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James Towne, Virginia, 1607: "The investors demanded returns, and the settlers still alive decided they'd better do something. First, they fabricated a partial shipload of clapboard and shipped it to England. This wasn't the killer app The Company had in mind. Next, they dug up two tons of sassafras roots. This did set the investors to jumping and yelling -- but not for joy. The surprise crop tanked the sassafras market in which they were also heavily invested. Starting to feel better about your investments yet?"

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May 2001