March 1, 2015

The dots will connect (Omaha Edition)

I'm using Blogg100 as an excuse to try write a couple of sentences or paragraphs on this blog on a regular basis again. I won't limit the subjects to quite the extent I, at least mentally, have done so far. If I find it interesting to write about, I might just do that.

Yesterday Berkshire Hathaway's 2014 Annual Letter to Shareholders was published. Berkshire Hathaway is the corporation through which Warren Buffett, the world's most successful investor the last 60 years, does most of his investments. 

The annual letter is not quite like a normal, dry annual report and is normally worthy to read (if you're finance or business nerd, at least). This year it was made even more interesting due to the fact that Warren Buffett has been CEO and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway for 50 years and he and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger looked at the past, present and future of the company and the driver's of success.

While failure and hardship often are better teachers than success, studying organisations or people that have been successful for long periods can also be a good teacher.

While there are many lessons to be learnt from the quotable Warren Buffett, a few basic takeaways for business success, small or large, are:

  • Find something you like (or even love) doing and can do for a long time. That will have a major impact on your happiness.
  • Skill and knowledge accumulate over time (but I'd add, in the words of Steve Jobs, that one must remember to "stay foolish"). 
  • Networks and relationships grows too, opening up new opportunities.
  • Understanding what you're good at and understand (your circle of competence) is very valuable.
  • Incentives matter. Over long periods of time incentives matter a lot.

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