As I stated in last night's Fool on the Hill commentary, I've decided to part company with The Motley Fool. If this were a run of the mill corporate press release, the lame excuse would be "to pursue another opportunity" or something to that effect. But even though I'll be moving on, the Small-Cap Foolish 8 area at the Fool is staying put with the same mission it has pursued for the last six months. Starting next week, this column will be left in the very capable hands of Zeke Ashton, a close friend and a fellow advocate for small company investing.

Just what is the mission of the Small-Cap Foolish 8 area at Unlike the other features in the Investing Strategies area, the weekly Small-Cap column was never established with the purpose of being a real-money portfolio. Instead, it is a place for sharing ideas about a segment of the stock market and a style of investing that is far too commonly ignored by the mainstream investing media.

In fact, the Fool has actually been guilty of not giving small-cap investing its proper due at times, too. But overall -- and to the company's credit -- small-company investing has had a fairly consistent place in the Foolish investing message. The Foolish 8 stock screening method was a major component of the original Motley Fool Investment Guide, and the monthly Foolish 8 company idea list is one of the oldest continuous research products sold through FoolMart.

Plus, small companies have always been featured in other content areas on the Fool's website. During my first full month working on the Fool's daily news products in February 1998, the Fool on the Hill and Fool Plate Special features both dealt with a host of small companies. Some ended up being duds, such as the ill-fated zinc gluconate-glycine lozenges maker Quigley Corp. Others turned out much better, such as the customer information management software developer Scopus Technology, which was later folded into Siebel Systems (Nasdaq: SEBL). At the same time, the Rule Breaker Portfolio (then known as the Fool Portfolio) owned a smattering of small-caps, including Innovex (Nasdaq: INVX), 3Dfx Interactive (Nasdaq: TDFX), and an interesting little company named Iomega Corp. (NYSE: IOM).

Today, small-company investing is getting more exposure from the Fool than ever before. Small-Cap Foolish 8 investing is one of the strategies featured in The Motley Fool Select, the company's new monthly research product for investing ideas. The Motley Fool Select is also the new home for the monthly Foolish 8 idea list, which continues to serve individual investors well as a great resource for initial small company research.

Earlier this year, the Foolish 8 One-Click Scorecard was made available by way of a partnership between the Fool and And for the first time, the separate Foolish 8 screens were listed and explained at in a series of articles that ran in December. Those initial columns served as the basis for this weekly column, which is devoted to topics specific to small companies and small-cap investing.

In the end, successful small-cap investing depends on the well-known Peter Lynch principle of "turning over rocks." According to Lynch, turn over lots of rocks, and eventually you'll find a few hidden gems underneath. You must like to think about small-caps as businesses, and be willing to learn a great deal about them. In the future, Zeke (and perhaps a few other Fools, too) will use this column to turn over small company rocks and examine what lies beneath. The idea is to keep looking for attractive potential investments in good small companies, operating in good business areas, run by good management, and selling at good prices. Check in each week to see what is uncovered.

And with that, it's time to bid you farewell. Keep turning over those small company rocks, and happy hunting!

Brian Graney thanks his lucky stars everyday for his loving wife, his health, and The Motley Fool. At the time of publishing, Brian did not hold shares of any companies mentioned above. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.