Thomas “Tom” Murphy (Capital Cities/ABC), HBS 1949, joined a small television station in upstate New York after graduating from HBS. Over several decades, and as a result of many brilliantly crafted deals, he gradually built the telecommunications empire Capital Cities. In 1985, Tom engineered the purchase of ABC with the backing of his long-time friend Warren Buffett, and the company became Cap Cities/ABC. Ten years later, Tom sold Cap Cities/ABC to Disney for about $19 billion. He described his experiences in an interview from his Manhattan office at ABC in December 2000.
Munger kicked off the session with a speech titled “Why was Warren Buffett & Berkshire Hathaway so successful?” He listed three main factors: – Mental aptitude: “WB [Buffett] is one of the smartest people I know. WB has been extremely interested in investing since he was 10. There is no substitute for having a very intense interest in something you’re trying to succeed at; WB started very early. When you are in a field like investing, which requires long compounding periods, this is an important factor; WB is one of the best learning machines on Earth. Extremely high-IQ people don’t need to keep learning throughout life (they can coast), but people with less intelligence need to keep learning. WB had both — very high intelligence and continuous learning. WB’s skills have increased markedly since he turned 65! If he had stopped learning earlier in life, his record would be much less impressive.” – Focus: “The work at BRK [Berkshire Hathaway] was concentrated in one mind. Great committees are unsuccessful in most fields (such as investing and physics). WB maximizes objectivity. A lot of very bright people make continually bad decisions because they have bad character traits and, worse, they encourage them. Don’t be an extreme ideologue — whether right or left.” – Positive Reinforcement: “As WB succeeded more with his approach and as more people knew of him, this was a form of positive reinforcement to keep doing what he was doing, and do it better. Positive reinforcement is a very important force in life; give positive reinforcement to people you care about when they do good things.”
Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and CEO, treated business students at the University of Washington to a rare public dialogue. The funny, philosophical and personal conversation between these two business leaders and unlikely friends focused on the things most important to them. Buffett and Gates share an extraordinary appreciation of the qualities that matter most, in work and in life.
Recenty, Warren Buffett answered questions for almost 90 minutes during his appearance in Toronto. He fielded a wide range of questions today from an audience of several hundred investor relations and corporate executives at an event marking the opening of Business Wire’s expansion into Canada.
Warren Buffett released his latest annual letter to his Berkshire shareholders . I haven’t read through the entire thing yet. I will post highlights once i go thru.
You can download and read the entire letter here:
Warren Buffett Letter to Shareholders