Likewise, couldn't disagree more with the notion that Warren should focus his communications on excogitations about the future. Those who want discussions of Snowflake and explorations of the future development of Berkshire are in the wrong place. Read through the 50-plus letters and it is apparent what Warren tries to do/likes to do with these letters and with his Berkshire-specific communications in general. There are people who would like him to do quarterly conference calls, to discuss current investments with more depth (why did you investor in this?). I mean the most glaring omission would be the dearth of Apple discussion right? They have $120 billion in the company but he did not even review basic thoughts of the business, its moat, its value, etc. Essentially the only substantive discussion of Apple was an empirical description of its buybacks. So it may be reasonable to expect a discussion, at least a minimal one, of this $120 billion investment....BUT that is not the kind of thing he generally does. That is as a part of Berkshire as much as GEICO.
Also the nature of annual report documents and letters is to review the past. That is their essential function - they are concerned with what has happened to get to this point.
I do believe Warren is addressing the future though by addressing the past. These letters and Warren's Berkshire-specific communications shape and cement the culture and character that he intends to endure at Berkshire into the future. Reading through 50-plus years of Berkshire letters and the way he discusses the companies they've purchased, how those companies were built, the way the Buffett Partnership became Berkshire - and how that indelibly shaped the present, and he hopes future-Berkshire, is a powerful message to Greg, Ted, Todd and their successors. The communication has been so clear and the transmission of values through these communications so powerful, for instance, that if Greg immediately started quarterly conference calls after he takes over - then every single long-time Berkshire shareholder that I know of would revolt. That is because of Warren's clear communication in these letters.
In 1999 and 2000, Buffett spoke of the market environment and the minimal returns investors could expect going forward. In 2008, Buffett discussed the financial crisis in the midst of it. Today we are in a pandemic and not a word is mentioned. I had expectations that Buffett would to some degree talk about the past year and his thoughts around it. I don't think it was that crazy of an expectation and I was let down. Perhaps I should have listened to Charlie and gone in with no expectations. I was disappointed and thought it was one of the most generic letters he's written.