ALEXANDRIA, VA (Jan. 14, 1998) -- As you probably know, Tom and David are winging their way across the continental United States, on a book tour for their newly-released "You Have More than You Think" (web link) and "The Motley Fool Investment Workbook" (another web link). This is a great chance for you to meet them and get autographed copies of the books, too. (Although, as the inimitable TMF Runkle noted, at this rate, it will be unautographed copies of the books that will probably end up being rare and valuable.)
With the cats away, the mice are playing here at Fool HQ. Well, we would be, if Tom and Dave hadn't saddled us with... them. Fool HQ used to be a small and cozy place. But now we're becoming big business: augmenting and refining our online forums, launching international Foolishness, making myriad TV and radio appearances, and even running a syndicated feature in scores of newspapers across the country. I suppose this is why the brothers Gardner hired management consultants (gasp!) before they left, charging them with re-engineering (double gasp!) Fooldom.
At first we thought that these guys in suits wandering around our offices had just lost their way. But after they kept showing up every few days, scurrying around and taking copious notes, we got worried. That's how our reorganization came to pass. We had originally been organized into groups based on Tom's kindergarten class. Those staffers in the front office were the bluebirds. The Fools by the kitchen and playroom were the sparrows. And we in the back were dubbed the toads. It worked. But now everything is different. And surprisingly, it's sort of working. Let me show you around and you'll see what I mean.
Basically, instead of three big groups based on the animal kingdom, we're divided into many smaller departments, organized by function. Here's the Accountability Group, for example. They want me to mention to you that since a major tenet of Foolishness is accountability, they're compelled to report that the Fool Portfolio has yet to leave the S&P 500 in the dust this year. (Of course, it's still only January.) The Fool Port did have a fine day, though, advancing 1.47% when the S&P 500 only rose 0.61% and the Nasdaq posted a 0.46% gain. Does this really matter, though? Nah. A single day does not a portfolio performance make.
That's really all I think you needed to hear, but the Accountability Group is also confessing that one of them took a Surge from the fridge without paying for it and someone else ate fourteen of the cookies that Mrs. Bogey sent us, not leaving many for anyone else. Thanks for the honesty, guys -- we'll be leaving now!
Next up is the Locus of Lists. It was inspired in part by the thought-provoking lists in The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon. But does it work as an entire department? We're not sure. It's already experienced a lot of turnover, for one thing. Santa Claus actually worked for this department briefly, but he kept checking his lists twice and the consultants had him fired, as he wasn't productive enough. List staffers are compiling lists of new products that the Fool should develop (send us any ideas), lists of the most active message folders, lists of which stocks were traded most heavily (web link) during the day, lists of which snacks are running low, and so on. You get the idea.
The Great Expectations Department is just down this hallway. Staffers here have been developing some great expectations for Fooldom. A sampling: By the year 2000, the brokerage industry will have been shamed into reengineering broker compensation structures. Brokers will no longer be motivated to "churn" your account, moving you in and out of securities in order to reap commission rewards. By the year 2001, Foolish Amusement Parks will have been erected in the U.S., Tunisia, the Philippines, Uruguay and France. By 2005, every American will have either stumbled onto Foolish ground by themselves, or will have had Foolishness thrust upon them by a well-meaning friend. By 2028, those of us reading these words will be enjoying a timely or early retirement. Our nest eggs should have grown a handsome 1,600% in the past 30 years if we had them parked in S&P 500 Index funds and perhaps 23,638% if they were in the Dow Dividend Approach. By the year 3000, we will have met our maker, and we'll exist on this earth in the cherished memories of our descendants. Indeed, we'll be known as The Most Beloved Ancestor, for the way we revolutionized how our family thought about money and also for socking away quite a bit for future generations.
Next up is our News Nest. They report that Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) has released a list of its bestsellers for 1997. It might seem surprising that Creating Killer Web Sites: The Art of Third-Generation Site Design sits in the number-five spot, but that only points to the continuing growth of all things cyber. In a way, this book's popularity actually bodes well for our Amazon. (Perhaps this is why shares rose some 5% today?) Fools wondering what Amazon's list for 1998 will look like might be interested to learn that Fool books hold three of the top four spots in the current Amazon.com Hot 100 list (web link). In other news tonight (I've always wanted to say that), Chevron (NYSE: CHV) got a nod from Morgan Stanley, which added the company to its "Best Ideas" list. Their best ideas are noted for their sustainable competitive operating edge. (Chevron rocketed ahead 1.17% on this news.)
