Notes from a Fool
The Week in Review -- June 12, 1998
by Jerry Thomas (

Greetings Fools,

If you are reading this on your computer screen in Los Angeles or Atlanta, there's a good chance that this is your first visit to The Motley Fool. Chalk that up to the premiere of The Motley Fool Radio Show, which debuts this weekend in those two cities. We expect that a lot of folks from these towns will be stopping by for their first look at The Motley Fool Online, so if you are a regular visitor to this site, please dress nice, make room for the new kids, and please, everyone, don't crowd the candy counter.

This page you've happened upon is a good place to start, because it highlights some of our best features of the past week. And those of you who aren't Atlantans or Angelenos, fret not: David and Tom's Radio Show rolls out nationwide this fall.

But that's the radio. Radio is part of what we hepcats online refer to as "old media." The term is slightly pejorative; there is a definite disdain among the irredeemably wired for any information source that can be accessed without a phone jack. Online you get to click on things, and unlike radio, the voices don't fade out when you drive through a tunnel. Not that there are many voices to be heard online, unless you count AOL's "You've Got Mail!" guy... but, I digress.

The talk of Fooldom this week has surely been (Nasdaq: AMZN), which, if you don't know, is one of those wacky Internet stocks that have been climbing at astounding rates despite a generally declining market. This week, after Amazon unveiled its new online music store, the stock promptly jumped to new highs. Fool co-founder David Gardner examined these developments in Thursday's Fool Portfolio Recap . David is bullish on Amazon and expects we'll hold the stock in the Fool Portfolio until the cows come home. If you're a bullish cow (if such a thing is possible), or even a bearish one, we invite you to join the discussion on our Amazon message board , where Fools from all over the planet are trying to decide whether this upstart online retailer is going to dominate e-commerce forever, or if it'll crash and burn before it collects a dime of profit. Everyone has an opinion, it seems, and none seems to have any qualms about expressing it.

As exciting as the volatility in the Internet stocks is, in the long run these wild price swings won't matter. A buy-and-hold approach has ever and will always be the foundation of Foolish investing, because it makes the process of managing money worthy of the term "rational." The Fool's Louis Corrigan stepped forward with the stats to validate this philosophy in Wednesday's Evening News . In his "Fool on the Hill" commentary, Louis cites a new University of California study that shows just how dismayingly mediocre is the performance of the average investor. If your portfolio more closely resembles a revolving door than a strongbox, you might want to compare the market's performance to your own by reading this feature.

Louis is also on hand to play one side in this week's Dueling Fools , where he parries with Bill Barker over the value of class action shareholder lawsuits, which are becoming increasingly controversial even as they become more popular. Each side has a legitimate beef: Investors do not wish to limit the legal protections they enjoy as the shareholders; however, it is evident that many such lawsuits are predatory and opportunistic -- hardly in the spirit of the rights the law is meant to protect. You aren't likely to find a more balanced examination of this issue, so click the link, Fool!

Shareholder lawsuits are one thing, but there are more productive ways that investors can band together to promote their mutual interests. In fact, that's the essence of Fooldom -- we are no more and no less than a community of investors who are uniting to make our investing lives more rewarding. We do this by sharing information (like what you'll find on our Fools & Their Money page, with scads -- yes, scads -- of ideas on how to manage your money, from buying a home to paying your taxes), and also by doing what people of like mind have always tended to do: swapping ideas, lending support, and being friendly. Just click into our message boards and you'll find Fools becoming fast friends thanks to their shared enthusiasm for their common interests.

One device we've developed to promote these ties among the members of our community is the Foolish Interview, available at our website. Fools can answer some fun questions about themselves and reveal details of their personalities that might not otherwise be available to their compatriots online -- after all, nobody wants to end every post by saying, "BTW, I also have an interest in quilting, Mongolian stir-fry, and genetic engineering."

This past week, somebody at HQ (I don't know who, but I'll bet it was Bogey) got the idea to spotlight one of these self-interviews every day in... "The Daily Interview." As titles for features go, that's no "Notes from a Fool," but at least it's descriptive. The idea is each day to highlight one of the interviews of our more active contributors so that Fools can get to know each other better. Kidding aside, I think it's a great idea, and it works. This week we featured Fool contributor CassFool. Check it out -- you just might make some new friends.

Yikes, I'm almost out of space, and I still haven't mentioned this week's series of Cash-King reports. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Fool Phil Weiss gave us a walk-through of Pfizer's (NYSE: PFE) financial statements. But more exciting than a fistful of Viagra on a Saturday night is your chance to help choose the next Cash-King stock. To let your voice be heard on that decision, be sure join the discussion in our Web Cash-King Companies folder.

Until next week,

Fool on!


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