I began this morning in the usual way: by matching my "Grranimals" clothing for the day (it's ostrich day, with ostrich-labeled pants, shirt, and shoes). Then I looked at my Grranimals calendar to make certain I was wearing the right thing, and at that moment I realized that it is August!

Not only is August "National Golf Month," "National Parks Month," and the month that The Motley Fool launched itself online in 1994, but, in the Rule Breaker this year, August is the start of our first "Break Down" session. We're calling it Break Down August.

Now, this doesn't mean that we are all going to break down publicly and tell you painful stories from our lives -- such as when I was hit in the head as a child by a rock-throwing bandit. It also doesn't mean that the Rule Breaker Port itself is going to break down. (Although we're long-term investors and, therefore, any single year doesn't weigh too heavily with us, it is worth saying that this port has already broken down to the tune of more than 25% this year! So, we're not hoping for more of this kind of break down in August.)

What "Break Down August" means
Break Down August means precisely this: We are going to be breaking down (dissecting and analyzing) the businesses and opportunities of a small cadre of potential Rule Breaking companies,to hopefully find ourselves a new investment to purchase.

We are aiming to break down two companies per week in our columns this month, devoting at least one entire column to each company and, more often, two columns will be granted to each company. A Break Down will consist of providing you all of the pertinent information about a company's business that we can, and then it will run that company through our six Rule Breaker criteria, namely:

Is the company a top dog and first mover in an important, emerging industry? Does it have a sustainable advantage? What about smart management and good backing? Has its stock displayed excellent share-price appreciation? Finally, the greater the consumer brand, the better, in our opinion -- and we're also hoping that the media has recently called the company grossly overvalued. (Yes, when we Break Down several potential Rule Breaker companies this month, they will be run through these six wringers, like a Grranimals ostrich shirt being manually dried.)
You are a big part of the break down
We plan to run at least eight potential Rule Breaker companies through the paces this month, and we hope to have as much participation from you as you care to give. Each Break Down will end with a call to meet on the discussion boards to discuss the company. What key issues did we miss? What have we gotten right? Do you believe the company is a Rule Breaker? What additional insight can you provide about its industry? If you have little to say, you can just read the boards each night to see what other Fools are saying about each company.

August is 31 days long -- the dog days of summer. Rather than being lazy dogs ourselves, we're going to squeeze all the good out of this month that we can. When the cooling air of September finds us, we hope to have our hands on a new Rule Breaker.

From the Motley Fool's Rule Breaker investment strategy team, welcome to Break Down August!