Dec 29, 1999 at 12:00AM
But with scanty few trading hours remaining in the nineties, it looks like we'll not make it. It would take quite a wild swing. Anyone wanna bid America Online up $33 tomorrow? Or Amazon.com up $51 1/2 by 1 p.m. Friday? How about Celera up another quick $215? (After the past two weeks since our buy announcement, it almost seems possible.)
Hey, Goodyear Tire rose 7% today. If it could jump another $468 tomorrow, we'd hit a million as well. Goodyear.com?
Or perhaps we can get all of these working together and catch a cresting 15.7% wave. That'd put us at a million dollars, as well.
One million dollars. A thousand thousand spankers. A veritable boatload of greenbacks -- two loads, depending on the size of the boat.
So will this last written reflection of the nineties for me be about money? In a way. But it's not about money for money's sake. Nay, dear Fools -- that's greed. You see, Foolishness views money as synonymous with OPPORTUNITY. Every extra dollar is an extra opportunity -- an opportunity to serve beloved, family, school, church, business, beggar. Or yourself. Nothing wrong with that; in moderation, there are a lot of things right with that.
Every extra dollar is an extra opportunity. Do you view money this way?
In August of 1994, we began with $50,000 of our own money. The aim was to demonstrate to the world what was our own deeply held faith: Namely, that a portfolio of common stocks selected according to simple Foolish principles could beat the Wall Street fat cats at their own game. We're simply private little-guy investors -- not a drop of institutional blood in us -- taught by our parents, by our own reading, and by our experience as consumers and lovers of business. And there's not much more magic to it than that.
An improbable five years later has seen our money multiply by 17 times in value, and how has the money been made? Largely through the blood, sweat, and tears of others. That's the miracle of the stock market that we can become part owners of businesses run by others. If we make the right selections -- if we punch our tickets at the right booths -- we will become rich.
But what is wealth if not to be used?
And why bother using it, if not for good?
The single most powerful movie of the nineties -- so long as the rest of the media is going to soak us in "best of the nineties" ratings, I can do it too -- was, for me, Schindler's List. I love that movie, and ended Rule Breakers, Rule Makers with it. Oskar Schindler, industrialist entrepreneur, eventually turns his business into money, and that money into a currency to save lives. True story. And that for me is the capitalist dream. It is to take risks in investing (in your own business and/or that of others), be right (preferably against the odds), and in the face of that prosperity -- that wild prosperity -- to turn around and use it for others.
Can Foolishness be put any more succinctly? For many, that is foolishness, foolishness in the eyes of the world. But for many of us, it is what provides the most satisfaction of all. It is Foolishness.
And one noteworthy early example, slowly coming into focus, slowly forming, is Foolanthropy.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support of this grand dream and experiment of our own: Foolanthropy. With just a few days remaining to give (and please do give, if you have not; and please do yourself a favor and give stock, which benefits you the most of all), we have smashed our previous records and raised in excess of $440,000. I am in awe of the generosity of our community, which freely gives, year after year, in increasing sums. There is some Schindler in all of us, it seems, and even if you could not find an extra dollar to give this year, we invest so that we might do so next year, or the year after, or the decade after that.
What a lovely way to leave the nineties. The eighties was called by many (and I thought this was quite silly) the Decade of Greed. The nineties will be for me the Decade of Prosperity, of Capitalism, of Revoluton for investors, and these things are so good. Hey, I don't care that much that we didn't hit a million. We will. And when we do, we will thank our God for America, for capitalism, for human creativity and vision, and for freedom.
And I thank YOU all from the bottom of my heart, near the end of this Decade of Dreams, for your contributions to our own efforts, and your continued support as we aim to grow Folly into the greatest force for good in the world in the next hundred or thousand years.
Bold? You betcha. What, otherwise?
Let's bring Schindler back and break all the damn rules. Together.