Zingers from 2015 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting
DW and I have attended several Berkshire Hathaway annual meetings in the last 10 years and have always enjoyed the "event." If you're not a shareholder, buy a class B share - yes, a single share, and obtain tickets to attend the meeting. The meeting is held the first weekend of May.
Referring to it as a meeting is a misnomer. Yes, there is a meeting and it usually lasts about 15 minutes. Rather, this is an all-weekend affair! There is a gathering on Friday evening including food and beverages, the Q & A on Saturday with Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, lots of vendor displays on Saturday in the exposition hall, and a brunch on Sunday morning with good food and beverages.
In addition, Omaha, Nebraska is a wonderful city to visit in the spring. Lots of museums, parks, and other things to see.
One of our favorite memories each year is revisiting the one-line zingers that come from the mouths of Warren and Charlie. Charlie usually has the best zingers but Warren had a good one this year too. See below - I've put the comments into perspective so they'd make more sense. These are not actual quotes but I tried to record them as accurately as possible.
When asked to describe the methods used to determine the valuation of companies both Warren and Charlie indicated there is no set rule or set of equations they use to determine whether they are interested in acquiring a stock (or an entire company). Rather, they use several parameters depending on the type of business. Both Warren and Charlie shied away from individuals thinking a "value" can be placed on a company by simply calculating earnings, price, etc. One of Charlie's responses was... If people weren't wrong so often we wouldn't be so rich!
A question was asked about how companies should handle their finances and predictions on the future prospects of the products and services provided by said company. The questioner asked whether metrics should be used to judge performance. One of Warren's responses was... If a company has an economist they have one employee too many!
When questioned about quantitative easing and whether it made sense for the U.S. government to print all this money and whether inflation was around the corner, one of Charlie's responses was... I'm happier when money is printed and used for infrastructure rather than spread by a helicopter!
A question was asked about whether the U.S. was in a growth mode, or was stagnant, etc., and how to determine when was a good time to buy versus a good time to sell. In his response, Charlie mentioned... The trouble with making all these economic pronouncements is people begin to think they know something - it's much better to remain ignorant!
Somebody asked about the state of the European Union and the Euro currency. Warren and Charlie both commented that the EU was generally a good thing but it has made many issues more complicated by tying together so many countries that have dissimilar characteristics. Charlie went on to name specific problems Greece has experienced. He went on to say... You wouldn't want to go into business with your shiftless, drunken bother-in-law!
As I said, these are not quotes and I may have gotten the context mixed up with other questions, but you get the idea.
Dreamin' of Streamin'
FIRE'd at 52 on 7/8/11