchange the liquidity could change in a flash, and as it's horse racing unlike the stock market, currencies etc, there really isn't a lot of money to place Dutch bets for hundreds of people I found.

We thought there would be enough to cover the membership and staking, given the outsider horses didn't require much money to cover them, it was focused on the well fancied selections after all, but mix that with timing getting bets matched, and you're screwed.

I'd gone full circle away from the downloaded software, and the hassle that caused, to creating another thankless task for myself, instead of the leverage I'd originally thought it would bring giving members a valuable service.

That was the line of stress I could identify and I was walking into each day, this was causing the dread...

I couldn’t immediately figure out why I was becoming so ratty with the whole thing, as this is how initially I wanted it to be, with me personally placing the Dutch bets. I was relieved after months to draw a line around it, but that didn't solve it, just kept me calmer when not in that moment.

It’s something I enjoy doing myself during a day which gives me peace, excitement, and financial reward, so I was looking forward to sharing it.

The scale of doing this for literally hundreds of members at once created an entirely different set of challenges, and as such changed the dynamic and factors I had to drill through pre-race prior to making my decisions.

With the live prices moving as I confirmed my decision, calculated the bet, the timing, and then with the flood of money hitting the market sending odds everywhere leaving us with a lumpy Dutch bet (definition, a very uneven spread of profit across all the selected horses). All incredibly frustrating, anxiety, and rage inducing stuff that I was not expecting.

It felt like progress in the right direction weirdly enough, and that is true, but at the time it was really phasing me out.

When you think about a horse race minutes to post, anyone that's watched the race market on the exchange will know exactly how busy it is.

The odds are constantly changing, so considering members liquidity and ROI, combined with the technical aspect of ensuring enough time existed from hitting confirm bets, to bets being placed for everyone.

Having in the back of my mind the early access platform needed do what I wanted it to do, or I'd be spending the day drowning in emails.

No sympathy hunting here, I’m just using this blog series to let you know it’s not been a cake walk for me, and you may not have not considered this, I mean why would you.

At that moment when I entered the minutes pre-race I knew it was no turning back for the day ahead, and my time was no longer my own. It was quite literally a rabbit hole from the moment I hit confirm, and that began rattling my nerves.

I would not be able to go through the card placing bets for members remotely, as some technical issue would occur, or a member would need some assistance.

As the service would naturally grow my time would be stripped away, and even with good time management of emails I was wishing on a prayer if I thought this type of remote betting would work long term.

I tried hard and didn't go down without a fight on this project, but this blog post is another report of a forward failure along the way to reach to the point we now reside.

All this is something that’s no longer an issue thankfully, with BSP added to both JV MK2 and RDB, also lay betting which has evened out the profit across the bet for RDB, solving that liquidity problem that haunted my sleeping and waking hours for months.

It was #hellish

The actual concept of placing Remote Dutch Bets over the cloud at that moment when we began was a unique concept, and we’re ahead of the curve by a country mile right now.

I'm aware of other businesses out there trying to emulate the same thing, but it's still cutting edge, and largely very much like the wild west in the industry trying to set up and run similar betting systems.

I consider myself very lucky now to be working with the best in the business, and I know he's also learned a lot on this journey we’ve decided to take.

Placing any bets remotely is now is a lot slicker using Cloud Bet Bot, and if I decided to manually do it this way again, they can be scheduled like my previous BSP Racing Multiples service.

The pressure explained above isn't there anymore, and I would not want to go back to running a service this way.

When we say our systems are fully automated, they truly are now. As the systems run from our data filters that have come from live betting, but programmed in to the cloud set up, with bets placed within the specific strict parameters.

That is the future of fully automated betting without question. Members have a hands off service, we can focus on the development and improvement of the platform, and systems.

Without a wild fire of shit hitting the fan, or extreme tension created trying to place impractical bets to a live exchange for hundreds of members at once.

If I wanted to run a more hands on operation, possibly with trading in mind for the future with the cloud service, I can go through the card in the morning, set up the days trades, and then closer to race time deactivate any races where the dynamic may have shifted.

Even placing the trade pre-race immediately would be a lot simpler now, as the platform itself is just completely different from an admin perspective, it’s robust.

The trades themselves could be scheduled at whatever minutes to post, min and max odds regions factored in to avoid drifts or steamers, and for straight back or lay bets we now have a BSP option as stated, ensuring all members can be matched.

