Friday, March 25, 2011

Hearing from the Legend ‘Warren Buffet’

I was scrolling through different channels at my home, after the end of first innings of the SA-NZ cricket match, when I stumbled upon the programme in NDTV Profit called the ‘The Class Apart – Warren Buffets speaks to B-School students’. The show was moderated by Prannoy Roy and the guest were Mr. Warren Buffet and Ajit Jain, Berkshire Hathaway Group’s reinsurance division president. Management students from top notch B schools were present in the audience. Warren Buffet doesn’t need any introduction. His eccentric way of working and philosophy has baffled the so called fashionable market guru’s who would love to prove him wrong, except that his philosophy of sticking to the market fundamentals and his exceptional performance across the years have made him a legend among the investors. Coming back to the programme, it was interesting to listen to him and his views, which seemed unconventional most of the time. Iam going to share some of the insights which he had shared. Iam not sure how much of the programme I had missed, hence, I will be sharing the insights from the part of the programme which I had viewed… (And the parts which I could recall while writing this article).

The talk was on about the high IQ levels of the students present in the audience. So the anchor asked Buffet about the high IQ levels determining the success of an individual. Buffet replied that irrespective of the IQ levels of the students may it be 160 or 130; in the long run it doesn’t matter. What matters is whether the people have the right temperament & to see things in the right perspective and act. I feel that this is very true. Take any successful person (except Bill Gates) most of them have been college drop outs or even illiterates. What had mattered is their attitude to see obstacles as opportunities and their temperament of swimming against the tide.

Another thing which Buffet mentioned was about doing what one likes to do. I guess this has been the major success factor for Mr. Buffet or for any of the successful persons. All of them do what they like doing, instead of doing what they have to do because they have to earn a living. I feel that the current generation has to think in this angle of deciding to do what they like/love doing. That brings me to another point. A student asked him whether making money now was easy compared to 20 years ago when there wasn’t much competition. Buffet replied that ‘Making money is very easy now’ compared to 2 decades. What matters more is that one should do the work which he loves. Rest all will happen by itself. If one continues to do productive work over the years, the snow ball effect is bound to act and there is nothing which can stop one being successful. I feel this is quite true too, and other great leader have also emphasized the simple thing that there is no shortcut to success and if one persists over a period of time with due focus and hard-work, he is bound to succeed.

I loved Buffet’s philosophy of doing things which you know about, or at-least learning about things which you want to do. His words were “If you don’t know it, don’t allow the words of someone who knows it to make you take decision to do something about which you still don’t know anything”. Mesmerizing lines indeed… No matter how abstruse the words may sound, the simplicity of the words logic just hits you in the face…..

On being asked why he had avoided India for a long time, when India is being proclaimed as the next growing market, he replied that maybe it was a mistake on his part not to have invested in India until now. On a serious note, he added that he didn’t understand the way businesses operate in India. His words were to “know the facts about something and do it. If it doesn’t make sense, skip it and go on”. Getting involved in something which doesn’t make sense really doesn’t make sense. He added that he hadn’t got any calls from any of the India business all these years.

To a question about India being considered a volatile market, whether he sees foreign investment in India, wise or not, his reply was that “I love volatility”. If the market is stable, anyone can make money. It’s due to the volatility that one needs to understand the basics of the market. And that’s what one needs to succeed and which differentiates the winner from the loser.

Mr. Buffet’s wit also knew no bounds. To a question regarding whether he sleeps peacefully at night, or does he has any sleepless nights or worries, he said that he has no sleepless nights. And that he sleeps like a baby. The anchor put the same question to Mr. Ajit Jain, who said that worries exist but they don’t end up being sleepless nights, so he too sleeps like a baby. Mr. Buffet added that they were indeed babies, as ‘they wake up crying over the realities of the life the next morning.’

Finally Mr.Roy asked him what the B-Schools should teach the students (as Buffet had said that the B- Schools don’t teach the students what they should know). Mr. Buffet replied that the B-schools should teach them “how to value a business in the right way”. All in all, it’s always inspiring to listen to someone as legendary as Mr. Buffet and similar legends. I always feel that this is so, not only because of their high accomplishments but also the fact that the philosophy which they follow in the life and which has made them successful are the simple virtues which we all know but only few of us act on it. As someone rightly said ‘Common sense is indeed uncommon’

P.S: I had found the link of the video recording here. You can view it if you want to see the entire telecast.


Arunkumar said...

Nice inspiring article... Unfortunately i missed the show..:(
if possible post the links of those videos...!

Aragorn said...

Thanks Arun... The show will be telecasted again. Unfortunately, i dont remember when they will be, so you can check the timings.

I found this link containing the video recording. You can view it here.