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Untold Buffett/Munger/Berkshire Stories


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Anyone have some good/great stories about the above to share?  Some may not hit the news tape due to the lewd commentary, quirky nature of history, or unflattering result.  I mean, a financial genius and a hero of mine (ours) signed his Christmas cards "Sincerely - Susie, Astrid, and Warren".  The guy is the richest guy on earth, he can do what he wants I guess. 

 

The few that got me thinking were when Jack Ringwalt went to headquarters to pick up his check for selling National Indemnity, the seller was 10 mins late because he was trying to find a parking spot with time left on the meter.  The other was Mrs. B basically unhappy with the fact that she sold her furniture business for substantially less than it was worth so she left the business and started a competitor which was ultimately bought by Berkshire and Buffett made her sign a life time non-compete. (I recently read this on twitter - is this true?)

 

The Munger story about him setting his date's dress on fire because he was trying to impress her by smoking was incredible.  You can't make this up. 

 

Anyway - spend time trying to figure out where the business is going.  Just thought some fun stories about the past would be interesting to read about.  I can dig up some others if no one has fun, obscure, interesting stories to share.  Cheers!

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Blumkin opened the new store because her family kicked her out of the first one. Iirc, she would bump into her employees with her wheelchair to get them moving.

 

I never heard the smoking story before lol

 

I like the story of Munger at the dmv. The person wanted medical records regarding his blindness. He didn't bring any, so he took out his glass eye and put it on the table.

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I've met Warren a few times, as have many others, so I'll leave those stories for them to share...mine aren't particularly unusual except the very first time I met him.  I've met Ajit Jain a couple of times in Omaha, and also in Toronto.  He's been one of the the most pleasant people I've ever met all three times!  I would love to see him lead Berkshire!

 

I've also met Charlie a couple of times...always nice, but relatively quiet...there is a story I would like to share about Charlie:

 

During the 2013 AGM, Alnesh, myself and a couple of friends were driving out of Regency Shopping Center in Omaha, where Borsheims is as many of you know.  We were stopped at the light on a fairly busy road, and Charlie drove up next to us in a Toyota Camry and was waiting to turn right.  I'm not sure if his blindness is worse in his left or right eye, but he stopped for a few seconds and then turned right into oncoming traffic. 

 

All of us were screaming "Charlie lookout" as two cars came to a screeching halt just barely stopping before crashing into the back of Charlie's car.  It looked like it was going to be really bad!  He kept driving like he owned the road, while all us were sweating and gasping as we thought we had almost watched the demise of Berkshire's vice-chairman! 

 

I've got one story about Bill Gates as well:

 

At another AGM, I was outside of a private party that Buffett, Munger, Gates all attend at the Omaha Marriott.  There was no way I was getting in, certainly not on the guest list, and then I noticed Bill Gates behind me looking for the party.  I guided him to the party and he thanked me...but I still didn't get past the guest list! 

 

The last one is not terribly exciting, but I had your hopes up!  Cheers!

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At another AGM, I was outside of a private party that Buffett, Munger, Gates all attend at the Omaha Marriott.  There was no way I was getting in, certainly not on the guest list, and then I noticed Bill Gates behind me looking for the party.  I guided him to the party and he thanked me...but I still didn't get past the guest list! 

 

Gotta push your luck, Sanjeev! Thanks for sharing.

 

If I really wanted to stir the pot, I'd compare Charlie and Tiger. Both can afford drivers, eh? ;D ;D

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Back in 2009 - a group of us were in a meeting with Susie Buffett.  She talked about her father's diet. The stories you hear are true.

 

She said she has never seen Warren eat a vegetable, other than French fries or hash browns. Maybe corn a few times. That's it.

He won't eat fruit - only banana cream pie.  She has never seen him drink a glass of water - it's cherry coke.

For dinner he usually has a ham sandwich and ice cream.

 

He always has his calories calculated perfectly - he knows exactly how much he can consume without gaining weight.

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Back in 2009 - a group of us were in a meeting with Susie Buffett.  She talked about her father's diet. The stories you hear are true.

