Monday, May 30, 2011

Warren Buffet Breakfast with Nisha JamVwal


One would have expected much jargon and involved financial plans and philosophies from Warren Buffet. So I went to the private closed door breakfast do expecting it to be a ‘gods best friend speaks from a pedestal to normal mortal’s’ breakfast do. What transpired was delightful and contrary. I met a warm, irreverently humorous, charming man teeming with thoughts and ideas, who seemed to embody a magical enthusiasm, a man whose child within hadn’t died. A man who had touched my life with his infectious excitement at being alive.

The question and answer interaction was even more inspirational, I came out charged with ideas and thoughts. “I jump out of bed and tap dance to work every morning, life excites me” he said. ‘For me there is no destination, it’s just the journey. Life is like an unfinished painting.” IT brought to mind what Aamir Khan’s character in Three Idiots propounds,

if we work with what we are impassioned with then it is bound to be successful.

The Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway endeared everyone by anecdotes from his own life. “Originally I had more ideas than money, now I have more money than ideas. I’m looking world over for opportunities. I want to work my money. I want to grab opportunity. This is why I am in India. I bought businesses because I loved them. You don't marry people to change them. In business you don't do that either.’
In reply to industrialist Adi Godrej’s observation that Buffett had been optimistic on the economy he said he didn’t worry year to year. “I don't think about where we’ll be in the next six months. There are lots of variables like Tsunami’s and earthquakes. 

The thing to think about is where you will be in five years from now. In the next hundred years there’ll be some fifteen bad years. Results are not in a straight line. America’s had civil war, fifteen recessions, the great depression, nothing stops us. Steve Jobs is probably thinking of some idea even as we speak. I’m just certain we’ll do well in time and make gains. Human ingenuity has only just begun. India and China more than the other countries. I just want to be on a boat in that Sea!”

It was indeed amusing how some famed Indian businessmen at the breakfast got up to ask questions introducing themselves with a lengthy preamble of self aggrandizement that prefaced the question. They don't need to. They’ve got it all and everybody knows them. In contrast is Warren’s humility and the modesty with which he talks , his understated language and the connect his simple words make with everyone. You don't need bombastic language to make an impact.

Buffett has always been guided by his instinct and his attraction to a business than short term speculation. “We maximise the potential of a company. We work long term” Gold and speculative assets like property focussing on the short term; actively buying and selling stocks , is not his way, and his success proves his philosophy. He became the richest man in the world by going with his passion, buying businesses he enjoyed being part of “like a painting I love” and nearly never selling.

He still believes that the world is a good place to invest in for the long term. Ups and downs don't guide his long term philosophy because there will be depressions but the future is always bright. For America and also for India.

What stuck me most was that his conversation revolved more around the journey of life and its lessons, the interactions with his managers, with attributing much of his success to the role of support played by his wife than conversations about companies, takeovers shares and financial gyan. The moral of it all seemed to me to be that his success comes out of his attitude to life, the people that work with him and teamwork. ‘We’ve never lost a CEO in 46 years’. 

A man who does not selfishly nurture his immediate family and nor hoard and build to his glory but goes beyond personal needs and personal aggrandizement toward the larger family of the human race. To give and share and create meaningful interactions than to live a life of personal grandeur and feeding the ego. We did after all need an American Billionaire to tell our rich and famous about the philosophy of giving. And it might not be a bad idea for those that are doing so much in giving and sharing within our country to speak about it, because we do need role models for those that hoard and don't believe in sharing in the land of THE Role Model- Mahatma Gandhi.

Written Nisha JamVwal
Nisha JamVwal
Tweet Nisha @nishjamvwal
Article For Business India
Photo Courtsey: Rakesh


shail gulhati said...

The" irreverently humorous" , to borrow from your phraseology, are often the most reverent to all of life, its mysteries and its travails, its gifts, and yes, even its poignancies... Having long crossed the milestone of religion and transcended to the realm of the spiritual.:)
lucky girl, to be able to meet one such and then share with us all in a nice write! thanks. and keep shining:)

MuMuGB said...

You are so lucky to meet such interesting people Nisha! Thanks for sharing it with us.


@ Shail, @ M, thank you and yes it was one of those meetings that bring change to ones thought and outlook, which are few and far between.
He said "i dont worry year to year about results of my work, results are never in a straight line, one has to have confidence that in the long run we will make gains"

Anonymous said...

God Bless U n Gud luck Ms Jamwal best
Taniyaa KM

Nisha JamVwal Roller Coaster Called Life