In 2003 I really disliked Warren Buffett. Like, I personally hated him.
After 9/11 he stated “We’re going to have something in the way of a major nuclear event in this country. It will happen. Whether it will happen in 10 years or 10 minutes, or 50 years … it’s virtually a certainty.”
Everyone on TV nodded their head. Why not. The man is bigger than Jesus.
But listen, WB (we call each other by our initials when we whisper softly to each other) charges people for insurance AGAINST NUCLEAR ATTACKS.
If I were a door to door life insurance salesman you know what I would say to you? You can die tomorrow! Why not protect your kids just in case?
And I don’t like when people, even Buffett, spread nuclear panic.
Even in his latest shareholder letter he is talking about nuclear attacks.
But I forgave him. We hugged it out… sort of. But he still won’t pick up the phone when I call him.
So I took a cab to his house. Hey, wouldn’t you take a cab to his house? If you could?
In 2003, I went to Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in Omaha. The Buffettpalooza. I think 20,000 people were supposedly there. No exaggeration.
People got on line at 5am to get into the meeting. Krispy Kreme donuts were served on the line outside. Then, when it was time to go in, everyone RAN in order to get a good seat. But since they had just cleaned the floors everyone was slipping, falling, sliding as soon as they got into the building. It was exactly what would happen if everyone was running to escape, well, a nuclear attack.
The night before the meeting there were some parties.
I got invited by pretending to be “media.” I got a special badge.
I met a guy who told me a story. He bought 200 shares of Berkshire in 1976. The shares doubled in a year or so and he got nervous. So he sold 100 shares and used the proceeds to start a restaurant.
The other 100 shares (assuming he still holds them because he told me he was never going to sell them) are now worth $18,000,000. So its safe to say that this guy I was speaking to is the world’s greatest investor ever. He bought 100 shares and never had to even think again about anything.
He could’ve watched MTV and eaten nothing but Pringles for the next 35 years. And now he’s got $18,000,000 in the bank. But he has big regrets. Because he sold those other 100 shares on only a double.
Oh well. We have some work to do here about this article. Because its not easy to find unusual things about Warren Buffett. But if you didn’t notice the picture above, I wrote THE book on Warren Buffett (even Buffett said so).
I really did drive right up to his house in a cab. Here’s his house:
It’s a 5 bedroom house he bought in 1956 for $31,500. Its one house among many on a normal suburban block. The guy next door to him might as well be worth $0 and his next door neighbor is worth $60,000,000,000.00
To me, that shows a lot of discipline. Every time in my life I’ve ever made money I would make the mistake of buying a home.
Here’s a story about Buffett. He’s playing golf with a bunch of people and they all bet a dollar on a particular hole. Buffett won’t bet. “Why not, Warren?” they ask him, “you’re worth a gazillion.”
He said, “I never break my discipline.”
By contrast here’s the house of his bridge partner Bill Gates:
A 9 building compound worth $150 mm