Newsletter – May, 2016

On My Mind
Wisdom, humor, and “uncommon” common sense filled the open air of the packed Century Link Center in Omaha, Nebraska on April 30, 2016 at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting. Warren Buffet, the 85 year old Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and Charlie Munger, the 92 year old Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, fielded questions for five hours on a diverse set of topics including derivatives, railroads, float, catastrophic events, intrinsic value, negative interest rates, executive compensation, and numerous others. Their views often run contrary to convention and yet Berkshire Hathaway continues to generate outstanding results. The media sometimes refers to Buffet as an investor, but it is important to remember that he is the CEO of a company with 2015 total revenues of $210+ billion. The highly decentralized company is directed by a staff of 25 at the Corporate Headquarters in Omaha. I’ve been told by many people that “seeing Warren Buffet in person” is on their bucket list. If you can’t make next year’s annual meeting on May 6, 2017, then check out Warren Buffet and/or Charlie Munger on YouTube. Also, I highly recommend reading the 2015 Annual Report which is available at Happy reading!

Interesting Stories
Warren Buffet has been getting questions regarding current health challenges including obesity and diabetes and the implications for Berkshire Hathaway since it owns such a large stake in The Coca-Cola Company. Buffet remarked at the shareholders meeting, “If you count calories, then I am ¼ Coca-Cola” because of his consumption of Coke products. He went on to add that drinking Coca-Cola products makes him happy and that is good for his health. Buffet also said something like “people are free to choose what they consume.” I could tell that not everyone was happy with his response, but it seemed honest.

Company News
The ten day public Strategic Improvement Black Belt course will start in July of 2016 and the nine day public Strategic Improvement Master Black Belt course will start in October of 2016. The brochure for both courses will be available by May 23. The Eighth Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference will be held in late September or early October.

Intriguing Reads
Many successful corporations today have a platform-type business model – Google, Amazon, Facebook, Airbnb, Uber, and LinkedIn to name a few. These organizations use networks and information to provide value-added goods and services to customers. If you want to learn more about strategy and platforms, then read the new book titled, Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets are Transforming the Economy and How to Make them Work for You by Parker, Van Alstyne, and Choudary. I especially liked Chapter 9 on Metrics.