Wednesday, July 7, 1999

50 Days, 50 States
(A Stock Trek in a Cyber Winnebago)

by Joann Floyd (Hunzi)

It started as a simple idea -- a trip through the 50 states from Alabama to Wyoming. On June 21st the Fool 50 Tour began. A group of Foolish friends from all over the country -- Wisconsin, Hawaii, and even Nebraska -- are touring the Folly in 50 States boards with the intent to visit each one. Once a day, the Cyber Winnebago pulls into a new state with the hopes of meeting a few new Fools, learning a little about the local companies, and having a little Foolish fun.

If you haven't discovered the Folly in 50 States boards yet, you're missing out on something special. These boards are the place you can find Fools from your local area, or around your state. I looked at the more active State Folly boards, and found them used in several ways. Posters are discussing local issues, searching for investment clubs, discussing local companies, and organizing meetings of area Fools.

Our first stop on the Tour was Folly in Alabama. They have been busy constructing their own Web page and playing in a few investment competitions. This gave rise to an idea of a Folly in the States Foolish Investment Contest, where Fools from the 50 states will compete with year-long portfolios instead of the daytrading promoting games found at most websites. As the tour is progressing through the states, we are asking for opinions and ideas to make the possible friendly competition a success.

At our second stop, Alaska, well... so far no one has come out to greet the tour bus. While we're waiting for the Alaskans to come out of the woods, we've been discussing the idea of putting together a mock portfolio with the suggested home-grown stocks from each state: The Fool 50 States Stock Portfolio. There's also been a little chatter about wrestling, to keep us entertained in the Winnebago.

OK, off to Arizona. Ummmm, no one home here yet either. We're hoping this isn't going to be a trend. Looks like Arizonans have had some good conversations about investment clubs and also about William O'Neal, founder of Investor's Business Daily (IBD to those who know and love it).

Some boards have distinct personalities:

  • Wisconsin has quite a family atmosphere. They enjoy telling stories and have put together a virtual investment club.
  • New York (with TMF2Aruba as one of the fearless leaders) has been reminiscing about soda fountains, baseball, and old neighborhoods recently.
  • California is always organizing dinners and trading a few good natured remarks about local rivalries. (California a party state? What a shock!)
  • Hawaii is sharing ideas about investment strategies, as well as offering weary cyber-visitors a quick virtual vacation.
  • Colorado has created a stock study group that meets regularly to discuss local companies.

Fools in other states have used their state message board to locate investment clubs or to trade scuttlebutt on the local businesses, and some just like to tell a few jokes.

Kingsfool expressed the mission of the Fool 50 Tour beautifully, in his post at Folly in Wisconsin (FiWI):

"I feel that we have had a great deal of success here in FiWI, what with all that we have been doing. We also have had a bit of success with cross-cultural exchanges already; FiCA, FiNY, FiHI, and FiNE. In all, I want others to find that they aren't just confined to posting to their own particular boards, that they can travel and visit far away places and meet new Foolish folks and ideas from all over. That is the purpose of these boards, isn't it? The free exchange of knowledge and ideas in order to better ourselves and those around us. Who knows, maybe this is what some states need in order to start an ongoing community, such as ours and several others. I wouldn't want them to feel left out : )"

By the way, don't worry if we've already visited your state. We're checking back regularly to see what's going on So, go click the little happy face on your own state board (ahem... Nebraska Fools) and hop on the Winnebago. There's plenty of room, and we're coming to a state near you!

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