The Week in Review -- January 29, 1999

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Nasdaq 2,338.88 2,505.89 +167.01 +7.14

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I Cover the Cyberfront
by Jerry Thomas (

Greetings, Fools.

Alexandria, Virginia, the center of all in the world that is Foolish, is three thousand miles from here. I live in lovely Sherman Oaks, California, which is a pretty ambitious commute to Fool Headquarters.

It also makes me perhaps an odd choice to write this weekly roundup feature. Since I am so far away from the beehive, I come to my knowledge of what happens at the Fool the same way any customer would, by visiting our site and clicking around to see what's going on. I do get a call from Heather Wilhelm (TMF NoClue) every Thursday afternoon, and she gives me some suggestions as to what I might mention, but on the whole, what makes it into the Friday report is pretty much up to me.

This leaves me each week with the task of deciding which half-dozen or so of the week's many Foolish features, reports, and specials I should spotlight. Invariably there is something I miss, or simply can't fit in. Even worse, the process is warped by my own prejudices and interests. Maybe it's my own weakness for the dramatic, but I'm most often drawn to our expos� pieces -- those items that advance our Foolish mission to empower the individual investor. This week I'm especially excited about "A Shareholder's Rights Revolution," a special written by Yi-Hsin Chang (TMF Puck) and Louis Corrigan (TMF Seymor).

You might not realize it, but the executives of many top corporations in America give preferential treatment to Wall Street insiders, often giving them important information about company operations before the news is released to the general public. We at The Motley Fool deplore this all-too routine policy, which often takes place in violation of U. S. securities laws. Yi-Hsin and Louis rate 20 widely-held companies according to their responsiveness to their shareholders' needs. It's stuff like this that really gets me excited about the work we do here.

Still, I realize that many of our readers would rather that I can the Crusader Rabbit routine and get on with what's important to them. They want nuts-and-bolts -- numbers and analysis -- hard information to help them make their investment decisions today. This usually leaves me with a dilemma, because there is so much material here on the Fool that I'm never quite sure which item should get special mention. Take this week, for example: Should I talk about the Dueling Fools feature on @Home (Nasdaq: ATHM), or the Daily Trouble analysis of Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFMI)? Or do I mention the StockTalk interview Brian Graney (TMF Panic) did with the CEO of EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)? And if I emphasize that, will I have have the space to note the Boring Portfolio's sale of Andrew Corporation (Nasdaq: ANDW) and Borders Group (NYSE: BGP)?

Truth be told, I'd probably, again, cave in to my own interests and spotlight the transcript of the radio interview David and Tom Gardner did with Jeff Bezos, CEO of (Nasdaq: AMZN) -- not only because Amazon has been one heckuva fun company to watch over the last couple of years, but also because it's an easy segue to a mention of Jeff Fischer's Rule Breaker Portfolio recap of last Wednesday, which gives some on-the-spot analysis of the latest earnings announcements from Amazon, America Online (NYSE: AOL), and 3Dfx (Nasdaq: TDFX). You see how my mind is working here?

But even that wouldn't be enough, because there are other Fools out there with different needs. Many are new to the process of investing their own money and are not looking for such exacting detail. Instead, they want to learn some general principles to help guide them in their investing decisions. A great place for that sort of information is the three-part series Ann Coleman (TMF AnnC) wrote this week, beginning with Monday's Foolish Four Daily. It really does help to know what makes a company valuable, and investors of all levels of experience should click in -- beginners, to learn the basics, and seasoned investors to refresh their understanding of the fundamentals.

Even then I still haven't come close to covering everything. The best suggestion I can make, beyond merely pointing you to one report or another, is to encourage you to get to know our website for yourself (if you like, you can take a tour of the Fool website here). Do some exploring. Click around and make some discoveries. The best person to guide your own search is you.

Until next week,
Fool on!


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