Fools Converge
The Week in Review -- August 21, 1998
by Jerry Thomas (

Greetings, Fools.

We forget, sometimes, but the online universe has intruded into the world of investing only very recently. This new tool with the already quaint-sounding name "cyberspace" is being put to use in ways that few imagined would be possible even four or five short years ago. What once seemed profound and innovative already seems prosaic and mundane. Breaking news appears before you with rapid efficiency. Communication is voluminous and instant. Databases filled with information pour into your lap with stupefying ease. If information is power, you have more at your command than you have ever had before. You need only to take the time to shape it, understand it, and act upon it.

Our message boards are a particularly useful resource to this end. The easy linking of minds across the planet in a comfortable and open system permits an exchange of thought, an endless conversation, which is unprecedented in history. We work hard to make those boards as valuable as we can make them, but we also rely on our members to contribute to the success of those boards. Imagine, thousands of people around the world are sharing their thoughts simply because they enjoy the process, the people they meet, and the thoughts of others they receive in return. I've been visiting those message boards daily for almost three years now, and, when I stop to think about what is happening there, I still feel a twinge of astonishment. We are living a dream of science fiction right here and right now.

This weekend, more than 100 Fool employees from across the country are converging at Fool Galactic Headquarters in northern Virginia. It is partly a celebration, but it is also a time for pause, a time for us to consider just what it is that we are up to. It is a chance to examine our vision and define new ways to help serve you, our readers, contributors, and friends.

We'd like your input in this process. How are you using The Motley Fool? What brings you here? What areas and features do you find most useful? Where do you find the liveliest and most rewarding discussions? In what ways have you found that The Fool has changed or improved your life? What can we do to make Fooldom better? Send your comments to me, at, and I'll find ways to bring your thoughts to the attention of the entire Fool staff this weekend.

On to our usual business...

The line at the top of this column says, "The Week in Review." Well, if ever there was a week worth forgetting, it was this one. Forgive me for ignoring Washington shenanigans and tactical military confrontations in distant continents -- those troubles are too much with us, and those who wish to dwell on them can easily find other places to do so. But let me quickly highlight a few of the high spots in Fooldom of the past week.

A new purchase was made in the Cash-King Portfolio this week. Schering-Plough (NYSE: SGP), the worlds foremost manufacturer and retailer of wax paper, duck blinds, cummerbunds, eyebrow tweezers, lint brushes, iron-on decals, industrial abrasives, temporary tattoos, seersucker, aluminum downspouts, slide whistles, mosquito netting, and church hymnals has been deemed sufficiently investment-worthy to be included in the stellar roll call of Cash-King Portfolio holdings. My editors have indicated that I might not have all my facts right about this outstanding company, but you can read all about it in the Schering-Plough Buy Report, expertly written by Phil Weiss.

Speaking of C-K, you'll also want to read Rob Landley's Thursday Cash-King Portfolio recap. Rob's report examines the threat looming for Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) that comes in the shape of Linux, which Rob describes as "a Unix-compatible operating system" that found its origins with "a single student trying to teach himself the excruciatingly technical details of Intel's 386 CPU." From there, I'll leave it to Rob to tell the rest of this very interesting tale.

This week's Polling All Fools question asks, "Is Apple Back?" The new iMac seems to be selling well, but does it mean salvation for this maverick company? Let your opinion be heard on the Apple message board . Rumor has it that the contributor of the best post will win valuable Fool prizes, so get your posting fingers to those keyboards, Fools!

One of the most closely followed stocks in Fooldom is (Nasdaq: AMZN), but now its most direct competitor is taking a strategic move that just might make their confrontation more combative. Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) has announced plans to spin off its website in an IPO that could give that new company the capital it needs to give Amazon a real run for its money. Great coverage of the event can be found in Thursday's Boring Portfolio Report (written by Mark Weaver) and in the same day's Fool Plate Special by Louis Corrigan (TMF Seymor).

Finally, I hope that many of you are getting into the habit of checking the Fribble every day. Wednesday's is a bit of anti-Wise satire from Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMF Edible), while Thursday we saw "Alex576277" explain the challenges he faces in bringing his wife into the Foolish Fold.

Until next week,
Fool on!


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