Remember "Deep Blue?" It was the chess computer that famously defeated world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. Today, Deep Blue has a much broader significance to me and many of my fellow investors. In fact, Deep Blue means more to you than you may realize.
Deep Blue is how you beat the market.
The pieces are stacked against you
Let's step back for a moment. Actually, let's step back lots of moments -- all the way to May 1997. Reigning world chess champion Kasparov was defeated in a six-game match by an opponent whose playing strength, in the words of Wikipedia, was mainly "brute force computing power." Deep Blue, built by IBM, brought its 11.38 gigaflops of calculating power -- along with some guy in spectacles pushing pieces around -- to the table. The headlines soon read: "Machine Beats Man." It was the first time under standard tournament chess rules that a machine took down the world's best chess player.
As I start to explain how Deep Blue is going to help you beat the stock market, let me ask you this: Had a machine really beaten the man? I don't think so. Forget the headlines. Concentrate instead on the particulars of the situation. A whole bunch of IBM programmers, teaming up with a gaggle of grandmasters, worked together to program the machine that beat the man. It wasn't really a story of a machine winning. It was a much simpler story, the sort that plays out on the proverbial unsupervised schoolyard: A bunch of bullies ganged up on one geeky guy and knocked him down. It was a completely unfair match.
At The Motley Fool, we're quite aware that investing isn't a fair match, either. People who go it alone -- even the grand masters -- are increasingly in deep trouble. That's exactly why we're aiming to be the bullies. We believe that by working really hard as a community -- together -- we will ensure that we all arrive at better information, deeper insights, broader perspectives, and bigger profits than a single mom-and-pop investor, or a single Wall Street analyst, or even an entire hedge-fund research team. We're building a new model for research that brings together tens of thousands of people, not one lone analyst.
The pawn stands alone
Do you still invest by yourself? Are you quoting your portfolio, reading your 10-Qs, checking the stock charts, keeping a journal, typing it all into Quicken, and tracking your performance ... alone?
Rather than settle for solitude, why not add your efforts to our brand-new community intelligence database in beta -- Motley Fool CAPS -- and reap the benefits of what we have to offer? Our investor ratings are guided by the insights of our growing global community, and they're getting more comprehensive by the second.
Did you notice earlier this month how AMR
How about Crocs
It takes a village ...
If you take away just one thing from this article, let it be this: Investing should not be a solo venture. Going it alone might just make it harder than it needs to be.
So I encourage you to take a look at CAPS and share your thoughts and analysis with like-minded investors. Remember the power of Deep Blue.
When you get the benefit of interactive, community-based research -- which draws doctors, techies, homemakers, accountants, mall rats, and investment junkies of all shapes and sizes -- you will operate like a good venture capitalist. You will operate like those who get in front of "deal flow" and locate the best companies on the simple strength of their superior information.
Think of your portfolio as a chess computer. You want to add as many people -- as many expert insights -- as possible to its programming. I invite you to try our brand-new interactive Motley Fool CAPS database for free. Come see if you can benefit from the power of numbers.
This article was originally published on Aug. 8, 2006, as "Deep Blue." It has been updated.
Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Silicon Laboratories is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy is stronger than a queenside castle.