The Week in Review -- May 28, 1999

The Markets

  5/21 Close 5/28 Close Change %Change
DJIA 10,829.28 10,559.74 -269.54 -2.49
S&P 500 1,330.29 1,301.84 -28.45 -2.14
Nasdaq 2,520.79 2,470.52 -50.27 -1.99

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Fool On The Hill Conference Calls

Fools, Live and In Person
by Jerry Thomas (

Greetings, Fools.

I'm guessing here, but I figure for every TMF staff member whose name you are likely to see on our website or posted on our message boards, there must be two or three of us whose names you are never likely to hear at all. The Motley Fool is like every other business -- we have our accountants and our data processors, our technical crew and our information managers, our legal staff and our deal makers. And I, being a remote staffer living in Los Angeles, 3,000 miles from the action at Fool HQ in Virginia, am only slightly more likely to know most of them than any Fool customer.

So consider my delight when last weekend Fool HQ -- or at least a piece of it -- came to me. The occasion was the Los Angeles Times Investment Strategies Conference, a major industry event featuring keynote speeches from the likes of Intel's Andy Grove, SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt, and Vanguard Fund genius John Bogle. Tom Gardner, intrepid Fool Founder, was there too, giving presentations on both days of the event, and broadcasting The Motley Fool Radio Show live from the KFI-Los Angeles booth on the floor of the L.A. Convention Center. I'm smart enough to know a good opportunity when I see one, so I pulled whatever strings I could to convince Fool Event Manager Diane Vidoni (TMF Pinky) to please let me be her pack mule and work a couple of 16-hour days for her.

Diane relented, much to my good fortune and my soon-to-be sore feet. I recommend that all Fool staffers find some way to spend time meeting the people who are our customers, the teeming thousands who are educating themselves to take command of their financial lives. I likewise recommend to our customers to come on out and meet us at one of these live events -- as much as our online tools empower us to achieve new interactive possibilities, face-to-face contact is still priceless. Tom was there to sign books, I and the rest of the booth staff were there to answer questions, and the customers, too, were able to meet and learn from each other. Cool, hey? Upcoming conferences are scheduled for Atlanta, Nashville, and Minneapolis; check out our Fool Events page for details.

Did I call you "customers"? Shame on me, because it isn't the correct word at all. You can be plenty Foolish, and help build our worldwide community, without ever sending a dime to the official Fool coffers. Of course, we were selling merchandise at the Times Conference -- books, T-shirts, Fool Frisbees, Fool hats, and even some Fool boxer shorts ($5 a pair. And no, I did not model them.) FoolMart Maven Jill Kianka (TMF Speedy) was there, expertly managing the sales as she does at our online store (and do spend some time there -- I like to relax there with some cyberbrowsing, even though I probably already own most of the catalogue). But it's important to us, beyond merely selling you stuff, that we develop a real relationship with you, online and off. So never mind that ugly word "customer." Let's stick to calling each other Fools.

Selena Maranjian (TMF Selena) was there too. Hers is most likely to be a recognizable name to you, what with her many postings on our Fool message boards and her Famously Fantastic Fribbles. But you might not be aware that Selena is also the mind behind some of our best-received investment guides, and that she also writes our weekly syndicated newspaper column. I was also pleased to spend some time with Business Development Fool Ginger Huang (TMF Zog), and to work alongside Kristen Gaulrapp (TMF Zoom), one of our daring and resourceful Fool Ad Warriors. I am endlessly flattered to be included among such quality people.

The Fool media relations team that was also there in connection with The Motley Fool Radio Show. Radio Producer Mac Greer (TMF Mac) was there, mixing it up with media man Chris Hill (TMF Wizard), who was filling in for David Gardner on the air this week. And don't forget our Media Relations Sorceress Julie Lewis (TMF Jules) who had the unenviable job of shepherding Tom Gardner through the crowds as he moved from one session to another. They spent their time rubbing shoulders with the likes of musician John Tesh and CNBC anchor Sue Herera, who both found reasons to make their way over to the Fool booth. Amazing the paths you cross when you get in front of people, isn't it?

In any case, I'm very fortunate to have this little public forum from which I can applaud my co-workers. All I can say is, Fools, thanks for a great weekend. I had a wonderful time working with all of you.

As you move into your long Memorial Day weekend, do choose to spend some time relaxing with some of our Fool features. This week we've enshrined some of our all-time favorite pieces in our new Best of the Fool page -- sort of an online Hall of Foolish Fame. It was also a good week for sports metaphors here, what with Wednesday's Rule Breaker report from Barbara Eisner Bayer (TMF Venus), and Wednesday's Fribble from Bob Bobala (TMF Bobala).

Until next week,
Fool on!


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