Things have certainly progressed and come a long way from the chaos of downloaded software, to me sat live going through the card minutes to post, firing resource intensive Dutch bets to market for a huge list of members, to where we are now, everything able to be scheduled or programmed to run according to rules.

It’s about having a vision to create something, getting your hands dirty making it happen and learning the ropes, then adding leverage to elevate it all to a new high while freeing up time to spend on improvements.

The key word in that paragraph is leverage, that’s what automation should give both the user and creator.

Rome certainly was not built in a day, and as much as I have smashed a few plates, got irate from time to time when I felt I wasn’t doing what I should be doing, or my time has been overloaded with jobs I thought shouldn’t have been created in the first place for me to deal with, ie software bugs and updates, I've also maintained the drive and motivation keeping my eyes on the prize.

I know in my heart that when I have felt like blowing a fuse, or possibly not dealt with someone’s email as well as I should when asked the same question for the hundredth time that day, when really I’m at my tethered end that it’s really not me. It’s a reaction to the frustration of being overwhelmed.

The process of learning is continuous, but now I understand what not to do more than ever, it took a while, but when I feel that type of situation escalating I’m more prepared, and control my desire to flip over the table, smash the monitors, and go and start a fight with someone smaller than me… Although, that’s no guarantee I’d win.

Being honest with myself is the first step and what I personally need, in order to function to my best ability, and provide services to the standard I expect.

I’ve become more patient that’s a fact, and better at understanding what time management works for me.

We’re all very different, and I’d advise anyone that’s feeling overwhelmed with work or any aspect of life they are feeling railroaded, to think about the peak performance times, when you feel most productive in the day.

How much rest needed, even what time of day having a coffee or exercise has the most positive impact, because stripping it down like this in to time slots of activity keeps me afloat, and has helped me get over some massive work challenges.

It’s only now writing these latest blog posts I can begin to think about having time to trade again for myself, and creating new content to share with members of the trading service.

This used to be a big part of my day and how it all began, and it gradually got stripped away for the reasons I explain in these posts.

If I knew then what I know now I’d have been strict with my time management.

I’ve been proactive and made things happen that I’d never imaged possible a year or two ago, and at times thought I was in control, but really mid forming new habits, and learning routines I was still trying to figure out. The term a busy idiot springs to mind…

Thankfully I’m on top of all current projects, and about to get back in to doing something I truly adore, trading Betfair.

The cloud services RDB and JV MK2 are now set up and running properly. The development work there is stable, with still more features and things scheduled, but it’s manageable unlike when we first launched the services.

That was a shit storm from the second I published the sign-up pages, as from that moment until recently my life was tipped upside down.

Every day working on programming jobs with Nigel on the cloud service, while manually developing the strategy improvements we have in place.

We had to take a gap of about a month after the initial launch to reprogram it all, drastic times call for big decisions to be made. They were the right decisions, not popular, but the important choices we make rarely are.

I’m genuinely not looking for a pat on the back here, I’m just explaining what’s involved actually creating a service such as RDB and JV MK2.

Looking back would I still have decided to do it, absolutely no question about that yes, with hindsight I’d have done it better and pre-empted some of the stress, but that’s all part of making incredible things happen that would never otherwise materialise.

We’re finally at the getting perfect stage with the automated set up. The polishing and finessing, keeping everything running smoothly.

At times I had my head on the desk going mental with rage before reaching this point, but now I know it was worth it, and I learned more about myself than I could have ever imagined.

Anything that puts you out of your comfort zone and teaches you something valuable priceless gift.

The transition from manually running my own bets and trades, and being accountable to me, myself, and I, then having hundreds of members using my services and automated strategies threw me in at the deep end, but I didn't sink to the bottom, as things now have progressed to the point I can share these stories with you with a smile on my face

I’ll round up this series of posts here as I've a lot to cover in upcoming news, but I will leave this automated vs manual series as to be continued...

Possibly this time next year with an assessment of how the current automation has evolved, and how my life has shifted by devoting time back to manual betting and trading, alongside my automated systems and services.

Thank you kindly for reading and staying with me on this subject. As I wrote at the beginning I could write a book of stories about this.

In my next posts I’ll be covering the advancements of Hedger Pro with some examples of the platform features, how this will integrate with the Trading Service, and what my ‘Betting for a Living’ new website is all about when online in the coming months.

Next post is scheduled early next week, I need to give my fingers a rest from typing for a day or two.

Thank you


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