Earlier this year, I got to check off one of my long-time “bucket list” items when I attended the 2019 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting with Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, and I gotta tell you … it was a LIFE-CHANGING experience!
I had heard about the Berkshire Hathaway meeting for years but I was under the illusion that you had to own a share of their stock (which is presently selling for around $222,000) to attend. I thought it was exclusively for super wealthy big shots. I didn’t know that they sold B shares, which are around $220. If you buy ONE B share of Berkshire Hathaway stock, you can attend this annual event and get four passes. It’s the best $200 I’ve spent in probably 20 years—and not for the reasons you might expect.
I believe the huge success of Berkshire Hathaway is because they’re the most principle-driven investment firm in the history of the United States. I flat-out felt different the moment I “met” Warren and Charlie. Here’s a tiny example of values and principles in real life …
But first—the journey …
I was on my way to the event, and my driver said, “Hey, do you want to drop by Warren’s house?” To which I replied, “Hell yeah, baby doll!” … This was one day before the event and there’s almost NO ONE there. Warren and his wife still live in the same home since buying it in the ‘50s. It’s not “over the top” or behind an enormous, guarded fortress. He doesn’t travel around with a gigantic security team. He goes to McDonald’s EVERY single day for breakfast, and he eats dinner at the same, predictable places in town.
Warren is one of the richest men in the world (Berkshire Hathaway has more cash right now than Apple by double—$200 billion in cash available!), but the bottom line is his fame hasn’t affected him because he’s a principled person and he runs his business that way. They stick to their guns. They don’t subscribe to the “highfalutin,” Wall Street poppycock!
One of the key takeaways from the event for ME was to absolutely listen to my gut about people and values. For example, Warren WON’T deal with people who change a deal at the last minute or try to do “sneaky” stuff. He once made a deal where the agreement was off by pennies and when they went to sign the final paperwork, he quashed the deal. He said they showed their character and he doesn’t work with cheaters … period.
The event was so powerful and positive that next year, I’ve committed to taking my “SuperBeing Accelerator” clients as a group.
One of my favorite takeaways of ALL was seeing how great leaders like Warren and his partner Charlie Munger are great entertainers. The way the event opens up is, you sit down in the stadium, they play an opening movie featuring their companies, and as soon as it’s over, you hear crack, crack … that recognizable sound of a Coca Cola can being opened with the “fizzzzzz”… and then you hear “crunch, munch, munch, crunch.” The lights come up and there they are (Warren and Charlie) with a giant box of See’s Peanut Butter Brittle and drinking Coca Cola before going to Q+A from the shareholders.
It was an absolute pleasure to sit there and experience old school values driven by two old men, saying whatever they wanted to say. It’s not about being politically correct. These guys are respectful, decent human beings who just see things as they are and play by their own rules.
(I’ll have to admit that more than once I couldn’t help but think, “They look just like the two old men from the Muppet Show”!)
And while I sat there, puzzled for a while at these two geniuses—Warren, who drinks six cans of Coke a day, eats McDonald’s every morning, candy during the day, and steaks at night, wondering HOW IN THE HELL he’s still alive—it dawned on me after he said …
“Every day, I get to tap dance to work.”
Yeah, maybe he has George Burns’s genes. But every day is an exciting CHOICE, filled with joy, always looking forward to another day of doing what he loves to do.
I walked away so much more excited about business and life and family and values and what it means to be an entrepreneur and a business owner. I love Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.