Iomega (NYSE: IOM) announced today that as an official sponsor of the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, it will be showing off to independent filmmakers its digital storage and editing technologies. (Excited investors bid shares up 4%.) Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) announced today that it's embarking on a $1 billion joint venture with Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd. to make integrated circuits based on technologies from Chartered and from Lucent's Bell Labs. (Shares drooped 1% on the news.) In what might seem like a less logical partnership, AT&T (NYSE: T) is teaming up with U-Haul (Nasdaq: UHAL) to co-market products. There is some method to the madness here, though, as people moving are likely to be setting up phone service at their new addresses. (Shares of AT&T appeared indifferent to this news.)
The Arena of Argumentation is our next stop. As you probably know, Fools embrace civil discussions and even disagreements. Consider, for example, Step 11 from the 13 Steps to Investing Foolishly. It makes a good case for shorting stock. Politely and persuasively disagreeing with it, though, are the words of Jeff Fischer, who suggested that shorting isn't too Foolish. Two days after Jeff's treatise, fellow-Fool Mark Weaver countered with why shorting is both Boring and Foolish. The point of this is merely to demonstrate how much value there is in batting ideas back and forth, in collective rumination.
Our last stop is the Promotion Pit. Step back, because these Fools like to jump out at you. Here, watch this. I'll just open the door a crack...
"Hey, have you heard about the new Cash-King Portfolio?!?!"
"Check out our exciting new Industry Focus -- 20 industries, 20 promising stock ideas, all in one amazing research report!!!!"
"Visit the Fool Cafe -- where conversations abound on lots of non-investing topics! Books, movies, TV, sports, vacation spots, computer help, and more!"
Yeesh. Sorry -- I should have known better. I suspect you may be feeling sullied now, like me. So let's visit one last department before I let you go. Welcome to the Gratitude Grotto. The Fools here will help me end this report on a more wholesome note. Today they're asking me to thank the hundreds of you who donated to our recent charity drive, which turned into one of the most successful group-giving efforts in Internet history. We're delighted to report that some $122,000 was raised and will go directly toward the work of Share Our Strength, fighting hunger and poverty.
On that note, let's call it a night.
DELIVER - Get Fool Portfolio Nightly Reports
delivered straight to your e-mailbox every evening!
Today's FoolWatch: all the latest in Fooldom.
Day Month Year History FOOL +1.47% -1.31% -1.31% 231.20% S&P: +0.61% -1.29% -1.29% 108.97% NASDAQ: +0.46% -1.37% -1.37% 115.05% Rec'd # Security In At Now Change 8/5/94 355 AmOnline 7.27 90.75 1147.79% 5/17/95 1960 Iomega Cor 1.28 12.50 876.25% 8/12/96 130 AT&T 39.58 65.69 65.97% 10/1/96 42 LucentTech 47.62 78.50 64.86% 9/9/97 290 Amazon.com 38.22 58.38 52.73% 8/11/95 125 Chevron 50.28 75.50 50.14% 8/12/96 110 Minn M&M 65.68 84.06 27.99% 8/12/96 280 Gen'l Moto 48.74 58.63 20.27% 4/30/97 -1170 *Trump* 8.47 7.56 10.70% 1/8/98 425 3Dfx 25.67 25.88 0.81% 1/8/98 115 S&P Depos. 95.91 95.75 -0.16% 12/19/97 17 Raytheon 53.21 48.38 -9.09% 6/26/97 325 Innovex 27.71 22.75 -17.90% 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 44.71 36.50 -18.37% 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 46.86 32.63 -30.38% Rec'd # Security In At Value Change 8/5/94 355 AmOnline 2581.87 32216.25 $29634.38 5/17/95 1960 Iomega Cor 2509.60 24500.00 $21990.40 9/9/97 290 Amazon.com 11084.24 16928.75 $5844.51 8/12/96 130 AT&T 5145.11 8539.38 $3394.27 8/11/95 125 Chevron 6285.61 9437.50 $3151.89 8/12/96 280 Gen'l Moto 13647.92 16415.00 $2767.08 8/12/96 110 Minn M&M 7224.44 9246.88 $2022.44 10/1/96 42 LucentTech 1999.88 3297.00 $1297.12 4/30/97 -1170*Trump* -9908.50 -8848.13 $1060.38 1/8/98 425 3Dfx 10908.63 10996.88 $88.25 1/8/98 115 S&P Depos. 11029.25 11011.25 -$18.00 12/19/97 17 Raytheon 904.57 822.38 -$82.20 8/24/95 130 KLA-Tencor 5812.49 4745.00 -$1067.49 6/26/97 325 Innovex 9005.62 7393.75 -$1611.87 8/13/96 250 3Com Corp. 11715.99 8156.25 -$3559.74 CASH $10740.46 TOTAL $165598.58