It was a fun weekend in Omaha!
The Oracle was in typically fine form–answering questions all day about topics ranging from Goldman Sachs (he was supportive), derivatives (they continue to be dangerous when parties don’t understand them), and the long term prospects for the US (bullish). Even the usually taciturn Charlie Munger piped in with a few gems and added to the levity of the day. At one point a questioner asked about how to cope with potentially high interest rates in the future. Munger, 86, responded, “If I can be optimistic when I’m nearly dead, you all can handle inflation.”
Before the meeting began, there was a very amusing movie featuring Warren and Charlie and a few friends. This year’s movie included ABC’s Desperate Housewives plotting to land a billionaire and ending up with Charlie. Another segment had Warren pitching for the Boston Red Sox and striking out Alex Rodriguez to win the AL pennant. The movie included a preview of a new animated series called “The Secret Millionaires Club,” where Warren teaches kids about financial literacy.
There was also a cool video showing the history of Berkshire’s latest acquisition, Burlington Northern Santa Fe. BNSF dates back to 1849 and the railroad “Empire Builder” James J. Hill. BNSF has played an integral part in the growth of the United States and it is exciting to have the railroad as part of the Berkshire family.
Another highlight of the event is the chance to visit many Berkshire companies in the convention hall adjacent to the arena where the meeting takes place. Companies ranging from See’s Candy to Justin Boots, Dairy Queen, GEICO, and Fruit of the Loom hawk their wares to shareholders. Watch the video for more on that.
Because of the growth of the meeting, to get good seats we had to be in line at 5:45am! As unpleasant as it sounds to stand outside in the cold Omaha morning, waiting to get in only adds to the festival atmosphere of the meeting. It is so much fun to meet shareholders from all over the world and swap stories about meetings past, the boss, and speculate as to what Warren’s take will be on a great many issues.
It is truly a unique weekend–unlike anything else I have ever been to and likely unmatched by anything in the world. It is a fitting tribute to one of the world’s most admired and distinctive companies.
I look forward to next year’s meeting and encourage you to make plans to get to Omaha at least once for a spectacle unlike any other.