The blog of Bill Gates
gatesnotes
The blog of Bill Gates

Pilgrimage to Omaha: The Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting

Log in
|
Sign up
 
GO
Your search for "", with selected filters, does not match any posts. Please try again with a different search term or reset filters.

Popular searches include: Books, Malaria, and Future of Food.
RELATED ARTICLES ON
Logout:


spacer
Become a Gates Notes Insider
Join the Gates Notes community to comment on stories, access exclusive content, participate in giveaways, and more.
Already an Insider? Log in
spacer
LOG IN
SIGN UP
Sign up with your social account:
Sign up
Sign up
Or sign up with email:
TITLE
FIRST NAME
LAST NAME
EMAIL
This email is already registered. Enter a new email, try signing in or retrieve your password
PASSWORD
ADDRESS
Why are we collecting this information? Gates Notes may send a welcome note or other exclusive Insider mail from time to time. Additionally, some campaigns and content may only be available to users in certain areas. Gates Notes will never share and distribute your information with external parties.
ADDRESS LINE 1
Bill may send you a welcome note or other exclusive Insider mail from time to time. We will never share your information.
ADDRESS LINE 2
CITY
STATE / PROVINCE / REGION
ZIP / POSTAL CODE
COUNTRY
Sign up
Join the Gates Notes community to access exclusive content, comment on stories, subscribe to your favorite topics and more. We will never share or spam your email address. For more information see our Sign Up FAQ. By clicking "Sign Up" you agree to the Gates Notes Terms of Use / Privacy Policy.
Street address
City
postal_town
State Zip code
administrative_area_level_2
Country
Data
Personal Information
Title
First name
Last name
Save
Cancel
Email address
This email is already registered
Save
Cancel
Please verify email address. Click verification link sent to this email address or resend verification email.
Password
Save
Cancel
Address
ADDRESS LINE 1
ADDRESS LINE 2
CITY
STATE / PROVINCE / REGION
ZIP / POSTAL CODE
COUNTRY
Save
Cancel
Email & Notification Settings
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
Send me comment notifications via email
On-screen comment notifications
Interests
+ Saving Lives
+ Energy Innovation
+ Improving Education
+ Alzheimer's
+ Philanthropy
+ Book Reviews
+ About Bill Gates
Deactivate Account
Click the link below to begin the account deactivation process. Deactivate account If you want to permanently delete your account and remove its content, please send us a request here.
Ok
Gates Notes Insider Sign Up FAQ

Q. How do I create a Gates Notes account?

A. There are three ways you can create a Gates Notes account:

  • Sign up with Facebook. We’ll never post to your Facebook account without your permission.
  • Sign up with Twitter. We’ll never post to your Twitter account without your permission.
  • Sign up with your email. Enter your email address during sign up. We’ll email you a link for verification.

Q. Will you ever post to my Facebook or Twitter accounts without my permission?

A. No, never.

Q. How do I sign up to receive email communications from my Gates Notes account?

A. In Account Settings, click the toggle switch next to “Send me updates from Bill Gates.”

Q. How will you use the Interests I select in Account Settings?

A. We will use them to choose the Suggested Reads that appear on your profile page.

spacer
BACK
Forgot your password?
Enter the email you used to sign up and a reset password link will be sent to you.
EMAIL
This email is already registered. Enter a new email, try signing in or retrieve your password
Reset Password
Bill's Suggested Posts
I've read this book
Books to Read
Reset your password.
Set New Password
Your password has been reset. You will now be redirected to the sign in page, or you can click here
Ok
Get emails from Bill Gates
Send me updates from Bill
You must provide an email
Send me comment notifications via email
On-screen comment notifications
This email is already registered
Continue
We will never share or spam your email address. For more information see our Sign up FAQ. By clicking "Continue" you agree to the Gates Notes Terms of Use / Privacy Policy.
spacer
You're in!
Please check your email and click the link provided to verify your account.
Didn't get an email from us? Resend verification email
spacer
Update Your Profile Information
UPLOAD A PROFILE PICTURE
your image
Uh Oh!
The image you are trying to upload is either too big or is an unacceptable format. Please upload a .jpg or .png image that is under 25MB.
Ok
Title
First name
Last name
Save
Cancel
Email address
This email is already registered
Save
Cancel
Please verify email address. Click verification link sent to this email address or resend verification email.
EMAIL AND NOTIFICATION SETTINGS
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
Send me comment notifications via email
On-screen comment notifications
SELECT YOUR INTERESTS
+ Saving Lives
+ Energy Innovation
+ Improving Education
+ Alzheimer's
+ Philanthropy
+ Book Reviews
+ About Bill Gates
Continue
Confirm Account Deactivation
Are you sure you want to deactivate your account?
Deactivating your account will unsubscribe you from Gates Notes emails, and will remove your profile and account information from public view on the Gates Notes. Please allow for 24 hours for the deactivation to fully process. You can sign back in at any time to reactivate your account and restore its content.
Deactivate My Acccount
Go Back
Your Gates Notes account has been deactivated.
Come back anytime.
Welcome back
In order to unsubscribe you will need to sign-in to your Gates Notes Insider account
Once signed in just go to your Account Settings page and set your subscription options as desired.
Sign In
Request account deletion
We’re sorry to see you go. Your request may take a few days to process; we want to double check things before hitting the big red button. Requesting an account deletion will permanently remove all of your profile content. If you’ve changed your mind about deleting your account, you can always hit cancel and deactivate instead.
Submit
Cancel
Thank You! Your request has been sent
Please complete your account verification. Resend verification email.
This verification token has expired.
Your email address has been verified. Update my profile.
Your account has been deactivated. Sign up to re-activate your account.
View all newsletters in the newsletter archive
You are now unsubscribed from receiving emails.
Sorry, we were unable to unsubscribe you at this time.

