How to spend time if you get bored playing video games? Recently, Bitcoin hit an all-time high. Soon after, hordes of Reddit trolls got rich investing in GameStop shares. As a result, trading has become a red-hot alternative to gaming. But to invest like a pro, you may need to refine your setup. A key part of that is a good trading chair. This article looks at the ergonomic chairs used by key players in the GameStop hedge fund saga.
By some accounts, recent interest in crypto and stock trading are partially lockdown-related. For instance, this Deloitte report explains how lockdowns increased screen time for the masses. That inspired a third of all USA consumers to try new digital activities. As people sought social connections online, multiplayer video gaming soared. Concurrently, Twitch communication increased by 38%, while Discord use went up by 70%.
Discord as a trading gateway for gamers
The transition from gaming to financial trading often goes through Discord. Launched in 2015, it’s a messaging app originally designed for gamers. During the Bitcoin bull run of 2017, it also became a key meeting spot for home-based crypto traders.
In 2021, Discord became a hot meeting spot for stock traders as well. Notably, the r/WallStreetBets Discord server helped drive GameStop shares up by 1500%. That made small investors rich while costing major investment firms billions in losses.
Trading for non-financial reasons
Bitcoin crazes are generally tech or financially driven. In contrast, this Time article suggests deeper motivations behind the GameStop run. It speculates that lockdown loneliness, generational angst, and boredom all played a role.
In such cases, Discord trading can bring varying degrees of relief. For instance, in real life, stock trading floors are noisy and chaotic. Discord replicates that experience in a format palatable for bored gamers. In the good times, there are memes, friends, profits, and plenty of laughs.
So how to get in on the action?
To trade stocks like a pro, you need a multi-monitor PC workstation and a good ergonomic chair.
GameStop hedge fund battle chairs
Below, we look at the chairs in use by all players in the GameStop story. Broadly, the hedge fund gang uses Herman Miller chairs, while the ‘anti-establishment rebels’ use Secretlab ones.
Reddit troll king Keith Gill: Secretlab
Keith Gill is a trader known on Reddit as u/DeepF-ingValue. He also runs a Youtube investment channel called Roaring Kitty. There, he advised many to invest in GameStop shares.
In January, the GameStop stock price soared by 1600%. As hordes of Redditors made money, massive hedge fund brokerages lost billions. Check out this Wall Street Journal interview with Keith Gill to learn more about his leadership of the trolls.
In the piece, Gill shows off his basement trading workstation/ Youtube studio. Like most traders, he employs a multi-monitor setup. His chair of choice is a House Lannister Secretlab Titan.
Secretlab Titan House Lannister edition
The House Lannister Titan chair comes in rich red leather, with black suede wings. Embroidered in gold on the front and back are intricate House Lannister sigils. This model comes in Titan and Omega variants. The former is larger. It has a flat, wide seat and depth-adjustable internal lumbar. In comparison, the Omega has smaller dimensions, ridged seat edges, and a memory foam lumbar pillow.
Both models are full-featured with 4D armrests, deep recline, a multifunction tilt-lock, and a 5-year warranty. Learn more in our Titan versus Omega comparison.
Users shorter than 5’9″ (175 cm) should choose an Omega Lannister chair for $409. Both models are available in North America, the EU and UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.
Billionaire Stephen Cohen: Herman Miller
Billionaire Stephen Cohen is the owner of the New York Mets and Point2 Asset Management. When the Reddit army spiked GameStop shares, the Melvin Capital firm lost billions on a short-selling bet. To help them out, Cohen’s Point 72 Assessment Management then lent Melvin Capital $2.75bn.
In late January, Cohen’s role in the GameStock saga resulted in fierce Twitter attacks. On January 30, he deleted his Twitter after receiving personal threats (source).
Whether you’re on the side of the trolls or the hedge funds, there’s no denying Cohen’s impressive PC workstation standards. For one thing, his Point2 Asset Management traders use Steelcase Leap ergonomic chairs.
For another, Cohen himself uses Herman Miller chairs. He’s also a multi-monitor workstation OG, using a seven-monitor trading workstation way back in the 2013 Windows 8 era.
