folksy business wisdom/abberant sex fetishes

  • 09 Feb 2012 at 6:31 PM

Don’t Think He Hasn’t Tried

In addition to being known as one of the most loved and revered businessmen- some would say- ever, a savvy investor and a lover of Cherry Coke, Buffett is known for one thing above all else– going out of his way to awkwardly marry aberrant sex fetish with folksy business wisdom. Some of his greatest hits include telling Bloomberg, on the matter of why people should want to sell their companies to BRK, “You can sell it to Berkshire, and we’ll put it in the Metropolitan Museum; it’ll have a wing all by itself; it’ll be there forever. Or you can sell it to some porn shop operator, and he’ll take the painting and he’ll make the boobs a little bigger and he’ll stick it up in the window, and some other guy will come along in a raincoat, and he’ll buy it.” Telling investors on his decision to buy NetJets, “Once you’ve flown NetJets, returning to commercial flight is like going back to holding hands.” Telling investors, of the housing crisis, “As house prices fall, a huge amount of financial folly is being exposed. You only learn who has been swimming naked when the tide goes out.” Telling CBS, on the topic of bridge: “You know, if I’m playing bridge and a naked woman walks by, I don’t even see her. Don’t test me on that!” Telling Forbes, in 1974, on stocks being undervalued: “[I feel] like an oversexed guy in a whorehouse.” [Forbes changed “whorehouse” to “harem.”] Today he added another track to the album in an excerpt of his annual investor letter to be released this spring.

As part of his argument for why one shouldn’t own gold, he noted, “Beyond the staggering valuation given the existing stock of gold, current prices make today’s annual production of gold command about $160 billion. Buyers — whether jewelry and industrial users, frightened individuals, or speculators — must continually absorb this additional supply to merely maintain an equilibrium at present prices. A century from now the 400 million acres of farmland will have produced staggering amounts of corn, wheat, cotton, and other crops — and will continue to produce that valuable bounty, whatever the currency may be. Exxon Mobil will probably have delivered trillions of dollars in dividends to its owners and will also hold assets worth many more trillions (and, remember, you get 16 Exxons). The 170,000 tons of gold will be unchanged in size and still incapable of producing anything. You can fondle the cube, but it will not respond.

Only, as any Warren Buffett scholar worth his or her salt will tell you, that clearly wasn’t the line of his choosing but rather what Fortune, where it appeared, came up with after rejecting his previous drafts, reminding Buffett that theirs is family publication. We’ve obtained the originals and, in the interest of full disclosure and because its how Warren would have wanted it, will share them now. Read more »

  • 31 Mar 2011 at 2:03 PM

Let’s Do Warren Buffett A Solid

As you may have heard, yesterday afternoon Warren Buffett announced the resignation of top lieutenant David Sokol, thought to be the frontrunner to take over Berkshire Hathaway when Buffett retires. In his statement, Buffett disclosed that Sokol bought himself a bunch of shares of Lubrizol before suggesting Berkshire make an investment, which they ultimately did. Buffett says to his knowledge nothing “unlawful” happened, though he’s more than likely a little pissed that Sokol’s actions have resulted in 9,197 stories in the last 12 hours about whether or not “the Berkshire brand has been damaged.” Other than yesterday’s press release, Buffett hasn’t made any further statements on the matter. He probably will feel the need to at some point but at this time may himself not even know what to say. He’s struggling for the words and could use some help. Well help is on the way. Read more »

  • 28 Feb 2011 at 9:30 AM

Warren Buffett Claims To Only Like One Kind Of Box

When Charlie and I met Todd Combs, we knew he fit our requirements. Todd, as was the case with Lou, will be paid a salary plus a contingent payment based on his performance relative to the S&P. We have arrangements in place for deferrals and carryforwards that will prevent see-saw performance being met by undeserved payments. The hedge-fund world has witnessed some terrible behavior by general partners who have received huge payouts on the upside and who then, when bad results occurred, have walked away rich, with their limited partners losing back their earlier gains. Sometimes these same general partners thereafter quickly started another fund so that they could immediately participate in future profits without having to overcome their past losses. Investors who put money with such managers should be labeled patsies, not partners. As long as I am CEO, I will continue to manage the great majority of Berkshire’s holdings, both bonds and equities. Todd initially will manage funds in the range of one to three billion dollars, an amount he can reset annually. His focus will be equities but he is not restricted to that form of investment. (Fund consultants like to require style boxes such as “long-short,” “macro,” “international equities.” At Berkshire our only style box is “smart.”) [Berkshire Hathaway Annual Letter]

  • 09 Mar 2010 at 4:31 PM

Bill Gates To “Top” Warren Buffett Tomorrow?

And the guy behind me goes, 'Hey hon, don't forget the coffee!'

Tomorrow, Forbes will release its annual list of the richest billionaires in the world. Who will take the number one and two spots? The CNBC brain trust has crunched some numbers and is guessing it’ll be Gates, followed by Buffett. This is all pretty upsetting to everyone in the Oracle’s camp, as it would mark the second year in a row WB came in second place. Read more »