gatesnotes
The blog of Bill Gates
gatesnotes
The blog of Bill Gates

Woodstock for Capitalists: Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting Unlike Any Other

Sign In
 
My Profile & Settings
Log out
GO
Filter By
Posts
Videos
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
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.
Logout:


Become a Gates Notes Insider
- or - Sign up with email
This email is already registered. Enter a new email, try signing in or retrieve your password
Send me updates from Bill Gates
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.
Account Settings
VIEW & EDIT PROFILE
Your Information
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
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
Your Interests
Saving Lives
Energy Innovation
Improving Education
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.

Forgot your password?
This email is already registered. Enter a new email, try signing in or retrieve your password
Reset Password
Change your header photo
your image
 
Change
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
First name
Last name
Enter a first and last name. For example, "Richard Feynman"
Bio
0/160 characters
Edit Profile
Account Settings
Save
Cancel
Suggested Reads
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
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.
 
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
Welcome FirstName!
You are now a Gates Notes Insider
Update Your Profile Information
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.
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
Select Your Interests
Saving Lives
Energy Innovation
Improving Education
Philanthropy
Book Reviews
About Bill Gates
Continue
Confirm
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
Become a Gates Notes Insider for access to exclusive content and personalized reading suggestions
Sign up to receive occasional updates from the Gates Notes
Sign Up
Privacy Policy
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
Business Unusual

Woodstock for Capitalists: Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting Unlike Any Other

This last weekend, I attended the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha. Often called Woodstock for Capitalists, this year’s meeting drew 35,000 investors and their families, who came to learn from Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger and participate in an institution unique in the world of business.

I’ve been on the board of Berkshire Hathaway since late 2004, this is my eighth annual meeting, and I think it was one of the best. The centerpiece of the meeting is the question-and-answer session that Charlie and Warren host. For five-and-a-half hours, they answered questions from attendees at the convention center, three business analysts, and a panel of three journalists. I counted 67 questions. By any measure, that’s amazing.

The addition of the panel of industry analysts was new this year, and I thought it added a lot to the session. This year seemed to be particularly substantive in terms of the questions asked. Warren and Charlie answered questions about succession planning for Berkshire, their views on the management of risk in their insurance business, taxes and politics, and the outlook for the economy.

Any time I’m lucky enough to spend time with Warren, I come away learning something, and this weekend that was certainly the case. Even though the fundamentals of his investing advice and management philosophy haven’t really changed, it’s inspiring to watch someone as smart, thoughtful and principled as Warren talk about the world of business.

He is also a master at promoting his companies, and this year was no exception. Berkshire Hathaway recently bought the Omaha Herald newspaper, and so Warren invited me to a newspaper throwing competition just before the Saturday meeting. I was a paperboy growing up, but I didn’t do as well as Warren as we lobbed Omaha Herald newspapers (in front of a large gathering of media) onto the porch of a Clayton modular home (also a Berkshire company) set up in the exhibition center. I think Warren had been practicing.

The next day, I fared somewhat better in a ping-pong exhibition with Ariel Hsing. I met Ariel seven years ago, when she was 9 and was brought in to destroy Warren and me in ping-pong at his 75th birthday party. She’s been playing ping pong at the Berkshire meetings since she was 11. Now she’s 16 and will be part of the U.S. Olympic ping-pong team in London. I held my own for a while, but she creamed me when she brought her “real” game. I think I did a bit better than Warren. That exhibition match was placed in front of Borsheims, the Berkshire jewelry store where Warren played salesperson later in the day.

A big part of the annual meeting is catching up with friends who come out to Omaha for it, and I got a chance to spend some time with Bono, who was there, as well. It was a great chance to get an update on his work with RED and ONE, and to talk about Africa. He’s been such a tremendous advocate for Africa, it was good to hear his perspective on conditions there and to talk about my recent trip to Ethiopia and Zambia. We both share a concern about cuts in foreign aid budgets in the wealthy world that could have a devastating impact on health and development in Africa.

I also managed to get some time to talk to Liz Claman from Fox Business News and Becky Quick of CNBC. Warren and I also got to play some bridge along with other Berkshire shareholders and I ate at a couple of Warren’s favorite restaurants in Omaha.

All in all, it was a terrific trip and one I look forward to every year, no less than the thousands of other people who make the pilgrimage to Omaha to learn from this remarkable business leader and teacher.

Become a Gates Notes Insider for access to exclusive content and personalized reading suggestions

Read previous versions of the Annual Letter

Filed Under

Discussion
comments powered by Disqus