I thoroughly dislike watching CNBC for investing purposes due to all the noise. When the markets are up, they bring on every single pundit to talk about how the market is going higher. When the markets are down, they bring on all the bearish pundits to tell you why the world is coming to an end. I remember when the S&P hit the ominous 666 level earlier this year, they brought in a “famed” technical analyst who said to expect S&P 200 by year-end. What was her name again? I forget. Watch CNBC for entertainment purposes mainly, and a little bit of learning. Don’t watch CNBC to get rich.
Sometimes though, CNBC puts together something great. And that great feat was bringing Warren Buffet (Columbia B-School Alum) and Bill Gates together in a town hall with all their business school students to ask them questions.
Here are some of the most memorable lines paraphrased from the show:
“Work for someone or an organization you admire. When I moved from Nebraska to New York to work for Ben Graham, I didn’t care what my pay was. I had no idea. All I knew was that I admired Ben greatly, and was happy to be working for him.”
Warren’s response to what advice he has for anybody who doesn’t know exactly what they want to do?
“Buy and hold is not dead. This financial crisis has not deterred our investment philosophy at all. I don’t care about what happens tomorrow, next week, or even a year from now. Invest in the long term as good businesses are going to be worth more over time.”
Warrens response to whether this financial crisis has changed his buy and hold investment philosophy.
“Run this business like this is the only business you can run for the next 100 years. Understand the motor of the business and its competitive advantages.”
Warren’s annual letter to his 70 managers when asked how he continues investing for the long term.
“Everybody says cash is king, but it is not. Cash is a terrible investment and will likely lose value over time. By the time you see the Robins sing in Spring, it’s too late.”
Warren’s response to whether he believes the latest rally is for real and whether investors should hold cash instead of invest in the market now.
“It’s 50 years of preparation and 5 minutes of decision. The good big decisions don’t take any time at all. If they take any time at all, you’re in trouble.”
Warren’s answer when asked how he can make such quick and massive capital deployment decisions.
“There are a few magic moments where you have confidence in yourself. You have to have brash self confidence. Trusting yourself, and saying yes. These opportunities don’t come a long very often, so seize them while you can.”
Bills answer to what one of his defining qualities are as a person to make him such a success.
“I’m good at making money, however, if you read Adam Smith’s book, it’s all about the specialization of labor. I know that Bill & Melinda, as well as my children are better than giving money away and helping others than I am. That is why I entrust them.”
Warren’s answer to discussing his $30 billion charitable donation to the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation.
“If any student wants to sell their future stream of income, come see me after the show. I’ll buy them now for $1,000,000, or 10X your estimated yearly earnings. If you improve your communication skills, I’ll pay you 50% more!”
Warren’s answer to how he see’s value investing and the value of an MBA education.
“You bet!” and “On Margin!”
Bill and Warren response to whether they’d buy the United States if it were a stock.
I can see now why someone bid $2.1 million to have lunch with Warren Buffet in 2008. He’s a smart, humble, and inspirational man. Bill, you’ve changed from a tenacious business titan to a great philanthropist, so you ain’t so bad yourself. Thanks to both of you for your inspiration!
Questions for Readers:
* Warren Buffet went to business school and is the greatest and wealthiest investor of all time. Do you think business school has anything to do with his success? I ask because Bill is even wealthier and didn’t even finish college.
* Do you think Columbia business school students, and business school students in particular have a competitive advantage due to the access they receive? If so, why don’t more people apply to top business schools if they want to make more money?
* Who are other inspiration leaders and business men you follow and why?
Here is the full video:
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Updated for 2017 and beyond.