 

She said she has never seen Warren eat a vegetable, other than French fries or hash browns. Maybe corn a few times. That's it.

He won't eat fruit - only banana cream pie.  She has never seen him drink a glass of water - it's cherry coke.

For dinner he usually has a ham sandwich and ice cream.

 

He always has his calories calculated perfectly - he knows exactly how much he can consume without gaining weight.

 

Above all, Buffett hit the g*d damn genetic lottery! If I ate like that it would not be a pretty sight...

 

Funny stuff though thank you.

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I do think one of the most fascinating things about Warren I ever saw was on CNBC 10 or 15 years ago.

He was being interviewed by Becky or Liz Claman after one of the earnings releases. One of those 3 hour interviews.

 

And he was rattling off sales numbers, revenue increase percentages, etc - like he does along with stuff about the US economic growth.

We all know how amazing he is with numbers and business/economic figures, in addition to historical numbers.

 

Well, the interviewer was amazed as well - and said something to the effect of  'do you just remember everything forever?'

 

Warren says, 'well, no - these are things that interest me and I love business - and there's a bunch of stuff I'm not interested in

and don't pay attention to'

 

Interviewer says 'like what?'

 

After a pause, Warren says  'well, like in my house. I couldn't tell you what color the carpet is in my bedroom'

 

And this is a house he's lived in for 70 years now. I thought that was amazing.

 

I have often looked for that CNBC clip - but have never been able to find it.

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Anyone have some good/great stories about the above to share?  Some may not hit the news tape due to the lewd commentary, quirky nature of history, or unflattering result.  I mean, a financial genius and a hero of mine (ours) signed his Christmas cards "Sincerely - Susie, Astrid, and Warren".  The guy is the richest guy on earth, he can do what he wants I guess. 

 

The few that got me thinking were when Jack Ringwalt went to headquarters to pick up his check for selling National Indemnity, the seller was 10 mins late because he was trying to find a parking spot with time left on the meter.  The other was Mrs. B basically unhappy with the fact that she sold her furniture business for substantially less than it was worth so she left the business and started a competitor which was ultimately bought by Berkshire and Buffett made her sign a life time non-compete. (I recently read this on twitter - is this true?)

 

The Munger story about him setting his date's dress on fire because he was trying to impress her by smoking was incredible.  You can't make this up. 

 

Anyway - spend time trying to figure out where the business is going.  Just thought some fun stories about the past would be interesting to read about.  I can dig up some others if no one has fun, obscure, interesting stories to share.  Cheers!

 

In the Snowball, Alice talked about Jack Ringwalt having second thoughts and was driving around trying to delay closing.  Buffet, being the ever folksy grandpa, paints the story as Ringwalt driving around looking for parking spots with time left.  I think it was described as every few years, Jack "gets in heat" and considers selling the company.  The Snowball is truly a great book as it was probably more true and less propaganda.

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Well, the interviewer was amazed as well - and said something to the effect of  'do you just remember everything forever?'

 

Warren says, 'well, no - these are things that interest me and I love business - and there's a bunch of stuff I'm not interested in

and don't pay attention to'

 

Interviewer says 'like what?'

 

After a pause, Warren says  'well, like in my house. I couldn't tell you what color the carpet is in my bedroom'

 

And this is a house he's lived in for 70 years now. I thought that was amazing.

 

I have often looked for that CNBC clip - but have never been able to find it.

 

Alice Schroeder claims Buffett couldn’t recall what color her hair was if she covered it up.

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In the year 2015, a 61 year old Indian male, Mr. Parag Parikh travelled from India to Omaha, Nebraska to attend his very first Berkshire Hathaway AGM. The trip was more than a chance to participate in the "Woodstock for capitalists." Having practiced value investing for more than 3 decades using Warren Buffett's principles, it was a pilgrimage to see the great prophet himself in the flesh and blood.

 

He attended the AGM on Saturday. Early morning on Sunday, he was in a car bound for Eppley Airfield to catch a flight back to India when a pickup truck broadsided the car, killing him on the spot and grievously injuring his wife.

