Its Warren Buffet Week in India!. Every other newspaper in Bangalore was carrying the complete coverage of Warren Buffet's maiden visit to India and his first stop at Bangalore. Though I am not trade savvy, I happened to read Buffet's interview in almost all major dailies!. Interesting observations!.
No market jargons!. His interviews were filled with simple wisdom!.
While our Enterprise IT software product marketing constantly makes noises around the need for business agility, urgency in change, flexibility of business systems, etc - The third richest man in the world bats for long term sustainability and growth of the business that he invests in.
Look at this - He says "I don't understand technology or semiconductor business. Give me a Chewing Gum or Coca Cola business anyday. I want to invest in a business which i am familiar with so that I know it will stay stable for 10-20 years. I dont really want to be part of changing industry. In such a scenario, there is more room for failures".
"We don't look for growth sectors. We love growth when we find it but we are perfectly willing to buy businesses that are relatively slow growth. Growth does not drive our investment decisions. Competitive advantage, good management, honest management, a sensible price and the ability to see where the company will be in five or ten or twenty years, that's what drives our investment decisions. I do not rank industries by their growth potential. I am willing to go into businesses that are not growing at all if they are good, solid, fundamental businesses."
That sounds fundamental to me and a big relief that someone in the World is really talking sense and Ok with going slow and steady.
He also admits - "If you put me in charge of this plant (that he has invested in), I wouldn't know how to run it. But I do know whom to put in charge. The real skill of mine is to sorround myself with smartest people". And that's a big management lesson - The ability to have smartest people work for you.
Some more fundamental comments from him - "I just keep doing what I have been doing all my life. It's nice to have a lot of investors come to Berkshire Hathaway. I am just painting the same painting I have been doing for over 60 years and it does not change my life. I go to work at the same time, I am eating the same food, wearing the same clothes. I have a privileged life, but it's an unchanged life. I work with people I love, they make my life easy. I just have nothing to complain about. I would like to find something to complain about but I just don't know what it would be."
“I have never missed a meal in my life, never a movie. My family and I have never missed a vacation either. It is simply that I have more money than I need and which would greatly help a lot of other people if given to them".
After reading those interviews, it left me wondering - Why don't we take our business and life in such simple terms?. Pls don't get me wrong. I am not against uncertainties, discontinuities and its opportunities. But Am definitely against that becoming the way of life and dictating terms to you in business and life!
Be it Enterprise IT or the Stock Market, there is a general hysteria around Growth. Everybody wants to grow in double digits and if those ambitions result in single digits, they get upset!.Look at this article, Wipro's Growth numbers are dwindling quarter-on-quarter, and rumours doing rounds that Wipro is planning to layoff the non-billable resources!. Not just Wipro, I think the entire IT services industry is missing something!. We are in the constant pursuit of short-term gains that we almost forget there is a horizon called long-term. And everybody needs to sustain, eat the same food, drive the same car and live almost the same life.