Herman Miller ergonomic chairs
Stephen A. Cohen grew up in New York and graduated from Wharton. In 1978, he began his Wall Street career as a junior trader. Through several early pictures, he’s usually shown working in a range of Herman Miller chairs.
Herman Miller Mirra
In 2013, Windows 8 was the OS of choice. Top gaming hardware included an Intel Core i7-4790 and GTX 780 Ti GPU. That provided plenty of horsepower to run as many as four displays from one desktop PC. It’s likely that Cohen was using similarly high-end hardware to power this 2013 7-screen workstation. His workstation chair in this instance is Herman Miller Mirra chair (source):
The Herman Miller Mirra chair came out in 2003. In 2014, the Mirra 2 was released. Mirra 2 features:
- Backrest: Harmonic tilt with 3-position tilt-lock (95, 99, 122 degrees); triflex back.
- Synchro-tilt: 5° seat angle tilt + recline range of 94.3 – 106.8°.
- Posturefit lumbar support: 4.5″ height-adjustment range; 1″ depth adjustment.
- Seat: 5° seat angle tilt; height and depth adjustment.
- Armrests: 4D adjustable (5″ height range, 2″ width range)
- Upholstery: Airweave mesh over a flexible plastic frame.
Learn more about the Mirra 2 in our review of the top-5 Herman Miller ergonomic office chairs.
Herman Miller Embody
In this 2016 shot, Cohen looks to have upgraded to the Herman Miller Embody chair. That is the most expensive and (arguably) most visually-striking Herman Miller model.
The Herman Miller Embody comes in both classic office and gaming versions. All Embody chairs come with the same high-end ergonomic features:
- Synchro-tilt: seat pan angle 3° to 15°; backrest 94° to 120°
- Pixelated back support: the backrest has a central spine with flexible ribs. Each rib adjusts when you lean back to support the natural curve of your spine.
- BackFit angle adjustment: this lets you position the back of the chair to fit the curvature of your back.
- Seat adjustments: adjust the seat’s height and depth.
- Armrests: 2D-adjustable
- Backrest: adjust recline tension; 3-position tilt-lock; synchro-tilt
Robinhood brokerage: Herman Miller
Robinhood is a stock trading app at the center of the Gamestop stock controversy. In late January 2021, Robinhood restricted access to GameStop, AMC, Nokia, and other securities.
One of Robinhood’s primary market makers, Citadel Clearing, has ownership in the hedge fund Melvin Capital. Melvin was one of the largest short sellers of GameStop and others. This led many to suspect a conflict of interest (source).
Herman Miller Aeron
From the few photos available online, it appears that the entire Robinhood team uses Herman Miller Aeron chairs.
The Aeron was the world’s first mass-market ergonomic chair. First released in 1996, it broke new ground with complex features promoting comfortable posture support and movement.
Even though the Aeron is cheaper than the Embody, it has a superior feature set:
- Synchro-tilt: seat pan angle -1° to 16°; backrest 93° to 104°
- Upholstery: Pellicle 8Z mesh provides eight zones of varying tension for ultra-responsive support..
- Seat: adjust the height; limit the tilt range; adjust the tilt tension; sync-tilt with the backrest.
- Backrest: forward tilt option; height and depth adjustable PostureFit lumbar support.
- Armrests: 3D adjustable.
- Warranty: 12 years.
Wolf of Wall Street: Secretlab
In 1999, Jordan Belfort pled guilty to fraud in connection with stock-market manipulation. He spent 22 months in prison, then published a memoir in 2007 called the Wolf of Wall Street. In 2013, the film version of the book came out, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
These days, Belfort runs the Wolf of Wall Street Youtube investment channel from Beverly Hills. When the GameStop scandal broke, he was sought out by big media for insight. The gist is that he’s rooting for the little guys, but fears their luck is running out.
Even though he hasn’t invested himself, he continues to root for the little guys:
In most interviews (such as this one for CNN), he uses a Secretlab Titan NAPA Black edition. It’s the same chair he conducts many of his Youtube financial analyses in.
