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Around Fooldom

Dear Fools everywhere,

It's a privilege to address you, as ever, and a pleasure to do so in a new format. "Around Fooldom" grows out of a recognition of the importance of keeping you up-to-date about what's going on... er... around Fooldom! This occasional series offers a look at what we're doing here at Fool HQ to improve your service, and what some of you are doing out there, everywhere. I have felt the need for this column for a long time, something that ties together our efforts to build the community you're enjoying. We look forward to this article being the first of many more to come.

When we think "community" in Fooldom, we think of the incredible power of sharing. We're now into our eighth year of online interactivity; those of you who've been along from the get-go know how much collective power has been brought to bear here for those looking to make better financial decisions. Our newest feature, In My Opinion, is the latest addition to this tradition. For the first time (and methinks overdue), we present articles derived from our discussion boards. These present many diverse and Foolish perspectives originating from around the country and around the world.

Along a similar vein, our recent contest -- Save United Airlines -- generated a few hundred postings from which we selected the five best. If you missed this the first time, I hope you'll take a look. (That was addressed to UAL!) Also, tell us how you've kept your spirits up in our newest contest, Fun in a Bear Market.

On our editorial content front, we've introduced a brand new feature: The Motley Fool Take. Put simply, the Fool Take is our attempt to make some sense of the stock market's daily machinations and offer up money news and advice you can actually understand. Whether you're looking for the big stock story, personal finance tips, or just some Foolish fun, you'll find it here every day by 4:30 p.m. With all of our writers working on this project -- not to slight any of our other content -- it's the one must-read of the day.

We made a mistake in recent months in how poorly we handled a transition in stock-quote providers. For those of you storing online portfolios here at Fool.com, we apologize for the bugs we had to work through. Our Chief Technology Officer, Max Keeler, recently responded (where else?) on our discussion boards with an update for one customer. Here's Max's reply. One of the few good things to come from that period, I'm happy to report, is a spiffy new company-events page, courtesy of our partner, CCBN. If you're a stock-market investor, you'll see once again the beauty of the Internet -- take a look at this example for Intel.

One of the tragedies of a tragic year for us was saying good-bye to many (now former) employees. Some were your friends, and very well-known contributors to our community. So guess what? We hired 'em back! Part-time, at least. It's my pleasure to "rechristen" TMFs Jeanie, Cheeze, Aruba, Taxes, Pixy, Karen, and Edible, whom you'll find gracing their regular haunts in Fooldom -- all over the boards, as usual. Thanks to each of them. And thanks to the economy for picking up just enough for us to be able to afford their talents.

Speaking of community, shouts out to community member MichaelRead for paying off his mortgage, to overo for living below her means, to the contributors of the Mechanical Investing board for building their own database, and to Giftofgab with hopes you'll keep the faith and hang in there.

On a few side notes, The Motley Fool Radio Show will debut on National Public Radio late next month! Each station makes its own programming decisions, so whether we're available in your hometown remains up in the air (pun not intended). Anyway, we're very excited about this launch and hope to reach all Fools, far and wide.

Also, please note the new gifting capability of our online store, FoolMart. You can now quickly and easily give Foolish gifts to friends in need of financial help. Probably the single most relevant and useful offering in the store is TMF Money Advisor, which can be a real help to a friend who's trying to put together a financial plan for the New Year. Or it could be a small savior for someone who overcharged her credit card this month and needs good, objective answers fast for how to pay it off.

Finally, if you're looking for an original holiday story about giving, here's one straight from Fooldom, via Michaelzehr. Our character shows most in the small moments.

With Foolish holiday wishes,

David Gardner, on behalf of brother Tom and all of us here at Fool HQ


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