Interview with Warren Buffett

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Small Business 2.0 has a nice compilation of quotes from a joint interview that Warren Buffett and Bill Gates at the University of Nebraska. Two interesting things that Buffett said:

(asked about decision making) Asset allocation is done by me only, not by committee or vote, I make those decisions. A committee/vote would tend to bring our decisions toward the mean and make the likelihood of finding a unique opportunity lower.

(asked about his most important skill) Ability to focus. I thought that it was interesting to hear in light of the attention deficity disorder going on in our culture.

No wisdom of crowds and no multitasking? Sheesh. He's so Web 1.0.

  • I have to agree with the advice of the god, Warren Buffett. Focus is the key to success I believe. Focusing money and especially time to make an impact for change are keys to success.

  • Idaho_Spud

    “Asset allocation is done by me only, not by committee or vote, I make those decisions. A committee/vote would tend to bring our decisions toward the mean and make the likelihood of finding a unique opportunity lower.”

    An excellent reason to avoid buying Berkshire Hathaway shares. Once Buffet is gone, so is the unique driver of their success. The goose that lays the golden eggs, so to speak.

  • Jason

    If you assume that all the high-quality businessess owned by Berkshire have a net value of zero, then I agree with you.

  • Idaho_Spud

    No, the high-quality businesses owned by Berkshire do not have a net value of zero :). When Buffett is gone the Roman Empire will still remain. However any investor with sense will recognize that without this particular captain at the helm, it will no longer be the same company.

    Berkshire *is* Warren Buffet – and I expect the stock to reflect that fact immediately after he is gone. Afterwards (like the Roman Empire) I would expect it to seem healthy and prosperous for a very long time based on sheer inertia.

    Without Buffett, over time Berkshire will only be as good as the CEO, and as we know all too well, they aren’t all of Buffett’s character or caliber.

  • This is an interesting quandary: Berkshire Hathaway = Warren Buffet.

    While the impact of the Berkshire/Buffet combo is greater and more widely felt by the multitude of investor in Berkshire Hathaway, the leader-is-the-company problem applies to almost every small to medium-sized organization.

    I wonder how the Leadership-Industrial Complex would advise Buffet on developing his replacement. Does the conventional wisdom they sell apply to the problems that Berkshire is facing? If not, why would it apply to anyone else?

    “Leadership, leadership everywhere, but not a replacement to be found…”

    And there’s no Leadership Epidemic going on. Hmmm… Makes you wonder.

    Take care…

    John