The Titan NAPA Black is upholstered in full-grain NAPA leather. This material is chrome-tanned, super-soft, and buttery smooth. This and the Omega NAPA version ($649) are the most expensive Secretlab chairs.
NAPA leather Titan and Omega chairs are available from Secretlab in North America, the EU and UK, Australia, and Singapore.
Elon Musk: Davis Webb chair
Elon Musk is the world’s richest man. He isn’t a stock trader, but has a huge influence on both stock and crypto markets. He is also the owner of Tesla and a certified meme lord.
In late January, a Tweet from Musk spiked the value of Dogecoin, a meme cryptocurrency. Soon after, he sided with the Reddit mob against big investment houses. That appeared to have helped drive the GameStop rally to new highs.
Musk has a grudge with short sellers. Last year, several major hedge funds bet that Tesla’s stock price would fall. If it did, they would make money, while Musk would lose. In the end, the short sellers lost more than $40bn. At the same time, Elon’s personal wealth tripled. That launched him beyond Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest man.
According to this article, Musk doesn’t have a fixed office. Instead, he moves his desk to wherever he needs to be. In a few online photos, he’s pictured working with his team in Davis Webb ergonomic chairs.
Davis Webb Executive chair
The Davis Webb Executive chair is an ultra-pricey ergonomic chair. It features an intricate woven backrest, fixed armrests, a sliding seat, and a reclining backrest.
It also has a synchro-tilt function to encourage seated movement. When engaged, the seat slides forward as the backrest tilts back.
- Hand-woven webbed backrest.
- Depth-adjustable sliding seat.
- Synchro-tilt: as the backrest reclines, the seat slides forward.
- Fixed armrests with leather caps.
Build your own day trading workstation
Ross Cameron started gaming in 1999. In 2009, he started trading stocks. Today, he runs Warrior Trading, one of Youtube’s top day trading channels. In his videos, he uses a Herman Miller Embody chair.
In this video, he talks about his conversion from a gamer to a day trader. On the downside, he feels that his hard-core gaming phase amounted to ‘lost years’. On the upside, those gaming years gave him the skills (and hardware knowledge) to succeed as a trader.
He also notes that gaming hardware is the best option for day trading. Basically, any PC powerful enough to play games is good enough to power a trading station.
Beyond the PC, you need a desk big enough to hold multiple monitors, monitors, monitor mounts, and a good chair. Here is a breakdown of the essential components:
Sturdy day-trading desk
On ChairsFX, we have reviewed both gaming desks and sit-stand height-adjustable desks. Neither is ideal for day-trading. The former has limited weight capacities and the wrong aesthetics for business. The latter’s height-adjustability is too shaky for multi-monitors.
In many gaming communities, a pair of IKEA desks are two popular options well-suited for trading.
First is a Lagkapten tabletop with Alex Drawers. The tabletop is a massive 78.75″ long (200 cm) x 23.5″ deep (59.7 cm), providing plenty of space for monitors. ($209.99 from IKEA).
Monitors and monitor mounts
Done with haste, a multi-monitor setup can turn into an aesthetic nightmare of cables and clutter. Luckily for aspiring traders, gaming monitor technology and usage styles are well-documented. There are two basic styles that are also well-suited to trading.
Multi monitors with desk mounts
Most gaming laptops costing more than $1000 should be able to support two external monitors. The problem with using a laptop to power your workstation is aesthetics. Everything (monitors, power, peripherals) needs to connect to your laptop, resulting in a mess of wires. Another problem with laptops is that they get very hot when playing games.
In comparison, most modern PCs have the ability to power at least four external monitors. In the shot below, the setup consists of a 27″ 2K monitor (2560×1440), flanked by 2 x 24″ 1080p monitors (1,920×1,080). The central one is for gaming, while the others keep track of stocks, Youtube, Discord, etc.
Notice the lack of wires and clutter on the desk. That starts by removing the base of each monitor and replacing a VESA mount.
Upgrade to desk monitor mounts
Not all monitors are VESA compatible. Look on the back of yours for four screw holes arranged in a square.
Those holes let you attach VESA mounts. One end attached the VESA plate to your monitor. The other end attaches to your desk. In the above image, the desk employs a North Bayou dual monitor mount ($48.90 on Amazon).
