The Motley Fool's Anniversary
"So many truths to unearth, so many people to charm, so many minds to reprogram ... how could we continue to sit idly by, twirling the paper umbrellas in our mint juleps" -- The Motley Fool, Volume 1, Number 1, July 1993

The Motley Fool Newsletteryears ago, a coupla Fools with thoughts in their heads and time on their hands pieced together the first issue of The Motley Fool newsletter and sent it out to assorted family and friends. Truth be told, those on the receiving end weren't quite sure what to do with it. And with articles on such topics as traffic jams in Boston and the benefits of smoking (not to mention a fairly disturbing confessional by a gent in love with a talking owl), who could blame them?

Things appeared headed in a distinctly vague direction.

And then, you saved us. A single post by Tom Gardner in a personal finance message folder on America Online spurred three subscriptions. And then three more. And soon, we were inundated (sort of) by a veritable flood (or a pleasant trickle, anyway; it was, after all, early in the online game). Buoyed by your faith (and weary from marathon stints at Kinko's) we dropped the owl, focused firmly on finance, and converted the newsletter into a living, breathing online site.

And so today we celebrate our fourth anniversary online, and our fifth as a company. And though much has changed, much has not.

"The Editors are counting on our readers not just to read, but to write. We are counting on our readers being our writers. Thus, we shall humbly serve as the catalyst for a new Golden Age in the history of literature... just as the Wise inform us in their impressive journals that literature has gone the way of all flesh." -- The Motley Fool, Volume 1, Number 1, July 1993

From the very start, you, dear reader, have been the heart and soul of The Motley Fool. Message boards and chat rooms opened up the publishing process, allowing you to share your experiences and lessons with us in real time. And while many have written about The Motley Fool's success in educating people about money, they've missed a crucial piece. For it is you who educate us every day. While you may be our students, you are most certainly our teachers.

The other day, someone remarked to us that they found themselves glued to the Fool because they felt it was "the only service with a soul." That soul comes from so many smart, reasonable folks willing to share their experiences and learn together. What a rich tapestry for our writings! (It should come as little surprise to you that most of our full-time staff writers were hired from among our most avid readers and posters.)

The Motley Fool has had a terrific business year. We've branched out into a newspaper column, a radio show, and we've released several new books. Online, our readership continues to grow at a rapid clip -- standing now at nearly a million folks per month. When folks register, they tell us that the number one way they hear about us is "word of mouth." We guess that makes you our marketing department, too.

And so, as our partner in this venture, we turn to you for business advice. Every time we read of the fellow plunking his life savings into a Russian penny stock or the neighbor who just re-mortgaged his house to buy a Jaguar, we realize how much work we have to do. As we've said in the past, we aim to help you become, hands-down, your family's Most Beloved Ancestor. With this in mind, what should the Fool improve in the year ahead? Why do you use the Fool? Please head out onto the message boards and let us know.

Thanks, Fools, for educating us, amusing us, and enriching us for five years. And for making this whole thing possible. We'll close in the same way we closed the first edition of our first newsletter, five years ago, recalling the words of the sixteenth-century poet Sir Philip Sydney: "'Fool,' said my muse to me, 'look in thy heart and write."

David Gardner
Tom Gardner
And the entire staff of The Motley Fool

Celebrate 4 Years of Online Foolishness
with our Anniversary 4-Pak!