 

Mr. Parikh was actually one of India's foremost value investors. He ran a prestigious mutual fund in India called "Parag Parikh Long Term Value Fund" and was a huge proponent of value investing. The fund was famous for having only a single, long-only scheme and most of the fund management company's employees had their money invested in the mutual fund, giving them plenty of skin in the game. Parikh returned 18 percent a year between 1996 and 2013, in a PMS (Portfolio Management Scheme, which is sort of like a hedge fund) he ran. He liquidated the PMS in 2013 to start a mutual fund instead.

 

The problem with PMS' is that, you need to have a little over 60,000 USD (in money of the day) to invest (that's the minimum investment amount, set by India's equivalent of the SEC). That's a huge sum of money in India. In contrast, mutual funds have no such requirements. Most Indians do not venture into the equity-markets because of a fear of volatility, permanent loss of capital and financial fraud, and tend to buy gold or property, instead. The decision to swap from a PMS to a mutual fund was because he wanted to provide hardworking middle-class Indians a chance at becoming wealthy by participating in equity markets.

 

His final rites were completed and his body was cremated in Omaha. Buffett learnt about Mr. Parikh's demise from a local newspaper and told the newspaper that he and everyone at Berkshire Hathaway felt terrible on hearing the sad news.

 

Mr. Parikh espoused many of Buffett's principles such as shunning tech stocks, only investing in simple businesses and not being in a race to make money for investors and himself. He was also not afraid of venturing outside India if he could not find good value picks in the Indian markets and turning down all new investors during bull runs. He had no sales or marketing team and had no exit-load (i.e. investors were free to withdraw their funds whenever they wanted; no questions asked.)

 

Here's a link to the news story:

https://omaha.com/business/indian-financier-who-was-killed-in-crash-while-in-omaha/article_96669e51-3039-5457-af7c-c8bd1274190e.html?mode=jqm&fbclid=IwAR2DArTORw-K-ai2cCP-38F2YF5BoTu8Rc_RVS2wcJ0cy-NMPePIcTs9lVk

 

 

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I liked the story of Munger when he spoke about Mrs. Blumkin when she called her sons I think it was "lazy bums".

 

Also funny and noticeable when Munger called the investment profession 4% highly intelligent, diligent people and 96% shamans and

fortune teller and the 96% think of themself of being productive and useful to keep there self-respect up.

 

:)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Called Charlie Munger's office once and he picked up the phone. We spent nearly an hour talking and he listened to me like what I had to share with him was the most important thing in the world. Lots of questions, lots of curiosity. He understood very complex things rather quickly.

 

I wrote a letter to Warren Buffett and he shared with me about his terrible Texas Holdem Poker skills in his letter back to me.

 

At one annual meeting - I met Bill Gates at a bar. I asked him if he was into sports and he goes "no but my friend owns the Mariners" (there was a Mariners / Twins game in the background). Then I asked him if he owned an iPod. He goes, "no I have a Zune""  LOL!

 

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^ Awesome - love the Munger story especially!

 

Yeah, he's great! I had certainly pre-judged him as a bit of a righteous asshole and he was literally anything but. Def a more open and approachable demenaor. He even thanked me for being a Berkshire shareholder. The guy truly gets partnership.

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Called Charlie Munger's office once and he picked up the phone. We spent nearly an hour talking and he listened to me like what I had to share with him was the most important thing in the world. Lots of questions, lots of curiosity. He understood very complex things rather quickly.

 

I wrote a letter to Warren Buffett and he shared with me about his terrible Texas Holdem Poker skills in his letter back to me.

 

At one annual meeting - I met Bill Gates at a bar. I asked him if he was into sports and he goes "no but my friend owns the Mariners" (there was a Mariners / Twins game in the background). Then I asked him if he owned an iPod. He goes, "no I have a Zune""  LOL!

 

Those are awesome stories.

 

What was Bill Gates drinking?

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  • 3 months later...

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