I quickly recalled that, at 20 years old, I experienced the Woodstock Music & Art Fair in August 1969 on Max Yasgur's farm in Bethel, New York, and now, 44 years later, I am going to ask Mr. Buffett questions at " the Woodstock of capitalism" in Omaha, Nebraska. Going to the two Woodstocks in a half a century to me seems right, almost symmetrical and pretty cool. Over the next week, I will be memorializing my pilgrimage to Omaha, Nebraska, to the Woodstock of capitalism, Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholders meeting. Today, I am going to chronicle how I went about doing my research on Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway as well as outline what I expect to accomplish on Saturday (and what Mr. Buffett likely expects of me). On Tuesday, I will cite the similarities between Warren Buffett and myself -- I was surprised at how many things we have in common, though it certainly isn't our net worths! On Wednesday, I will outline a number of things I have learned about Warren Buffett (and his cabal) and Berkshire Hathaway -- many of which will surprise and shock you, some may even make you laugh. On Thursday, I go on the road to Omaha, and I will be sending out regular dispatches of the experience.
Daniel in the Lion's Den
Let me start by making an observation. Inviting a bear to an annual shareholders meeting is unusual; it might even be unprecedented. But, to me, it shows the uniqueness of Warren Buffett. It also, as seen in this Star Trek video, underscores the measure of the man (intelligent, self-aware and willing to be judged by how he treats others). Bears are not invited to annual shareholders meeting -- as personae non gratae, they are more apt to be quarantined from earnings calls and conferences, let alone be invited to ask hard-hitting questions in front of legions of admirers that descend upon the auditorium in Omaha. This is the challenge. Both Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett already have been scrutinized thoroughly by analysts, journalists, pundits and biographers -- there is little unknown about both. The difficult challenge I face is to ask original questions (some that have never been asked) that might divulge new information and insights about Berkshire and Buffett.