Saturday, May 2, 2009

Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting

It's a little after 6 AM in Lincoln, Nebraska. Looking out my 8th-floor hotel room window, I'm amazed that there are already people walking, biking, and driving all over the place. We're a busy, busy culture, and our energy is reflected in every company that Berkshire Hathaway owns. When Buffett talks about the wonders of Geico, he speaks mostly about the amazing CEO, Tony Nicely, and his 40+ years of experience. When he talks about his Wells Fargo holdings, he talks at length about the amazing management team. I wish I had the energy and dedication of these captains of industry, these entrepreneurs who work 17-hour days, 7 days a week for decades. I mean, Buffett is in his late 70's, and I know damned well he's already up, probably in a business suit, reviewing some notes or financial statements, as excited as a kid about to go on summer vacation . . . even though he's worth about $20-30 billion and has been doing these annual meetings since 1965. I am often struck at the massive difference in drive between a guy like me, who makes a decent living and enjoys a nice lifestyle, and a true entrepreneur who starts a business like FedEx, Coca-Cola, or Berkshire Hathaway. I used to get down on myself for lacking their drive, but then I realized that I can do exactly what the Howey Case says: I can profit solely through the efforts of others by investing in a common enterprise. Think about the beauty of that phrase: to profit solely through the efforts of others.
Talk about the American dream, right? So, while I'll keep running Pass the Test a few years, I'm going to start focusing much harder on figuring out who the true fire-in-the-belly entrepreneurs are and simply investing in their stock. It might sound lazy or even parasitic, but it has to be better than working for a living.

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