Step 13: Make Friends and Influence Fools

In May 1997, the world’s greatest chess master, Garry Kasparov, was famously defeated in an historic six-game match. What made the duel so momentous was that the winning “player” wasn’t human; it was a computer built by IBM, nicknamed Deep Blue. The final game wasn’t even close: Using its 11.38 gigaflops of calculating power, it took Deep Blue less than one hour and only 19 moves to crush the reigning world champion.

So what exactly does the Deep Blue story have to do with you and your portfolio? Everything.

Deep Blue is how you beat the market
In the next day’s paper the headlines blared, “Machine Beats Man!”

Machine beats man? That’s not how we Fools saw it. You see, the machine didn’t beat Kasparov. His real opponents were the dozens of IBM programmers who teamed up with the world’s top chess experts to program the machine that beat the man.

It took the collective intelligence of the world’s masters to beat the mighty Kasparov. Key difference.

Now imagine if investors pooled their collective brain power and funneled it into a stock-picking supercomputer. If it worked like Deep Blue, the result would be, well, mind-boggling. It would spit out better information, deeper insights, broader perspectives, and bigger profits than any single mom-and-pop investor, Wall Street analyst, or even an entire hedge-fund research team could get by going it alone.

The online life of The Motley Fool began as a bulletin board on America Online in the mid-1990s. Back then, The Fool was all about investors interacting with investors online. Today, not much has changed. Through this community involvement, we’re all helping each other become better investors each and every day.

The world’s greatest investing water cooler
At The Motley Fool we are investors writing for investors. While the typical financial journalist takes pride in a dispassionate approach to their subject, you’ll find the exact opposite on The Fool. We’re very passionate about what we write about, because, like you, we’re investors and we’re seeking out the best investment opportunities we can find.

That means that what you’ll find on The Fool will differ in many ways from the investing coverage you’ll find elsewhere. For one, we don’t always agree with each other. Investing “truth” isn’t always black and white, and we’d rather explore subjects from all angles than have a single “party line.”

You’ll also find that you can learn a lot from the comments that follow our articles. In those comments, readers can learn from other readers as they discuss the ideas in the article. Our authors can also often be found weighing in on the comments to answer questions and participate in debate.

Of course, you’re probably wondering …

Who are these people, anyway?
Sure, we’re biased, but we think our community members are smart, opinionated, informed, generous, and helpful. Many are doctors, lawyers, and teachers. Others are authors, engineers, and even CEOs — like Motley Fool board of directors member and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey.

You can learn a lot from them, and they from you. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Here’s how a Fool we know as “Windowseat” described her first impression of The Fool:

“The Motley Fool was a revelation. I discovered that ordinary people, people who didn’t have millions of dollars, people who studied the stock market on their own, could still invest small amounts of money.”

You know more than you think
The Motley Fool isn’t a magazine you buy to thumb through at the airport or a book that distills a set of rules that may or may not apply to you. The passive one-way/read-only relationship was never what the Fool was about.

From the very beginning, we’ve seen our customers not as “readers” or “subscribers,” but as members of our Motley Fool community. As Deep Blue illustrated, millions of brains are better than one. Now, come join us and find out what millions of Fools can do.

Action: Ask a question! Find an article of particular interest on The Fool and ask a question that you’re interested in. Then join in the discussion when other readers and Motley Fool writers chime in with their thoughts!