Monday, May 05, 2008

Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting: What a Scene

Greetings from the Midwest. During the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, the Qwest Convention Center in Omaha, Nebraska morphs into a fabulous display center for Berkshire companies.

I wanted to get on the long-horn steer but they told me I was too old and, well, too big. This little girl came all the way to the meeting in her finery for this picture. I should have worn a dress and petticoats.

I could have sat on this but the line was too long.

The artist Michael Isreal painted a portrait of Warren on the spot--at 6 AM on Saturday. (Note his paint-spattered tux.) The portrait will be sold on eBay later this year--

to benefit a fabulous organization called Girls Inc. that encourages girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Here are a few members:

Fruit of the Loom is another Berkshire company. Some big grapes.

You can always tell when Warren Buffett is approaching--he is surrounded by no-nonsense body guards, with little curly wires in their ears, and photographers with huge cameras and boom mikes. I was able to take many pictures of Mr. Buffett but none with him, except this one, with his cardboard image. Incidentally, no photos or video are allowed within the meeting arena--or even of the video broadcasts throughout the Center.

Warren Buffett has written a chapter in the book I edited, Foods You Will Enjoy: The Story of Buffett's Store.

He and his partner Charlie Munger took questions from the floor for six hours at the Annual Meeting. Jon Stewart's writers couldn't have come up with better material. And these two guys were improvising.

Warren Buffett told about being so afraid of public speaking that he avoided college courses where he'd have to pipe up in class. He'd get physically ill at the thought. While at Columbia in an MBA program, he took the subway downtown to a Dale Carnegie program and wrote a $100 check to enroll. When he got back uptown he immediately stopped payment on the check. Eventually he forced himself to get over his fear and now he speaks brilliantly, with no script.

In response to a question about the current candidates Charlie Munger said something like: Politicians are never so bad that you don't want them back again in your lifetime. Buffett's response: Charlie's a Pollyanna.

Buffett also said: work for an organization or an individual you admire--many people become self-employed.

Your best asset in life is yourself, he said. Too often, our potential exceeds our expectations. So, go for it! And he said that those who can communicate well--speaking and on the page--have a huge advantage. Keep working on the writing everybody and have fun. Put on a CD from the The Quebe Sisters Band . . . and keep in touch.

1 comment:

Matt Crane said...

Wow! What a scene. Love your pics, Carol. Everybody should be reading this blog.