It’s not everyday a celebrated entrepreneur and an inspirational innovator holds forth about another great businessmen and finance giant. But that’s just what great men do. They talk about other’s greatness and the learnings they derive from each other.
Microsoft emeritus and one of the richest men in the world Bill Gates shared a rare glimpse into his special bond with Warren Buffet, American business magnate, investor and philanthropist and often known as the greatest investor the US has known. (Some of his prominent investments include Berkshire Hathway, Washington Post and Coca Cola.)
In the post Gates, who’s known Buffet for over 25 years, talks about the little things Warren does, his quirks that make him immediately relatable, and also lets us in on the traits behind Buffet’s astounding success. Gates also credits Buffet for having changed his and wife Melinda’s lives in more ways than one.
Here’s the salient points on what makes the Warren Buffet so great, as told by Bill Gates himself.
Warren asks questions
“…Warren started asking me some questions about the software business and why a small company like Microsoft could expect to compete with IBM and what were the skill sets and the pricing. These were amazingly good questions that nobody had ever asked. We were suddenly lost in conversation and hours and hours slipped by. He didn’t come across as a big shot investor. He had this modest way of talking about what he does. He was funny, but what impressed me most was how clearly he thought about the world.”
Warren’s simplicity and humility
“One thing that was surprising to learn about Warren is that he has basically stuck to eating what he liked when he was six years old. He did move past baby food, of course, but he mostly eats hamburgers, ice cream, and Coke. (That’s one reason it’s so fun to go out to dinner with him.) I remember one of the first times he stayed at our house and he opened up a package of Oreos to eat for breakfast. Our kids immediately demanded they have some too. He may set a poor example for young people, but it’s a diet that somehow works for him.”
Warren is adorably relatable
“When Warren invited Melinda and me to stay at his house in Omaha for the first time, he gave us a tour. When we got to the dining room, we saw that there were no seats on the chairs. Warren was as surprised as we were. “What’s going on?” he said, examining his chairs. Eventually, he learned that the cushions had been removed months before to get reupholstered, but he had not noticed until then. (He must have been eating his Oreos and ice cream in the kitchen.) We’ve been laughing about that visit ever since.”
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“At my office I have just two numbers on speed dial: my home and Warren. If Warren has time for a call, it’s the highlight of my week. I’m constantly learning things from him. Warren and I love to talk about companies, politics, world events, and new innovations. And it’s really exciting to have somebody who’s studying these things with a bit of a different background. He’s got that economic investor’s eye and I have much more of a technologist’s eye towards things. As trustee of our foundation, Warren is an amazing thought partner to Melinda and me. When faced with a challenge, we often ask ourselves, “What would Warren do?” It usually leads us to the best answer. Warren and I are mostly peers, but sometimes he is so much wiser than I am, he’s like a father figure to me.”
“Warren earned a reputation as the “Oracle of Omaha” for his shrewd approach to investing in business. But he’s equally gifted at investing in people. I’m always amazed how he is able to draw people in and make it fun for them to learn from him. Even though he keeps up a hectic schedule, Warren finds time to nurture friendships like few other people I know. He picks up the phone and calls to say hello. He regularly sends articles he’s read in the mail that he thinks Melinda or I will find interesting.
I’ve learned many things from Warren over the last 25 years, but maybe the most important thing is what friendship is all about. It’s about being the kind of friend you wish you had yourself. Everyone should be lucky enough to have a friend who is as thoughtful and kind as Warren. He goes out of his way to make people feel good about themselves and share his joy about life.
To this day, every time I go to Omaha (which I try to do whenever I can), Warren still drives out to the airport to pick me up.
It’s a small gesture, but it means the world to me. I’m always impatient for the plane doors to open because I know Warren will be waiting with a new story or a joke and I’ll be learning and laughing with him all over again.”