2008 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting (Full Version) | Summary and Q&A

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November 6, 2020
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2008 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting (Full Version)

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Summary

This video features Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger in a comedic skit where they trade jobs with soap opera actress Susan Lucci. The skit leads into a Q&A session with Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, where Buffett and Munger answer questions about various topics such as dividend policy, earnings guidance, and ethical dilemmas. They also discuss their investment philosophy and the future returns of Berkshire Hathaway.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is Warren Buffett's opinion on dividend policy?

Warren Buffett believes that the current dividend policy is cheap and unfair to shareholders. He suggests changing it to benefit the shareholders.

Q: What changes does Susan Lucci want to make as the new CEO of Berkshire Hathaway?

Susan Lucci wants to change the dividend policy, provide guidance on earnings every week, and increase the pay of directors.

Q: What is Warren Buffett's response to Susan Lucci's proposed changes?

Warren Buffett disagrees with Susan Lucci and believes that the current dividend policy is sufficient. He also asserts that there is no need for weekly earnings guidance and opposes increasing directors' pay.

Q: What happens when Warren Buffett realizes the importance of his role at Berkshire Hathaway?

Warren Buffett decides to stay at Berkshire Hathaway and asks Susan Lucci to return to her role on the soap opera.

Q: How does Warren Buffett show his gratitude to Susan Lucci?

Warren Buffett allows Susan Lucci to go on a shopping spree at Borsheims and charge the expenses to Charlie Munger.

Q: How do Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger prepare for the shareholder meeting?

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger have a break for lunch and then answer questions from shareholders for the rest of the day.

Q: How many people are estimated to be present at the shareholder meeting?

The best estimate is that there are around 31,000 people present at the shareholder meeting.

Q: What advice does Warren Buffett have for investors to avoid being like lemmings?

Warren Buffett advises investors to read "The Intelligent Investor" and absorb the lessons taught by Benjamin Graham in the book. He believes that by thinking of stocks as parts of businesses and not being influenced by market fluctuations, investors can avoid following the crowd.

Q: What was Warren Buffett's personal experience with investing and reading "The Intelligent Investor"?

Warren Buffett started investing at a young age and initially followed technical analysis. However, when he read "The Intelligent Investor" at the age of 19, it changed his life and his investment philosophy. He recommends chapters 8 and 20 of the book.

Q: How does Warren Buffett assess the capability of a person to be a good manager?

Warren Buffett believes that it's challenging to assess the capability of a person to be a good manager. However, he advises looking for someone with passion for the job and who goes above and beyond their responsibilities.

Q: How does Berkshire Hathaway retain its managers?

Berkshire Hathaway creates an environment where managers feel appreciated and respected. They provide incentives beyond monetary rewards and aim to maintain the passion and enthusiasm of their managers.

Q: How does Warren Buffett approach the stock market and making investment decisions?

Warren Buffett doesn't try to predict the direction of the stock market and doesn't pay attention to short-term fluctuations. He focuses on buying businesses at attractive prices and thinks of stocks as parts of businesses. He emphasizes the importance of valuing businesses and having a long-term perspective.

Q: How does Warren Buffett approach philanthropy and giving back?

Warren Buffett has never given up anything in his life that made a difference to him. He doesn't give out of necessity but rather gives away excess wealth. He believes that truly charitable people are those who give when it makes a significant difference in their lives.

Q: Are there any pitfalls when donating money?

Warren Buffett suggests that extreme political ideologies can lead to making poor charitable gifts. He warns against having a narrow focus and prioritizing personal interests instead of considering the impact of the donation.

Q: How does Warren Buffett view the future returns of Berkshire Hathaway's investments?

Warren Buffett expects future returns from Berkshire Hathaway's investments to be lower than the past. He believes that the universe of marketable stocks they can invest in has shrunk, and they won't be able to replicate the returns of the past. However, he still sees Berkshire Hathaway as an attractive long-term investment.

Q: Can Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway make a commitment to address an issue with one of their subsidiaries?

Warren Buffett explains that he is prohibited from interfering with decisions related to Pacificorp, one of Berkshire Hathaway's subsidiaries, due to an agreement made during the acquisition process. He suggests discussing the issue with Pacificorp's representative, Dave Sokol.

Q: What is the status of the discussion about the dams on the Klamath River owned by Pacificorp?

Dave Sokol explains that discussions about the dams on the Klamath River are ongoing and involve various parties, including federal, state, and local agencies, tribes, and landowners. The resolution will depend on the agreement reached by all the parties involved.

Q: How does Warren Buffett maintain his mental and physical health?

Warren Buffett maintains a balanced diet and has a positive mindset. He enjoys what he does, works with cheerful and capable people, and doesn't rely on trainers or strict routines for his health and well-being.

Takeaways

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger's comedic skit and Q&A session with shareholders provide insight into their views on various topics. They emphasize the importance of reading and learning from influential books such as "The Intelligent Investor" and valuing businesses over short-term market fluctuations. They also highlight the challenges of assessing managerial capabilities and the significance of creating an environment that retains and motivates talented managers. Additionally, they discuss the impact of inflation on future returns and the importance of giving back. Furthermore, they address issues related to Berkshire Hathaway's subsidiary and demonstrate a commitment to finding a cooperative resolution. Overall, the skit and Q&A session showcase Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger's wisdom, values, and approach to investing and philanthropy.

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