Thanks a lot to James "TDRH" Hill and the Fools who have posted or emailed kind words. Both the Duke (Michael Manuel) and I greatly - and I mean greatly - appreciate them. To get right to the point, and please see this as a sign of no-nonsense respect, the Fool and I have had a mutually respectful separation. And it is going to stay that way.
The guys running TMF are extremely savvy, intelligent, new media businessmen/women and I'm confident they are executing on a sound strategy to grow the Fool. Again - the economics of video production - especially "finantertainment" - are a joke compared to the economics of launching a successful newsletter or other investment-themed product.
Beyond that, I believe that consistently striking what was called "viral gold" required a creative recklessness and risk of bad taste that probably doesn't fit the Foolish brand. Let's face it - what is really funny? Human weakness, corruption, incompetence, greed and well, of course, poo poo-cocky-doo doo, pee pee, nudity, sex and maybe even a little cartoonish violence. When you go for that kind of stuff, and miss, you're going to miss big and infuriate a whole lot of people. And when you hit, you're also going to infuriate some people. It's a tough racket. :>
With tremendous respect, I do wish the Fool planted a more rebellious flag and did more to mock Wall Street - which so desperately needs mocking. And I think the relentless advertorials and you-can-make-millions style ads are a threat to the long-term health of the brand. But I say that solely as a public citizen Fool and not as someone who is responsible for growing a business. I think the heart of the Fool has always been the community and the righteous analysts who put their heart and soul into every pick. I personally wish the ads and all Foolish videos hit these angles harder and with more humor. Just imagine the possible ads you can make starring Seth Jayson? Orthe Asia-hopping Bill Mann and his Motley gang of Fools? What kind of mini-web shows might they host?
But again, these are not my calls to make. And I greatly respect the fact that as the Fool grows into a mature, corporate entity it is a very difficult challenge to grow the bottom line and keep the rebellious streak that makes the Fool so special.
As for my disappearance from CAPS, this is solely because I'm in the creative business, and I really can't afford the opportunity cost of creating things that don't add to my own projects. I still play the game regularly and know that my old boss (coolest I ever had FWIW), John "TMF" Keeling is doing a killer job of adding features that make CAPS a stronger tool. I would never buy a stock without checking the sentiment of the CAPS community. My last real-life purchase was the five-star rated Global Gainer MPEL. (I'm only stupid enough to buy BBI in CAPS!)
Anyway, again, I greatly appreciate the kind and public words and still, with tremendous man- passion, love, comedy, and purity of heart wave my vegan mutton chop in one hand and pound my steely beer mug on the great long wooden table of Fooldom with the other and shout, "LONG LIVE THE FOOL!"
The Ultimate Macho Man,