Recently I had the pleasure of attending the welcome dinner of an annual CEO Summit hosted by JP Morgan Chase & Co. in New York. The dinner program was a fireside chat with Warren Buffett and Charlie Rose.
It was quite the event and I found myself in awe of my fellow attendees. In fact, seated next to me at dinner was American film director George Lucas. Like many people, I’ve always been a huge fan. When I started to tell him, I saw his eyes begin to glaze over, assuming this would be another Star Wars discussion. But I quickly noted that I’ve always been a huge fan of his hair. I can tell you after 10 minutes of sharing our hair care history and discussing strategies for traveling with hair care products, George and I share a common bond.
Beyond hair, it was a great night. Here are some of the interesting insights and quotes from Buffett:
- “When Charlie Munger and I disagree, he always concludes by telling me ‘You’ll end up agreeing with me because you’re smart and I’m right.’”
- “Though the form of Berkshire Hathaway is a corporation, our attitude is a partnership.”
- His view of a perfect public stock is one where no trades ever happen, Shareholders buy and hold forever.
- When asked how it feels to be the third wealthiest man on the planet, he shrugged and said, “As you can tell by my age, I’m going to have what everyone else has in a few years anyhow.” “I spend all of my time on how Berkshire is doing, because that is what will last forever if we do it right.”
- “At Berkshire, when you’re 65, you’re an intern.” People focus entirely too much on getting to the next level versus doing the job they have and excelling at it.
- “Admit your mistakes openly and often, because if you don’t, it’s only a matter of time before someone else will.”
- “The most important attributes of successful CEOs are (1) integrity, (2) intelligence, and (3) energy … but No. 1 is by far the most important. If they don’t have integrity, then you’d better hope they’re dumb and lazy as well.
- HUGE believer in the U.S. economy and capitalism In 2008, we were like an injured world-class athlete in the hospital, but smart investors doubled down knowing we would come back stronger…at this point, the pattern over 250-plus years in undeniable…in the next downturn (and there will be one), double down!
- Single greatest attribute he possesses – ability to focus.
- Example: When he and Charlie decide to buy a business, Charlie figures out the financial merit, but Warren makes the decision based on one thing: Will the money the founder makes change him or his passion. If I determine it will, we do not buy the business (no CEO has ever left).