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Old 05-01-2010, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 14,925,093 times
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WOW, What a truly amazing experience. Here are my thoughts...

Arrived in Omaha on Thursday afternoon and was picked up at the airport by my parents who drove from Iowa to attend. We arrive at the Embassy Suites near the Old Market (very nice area, charming cobblestone streets). Checked in and promptly went to the lobby for complementary afternoon reception (i.e. booze). After having our fill of liquor, we ate at the hotel restaurant and had a nice conversation over dinner. I made sure to get enough sleep to enjoy the kickoff on Friday.

Friday rolled around and I started off the day with a very good complimentary breakfast. Didn't really do too much until the Friday evening Berkshire Hathaway Stockholders Reception at Borsheims Jewelers kicked of. Man this thing was a BLAST. I was expecting a bunch of blue-hairs sipping champagne and eating tiny sandwiches...was I WRONG! 40,000 stockholders were expected to attend and that figure seems right on the money to me, it was PACKED. Buffett definitely knows how to throw a proper party. Unlimited free alcoholic beverages (you KNOW I took advantage of this one) as well as a free meal with hot roast beef sandwiches, meatballs, sausage, carrots and celery w/ dip, etc etc. You had to stand in line but it was well worth it. I met some very interesting people from Phoenix and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Mom bought a few bobbles at Borsheims, the private viewing room with the uber-expensive jewelery was even open! Some of those pieces are worth more than my house!

Today was the big day, we were up at 5 am to make sure and catch the shuttle to the Qwest Center at 6 am. When we arrived at about 6:15, there was already a line that stretched halfway around the building and the doors wouldn't even open until 7:30! We wait patiently, conversing with others in our same predicament. Finally we got in and went straight to the seating bypassing the convention hall filled with companies owned by Berkshire Hathaway that were pushing products. The movie started at 8:30 and lasted nearly an hour. Buffett and Munger came out onto the stage and sat down, talked a bit about earnings and then opened the floor up to predetermined questions. The questions alternated between 3 journalists and from the stockholders on the floor. Buffett did a very good job explaining his position while Munger had his usual dry sense of humor in the matters presented.

We adjourned for lunch at noon and resumed the Q&A at 1 and lasted until 3:30. We left about 3 pm to beat the rush and came back to the Embassy. Tonight we have the 'Berkyville' Picnic at the Nebraska Furniture Mart and tomorrow concludes the yearly meeting with 9 am-11 am brunch at Borsheims Jewelers.

I encouraged EVERYONE to attend this (if you are a stockholder of course), it was truly an amazing experience and I already reserved a hotel room for next year!
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Old 05-01-2010, 06:14 PM
 
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Who were the 3 journos? I suspect Becky Quick of CNBC, but the other two? On TV, I saw that Andrew Ross Sorkin of the NY Times was also in Omaha. I am impressed with Buffett in the fact that only HE can get people from the Right Coast to visit Fly-Over Land.
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Old 05-01-2010, 11:27 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 14,925,093 times
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You're right on the first two and the third was Carol Loomis of Fortune. Quite an interesting variety of questions, I could have predicted the first one would be about Berkshire's investment in Goldman Sachs.
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Old 05-02-2010, 05:23 AM
 
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i think it is very interesting that buffett is finally going to be facing some serious issues-such as his derivative contracts and his goldman sachs investment:

Mr. Buffett has also been taking some heat for a push he has made on Capitol Hill for exemptions for several large derivatives deals his firm has made in recent year. A bill before Congress could force Berkshire to post billions in collateral for the deals. In the past, Berkshire hasn't been required to put up much cash—if any—to back its derivatives transactions.

Mr. Buffett said he's confident that his firm would likely not be required to post collateral on existing derivative contracts under the financial-overhaul bill currently before the Congress.

Mr. Buffett said he doesn't see any consequences "unless there's some sweeping requirement that all companies have to post collateral" on old contracts. Berkshire had lobbied to have such a provision added to the overhaul bill to clarify the requirements under the proposed law.

it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. it is going to be pretty hard for buffett to keep up his "aw, shucks, i am just one of you", finely crafted image (and kudos to his management team and to charlie munger). it was pretty obvious that previously warren had a reputation for good business ethics, and it is pretty obvious that goldman sachs does not.

Last edited by floridasandy; 05-02-2010 at 05:46 AM..
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Old 05-02-2010, 07:24 AM
 
Location: Warwick, RI
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Thanks for the excellent review Speedy! I'm glad you had a great time. I'm planning on attending next year, and can't wait!
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Old 05-02-2010, 07:46 AM
 
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Great information people thanks so much!
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Old 05-02-2010, 11:34 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, Ca
2,884 posts, read 5,040,304 times
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I admire Buffett, but at the same time, I think he's too powerful, and his finely crafted "aw shucks, I'm one of you" image is too powerful. When are people going to wake up?!!?

-You're not really one of us if you're getting sweet gs and ge deals. And you're not one of us if you're in complicated derivatives.

-I attribute his image in the last 10-15 years to the fact that people need someone to believe in (just like what oprah does). Only he's the nice man from Omaha, who plays bridge, eats at gorats and lives in his original home.