It supports two x 17-27″ screens. Each arm can hold up to 19.8 pounds (9 kg). Adjustments: 360° rotation; tilt angles from +85° to -30°; swivel ±90°. Each arm has a max extension height of 21″ (535mm).
There are two installation options. First: slide the mount to your desk’s edge and tighten the clamps. Second: drill a hole into your desk (not recommended, unless you are a carpenter).
There are many benefits to using monitor desk mounts in a trading station. For one thing, it ensures a clutter-free desk. With less clutter, it’s easier to concentrate. For another, you can adjust your screens to the perfect height for your body. That takes less pressure off your neck and shoulder muscles. As well, using desk mounts results in an aesthetically-pleasing desk that’s easier to keep clean.
Learn more about desk mounts in this feature:
A new frontier that gamers are still getting used to is also relevant for traders. At the highest end of the emerging ultra-wide monitor category is the Samsung Odyssey G9 ($901.30 on Amazon). It’s a 49-inch ultra-wide monster with a resolution of 5,120 x 1,440.
5,120 x 1,440 is the equivalent of 2 x 27″ 2K monitors side-by-side, with a 1000R curvature. The curvature gives you a more immersive view of the entire screen, with less movement of your neck. Two Odyssey G9 monitors side-by-side would be plenty for the most discriminating trader on Wall Street. But there are downsides.
For one thing, you will need a very powerful GPU to run two on one PC. For another, you will need to learn Samsung’s (free) Easy Setting Box software to manage your windows.
This is the ultimate solution for hard-core enthusiasts and hard-core pros alike. If you work as a prominent trader on Wall Street, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have two of these at your workstation.
Best chairs for day traders
Before gaming chairs emerged in 2006, high-end Herman Miller task chairs were the main ergonomic options available. While elite task chairs are priced beyond many people, gaming chairs are affordable. This reality has brought ergonomic seating to the masses. Our Gaming Chair vs Task Chair comparison spells out the similarities and differences.
The gist is that both types support neutral postures and movement over long periods of sitting. High-end Herman Miller chairs do so with greater complexity, build quality and durability. Beyond the back support qualities, there is also a big aesthetic difference between the two chairs.
This difference is reflected in our breakdown of traders in the GameStop saga. If you want superb back support with traditional aesthetics, ergonomic task chairs are the way to go. If you work outside the box and prefer more character in your workspace, a Secretlab chair is by far the best option.
Secretlab Titan vs Herman Miller Embody
The great GameStop battle of 2021 boils down to two men using two chairs. King Reddit troll DeepF-ingValue rides into battle on a Secretlab Titan Lannister edition. On the other side, billionaire titan Stephen Cohen rides a Herman Miller Embody into open warfare. Whoever comes out on top is guaranteed to sit longer, feel better, and be more productive.
The bottom line is that the Titan and Embody represent the ‘boss level’ of both classes. If looking for the very best gaming or task chairs, these are the two.
- Secretlab Titan: $449 (available from Secretlab in North America, the EU and UK, Oceania, and Singapore).
- Herman Miller Embody: $1695 (available from Herman Miller in Canada and America).
Learn more about both boss chairs in our detailed feature-by-feature breakdown:
Hopefully, this article will prove useful for a few groups:
- Bored gamers: if playing video games on your PC is getting stale, learning how to trade can spice things up. Search for wallstreetbets on Discord to get started (the official Discord group is back online).
- Aspiring traders: this article shows what workstations the GameStop pros are using. Use the examples as inspiration to build your own gaming/ trading station.
- Wall Street traders: if you’re prominent on Wall Street, your company owes you an Embody chair x 2 Samsung G9 monitors, at the very least.
For those bored with gaming but not interested in trading, try to find another way to be productive with your PC. For example, download a free copy of Adobe Character creator. Use it to make funny gaming videos for Youtube. You’d still be gaming, but with a real-world purpose.
If you have a good chair, desk, and PC setup, your options to create cool stuff are unlimited. Create memes, video content, or stock profits. Use your imagination, find something that connects, and have fun!