The best part for me was hearing how quickly Buffett pivoted to deploy $50 billion to buy equity. And the decision process to buy OXY and Allegheny. Basically spend the weekend reading the financial reports and had decided by Monday. He seems just as sharp allocating capital today as he was decades ago. No mental decline whatsoever.
It was quite tedious at times listening to Buffett. He seemed to be rambling and off-topic on many responses. Lots more hesitating and “unhs” than in the past. His follow-ups to precise answers from Jain on Geico and nuclear risk were in stark contrast. Other examples were his long, rambling responses to questions from the German and Israeli shareholders. That left time for very few questions, which was disappointing as the questions were quite good. When Jain takes over, meeting could be over by lunch or we would have time for many more questions. Next time I am fast-forwarding through a replay or reading a transcript.
Munger was just as sharp as usual and hard to believe he is 98. Already mentioned about Jain’s clear and precise responses.
And for a refreshing change, kudos to the teenage girl who asked a great question on inflation which I thought Buffett answered well (he obviously could not give her a stock tip). Usually the questions from precocious, attention seeking children are a waste of time.
Buffett… rambling… Lots more hesitating and “unhs” than in the past.
Maybe his idiosyncratic way of speaking gets even more pronounced, but I am very pleased with his mental condition (which shows especially in the few spontaneous, short and sharp comments).
Munger was just as sharp as usual and hard to believe he is 98.
And luckily in much better mental condition than I remember him from last year.
I feel rnam summed up Buffett well in two comments:
He seems just as sharp allocating capital today as he was decades ago. No mental decline whatsoever.
It was quite tedious at times listening to Buffett. He seemed to be rambling and off-topic on many responses. Lots more hesitating and “unhs” than in the past. His follow-ups to precise answers from Jain on Geico and nuclear risk were in stark contrast.
Perhaps another way of stating the second comment was Buffett’s own reference to the editor of the Washington Post who told Warren: “You don’t have to tell everything you know.”
That’s where I feel I’m seeing age impact Warren. His judgment on when to stop talking and move on is slipping. As an example, I thought he made a mistake in not letting the question on possible conflict of interest with Greg re BHE end at a logical point - that both he and Charlie had never seen Greg operate in any way except in Berkshire’s general interest. Instead he then further opened up the whole issue of the Scott estate and rambled about it. He would have been smarter to let dogs lie. That’s unlike the younger WEB.
On more than one occasion, I almost shouted at my screen to “Damnit - shut up and move on.” I’ve been bored at times in past meetings when an old question was asked once again and answered once again. But I haven’t been irritated by Warren. Today I was by the rambling.
Charlie doesn’t seem to have suffered from that.
What does continue to amaze me about Warren is his incredible memory for details from the distant past. Details both important and trivial - doesn’t matter. And often not needed.
As rnam pointed out - a mixed bag.
I agree on all points with Texirish. My first AM was 1989 and have attended several since. Those early years he rattled off detailed, succinct answers so rapidly we almost wanted him to slow down. Now, quite the opposite but wow—his detailed memory and instant ability to do complex calculations is truly amazing. And still wouldn’t trade him for anyone on the planet: that guy from 1989 has 33 more years of experience and he’s an even better manager today.
But today I too noticed a lot of rambling and superfluous unnecessary details that seemed to make 2 minute answers 12 minute answers. I first noticed this during the 2020 meeting at an empty Omaha arena: A really detailed chronology of US history—incredibly informative but it was the first example of what we witnessed today. Many of us wrote it off to nervousness in that really dark, lonely setting in the height of the Pandemic. But it was a bit of a transition…only coincident with the scary times.
Warren reminded me of my late father-in-law, also an entrepreneur. Over many years he taught me so much, but the later years I remember more the rambling, LONG but educational stories. I guess it’s part of getting old. Warren is still the brilliant teacher. It’s hard for me to accept he’s 91. We all see and marvel at what he’s doing on the “field”, we read his writings, I just imagine him as 58 years old forever. I need to accept this. We need to accept this. It’s just really hard. And there’s SO much to celebrate.
About the conflicts of interest question, I feel Buffett is trying to say shareholders got a good deal (and the deal won’t have been possible without the conflict of interest), though it will be better for Greg to convert early if he want to do it.
I thought he should have asked Greg to respond to the question as well. Almost felt like he was protecting Greg.
Almost felt like he was protecting Greg.
Greg no Tim Cook.
I agree with thinking Buffett rambles on quite a bit with his answers and probably should realize that most attending aren’t all that much interested at all in the history of things. But one thing I think you guys are way-way-way off on and that is thinking the meeting and his and Charlie’s presentations are lacking as compared to both the past and expectations.
I’ve attended 22 annual meetings. The absolute theme of those attending/watching/listening to the meetings has been disappointment now for as long as I can remember. To me this simply means we all have ourselves matured some no matter what our age and that we basically thought we’d discovered the Holy Grail initially with being exposed to Buffett.
It is much like lust for the opposite sex based on instinct/looks/etc., it always disappoints.
Buffett and Berkshire are doing fine and I liked the answer on the railroad. I’ve owned all the rails now since 1975 and I like the way Berkshire runs its railroad over the publicly traded ones. I think they’ve run themselves somewhat into a corner financially with stripping track, employees, and cap ex.
We will see.
Every year someone would comment on Buffett is getting old, getting dumb, and that’s worrisome. But next year WEB is back. Year in year out.
I agree with chompin. I think this year’s AGM is one of the best of recent years