Remembering How I Found The Fool

It's easy to forget that before the Internet -- and for me, before the Fool -- we invested on our own, with scarce information, without others to easily learn from, or bounce ideas off of, let alone others to emulate and profit alongside.

Aug 4, 2014 at 3:37PM

I remember the day very clearly. A sunny, temperate August afternoon in Chicago, when I hopped into my car and drove to the local Best Buy to pick up a bulky, state-of-the art IBM PS 2 desktop computer.

I was going to use it for word processing, and a back-to-school sale drove me to make the purchase. I had no thoughts of going "online." The computer box barely fit into the back of my small Ford, and I wheeled it back to my apartment in Lincoln Park with the windows open, enjoying the trees moving in the breeze (the excitement of buying my first computer after college clearly heightened my senses, as I remember it all so well). After setting up the monstrosity on my small desk, I plugged it in and fired it up. A few minutes later, the screen was alive, and suddenly I was looking at a bright blue America Online icon, in the shape of a stylized "A." 

I had heard of AOL, and my curiosity was piqued. It arrived with a free trial. To the chagrin of my roommates from that day forward, I unplugged the phone and put the cord into the back of the computer, then used the 14 baud modem to dial into AOL and set up an account. As the AOL welcome screen finally greeted me, the one, large icon on the front page was that of the Fool jester -- the same one the Fool uses today. The short promo copy said something like, "Talk about stocks on The Motley Fool!"

I had bought my first shares of stock in 1987, and had been hooked ever since, but I felt largely alone in my interest. A community of fellow investors, under the name of The Motley Fool? It was an instant click for me, and I don't believe I ever truly explored any other areas on AOL. Within minutes, I was visiting The Motley Fool boards, and then reading about the new Fool Portfolio.

Two brothers, investing $50,000 of their own money, announcing all buys and sells beforehand, with explanations behind each one. And, they were shorting shares, too. They were short Bed, Bath & Beyond. It was the first public short I had ever seen. The writing for the Fool Portfolio was fresh, fun and logical -- and helpful. The investment reasoning was already on display: Be long term, buy great businesses, don't be afraid to take risks -- in other words, buy AOL (fortune-making advice right from the start). Plus, the Fool Port column was published daily. Reading it quickly became a habit, as did the Fool discussion boards.

It's easy to forget that before the Internet -- and for me, before the Fool -- we invested on our own, with scarce information, without others to easily learn from, or bounce ideas off of,  let alone others to emulate and profit alongside.

Bound together by the Fool Portfolio, the Fool community took off and never looked back. Within two years, I myself was a full-time Fool employee, working on the Fool Portfolio with David and Tom as we bought stocks like Starbucks and eBay. It's hard to believe those "buy orders" were entered so long ago (and sell orders for them, never). If there's one thing that's been made clear, it's that investing for the long term in great businesses is one of the surest ways to grow real wealth -- and the long term isn't even all that long. It goes by like that. Alongside investment returns, the biggest reward has been meeting thousands of other investors online and later in person. As we mark this great anniversary, recommit to getting on board with your fellow Foolish investors, owning your favorite companies, and enjoying the ride!

Chime in! Click here to tell us how you discovered the Fool! And then let us know how we could improve the Fool for the next 20 years.

Jeff Fischer owns shares of Starbucks. The Motley Fool recommends Bed Bath & Beyond, eBay, Ford, and Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of eBay, Ford, and Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.

 


Compare Brokers