Janet and I spent this past weekend in Omaha Nebraska at the annual Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders meeting. We’d talked about going for a few years now and decided to quit talking about it and just go already. We went to see Warren Buffett and, now we realize, Charlie Munger. Not that we’re worried about Warren or Charlie (those two are so sweet, I’m sure they won’t mind me using their first names), but after Boston, you never know when your time is up.
I bought a share of Berkshire B stock (I really, really wish I could say Berkshire A) just to be able to go and it was well worth the money. As a matter of fact, I want to rush out and buy more shares; I was so inspired by the two leaders. For billionaires, they seemed pretty down to earth. Not that I know a lot of billionaires. Janet wishes she were one…does that count?
Janet and I both arrived on Friday night, ready for whatever the meeting may bring. We woke up bright and early Saturday morning at six A.M. (four in the morning to our bodies) and tried to catch a shuttle from the hotel to the meeting. After learning there were roughly forty thousand attendees in town and just two shuttles from our hotel, we decided to drive ourselves to the stadium. Well worth the $8 for parking. I think we’d still be there, waiting for the shuttle, had we not driven ourselves.
We were first shown a movie which was a little long but funny in parts. It ended with a Berkshire rendition of YMCA with Warren leading the cheerleading. He’s pretty spry for eighty-something-or-other. For the bulk of the meeting, Warren and Charlie were alone on their stage with a panel of three people from the media on their right and a panel of three lucky-a$$ people on their left. I’m not sure who they were…I was mostly asleep until after lunch.
From about 9:30 until 3:30 (with an hour for lunch), Warren and Charlie answered questions from the panels and from various attendees from different zones in the crowd. Warren talked first, after each question, with Charlie talking after, if he had anything to add. Sometimes he had nothing to say. I loved the way the two men interacted: like an old married couple who had seen and done a lot together over their fifty years.
They do have their fundamental differences: Warren is a Democrat and Charlie is a Republican but neither is the stick wielding absolutists you usually see when people show their politics. I loved their banter and they were slinging one liners like line cooks at our new favorite breakfast spot: Jimmy’s Egg.
Whenever Warren was talking, Charlie spent his time munching on Peanut Brittle and drinking Coke Zero. When the coin flipped, Warren dug into a box of fudge and drank his beloved Cherry Coke. I can so see sharing a burger and fries with either or both men. I can tell you Janet has a huge crush on Charlie. I’m not sure what that means but I’ll be taking a wait and see attitude with this situation. I don’t think I have anything to worry about: I don’t think Janet can keep up with Charlie!
I have no worries about Warren and Charlie as they were sharp, witty and passionate about Berkshire. I wish I were as sharp as they are at my age let alone when I hit my eighties. They reinvigorated my desires to be a businesswoman, reignited my passions lying dormant and stoked the flames for my vision to get Janet off the road. I would love to limit our travels to fun destinations and shareholder meetings. I think Coke (Atlanta) is coming up soon.