The danger for the average small investor, is you're going to miss the boat following this Buffett media gushing. He can't be people's messiah forever, and bigger money could be made elsewhere in the next 5-10 years (either in other US stocks, commodities, gold, foreign currencies, etc). Dollar denominated berkshire shares at this stage in the companies cycle can't offer spectacularly high returns.

But I still enjoy learning from him.
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Old 05-03-2010, 01:09 AM
 
2,700 posts, read 3,750,512 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John23 View Post
I admire Buffett, but at the same time, I think he's too powerful, and his finely crafted "aw shucks, I'm one of you" image is too powerful. When are people going to wake up?!!?

-You're not really one of us if you're getting sweet gs and ge deals. And you're not one of us if you're in complicated derivatives.

-I attribute his image in the last 10-15 years to the fact that people need someone to believe in (just like what oprah does). Only he's the nice man from Omaha, who plays bridge, eats at gorats and lives in his original home.

The danger for the average small investor, is you're going to miss the boat following this Buffett media gushing. He can't be people's messiah forever, and bigger money could be made elsewhere in the next 5-10 years (either in other US stocks, commodities, gold, foreign currencies, etc). Dollar denominated berkshire shares at this stage in the companies cycle can't offer spectacularly high returns.

But I still enjoy learning from him.
I agree. I like his homespun wisdom, but realise that he is just another part of the Big Star Syndrome that infects Americans. Our Constitution does not allow for titles of nobility, but that has not kept Americans from putting people up on the pedestal as someone to emulate, listen to, follow, imitate and etc. (Other examples, Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey, sports stars, movie stars, etc.)

I just wish that I had the teaching and discipline to have begun investing at age 11 like he did. If I was worth $Billions (and giving it away to charity now), there would be hordes of people hanging on my every word also.
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Old 05-03-2010, 04:05 AM
 
12,870 posts, read 12,775,361 times
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i saw an article which asked buffett 4 very good questions that i too would like to see answered:
1. Goldman Sachs is a significant Berkshire investment that contradicts many of the philosophies that are the foundation of Berkshire company investments, including fair executive compensation and business integrity beyond reproach (and indictment). Short of Goldman Sachs & Company being found guilty of violating the law, when do you say you have had enough? Many Berkshire shareholders and the American people are already there.

2. Were you naive in basing your trust on people and an image of Goldman formed years ago when it was an investment bank, rather than what it has become: a proprietary trading organization that feels no obligation to look after the interests of its customers?

3. After spending your life preaching about the ills of the modern financial system and what it stands for - including advising new grads to go there only with 'noses closed' - why did you invest in the absolutely worst practitioner of that kind of finance…and then defend its 'legal but blatantly immoral and socially reckless' practices all this year?

4. You tell your managers not to do anything they wouldn’t want to read about on the front page of a national newspaper. Even if they are legally exonerated, Goldman Sachs & Company violated that fundamental principle. Berkshire owns preferred stock in Goldman. What are you doing about it? (jeff matthews)

i would like to add some interesting back and forth commentary for anyone who is interested from the market ticker on berkshire and goldman. (i am with mannfm11 on this one.) both sides make some pretty good points. the very first post, genesis, always has the link to the article that is being commented on.
http://tickerforum.org/cgi-ticker/akcs-www?post=135771

Last edited by floridasandy; 05-03-2010 at 04:35 AM..
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Old 05-03-2010, 06:51 AM
 
2,700 posts, read 3,750,512 times
Reputation: 2867
Quote:
Originally Posted by floridasandy View Post
i saw an article which asked buffett 4 very good questions that i too would like to see answered:
1. Goldman Sachs is a significant Berkshire investment that contradicts many of the philosophies that are the foundation of Berkshire company investments, including fair executive compensation and business integrity beyond reproach (and indictment). Short of Goldman Sachs & Company being found guilty of violating the law, when do you say you have had enough? Many Berkshire shareholders and the American people are already there.

2. Were you naive in basing your trust on people and an image of Goldman formed years ago when it was an investment bank, rather than what it has become: a proprietary trading organization that feels no obligation to look after the interests of its customers?

3. After spending your life preaching about the ills of the modern financial system and what it stands for - including advising new grads to go there only with 'noses closed' - why did you invest in the absolutely worst practitioner of that kind of finance…and then defend its 'legal but blatantly immoral and socially reckless' practices all this year?

4. You tell your managers not to do anything they wouldn’t want to read about on the front page of a national newspaper. Even if they are legally exonerated, Goldman Sachs & Company violated that fundamental principle. Berkshire owns preferred stock in Goldman. What are you doing about it? (jeff matthews)

i would like to add some interesting back and forth commentary for anyone who is interested from the market ticker on berkshire and goldman. (i am with mannfm11 on this one.) both sides make some pretty good points. the very first post, genesis, always has the link to the article that is being commented on.
From One Pigman To Another.... [Ticker] - MarketTicker Forums
He is on CNBC "Squawkbox" right getting big, slow-pitch softball questions from Becky Quick to hit out of the park. Ms. Quick is part of the Buffett groupies; notice he usually only allows female reporters to question him.

Defending Goldman Sachs and Mr. Blankfein. Of course. They probably gave him a phone call and said "Bail us out (again), but this time with just words."

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