99: Bottling The BRK Culture; Meeting Greg Abel; Gratitude; and Other BRK AGM Thoughts; Newsletter Discount
Fresh off my 10th and arguably best/most fun BRK meeting
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Capturing the feeling of this weekend
I’m still half sleep-deprived but still jazzed up about my time in Omaha this weekend. This was my 10th meeting in person and the best yet. My feeling about the meeting is even more pronounced than in prior years, perhaps because of some work I’ve done personally tuning into my deeper emotions (a subject for another day).
I find myself wanting to bottle up the energy and emotion and deep sense of culture I feel today. Yes, I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid, but I feel to my bones that Berkshire is something very, very special.
Here’s Trey Smith, a first-timer, with his first impressions:
That unique sense of community has been woven over decades by Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, shareholders, selling owners, managers, and employees alike. Sitting in that arena and even just being in/around Omaha that weekend you feel the camaraderie of partnership, sharing, teaching, business excellence, friendship, you name it. Berkshire doesn’t hire anyone to put the meeting on, they do it themselves. And what I say “they” I mean everyone from the 25 people at BRK headquarters to employees of the subsidiaries. They’re engaged and having fun because they want to be there.
I come back from Omaha each year with a renewed sense of purpose and energy. I come back motivated to make myself a better investor and a better person. Hearing Warren and Charlie speak about the simplicity of the investing process (even if difficult) reminds me to focus on the few things that matter. For me that’s focusing my time, staying within my circle of competence, keeping things simple when it comes to looking for the essence of a business (and if I can’t figure it out putting it in the too hard pile), and continuing to learn/grow.
These things give me a needed boost of confidence that I have what it takes to help my clients and others in my community. That the more value investing wisdom I bring to the world the better that world is, especially if it means I’m helping someone avoid the trap of the many “helpers” out there who are only interested in building AUM and taking fees from clients.
I come away from this weekend with so much gratitude for the many friends I’ve made over the past decade. It’s this last point that has me 100% convinced I’ll be going to the meeting for many, many years. The WSJ captured this from a comment I made at the Gabelli panel on Friday:
I’m also grateful for the sense of giving back from who we’ll call the 2nd generation of BRK shareholders. People like Guy Spier, Mohnish Pabrai, and Mario Gabelli, and companies like Markel who host meetups free of charge. Not only free but with refreshments and food that goes beyond a simple “spread”. They pay for breakfasts and lunches and dinners for the simple reason of giving back. These individuals and companies inspire me to do the same, both at BRK and in my personal life. And there resides the essence of what attracts me to Berkshire. It goes WAY beyond business or investing or money to the deepest and best of human values. I feel incredibly grateful to be a part of the community.
If you didn’t know me you’d think this was my first time to Omaha. Here are some photos of the weekend including some with BRK managers and friends. There are a couple of people I met and photographed that I won’t publish for privacy reasons, but suffice it to say these took my appreciation and excitement to a whole new level.
Greg Abel, Warren Buffett’s heir apparent.
Pat Egan, CEO See’s Candies
Trey Smith, Kansas City Chiefs player, and a budding value investor
Tom Gayner, Markel
Presenting at the Gabelli Value Investor Panel with my friends Chris Bloomstran, Todd Finkle, and Mac Sykes
Selling Out of Books (Again)
New BRK Deep Dive & Discount
I just released my latest Deep Dive to paid subscribers last week. The issue features a full update on Berkshire including some new details on IMC, Marmon, and Lubrizol. I’ve also updated my valuation of the energy segment based on some new work on cash taxes.
I’d love to have you as a subscriber. Feeling festive, I’m offering a 10% discount off your first year for new subscribers. Use the code BRK2023 at checkout. You can also purchase the single issue for $49.
Old BRK Deep Dive
My friend Guy Spier recently asked me if he could share my April 2022 Deep Dive on BRK with his 20,000+ subscribers, which I readily agreed to. I highly recommend you subscribe to Guy’s newsletter, which comes out about 5-6 times a year and features lots of investment wisdom.
Following Guy’s lead I’m making last year’s BRK analysis available for free. Simply visit the Watchlist Investing website.
Stay rational! —Adam
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