Breakfast with Warren Buffett

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30:  Berkshire Hathaw...

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Friday I had the unique opportunity to have breakfast with Warren Buffet at the NYSE. He was here to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of Business Wire, a Berkshire Hathaway company (see Opening Bell). We shared perspectives on topics ranging from job formation, the economy, to the sovereign crisis in Europe.

Buffett thinks the private sector is doing some great things on small company formation, and we need to hear more stories about successful entrepreneurship. He never imagined that one day he would have a stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange, but after a trip with his father to New York on his 10th birthday, Wall Street was his new dream. On that trip, he wanted to see three things; a stamp company, the Lionel train company, and the NYSE. What he experienced inspired an entrepreneurial investor on a journey to heights few will likely attain.

On today’s economy and trading market, these were the salient quotes that I remember.

  • On the current state of the trading markets, said Buffett: “I don’t understand how these markets work—I just focus on business fundamentals.”
  • On concerns about the current economic crisis, said Buffett: “I’ve invested $9B in equities this year, I’m long term optimistic."
  • On the problems in Europe, said Buffett: “Europe will figure it out, but it may take a long time.”
  • On the markets, said Buffett: “If you just bought a farm, and you are focused on building long-term value, would you listen to 28 people giving their opinion on whether it is going to rain today? I don’t think so.”
  • On the Buffet Tax, said Buffett: “I’m not sure it’s a good thing to have a tax named after you."

I left the breakfast to the cheering crowds on the Floor, and an optimism that things will look better if you’re wearing long term glasses.

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