Thanks for visiting the Gates Notes.
We'd like your feedback.

Yes, I'll take the survey No thanks
The blog of Bill Gates
Pilgrimage to Omaha: The Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting
Follow
Next
 
Profile & Settings
Sign Out
Profile & Settings
Sign Out
Hello,
Profile & Settings
Comment History
Sign Out
Please complete your account verification. Resend verification email.
today
This verification token has expired.
today
Your email address has been verified. Update my profile.
today
Your account has been deactivated. Sign up to re-activate your account.
today
View all newsletters in the newsletter archive
today
You are now unsubscribed from receiving emails.
today
Sorry, we were unable to unsubscribe you at this time.
today
0
0
0
Please complete your account verification. Resend verification email.
today
This verification token has expired.
today
Your email address has been verified. Update my profile.
today
Your account has been deactivated. Sign up to re-activate your account.
today
View all newsletters in the newsletter archive
today
You are now unsubscribed from receiving emails.
today
Sorry, we were unable to unsubscribe you at this time.
today
Back to profile
Comment History
You have not left any comments yet.
title
in reply to
name
description
It looks like you're using an older version of Internet Explorer which may not display all the features on this site. Upgrade Now » close
Investing in Some Fun

Pilgrimage to Omaha: The Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting

As I have for the last nine years, I traveled to Omaha last weekend to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. Forty thousand investors and their families made their way to Nebraska to sit at the feet of the masters, as Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger answered questions on business, the economy and life for more than five hours.

This year, Warren decided to mix it up a bit, by inviting a short-seller analyst, Doug Kass, to join the panel of reporters and analysts who alternated with the crowd in asking questions. Last year was the first year for the panel of industry analysts, but specifically adding a vocal critic like Kass was a bold step, I thought. It is testimony to Warren and Charlie’s supreme confidence that they’d give floor time at their company’s annual meeting to one of their sharpest critics.

In the video before the meeting began, there was a short segment interviewing people from last year’s meeting, and one participant’s comment really struck me. He said: "This is a little like going to church. I know what the message is going to be, but I come to be renewed."


When Warren talks - people listen.  Media and attendees crowd Warren just ahead of Saturday’s Berkshire annual meeting.

Over five plus hours, Charlie and Warren answered 63 questions on everything from the wisdom of Berkshire’s newspaper investments to questions about its corporate culture and succession.

When I think back to my other Berkshire meetings, Warren and Charlie’s principles and approach are remarkably consistent. Rooted in their beliefs in value investing, their methodology remains to invest in businesses they believe have an enduring advantage, and to do so in a rational way. As Charlie said at the meeting: “We like to stay sane when others are going crazy.”


Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett answer five hours of questions from reporters (foreground), industry analysts and the crowd during the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting

Another strategic difference with Berkshire was highlighted quite clearly in their discussions. They buy great businesses, insure they have great managers, and then basically stay out of the way. There is essentially no corporate ‘drag’ by being a Berkshire company. While Berkshire manages the allocation of capital (and does so brilliantly), the rest of the company’s operations - from Mid-American Energy to the Pampered Chef - remains the responsibility of its management. This may be one of Berkshire’s enduring market differentiators.& That, and the fact it has a lot of cash to do deals, means that people bring their businesses to Berkshire where they would not do so most anywhere else.

Warren remains a genius at promoting his companies. For example, I counted at least three references to ketchup during his comments. I got a rematch with Warren and some journalists at the newspaper throwing competition just before the Saturday meeting. Once again, I summoned my old paperboy skills to toss some Omaha Herald newspapers onto the porch of a Clayton modular home (both Berkshire companies) that had been assembled in the exhibition center. I’m getting better at this – but slowly.


Warren and I get ready for the Omaha Herald newspaper toss.  I’m improving – but slowly.

On Sunday I showed up for the annual slaughter in ping pong, as Warren and I played an exhibition Ping-Pong game with Ariel Hsing. I’ve known Ariel for a number of years, and was in the stands last summer at the London Olympics as she represented the United States. That exhibition is just in front of Borsheims, the Berkshire jewelry store where Warren played salesperson later in the day.


Ariel Hsing being kind to me and giving me at least one point.

I finished the weekend by going on television with Warren and Charlie, talking to Liz Claman from Fox Business News and got up early to join Warren and reporter Becky Quick on CNBC’s Squawk Box.

Someone in the crowd asked Warren about how he organized his time. Warren responded that he basically had no system at all, really. He just did what he loved to do. Getting to come to the Berkshire weekend is certainly one of the things I love to do. It’s always an amazing and fun opportunity to learn from this extraordinary business leader and my good friend.


Warren and I team up against our friend and bridge superstar Sharon Osberg and a local Berkshire shareholder for a quick game on Sunday afternoon.

Also on Gates Notes